Based on input by Shahid K
NITI Aayog, India’s think tank , is developing a device similar to Alexa (Amazon’s virtual assistant device) for country men who use regional languages.
The upcoming device will offer services such as voice interaction, music playback, to-do lists, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks and providing real-time information such as news, weather, traffic, and sports reports.
The device will aim to reach to regional users and be capable of handling queries in 18 languages.
For the ambitious plan NITI Aayog has partnered with IIT Patna. This will be followed by coordinating with 14 other institutes for the development of a natural language processor (NLP) for commercial use.
The IIT-Patna is currently doing market research for creating a suitable product. Director of IIT Patna, Pushpak Bhattacharyya believes that the technology would touch everything from e-commerce firms to educational institute which uses chatbots and has a has huge potential as business prospects for corporates.
The project will be partly funded by the govt.
The virtual assistance segment Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home are most popular devices but cater to just English, German, French, Italian and Spanish These have negligible penetration in regional languages in India.
NITI Aayog sees a huge opportunity for India’s own virtual assistant device available in local languages on basis of the fact that regional language users have grown at over 40 per cent in the last seven years. They are expected to continue growing and touch over 530 million in the next three years.