In this interview of Cognitive Computing we meet with Alex Capecelatro, CEO of Josh.AI, a voice activated artificial intelligence (AI) home-automation system.
So, what’s the story behind Josh.AI?
It all started when I bought a home, some years back. I was really excited to renovate it and check out the tech options available. But there weren’t very many and those that did exist I found boring. It then occurred to me that I could change that.
I looked into it and I started talking to people. I developed an interest for Internet of Things (IoT) and user experience design. I met Tim Gill, an expert at machine learning who loves to code. Eventually our conversations led to the idea of using artificial intelligence (natural language and voice technologies) to launch a platform that could provide cool options for a home of the future. We imagined a home that would listen to you, learn your preferences, and make life easier. And then, we co-founded Josh.AI.
And who is Josh?
Josh is an AI IoT technology that allows you to integrate and voice-control all your IoT devices from an app or hands-free microphone. You can manage your music, lights, temperatures, in-home surveillance cameras, and any other third party IoT device you have (or want) in your home. Josh is IoT AI tech that lets you talk to your home and make life easier.
You can watch it in action here.
How are you able to integrate with third party IoT home devices?
We work directly with manufacturers to make sure our customer’s IoT devices integrate easily on our platform. As for physical installation, we partner with a network of professional installers.
Is Josh.AI a B2C or B2B play?
We’re a high-end B2C solution, at the moment. Our sweet spot is custom integration home solutions.
Do you integrate with solar systems?
That’s on our road map. We absolutely want to enable the super connected smart home of the future.
Tell me more about the tech stack Josh.AI is built on.
Our foundational tech stack includes: proprietary software, natural language algorithms, machine learning, and AWS (Amazon Web Services). We had to create our own programming language called J++ in order to build a robust speech engine. We have a local server called Home Base which processes as much as we can in the home while enabling remote access. We have native iOS and Android apps as well as a beautiful web portal built in React.
Why is it now time for the AI house of the future?
Great question. It’s time for the AI home of the future because of the advances we’ve seen in: artificial neural networks, knowledge graphs, natural language processing, speech processing, computational power, consumer acceptance, ubiquity of personal computing (the cloud), funding, and research efforts. I write about the details here.
In terms of a home that listens and talks, we’ve achieved the tech accuracy needed for it and we’re only getting better at intelligent technologies. These are very exciting times.
Can you talk about why IoT is so important to the AI home?
In order to live in a home that learns our patterns, takes predictive actions, and simplifies our lives, the devices in the home need to be accessible. This is where IoT comes in. A connected speaker makes it possible to say, “Play The Foreign Exchange” and a connected garage makes it possible to have the garage automatically open as you get near. As we see the proliferation of better and less expensive IoT, the dream of a truly smart home becomes a reality.
What AI trends do you see in the future of the smart home?
Up until about 5 years ago, everything needed to be physical switches. Then digital interfaces on apps started popping up. The latest trend is voice controlled devices and systems. The trend to follow will be one where voice is not even required.
In the future, the devices and systems we use today will not require us to tell them what to do. Instead, devices and systems will learn your habits. Soon, your home will know when to wake you up, turn on the lights, close the shades to save energy, make you coffee, and open your garage door.
“We’re moving towards a time and place where systems are so smart that you don’t have to control them. Things just happen.” - Alex Capecelatro
What’s your favorite use case?
I love that I can voice control the music in my home. It’s amazing to come into my living room after a long day at work and say, “Play the Lumineers” and hear the music start playing. The feeling I get: it’s awesome!