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Industrial Vocal Assistant: what is the price of the free!

Industrial Vocal Assistant: what is the price of the free!

The Journal du Net(JDN – December 08, 2020)looks at the choices available to the industry to select a suitable voice assistant. The public voice assistants, the voice assistants dedicated to particular functions… supply becomes plethora and complex to follow without applying certain strong, industry-specific discriminating criteria.

SIMSOFT INDUSTRY offers a cross-examination of the topic with elements drawn from its industrial and technological experience. The approaches of the digital newspaper and the supplier of industrial voice assistants serving the men and women of the industry can be complementary to answer the question of the price of free!


Voice assistant: who are the real players in the market?

If we look at the number of voice assistants installed, all terminals combined, in 2019 we exceed the number of 2.5 billion. In this regard, the main players in the market do not hesitate to engage in a small battle of numbers. When Amazon boasts that it has sold more than 100 million copies of its speakers with Alexa, Google responds by announcing the installation of Google Assistant on more than one billion devices by 2020 (c Celia Garcia-Montero, JDN 2020).

Today, the major players in voice support known to the general public are THE GAFAM: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. These American actors are indispensable for their technical development power and economic power. It is important to note that in this category of actor, not a European can really be considered a competitor.

By talking only about GAFAM, we would almost forget the BATX that quickly arrives in our markets, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencen, and Xiaomi that arrive directly from China. For its part, Samsung’s voice assistant is making a remarkable breakthrough in Asia and the United States. By comparison, in 2020 Chinese voice assistants are more deployed around the world than Apple’s “Siri” and Samsung’s Bixby is more deployed.

This raises a first question about the sovereignty of European industry, as well as what to make us think about our models of economic and technological intelligence… If you look only at the tree, you may miss the forest.


Can we do everything from a single business model?

This frenzy for voice assistants is not without risk for users. Since their appearance, they have been charged on multiple charges. They are suspected, among other things, of not fully secure conversations and retaining users’ personal data, which represents a serious risk of confidentiality (Célia Garcia-Montero, JDN 2020).

In this case, the user would like to have the butter and the money of the butter! Butter is to be able to have a voice assistant outperforming almost free of charge. The money of butter is to keep control of one’s private life. Both the GAFAM and the BATX decided otherwise for us…

The technical development of voice assistants as we know them today has cost each of the companies that develop them a small fortune. These investments, only achievable by the big players mentioned above, must be profitable one day. They have two options: charging the customer for a product to provide access to a service, or giving access to a product to monetize a service. It was the second choice that took over! The major voice assistant publishers offer us their products, so that we can consume services offered by other players in e-commerce or advertising. The icing on the cake is that, in the general terms of use of these “free” products, we all agree to pool our data and share our viewing time for high value-added advertising content.

It is on the basis of this type of model that Amazon can train its Alexa voice assistant with several million data and exchanges between users, shared for free by all users of the product. This investment is then made profitable by increasing sales through voice interfaces on the Amazon platform, and by advertising content broadcast by other advertisers.

So that’s the price of free! The question for the development of voice support solutions for the industry: is this price acceptable? If not, what economic model should be adopted?


Data valuation and industrial constraints

To perform, Alexa has been trained with billions of conversations around the world. However, in the industry, we do not have sufficient semantic data to constitute big data. Thus, BtoB voice assistants are not trained in the same way (c Celia Garcia-Montero, JDN 2020).

If, as we have seen, the economic model of large voice assistants is based on the valuation of manipulated data, then the question of the adequacy of this model with the capabilities and constraints of the industry must be asked.

Unless the world of tomorrow is really different, it is unlikely that sometimes competing industrialists will agree to pool all their documentary, semantic and linguistic resources in order to train a voice assistant. Even in a utopian world, the sharing of such data could eventually be considered at a specific moment, but that is not enough. The voice assistants of our giants need to be constantly fed fresh and qualified data in order to continuously increase their capabilities.

It is illusory to think that industrialists will make available in real time all exchanges between their employees and a voice assistant to a third-party company, and allow it to value this data for the benefit of the whole industry.

So what do we do? Digital players on the west coast of the United States could be asked to sell a private use license for this type of assistant for the benefit of a single industrialist. This is a hypothesis, but it will be expensive, even unaffordable for the majority of industrialists. Then there will be the question of the specific training of these assistants for the specific needs of this industrialist. Why not, but we will quickly butter on the volume of data available and accessible. Let’s take a practical example: an industrialist who manages 100,000 different types of tasks for his maintenance operations is already of great size. Nevertheless, 100,000 documents are not much compared to the billions of exchanges used by Alexa to train.

In conclusion, whatever technical solution is envisaged, the industrialist will find it difficult to accept the constraints imposed by the “free” models of the major players in the field. So you have to be creative and find other compatible approaches to the industry.


What is the solution for the industry?

A voice assistant, also called a smart personal assistant or connected speaker, is a device based on the voice recognition of natural language to allow its user to search by voice (Célia Garcia-Montero, JDN 2020).

To meet the needs of the industry in terms of voice support, it is necessary on the one hand to broaden the definition of a voice assistant, and then to adapt the technology and business model to the specific constraints of this activity.

Voice support for the industry will take different forms depending on the intentions of use. Indeed, a customer answer assistant (FAQ type) will not have the same attributes as a voice assistant of field observation generation for site inspectors in the nuclear industry.

Two needs coexist for an industrial voice assistant, responding to a user’s request on the one hand, collecting and structuring information provided by a user on the other. Thus, for the industrial sector, the definition of a voice assistant can be broadened to “simplify the relationship between an employee in the industry and a sometimes complex digital system through voice and intelligent assistance.”

From a technical point of view, an industrial voice assistant will have to respond to the specific constraints of the field: little data, a requirement of reliability, functional in noise, efficient offline, acceptable as a working tool by employees of the industry. Technically, an industrial voice assistant must be able to interact with all content already validated and used operationally in the industry. One can easily imagine that no industrialist will question what he validated in SAP to set up a voice assistant … Therefore, any intelligent voice assistant with an industrial focus must take as an entry data the contents of digital tools already deployed such as SAP, IBM-Maximo, Delmia-Apriso, INFOR, IFS, and so many other digital solutions.

SIMSOFT INDUSTRY’s industrial voice assistant “Spix” responds to these industrial imperatives to better master production tools, or maintenance systems. Indeed, the investment to be made in the establishment of an industrial voice assistant is profitable if the industrialist gains points of productivity or profitability of its operations. The voice assistant for employees allows the industrialist to collect more data on the state of his production tool, or to be better informed of the state of a complex system for which his employees are in charge. SIMSOFT INDUSTRY’s “Spix” voice assistant serves employees’ expertise and makes it easier for them to trace field information to the company’s information systems.

Finally, because the industry does not want (or cannot) share its data to access “free” services, different business models must be found. Major industrial digital players such as SAP, IBM-Maximo, Delmia-Apriso, INFOR, IFS and others have already worked on business models tailored to their customers’ expectations. The industrial voice assistant must find a compatible business model of these. For example, SIMSOFT INDUSTRY’s industrial voice assistant adopts the economic codes expected by its customers who already use industrial software.



Manufacturers want to take advantage of smart voice support technologies to help their employees (or customers) achieve their tasks. In this professional world where data protection is not an option, there is an urgent need to bring out alternative European solutions to the American and Chinese giants. SIMSOFT INDUSTRY with its industrial voice assistant “Spix” is a pioneer in Europe in this field and is well placed to take the lead in this emerging market.





Press Contact: André JOLY, andre.joly@simsoft-industry.fr, 05 31 61 85 10 / 06 25 17 27 94

About SIMSOFT INDUSTRY (www.simsoft-industry.com and www.spix.ai)

SIMSOFT INDUSTRY develops the first Intelligent Vocal Assistant 100% dedicated to Industry 4.0 technicians. The Chez les aras de Spix, les relations avec leur milieu sont strongbasées sur l’apprentissage et la transmission/strong./p /div p”>SPIX intelligent voice assistant is operational under industrial conditions. The “program” Spixify Your Industry SIMSOFT INDUSTRY puts men and women back at the heart of industrial production with assistants specializing in operator voice guidance, measurement, quality control, and hot structuring of their feedback.

Chez les aras de Spix, les relations avec leur milieu sont strongbasées sur l’apprentissage et la transmission/strong./p /div”>SPIX is a registered trademark and model of SIMSOFT INDUSTRY (INPI Ref: 19 4 528 622 and 19 4 528 627)