Programming Voice Interfaces

by Bob Lautenbach, Walter Quesada

Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
Release Date: October 2017
ISBN: 9781491956052

Get a step-by-step guide for developing voice interfaces for applications and devices connected to the Internet of Things. By allowing consumers to use natural human interactions, you can avoid awkward methods of input and interactivity to provide them with elevated user experiences. This practical book is ideal for software engineers who build applications for the Web, smartphones, as well as embedded systems that dominate the IoT space.

Integrate voice interfaces with internet connected devices and sensors

Learn how to integrate with existing voice interfaces

Understand when to use a voice over other Natural User Interface technologies

Build a prototype with tools such as Raspberry Pi, solderless breadboards, jumper cables, sensors, Arduino, Visual Studio, and other tools

Use cloud services such as Azure and AWS to integrate voice with your existing or new web service end-points

About the Authors

Walter Quesada is a Software Engineer and Technologist with over 20 years architecting and developing solutions for companies of all sizes. He currently serves as the Conversational Interfaces Lead at the PwC Emerging Technology Lab where he focuses on creating a more conversational future with voice and chat bots. He is also an Amazon Alexa Champion, O’Reilly author, as well as a Pluralsight instructor with two courses titled, “Developing Alexa Skills for Amazon Echo” and “Creating Voice and Chatbots that Work Everywhere”. He also currently serves on the advisory board for startup called Voceio that’s bringing the conversational AI experience to the hospitality industry.

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Bob Lautenbach is a veteran of designing software for the hospitality and cruise
industries, and he firmly believes voice technology is poised to revolutionize the way the industry operates. His main interests are around leveraging IoT devices to create new and engaging guest experiences. Bob is the cofounder and Chief “Tinker” Officer of Voceio, an Orlando-based firm that creates multichannel conversational platforms. Bob is an Alexa Champion, Pluralsight author, and founder of the Orlando Alexa Meetup group. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida.

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Welcome to a NUI World

(from Chapter 1)

You’ve heard the news and read the articles: technology is evolving and expanding at
such an exponential rate that it’s just a matter of time before machines, humans, and
the world around us are completely in sync. Soon, ubiquitous conversational interfaces
will be all around us, from appliances and office buildings to vehicles and public
spaces. The physical structures themselves will be able to recognize who you are, hold
conversations and carry out commands, understand basic human needs, and react
autonomously on our behalf—all while we use our natural human senses such as
sight, sound, touch, and voice as well as the many additional human traits such as
walking, waving, and even thinking to connect with this new, natural user interface
(NUI)-enabled smart world.

NUI essentially refers to interfaces that are natural in human-to-human communications
versus the artificial means of human-to-machine interfacing such as using a
keyboard or mouse. An early example of a NUI is the touchscreen, which allowed
users to control graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with the touch of their finger. With
the introduction of devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, we’ve essentially
added a natural interface, such as voice, to our everyday lives. Apply Emotiv’s
Insight EEG headset and you can control your PC with your thoughts. And with a
MYO armband, you can control the world around you with a mere wave of your
hand. As Arthur C. Clarke declared, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
from magic”—and we are surely headed in that direction. Hopefully one
day we will have figured out how the wand chooses the wizard.


Creating Voice and Chatbots that Work Everywhere

With all the options out there, creating a voice and chat bot today can be a daunting decision. In this course we take the stress out of figuring it all out by showing how to build a cross-channel conversational bot that works everywhere.

Developing Alexa Skills for Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo and the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) open new doors of opportunities to build voice-enabled apps without deep knowledge of Natural Language Processing (NLP). This course, Developing Alexa Skills for Amazon Echo, will get you started working with Alexa Skills. 

Additional Resources

  • Coming soon!