Universal Electronics and Microsoft partner on turnkey digital assistant platform for home hubs

Universal Electronics Inc.,, a global provider of universal control and sensing technologies for the smart home, is collaborating with Microsoft to launch a new digital assistant platform for the home built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using AI and IoT services.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now playing a key role in improving access to smart living products and services, and this is only expected to expand in size and scope. Digital assistants that connect consumers to important services such as safety and security, collaboration and scheduling or bring joy through better interaction with entertainment devices, will play a key role in delivering the experiences promised by a brand.

In order to empower brands to deliver these experiences quickly, efficiently, and directly to consumers, Universal Electronics and Microsoft have collaborated to offer a white-label smart home hub platform, Nevo Butler, with an integrated digital assistant, as well as a range of turnkey kits addressing home safety and security, energy management, and entertainment control, in residential or hospitality domains.

Nevo Butler is an end-to-end voice-enabled smart home hub with nevo.ai integrated and built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform leveraging Azure IoT and AI services, including Microsoft’s virtual assistant solution with Azure Bot Service and Azure Cognitive Services. Nevo.ai is a white-label digital assistant that promises to unify the entertainment control and home automation experiences, enabling interoperability across fragmented ecosystems.

Built-in entertainment control capabilities and smart home hub features powered by QuickSet Cloud make this device one of the most versatile assistants for the home, capable of addressing a wide range of devices and use cases from enabling voice on existing devices, to innovative new services in the smart home. With a customisable digital assistant experience, enterprise integration services, and an expanding ecosystem of add-on services, this platform allows service providers and consumer electronics brands to offer voice-enabled services to consumers while remaining in control of the consumer relationship.

QuickSet Cloud, running on the Azure IoT platform, is already powering millions of connected devices in the home through customers including Comcast, Sony, LGI, Samsung and others, and will benefit from the global-scale and security of Azure. The nevo.ai digital assistant development is accelerated by the Azure virtual assistant solution where complex and evolving features can be delivered through a simple natural language interface, making these experiences accessible to a wide range of audiences.

“With Nevo Butler, we are democratising access to an essential technology where consumer’s brands and service providers can quickly and efficiently deliver new services across many categories. Our sensors and hubs are pre-integrated with a configurable digital assistant where these brands can remain in charge of the relationship with the end consumer” said Arsham Hatambeiki, SVP Product and Technology for Universal Electronics Inc., “Microsoft has proven to be a reliable and innovative partner in delivering this flexibility to brands, and choice to consumers.”

“Today and in the future, we assume every home product experience will become frictionless, controlled naturally through conversation and voice, in a personalised and trusted experience,” said Lili Cheng, CVP, Conversational AI. “By partnering with UEI on Nevo Butler and Quickset Cloud, we will enable UEI customers to create custom Virtual Assistant solutions, for millions of home products, powered by Microsoft’s AI and Azure IoT services.”

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