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The Voice Technology of the Future

Nobody could have imagined that voice assistants like Siri would become such a driving force for technological progress when they were initially launched in 2011. Almost a decade later, it is believed that one in every four Americans has a smart speaker (Amazon Echo, Google Home), and eMarketer forecasts that by the end of 2020, close to 100 million smartphone users will be utilizing voice assistants.

However, as big firms such as Google and Amazon continue to fuel this trend and compete for market dominance, the technology behind voice interfaces is rapidly changing. From banking to healthcare, businesses are rushing to develop their own speech technologies in order to meet customer demand.

While consumers are flocking to speech technology to make their lives simpler, it is also a vital business tool that can help businesses stay competitive and relevant as we enter the “Zero Touch” UX decade.

The Movement Towards Voice

The primary motivator for the transition to speech is user demand. As we live in an ever-changing digital environment where convenience, efficiency, and speed are continuously being enhanced, Millennial customers in particular are demonstrating a higher degree of comfort and general knowledge.

Another aspect is the use of artificial intelligence in our daily lives. The proliferation of IoT devices such as smart appliances, thermostats, and speakers is increasing the value of voice assistants in our daily lives.

Smart speakers may be the most popular method to utilize speech, but industry analysts estimate that voice technology will be employed in nearly every application over the next five years. Amazon stated at CES 2020 that there are hundreds of millions of voice-enabled devices in use across the world now. Innovative voice analytics and computers are at the center of this upheaval.

AI-Assisted

With the rising number of smartphone users worldwide, it is estimated that by the end of 2020, the voice would account for nearly half of all internet searches. AI and data-modeling tools for inferring intent and emotion from the speech are rapidly evolving.

And the impact has already been significant: In one day, 200 million Microsoft Teams users engaged, and sophisticated voice analytics assisted businesses in reducing customer handling times by 40%. With businesses all around the globe understanding the benefits of voice technology and analytics, strategic considerations are required – here are a few ideas:

Consider the Local

Many regulatory reforms are being implemented, which will result in increased innovation for local customers. The voice-activated response system created in India during the COVID-19 epidemic is an excellent example. Voice analytics will play an important part in most last-mile solutions, as demonstrated in China, where AI technology has resulted in over four billion interactions each day.

Considerations for Privacy

As consumers rely on IoT devices in their private areas, consumer trust is rather brittle, particularly for speech. Companies that lead the way in Privacy by Design (PbD) to secure personally identifiable information may gain a significant competitive advantage.

Voice Predictions for the Future

We will witness changes in search behavior as voice analytics and speech recognition technology develop. Advertising firms and marketers expect that platforms such as Google and Amazon will open up to additional types of paid advertising, with comScore estimating that voice technology would account for 50% of all searches by the end of 2020.

• Personalized experiences Future voice assistants will provide more customized experiences as they improve at distinguishing distinct voices.

• Interaction by touch. Voice and visual displays will blend into a seamless experience, as demonstrated by Google’s demonstration of the E Ink screen.

• Notifications by voice. As speech technology provides a new potential for push notifications, users will be re-engaged with user-centric push alerts.

• Security-focused. According to Microsoft, 41 percent of users are concerned about their privacy. Voice payments will become safer and more user-friendly.

Conclusion

Voice technology advancements are assisting digital voice assistants is becoming more intelligent and useful. Not only has speech become the ideal mobile experience, but there is also a lot of room for deeper consumer experiences. The only issue is whether brands will take advantage of this chance to acquire a competitive advantage.

AI-powered speech intelligence is exploding, and we are only at the start of this transformation. Due to the fact that speech is the most potent point of contact between you and your customers, OTO solutions enable you to leverage user voice data at scale. Understanding essential human behavior in real-time is now easier than ever before, from home gadgets to healthcare and contact centers.

Gaming: The Saviour of the Pandemic

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There is no question that the recent pandemic has had long-lasting effects on the world. It was completely unprecedented, and no one was prepared for the changes that it brought. Multi-million-dollar businesses were forced to close and, for some time, the world simply stopped spinning. For many, the prospect of their favourite entertainment venues being closed and having to remain inside their home was too much and had consequences on their mental health. Things that were taken for granted, like going to the movies or the shopping mall, were soon rendered to be fantasies. Despite this, there was one activity that millions resorted to throughout lockdown periods: gaming.

The video game industry had a rocky start when the first video game was released to the public, but in recent years they have exploded in popularity and have become part of society. This can be seen by the fact that around 2.5 billion players around the globe are gamers and considering the number of people in the world, that is an extraordinary feat of the industry. Given how many people play games then, it was fortunate that many people had access to a video game console or gaming computer during the pandemic.

It cannot be overstated how much video games helped people during the pandemic. Many people might have understandably felt upset and even despair about the state of the world, and how it would affect them. In the face of such hardships, it would be important for those that felt this way to have access to an escape of sorts that would allow them to take a break from the harsh realities of the pandemic landscape. Enter video games. Video games are perhaps the purest form of escapism there is, as the complex and massive worlds some games can create dwarf in comparison to other media such as movies and literature. The form is inherently interactive, meaning that players can simply get lost in the game and shed little worry about the world around them. Given the context of the pandemic, this was an invaluable experience that many gamers appreciated.

While some video games are made with immersive single-player experiences in mind, multiplayer games seek to provide entertainment to players by allowing them to play with or against each other. As many could not see friends and family during the pandemic due to restrictions, multiplayer games provided a lifeline that people could use to maintain relationships and even build new connections with players online. Humans at their core are social animals, and while the extent of this notion may deviate from person to person, most of us crave social interaction. Fortunately, video games like Grand Theft Auto V exist, which allows players to do a range of activities with their friends, including going to the casino. This would have been appreciated to players who live in places where gambling is restricted due to legislation such as the Alaska gambling laws and would have offered gamers some semblance of life before the pandemic.

There is no doubt that video games played saviour to many during the pandemic, given their social and mental benefits. Following this, it is likely that the gaming industry will continue to grow for years to come.

What Is Siri, and How Does It Function?

Siri is Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant, which has been available for several years. Siri debuted with the iPhone 4S, but it is now also accessible on the iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, as well as the Mac (macOS Sierra and later).

Siri has evolved throughout time. Her IQ has increased, as have her abilities. Additionally, she has had to stay current with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

So what makes Siri unique? What is she capable of accomplishing, how does she perform it, and how can she assist you if you are an Apple user? This section contains all of the information you need to know about Siri.

What Exactly Is Siri?

As previously stated, Siri is an integrated, voice-activated personal assistant offered to Apple users. The concept is that you communicate with her like you would a friend, and she will assist you in accomplishing tasks, such as making a dinner reservation or sending a message.

Siri is designed to provide a seamless interface for connecting with your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, HomePod, or Mac. You can ask her questions, direct her to demonstrate something, or offer her commands to execute on your behalf, all while remaining hands-free.

Siri has access to all other built-in applications on your Apple iPhone – Mail, Contacts, Messages, Maps, Safari, and so on – and will invoke other applications to show data or search their databases as required. Siri, in the end, performs all the legwork for you.

How To Launch Siri?

Say “Hey Siri” to your iPhone, AirPods, linked Bluetooth headphones, Apple Watch, or HomePod to ask Siri to perform a task.

Additionally, you can invoke Siri via buttons. Suppose you have an iPhone with Touch ID (iPhone 6S or later), press and hold the Home button while saying what you need. Hold down the side power/wake button on iPhones with Face ID (iPhone X and newer). You may need to wait for Siri to appear before making your request on some devices.

Hold down the Digital Crown or speak “Hey Siri” on the Apple Watch within a few seconds after raising your wrist. From here, you may instruct Siri to perform various tasks, and the way Siri on the Apple Watch answers will vary depending on the task at hand.

For instance, if you ask her for directions, she will bring up the map on your Watch, and all you have to do is push start to get started.

However, if you ask a more complex inquiry that demands a more extended response, Siri will automatically launch on your iPhone to complete the operation.

Opening an app, setting the alarm, phoning your mother, or checking the score of your favourite team are all possible from the Watch, and Siri will be expanded for WatchOS 7 – due out in a few weeks – with on-device translation and Announce Message support.

What Is Siri Capable Of?

Siri is capable of a great deal. She’s knowledgeable and occasionally quite amusing as well. If you’d instead make Siri laugh then request something serious.

Otherwise, Siri may assist you when out and about or while driving if your car supports CarPlay, with sports and entertainment information, phone calls and messages, organization, tips and tricks, and, of course, providing answers.

At a look, she will read your most recent email, text a buddy to inform them of your impending arrival, shuffle your road trip music on Apple Music, tell you of today’s cinema schedule, locate a restaurant for three in London, or phone your father at work.

Additionally, she can lead you to a nearby nice restaurant, flip a coin, locate books by a particular author, set the alarm, provide directions, and even set a reminder that will activate only when it detects that you are in, or have left, a specified location (“pick up the dry cleaning,” when you leave work, for example).

That is not everything; in fact, it is likely not even half. She’ll tell you the weather forecast for tomorrow, reschedule meetings, tell you when your team’s next game is, and you can even get her to roll a die, among other things. We previously stated that she was pretty intelligent.

How Does Siri Function?

Siri is built on Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing foundations and consists of three components: a conversational interface, contextual awareness of the user, and service delegation.

The conversational interface is concerned with how Siri initially understands you. While the overall operation of word-for-word speech recognition must be accurate to hear what you’re saying, understanding the meaning depends entirely on statistics and machine learning, which is where the personal context-awareness system comes in.

Siri has done an enormous amount of work to forecast what you’re getting at based on the key phrases you use, as well as your general habits and linguistic preference. She is designed to adapt to your unique tastes over time and to tailor results to you.

The service delegation system provides unrestricted access to all of the built-in apps on the iPhone and their internal workings. This access is how Siri operates. Siri would be a reasonably useless helper without access.

Is Siri Able To Communicate in My Language?

Siri can communicate in and understand the following languages: English (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States), Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Cantonese, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Turkish, Thai, and Portuguese.

How Do I Change the Gender and Accent of Siri?

To switch between male and female Siri, navigate to Settings > Siri & Search on iOS or Apple Menu > System Preferences > Siri on macOS Sierra or later. You can customize Siri settings on HomePod and Apple Watch using the Home app and the Watch app, respectively. Siri Voice’s gender and dialect possibilities are determined by the language you select. Additionally, within these Siri settings, you may enable or disable the “Hey Siri” command, as well as view Siri Shortcuts and choose whether or not to allow Siri access when your device is locked.

What Exactly is Google Assistant, and What Services Does it Offer?

Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Alexa and Siri. It has come a long way since its 2016 launch and is now the most powerful and active assistant available.

Google has embedded Assistant in a wide range of gadgets, from fridges and headphones to speakers and cars, through collaborations with other companies.

Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s AI.

What Is the Purpose of Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is the company’s voice-activated assistant. When Google Assistant was launched, it was supposed to be a personal extension of Google Now, expanding on Google’s existing “OK Google” voice capabilities.

Initially, Google Now intelligently gathered pertinent information for you. It knew where you worked, your meetings and travel plans, the sports teams you supported, and what piqued your interest to give you relevant information.

Google Now has been decommissioned for some time, but Assistant occupies the same space, combining these personalized aspects with a broad range of voice control. Google Assistant accepts both text and voice input and will continue the discussion regardless of which technique you use.

What Functions Does Google Assistant Have?

Google Assistant includes spoken commands, voice searches, and voice-activated device control, allowing you to conduct a wide range of tasks by saying “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” Its purpose is to enhance the conversation. Google Assistant will be able to: Manage your devices and smart home

Utilize data from your calendars and other personal records.

Online information is available for anything from restaurant reservations to directions, weather, and news.

Take control of your music

Utilize your Chromecast or another compatible device to see the content.

Utilize timers and reminders to assist you.

Schedule meetings and send messages

Launch applications on your phone

Read your notifications.

Spoken translations in real-time

Take part in games

Continued Conversation eliminates the need to utter “Hey Google” in response to follow-up requests. Rather than that, once you begin communicating with Google, it continuously waits for a response without the requirement for a trigger phrase. Google can also recognize distinct speech profiles for different persons, allowing it to determine who is speaking and personalize responses accordingly. Additionally, you can request numerous items concurrently.

Because Google Assistant is familiar with you and understands the context, it will react intelligently or intelligently. This is critical because it offers voice control significantly greater power and takes it beyond simply responding to certain phrases or commands. It is not intended to be merely reactive.

There are other features, including the option to check-in for your flight (depending on the airline and location), book lodging with some partners, and an Interpreter Mode for Google Nest devices and smart displays. With it, you may request assistance from Google Assistant in conducting a conversation in dozens of languages. Simply say “Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter” to activate Interpreter Mode and receive real-time spoken and textual translation (on Smart Displays) to assist with the conversation.

Google Assistant, which is included in Google Nest devices, is at the heart of smart home control. It’s compatible with a wide variety of devices, allowing you to use your voice to control heating, lighting, and a variety of other functions.

Which Gadgets Come Pre-Installed With Google Assistant?

Google Assistant was initially available only on Google Pixel smartphones and Google Home but has since expanded to almost all modern Android devices, including Wear OS devices, Android TV, and Nvidia Shield, as well as any car that supports Android Auto and other devices such as Nest cameras and the Lenovo Smart Clock.

While Google Assistant is built into Google Nest (previously Google Home) smart speakers, it is also widely available on third-party smart speakers from manufacturers such as Sony, LG, and Panasonic. For example, smart home gadgets such as Philips Hue, Nest products, and Ikea’s Home Smart range can be controlled by Google Assistant, and not simply through Google Nest.

Google Assistant on Smartphones

Google Assistant is available on the majority of Android phones, with the AI system included in all recent releases. Even gadgets that use another artificial intelligence system, such as Samsung’s Bixby, include Google Assistant. In essence, if your phone runs Android, it comes equipped with Google Assistant.

If you enable Assistant in your settings, it will answer you even if your Android phone is locked, and you may also choose to receive responses to personal queries.

Google Assistant is also available on iOS devices, however with certain limitations.

Google Maps Application

On both Android and iOS devices, Google Assistant can assist you in navigating around Google Maps. With your voice, you can share your estimated arrival time with friends and family, respond to texts, play music and podcasts, search for locations along your route, and even add a new stop in Google Maps.

Additionally, Google Assistant can auto-punctuate your message (on Android and iOS devices), as well as read and respond to all of your notifications (Android only).

Assistant is compatible with a wide variety of popular messaging apps and SMS services, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, Telegram, and Android Messages. When you’re driving, Google Assistant may automatically compute your estimated arrival time using Google Maps and email it to friends if you have an Android device.

Simply say, “Hey Google, take me home,” to launch Google Maps.

Google Nest Thermostats

Google Nest speakers directly compete with Amazon’s Echo. Nest Audio is a Chromecast-enabled speaker with built-in voice control. It’s Google Assistant’s first port of call in the house, and it’s a growing ecosystem. The Nest speaker line now includes five devices: the Nest Audio, Google Home Max, Nest Mini, the second generation Nest Hub, and the Nest Hub Max.

You can ask Google Nest devices to perform every task that Assistant can perform on Android phones, but going inside the home places a premium on other services and features, such as smart home control, connectivity with Chromecast to stream movies to your TV, and much more.

Put On OS

Google Assistant is also available on Wear OS-based smartwatches. You’ll be able to ask the Assistant to execute a variety of tasks from your watch using the wake phrases, such as turning down the thermostat or responding to a message.

Android Television

Additionally, Android TV supports Google Assistant on a variety of devices. Sony, for example, offers Android TV on a variety of its models. However, there is another level to this: Sony TVs are not only Android TV-compatible, but also Google Nest and Amazon Alexa-compatible, which means you can manage your TV and lights by speaking to your speaker.

Google Assistant is also supported by set-top boxes such as the Nvidia Shield TV, and the list of major media and entertainment devices that support Assistant is continually growing, including Samsung televisions and DISH’s Hopper series of receivers. With built-in Google Assistant, you can control the TV with your voice by turning it on, changing the volume and channels, and switching between inputs.

Sony, Hisense, Philips, TCL, Skyworth, Xiaomi, Haier, Changhong, JVC, and Toshiba are among the partners offering Android TV devices and Google Assistant.

Earphones and Headphones

Many wireless headphones, like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Google’s Pixel Buds, as well as devices from Harman, JBL, and Sony, support Google Assistant as well.

With this type of connectivity, you may contact the AI assistant without opening your phone – typically, you simply press a button to initiate a conversation with Google Assistant.

Google’s Intelligent Displays

The race to be everywhere in your home is on, with Google’s Nest Hub, Nest Hub second generation, and Nest Hub Max offering an alternative to the Echo Show.

Additionally, businesses such as JBL, Lenovo, and LG provide smart screens with Google Assistant. Lenovo Smart Displays are available in seven-inch, eight-inch, and ten-inch screen sizes. Meanwhile, the JBL Link View features two 10W speakers and an 8-inch touchscreen.

Cars

Google Assistant is available in vehicles that support Android Auto, while aftermarket head units are also available.

For example, the Anker Roav Bolt and JBL Link Drive plug into any car’s cigarette lighter, allowing you to connect your phone to your car’s stereo via Bluetooth or AUX. After connecting the accessories, you may utilize Assistant hands-free, complete with hotword support.

Devices and Equipment for the Smart Home

As previously stated, Google Assistant is compatible with a wide variety of connected products, ranging from lightbulbs to refrigerators and everything in between. Assistant is compatible with over a thousand home automation companies and over 10,000 devices.

There is a comprehensive list of Google Assistant partners here, however, here are some notable compatible devices:

Canary

Hive

Honeywell

Ikea

iRobot

LG household appliances

Logitech \sNest

Netatmo

Osram

Ring Philips Hue

Samsung SmartThings

TP-Link

WeMo \sWhirlpool

These gadgets are controllable via Google Assistant, which means you can turn on and off lights and switches. You can adjust the thermostat or receive an alert when your cleaning is complete or a washing cycle is complete.

Google Assistant is also compatible with IFTTT, allowing for the creation of bespoke recipes. As previously said, you do not need to speak to Google Home to communicate; you can simply utilize Assistant on your phone.

What Is Google Assistant Connect, and How Does It Work?

Google Assistant Connect is a framework that device manufacturers can utilize to more simply and affordably integrate the Google Assistant into their devices. For customers, this means that a variety of smart devices will be available shortly.

For instance, Google stated that a partner may design an e-ink display that displays the weather or your schedule and use Assistant Connect to transmit content from your connected smart speaker.

Google Assistant will take care of so-called “higher-order computing” tasks such as keeping track of appointments and checking for updates.

How Can You Determine Whether Your Phone Includes Google Assistant?

To determine whether your phone is equipped with Google Assistant, either speak “OK Google” or press and hold the home button. That is where the Assistant begins; from there, you can type or talk and the Assistant will answer. Typically, throughout the Android setup process, you will be prompted to configure Assistant.

Three Tips From a Betting Expert to Help You Beat the Bookies

More people than ever before are placing their bets online. This surge in the number of wagers placed on popular sports, including American Football, soccer and horse racing, was a result of the easing of rules on sports betting in USA. Officials in the White House moved the power to governors of individual states, allowing them to decide if they wanted to keep rules against gambling in their area or move to legalise sports betting. 

Previously, betting on sports and casinos was only permitted in Las Vegas but that has all changed New Jersey moved swiftly to allow residents and visitors to gamble. Other states quickly followed and if not the for interruption brought about but coronavirus emergency it would have been more. Several states are currently putting the finishing touches to the rules changes while others remain at the debating stage, hearing arguments for and against.

With gambling now more accessible, we have taken the advice of a sports betting expert who offers three tips on how you can improve your chances of making a profit on your favourite sports by consistently beating the bookies.

Licenses Owned.

Register for a free bet

Your first job when starting out on your betting adventure is to choose a reliable bookmaker, one that is legal and licensed in your region. Most online bookies display their license information on the homepage of their website and mobile app so it should be easy to spot. Choose wisely as some bookies are better than others. You’re after an established name with a welcome bonus, great reputation, generous odds and lots of sports markets.

When you have found the sportsbook you want to bet with you can register for an account in less than five minutes on your desktop or smartphone. Here’s the first piece of betting advice. Choose a bookie with a welcome offer free bet or register at a few different bookies and grab all the free bets offered. This approach also increases your chance of getting market best odds on every bet you place.

There are many types of bonuses for new customers but the best one is the deposit matched free bet. With this promo you get a free bet that is equal to your first deposit and gamble. If you deposit and bet $50, for example, you’ll land a $50 free bet. The size of the freebie due is completely down to you which many customers appreciate.

Do your homework

Regardless of which sports teams and players you decide to bet on you should always research your selections in full before confirming. Seek the head-to-head scores, recent form of both teams, injury news, manager interviews and more. Anything you can get your hands on. The more the better. The more research you do the more chance you’ll have of beating the bookies and landing a profit.

Armed with all the knowledge you need to make an informed sportsbook bet you should then research the odds offered. You are on the lookout for a betting app that offers better odds than the competition. The differences may seem small and not worth the hassle of researching, but those margins soon add up and could have a real impact on your profit/loss column at the end of the season. Taking anything less than the best price is handing the advantage to the bookie. Why would you want to do that? They have enough already. Follow our advice – get the biggest odds you can.

Licenses Owned.

Manage your budget

Set a budget – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and stick to it. Stick to it hard. Decide the amount of cash you want to spend over the set period, monitor your spend and be strict with it. Don’t overspend. A good way to set a betting budget is to estimate how much you can afford to lose to betting every week. That will ensure you make a realistic budget. 

Any winnings will then be seen as a welcome bonus. The ideal scenario is to be betting with profits for as long as possible. Start slow, build up the profits, and you’ll be betting on the house, which is the ideal situation and the aim of any respected punter.

Who the F is Alexa?

Alexa is a virtual assistant that can be controlled by voice commands. He or she (or they or it or non-binary or whatever) can play audio, operate your smart home, answer questions, and connect you with your favorite services in order to help you stay organized, informed, safe, connected, and entertained. She is also your shopper because she is an Amazon product.

Alexa is a cloud-based service that is accessible via an expanding number of smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices.

Alexa’s Conception and Birth

Alexa was inspired by science fiction films: According to David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president who managed the project, Alexa developers hoped to rebuild the talking computer that appeared on board the Starship Enterprise in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. When she made her debut in 2014, she was accompanied by the Echo smart speaker.

Alexa’s name is intended to invoke the Ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt, in addition to having appropriate phonetics.

What Is It That Alexa Can Do?

Instead of using apps, Alexa makes use of “skills,” which are similar to the software that powers your smartphone. Alexa, like your smartphone, comes pre-loaded with a variety of skills, with the ability to add additional capabilities as desired. Amazon’s skill collection has now surpassed 25,000 items, including many from companies that you are likely to use on a regular basis. Every day, more and more items are added to the collection.

Among Alexa’s most well-known capabilities are the following:

• Put on some music.

• Inform the public about breaking news.

• Keep an eye on the weather.

• Provide sports news and information.

• Listen to podcasts

• Listen to live radio broadcasts

• Take command of your smart home

• Keep track of your lists and calendars.

• Use Alexa to make phone calls and control other Alexa-enabled devices

• Use timers and alarms to keep track of things.

• Listen to audiobooks

• Locate information about local businesses.

• Provide answers to queries

• Carry out mathematical calculations

• Share your experiences.

• Oversee the administration of games

• Request a ride from someone.

• Place an order for dinner.

• Look for recipes.

• Instruct students in history lessons

• Purchase items from Amazon.

Make Alexa a Part of Your Life

The device on which you will issue commands will need to be Alexa-enabled in order for Alexa to function as your personal assistant. For the vast majority of existing customers, this means a smart speaker, such as one of Amazon’s own Echo devices.

The Alexa companion app, which is available in the Apple, Google Play, and Amazon app stores, allows you to configure, customize, and control Alexa. Alexa is also available as a web-based application at alexa.amazon.com, among other places.

Among a slew of other administrative activities, the software allows you to perform the following:

• Connect Alexa to devices that can be controlled by Alexa.

• Configure your default services, such as your favorite calendar and music-streaming services, and connect the accounts that are linked with them.

• Manage your lists, alarms, reminders, and timers by viewing and managing them.

• Examine your abilities and make room for new ones.

• Group speakers for Multi-Room Audio, as well as smart home devices for mass control of multiple devices

• Put together your briefing in a flash.

The Influence of Alexa

Digital assistants are poised to become the next great technology sensation, following in the footsteps of the smartphone. Because Alexa was the market’s first important entrant, the company has maintained a competitive advantage even as competitors such as Google (Google Assistant), Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortona), and Samsung (Bixby) work to close the gap.

Amid the rising acceptance of digital assistants, smart speakers are now present in more than 7% of American households, according to the latest data. Analysts predict that number will have increased tenfold by 2020, which is only two years away. During this time, Alexa’s share of the market has been consistently above 70%.

Her influence is spreading around the world: When Amazon announced a huge international expansion in December 2017, it included the introduction of Echo devices in 80 new countries. The Alexa-enabled devices from the Echo family were in high demand following the 2017 holiday shopping season, with Amazon selling tens of millions of them.

Despite their infancy, digital assistants are already having an impact on consumer behavior. According to Dashbot’s poll, nearly 75% of respondents indicated they used a voice assistant at least once a day and nearly 60% said they used one more than once. Only 20 percent of respondents stated their assistants did not influence their behavior or daily routine.

Businesses in a variety of industries face both dangers and possibilities as a result of these growing behavioral trends. Already, voice assistants are being used to make purchases by millennials, and more than half of them will be using them by 2020.

As the popularity of Alexa grows, so will the growth of Alexa’s technological capabilities. A growing number of businesses will develop skills in order to take advantage of altering consumer habits and a burgeoning market, thereby improving the Alexa experience and accelerating her development.

Alexa is becoming better and better with each passing day. Her enthralling evolutionary path served as the inspiration for The Assistant.

7 Significant Predictions for the Future of Voice Assistants and Artificial Intelligence

When Siri was released in 2011, no one anticipated that this novelty would become a catalyst for technological advancement. By 2023, according to eMarketer, almost 92.3 percent of smartphone users will be using voice assistants.

Amazon and Google are continuing to drive this trend to gain market share. Voice interfaces rapidly evolve across many industries, from healthcare to banking, as corporations race to meet consumer demand.

What Causes the Voice Shift?

The fundamental reason for this transition is changing user demands. Millennials show an enhanced level of awareness and comfort—a world where speed, efficiency, and convenience are constantly optimized.

The widespread usage of AI in everyday life is also driving the shift to voice apps. Voice assistants are becoming increasingly useful as IoT products like smart thermostats, appliances, and speakers become more prevalent. Smart speakers are the most common way we see speech used, but it doesn’t end there. Most applications will incorporate voice technology in the next five years, according to industry experts. Where will this technology take us in 202 and beyond?

We present a high-level summary of voice’s potential and seven important predictions for the coming years.

7 Voice Predictions for 2021

App Integration

Incorporating voice technology into mobile apps is currently the hottest trend and will continue to be so (NUI).

Voice-activated apps improve functionality and save consumers time. Voice-activated apps assist users in navigating apps even when they are unfamiliar with the item’s actual name or location in the menu. While users may consider speech integration a nice-to-have now, it will soon become a need.

Healthcare Voice-Tech

In 2020, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants helped battle COVID-19. Apple’s Siri now assists users in completing the CDC COVID-19 evaluation questions and recommends healthcare applications. Voice and conversational AI have made health services more accessible to people who couldn’t escape during COVID-19. After experiencing the power of speech and healthcare, patients are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic norms. Expect to see increased healthcare investments in voice-tech integration in the coming years.

Search Habits Will Shift

Voice search has been hotly debated. Voice visibility will be a challenge because voice assistants lack a visual interface. Voice interfaces cannot be seen or touched without the Alexa or Google Assistant app. Consequently, search habits will shift. According to Juniper Research, voice-based ad income could reach $19 billion by 2022, fueled by the rise of voice search apps on mobile devices.

Brands are now changing touchpoints into listening points, and organic search will be the major method brands are visible. As voice search rises in popularity, advertisers and marketers expect Google and Amazon to expand paid message options.

Personalized Experience

As they improve in distinguishing between different voices, voice assistants will become more personalized. Google Home can distinguish between different voices and manage up to six user accounts, allowing users to customize a range of functions. You can go ahead and ask “Can you tell me what I’m up to today?” or “Would you mind telling me about your day?” and the Assistant will provide you with information such as commuting hours, weather, and current events. It also contains nicknames, work addresses, payment information, and accounts affiliated with Google Play, Spotify, and Netflix. Similarly, Alexa users can build unique voice profiles so the technology can determine who is speaking for more personalized experiences.

Cloning

This computer-generated voice is indistinguishable from the actual one due to advances in machine learning and GPU power growth. You simply record your voice, and a voice conversion technology converts it into another. Advertisers, filmmakers, game developers, and other content creators rely on voice cloning.

Smart TVs

Smart screens increased voice-tech features last year. Consumers now prefer smart displays over smart speakers, increasing demand for these gadgets. A year ago, sales of smart displays increased by 21% to 9.5 million devices, while sales of basic smart speakers declined by 3%. In 2021, more innovation in smart screens, with more advanced technologies and customization. / Far-field voice interaction, facial recognition, hand gesture control, and eye gesture detection are examples of these.

Gaming Industry Voice

It takes a lot of time and works to record a voice for each character in the game. An advanced neural network can simulate human voice in the future year. In reality, in the future, neural networks may be able to construct NPC answers. So, seeing games with dynamic dialogues isn’t too far off.

Why Use Mobile Voice?

Phones are already more individualized than websites. Mobile devices also have a small screen, making it harder to search or explore. Voice apps enable users to use natural language to eliminate or reduce manual labor, making processes faster.

Rogers has incorporated voice commands to their remote controls, allowing customers to search for their favorite series or movies based on criteria such as an actor’s name. Voice is the way to improve mobile experiences for consumers. Voice is gradually becoming the preferred medium for users seeking faster and more efficient task completion.

Voice is the new mobile experience for information, purchases, and tasks. The voice and speech recognition industry is predicted to develop at a 17.2% CAGR to $26.8 billion by 2025.

Voice User Interface (VUI) Advances

With just a few examples, it’s easy to see why voice assistants are destined to become the centers of our increasingly connected lives.

Developers can now use voice technologies. For example, Amazon offers Transcribe, an ASR service that allows developers to convert voice to text. Once the application has voice functionality, users can analyze audio recordings and receive a text file of the transcribed speech.

Google has made Assistant more pervasive by exposing the software development kit through Actions, allowing developers to add speech into their own AI-enabled devices. Google also offers the AI-powered Cloud Speech-to-Text service, allowing developers to convert voice to text using deep learning neural network techniques.

Conclusion

This is merely the beginning of voice technology, as user interfaces will continue to improve. With advances in VUI, businesses must educate themselves on how to best use voice to better communicate with customers. It’s crucial to consider the value of adding voice, as not every brand will benefit from it. By 2022, voice-enabled apps will understand what we say and how we say it, and the context we ask.

But there are still a few hurdles to overcome before voice applications become mainstream. Voice assistants are becoming increasingly adept in AI, NLP, and machine learning. To establish a solid voice recognition experience, the artificial intelligence behind it must improve. As customers get more accustomed to and reliant on

Data Storage in the Cloud: Advanced Data Backup System

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Cloud data storage is one of the newest technologies, which has been introduced by cloud providers to help companies gain more productivity and efficiency. In cloud storage of data, online backup services are used to store data. This storage serves as a data backup system for both individual desktops and laptops. The advantage of this service is that you can use the same service for multiple devices without investing in costly on-site equipment. With online backup services, you can easily recover important data with minimal expense and in the least time possible.

Encryption:

Encryption of data is a vital component for storage services. In the past, data security was a huge challenge, requiring complex and highly secure setups. Modern cloud providers have successfully addressed these issues by providing highly secure online storage. Encryption algorithms used in such online data storage systems are typically based on industry standards such as 128-bit encryption. Data security is a key factor in securing business confidential information online.

Amount of Data:

When choosing a cloud data storage provider, your first consideration should be the amount of data you intend to store. Depending on this number, you will be able to divide the cloud storage into different tiers. The number of servers that you require should be determined based on your present needs. Also, the size of your business should be taken into consideration. Obviously, a small company with just a few employees won’t require the same server storage that a large corporation does. Different levels of cloud storage can be available to suit your company’s needs.

Convenient:

One of the benefits of cloud data storage is its convenience. Rather than purchasing expensive hardware and software to host your data, cloud services allow users to access data stored in the cloud through a number of internet-connected webcams or laptops. Online storage services are also very affordable, especially when compared to traditional data storage options. They provide instant access to important data and allow for a high level of security to protect data from unauthorized access.

The Efficiency of Cloud Storage:

It is important to consider the cost and efficiency of cloud storage providers before choosing to use one over another. Cloud service providers may offer lower pricing for larger amounts of data storage, but they may not provide the level of security and other benefits that would be found with on-premise alternatives. If you already own and manage a large amount of data, it may be worthwhile to purchase and maintain your own on-premise server, rather than using a cloud service. This will help you save money on operating costs while still maintaining high levels of security for your data.

Important data such as financial records and medical records are valuable to individuals and companies alike. These types of records must be protected at all times. Investing in this type of protection now will allow you to save money in the future. Ensuring that sensitive information is kept safe at all times is an important step for employers, consumers, and governments.

The Complete Guide to Voice Recognition Technology

Communication has shifted dramatically in the modern era as a result of the proliferation of new technology. For instance, when we phone a huge corporation, we are never greeted by a physical human being. Rather than that, an automated voice recording responds and advises you to go through a built-in menu by pressing buttons. Numerous mobile application development companies have developed concepts beyond simply pushing buttons; users now only need to say a few words to resolve their issues.

How Is This Possibility Possible?

This is all attributable to speech recognition programs that operate using acoustic and linguistic modelling techniques. Acoustic modelling establishes a relationship between linguistic units of speech and audio signals, while language modelling associates sounds with word sequences to differentiate similar-sounding words.

This programme, available for both home and corporate usage, enables users to speak to their computers and have their words translated to text using word processing and speech recognition. You may use function commands to perform tasks such as setting the alarm, opening files, and making a reservation at your favourite restaurant. On the other hand, certain mobile applications are designed for specific business purposes, such as medical or legal transcriptions.

What prevents voice recognition from achieving widespread adoption is its unreliability. Occasionally, word recognition platforms are unable to comprehend accents or speech impairments. Additionally, recognizing sound alone is insufficient; the software must recognize novel words and proper nouns.

How This Technology Is Applied?

The world is awash in smartphones, smart cars, and smart appliances, but we frequently overlook the function of voice in these devices. Speech recognition is an incredible amount of work! Consider how a child acquires a language. From the moment a child is born, sounds surround them. Although very young children do not understand the words, they absorb all clues and pronunciations, and their brains develop patterns and connections due to how their parents communicate.

Hoe speech recognition technology operates:

• The user says a few words into a smartphone app’s speech recognition.

• The recognition software converts the spoken words to text.

• The transformed text is then passed to the search engine, which produces the results.

The Advantages of Voice-Activated Mobile Applications

• Easier and faster: Previously, the only way to transmit command was via a keypad. With the addition of voice recognition, communication with gadgets has become more natural and efficient.

• Works precisely: Errors can be avoided, and users can concentrate on the task at hand rather than on their phones.

• Increased productivity: Voice-activated mobile apps expedite operations, resulting in increased operational productivity.

• Increased safety: Voice technology is simple to interpret and follow, requiring minimal training.

• Versatility: Voice-activated commands via mobile devices aid in work completion.

Why Is It Critical?

By incorporating speech recognition capabilities into your mobile application, you may accomplish much more without using your phone’s keyboard. When texting someone, typing lengthy statements can result in typos and is inherently laborious, but you can communicate hands-free with voice capabilities. Mobile app developers may boost user interaction and experience with speech technologies, as mobile app commands provide a unique solution to address UX challenges. Whether you’re trying to avoid distractions or are unable to handle the touchscreen, a voice assistant may be the simplest answer.

The Difficulties Involved in Integrating Voice Capabilities

Because speech integration is a relatively new technology, difficulties are certain to arise.

• Real-time response behaviour: The device’s real-time response behaviour is dependent on its network capabilities, network connection, and microphone. When a user speaks a command, the mobile app must communicate with the server in order to translate the speech data to text. Once the text has been transformed and returned to the device, it becomes actionable. Real-time response behaviour refers to the process of transmitting and receiving app action. If the defined action is a search, the device makes a separate request to the server to retrieve the results. In such instances, network delay can be the most difficult factor to overcome. To circumvent this, developers must ensure that the app’s source code is optimized effectively. Additionally, they can offload voice recognition and search functions to the server.

• Languages and accents: Not all software supports all languages, and developers must determine the regions of their target audience to make strategic judgments about the languages and accents recognized. Accents are an issue for language since they can make it difficult to target and distinguish each accent and associated language. Google’s API supports various accents and is the best way to ensure that your mobile application supports a wide variety of accents.

• Punctuation: This is one of the most significant issues that voice-based software faces. Unfortunately, even the best enhancements and algorithms may fail because of the almost infinite number of sentences with various types of punctuation.

Several of the Most Advanced Voice Recognition Technologies

Baidu: A Chinese technology company specializing in Internet-related services and artificial intelligence, Baidu is headquartered in Beijing. This voice recognition system incorporates deep learning, computer vision, speech recognition and synthesis, natural language comprehension, data mining, and business intelligence. It uses deep learning algorithms to recognize patterns in massive amounts of data by training multi-layered virtual networks of neurons. Baidu’s mobile app enables users to conduct voice searches and includes a voice assistant called Duer. Voice searches are more common in China than text queries, owing to the increased time required to input text and the fact that some people are unfamiliar with Pinyin.

Siri: The “Hey Siri” feature enables users to communicate hands-free. Siri performs far better in iOS7 than in previous versions. Siri answers more quickly comprehend more, and communicates more naturally. If you’re viewing a webpage or application, you can say, “Remind me of this,” and Siri will recognize the page or application and add a reminder. You can also include a time or location, eliminating the need to copy/paste or describe precisely what you want.

Microsoft Cortana: Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant for a variety of its products. It is a free digital assistant that can send reminders, save notes and lists, organize tasks, and assist you with calendar management. This software can send location-based notifications, organize meetings, and attach photographs to reminders, among other features. Cortana can remind you of email commitments when Office 365 or Outlook is utilized. Like other smartphone assistants, Cortana will quickly respond to your search queries and can even assist you in locating things you’re passionate about, such as your favourite restaurant and making other appropriate recommendations.

Amazon Alexa: Using Alexa is as simple as asking a question – ask to play music, adjust the light, or read a recipe, and Alexa will respond instantaneously without the need for a screen or physical activation. Alexa is designed to make your life easier whether you’re at home or on the move by allowing your voice to control your world. The more you converse with Alexa, your speech pattern, pronunciations, and personal preferences get ingrained in her. You may contact or message anyone using the Alexa app simply by connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve gotten acclimated to Alexa’s eccentricities, it’ll feel more natural and responsive than conversing with a phone-based voice assistant like Siri. Eventually, you’ll notice that you’re using your phone less frequently at home.

Conclusion

Speech recognition technology has come a long way, and with fierce rivalry among mobile application development companies, the evolution of voice recognition technology is still a long way off.

As Electric Vehicles Gain Popularity, We Will Need To Recycle Their Batteries

Last week, Ford debuted the F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version of the best-selling vehicle in America. In many ways, the 530-horsepower 6,500-pound truck is reminiscent of Ford’s Model T, which made cars affordable to the middle class. With 45,000 pre-orders in the first 48 hours, Ford’s battery-powered monster accounts for about 20% of all EVs registered in the US last year

In addition to the F-150 Lightning, prominent manufacturers will be releasing hundreds of other EV versions over the next few years. But as this vital business expands, a new issue arises: how to obtain all of the minerals required to manufacture EV batteries.

All of the lithium, nickel, cobalt, and copper in those batteries was once mined. To this day, much of that mining is concentrated in countries like Russia and Indonesia, where environmental oversight is typically lacking, labor standards are loose and mining has a history of fuelling local community tensions. Demand for battery materials is predicted to skyrocket as the number of EVs on the road rises from 10 million in 2020 to 145 million by 2030. Critics say the clean transit development could drive a filthy mining boom.

Experts say we need to do better at recycling EV batteries to avoid the need for new mining. While only a few EV batteries have been retired thus far, millions of tonnes are estimated to be decommissioned over the next decades. Better recycling technology and government regulations are required to avoid battery landfills.

Battery Dismantling

EV batteries are complicated technological devices, yet they are similar to the lithium-ion battery in your phone. A battery cell consists of a lithium metal cathode, a graphite anode, a separator, and a liquid electrolyte made up of lithium salt. A current is created as charged lithium ions move from anode to cathode.

To run an automobile, thousands of cells are packed into modules, which are then linked together into battery packs and protected by metal casings. Each of these massive electrochemical sandwiches can weigh over a thousand pounds (the F150-Lightning battery reportedly weighs closer to 2,000 pounds).

Batteries include most of the valuable materials that recyclers seek. But EV batteries are built to last for years and thousands of kilometers, not dismantled. “You don’t want them to fall apart at any time for any reason,” says Paul Andersen, principal investigator for the Faraday Institution’s Reuse and Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries (ReLib) project at the University of Birmingham.

Disassembling EV batteries is costly and hard, today’s recycling technologies are primitive. After the battery is discharged, the outer shell is removed and the modules are shredded and burned. Lithium and manganese burn, leaving an alloy slurry rich in copper, nickel, and cobalt. Strong acids can then be used to separate metals from an alloy. Toxic gases and waste products are produced during pyro- and hydrometallurgical recovery procedures, which need a lot of energy.

While cobalt and nickel are frequently recovered in considerable quantities, lithium is rarely recycled. If lithium is recovered, it is frequently unsuitable for battery production.

Direct recycling, or isolating the cathode material from individual battery cells and rehabilitating the chemical mixes therein, including adding back lithium that has been depleted from use, maybe a cleaner and more efficient solution in the future. This strategy could one day allow recyclers to recover more materials from batteries and produce more valuable end products, says Gavin Harper of the Faraday Institution.

Growing an Industry

The IEA believes that the globe can now recycle 180,000 metric tonnes of dead EV batteries per year. Comparatively, all 2019 EVs will generate 500,000 metric tonnes of battery waste.

That’s only one year. The IEA projects that by 2040, 1,300 GWh of old batteries will need to be recycled. Harper points out that an 80 kilowatt-hour Tesla Model 3 battery pack weighs slightly over a thousand pounds. If all of those dead batteries were from Tesla Model 3s, that’s approximately 8 million metric tonnes of battery trash, which is 1.3 times the bulk of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

If recycled properly, such trash may be a substantial mineral supply. The IEA forecasts that recycling could meet up to 12% of the EV industry’s mineral requirement by 2040 if the market grows at a rate that keeps global warming below 3.6°F (2°C). The same climate scenario with more positive recycling assumptions could lead to a significantly larger role for recycling.

According to a recent Earthworks analysis, recycling could supply up to 25% of the EV industry’s lithium need and up to 35% of its cobalt and nickel demands by 2040.

According to the report co-author and University of Technology Sydney research director Nick Florin, these figures “do not seek to foretell the future.” “We provide a possible future to examine the role of recycling in reducing the need for new mining.”

They stress the necessity for strong government regulations to assist EV battery recycling to realize that promise. These could include battery design standards that make recycling easier, battery take-back programs, laws that prohibit landfilling, and rules that facilitate the movement of hazardous battery waste for recycling across jurisdictions.

With the new laws, the EU will establish specific targets for mineral recovery in addition to regulating EV battery disposal. But only three states mandate lithium-ion battery manufacturers to deal with their trash.

Recycling won’t be enough to meet the demand for battery metals as the industry expands rapidly. Recycling, according to Thea Riofrancos, a political scientist at Providence College in Rhode Island who researches resource exploitation and green technology. Other strategies include developing new batteries that require fewer minerals, enhancing public transportation, and creating walkable and bikeable cities.

In the future decades, recycling may only meet a quarter to a third of our battery mineral needs, but it helps us “rethink our connection with technology,” according to Riofrancos. The idea of biophysical boundaries is reinforced by recycling.

The Top Ten Firms That Operate Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Electric automobiles long ago shed their image as flimsy, slow, and possibly slightly humiliating. Priorities of the public have shifted. Many people, particularly members of the younger generation, consider environmental stewardship as more important than speeding down the interstate in a beautiful muscle vehicle. Even if that’s not always true, newer electric vehicles have a turn of speed that would leave many muscle cars flailing in their exhaust fumes.

The world’s highways are projected to have more than a billion automobiles. According to the International Energy Agency, around 2 to 3 million of them are pure battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. By 2040, the International Energy Agency projects that there will be 300-400 million EVs on the road, out of approximately 2 billion vehicles. According to Nanalyze, the United States alone requires approximately 2 million EV charging stations to accommodate the 40 or more electric car types that are projected to be on the road in large numbers. The following is a list of the top ten electric vehicle charging firms.

1.ChargePoint

ChargePoint – formerly Coulomb Technologies – claims to operate the world’s largest network of public charging stations for electric vehicles. In 2017, it acquired 10,000 charging stations from General Electric, bringing its total to 35,000. According to recent data, the corporation employs approximately 60,000 people in total.

ChargePoint’s public and private charging stations are located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries, according to the company.

The company, which was founded 12 years ago, raised $240 million last year to fund its expansion aspirations and presently generates approximately $42 million in yearly revenue.

2.ABB

ABB is one of the world’s largest makers of industrial robots. However, a significantly higher portion of ABB’s revenue comes from power generation equipment. As a result, it’s almost certain that ABB will become a key supplier of “downstream” power equipment, and the company has announced a range of charging options for buses and vehicles.

However, it is not yet a market leader in the EV charging station market, despite its recent agreement with Porsche to build EV chargers.

3.BP

Through its ChargeMaster company, which BP acquired for £130 million last year, BP claims to be the largest provider of charging points in the UK, with around 7,000 units. Following the acquisition, it invested £25 million on fast-charging technologies.

BP recently invested in PowerShare, a Chinese developer of electric vehicle charging platforms. Among the other projects is a $5 million investment in FreeWire, a company that manufactures mobile charging stations.

4.Shell

Shell claims to invest $200 million annually in alternative energy solutions and plans to grow that investment to $1 billion by 2020. According to Green Tech Media, it bought EV charging specialist NewMotion in 2017, which has more than 30,000 points across Europe and access to an additional 50,000.

Shell has invested in Ample, a business that claims to provide an alternative to conventional charging via the use of patented autonomous robot technology.

5.Webasto

Moving momentarily away from commercial or public charging points, or at the very least from big oil, Webasto is a diverse technology firm that offers a mix of home and on-the-road charging solutions.

The corporation spent $35 million acquiring Aerotech’s “efficient energy systems” division, another diversified technology company that sells EV systems as well.

Webasto, which claims to be one of the automotive industry’s top 100 suppliers, has an online store where EV charging points can be purchased for roughly €700.

6.Hyundai

Hyundai has joined with another automaker, Kia, to develop a wireless charging technology for electric vehicles. It looks to be a component of the two businesses’ comprehensive autonomous vehicle solution, which they intend to commercialize in the coming years.

For the time being, they have demonstrated an autonomous electric vehicle parking itself in front of an EV charging station.

Other firms are also investigating wireless charging. Daimler Mercedes-Benz is one of them.

7.RWE

RWE is a European energy behemoth with numerous businesses. RWE Effizienz is the company that is constructing the EV charging infrastructure. RWE asserts that it is the only firm in Europe capable of manufacturing various types of charging stations in-house, installing them in both public and private locations, operating them using a proprietary software solution, and supplying them with eco-electricity.

RWE is an excellent example of an energy or utility firm foraying into the electric vehicle sector.

8.Daimler Benz Mercedes-Benz

Along with its relationship with RWE, which will result in Daimler effectively owning or having access to 500 EV charging stations, Daimler is cooperating with other companies. Among them is another European energy company, EnBW, which is cooperating with Daimler to install 700 electric vehicle charging stations in south-western Germany.

Daimler has also entered into an arrangement with NewMotion — the business previously owned by Shell – to explore charging options for fleet customers. Daimler is already establishing an ecology conducive to their growth.

9.Siemens

Europe’s largest engineering corporation has been providing free charging for its employees’ electric vehicles for some years via its own charging stations. Siemens has presented a variety of charging systems for home and public highways, including regular and fast charging.

Several years ago, the company invested in ChargePoint and has already deployed hundreds of charging points throughout Europe.

Siemens asserts that it has developed a leadership position in this rapidly increasing sector by focusing on fast-charging solutions and extensive technical support.

10.EVgo

EVgo asserts that it operates the nation’s largest network of public electric vehicle fast-charging stations. It recently teamed with ABB to open Fremont, California’s first “high-power” fast-charging station.

The difference looks to be an improvement from 150 kW to 350 kW. Simply put, EVgo’s systems work as follows:

• Level 1 charging provides up to 2 miles of range in 30 minutes

• Level 2 charging provides up to 10 miles of range in 30 minutes; and

• Direct current rapid charging provides up to 75 miles of range in 30 minutes.

EVgo reports that it has placed 1,050 chargers in more than 66 urban areas across the United States.

Conclusion

It has taken a very long time for electric vehicles to obtain public or customer approval, and much of that is likely due to the industry’s unwillingness to construct the infrastructure. Additionally, governments may have been unduly reliant on big oil in the past. However, it appears as though the entire globe is waking up to electric vehicles, and their expansion will likely parallel that of automated vehicles, which have mostly supplanted manual vehicles in many nations.

The majority of these firms are mentioned in research by Research and Markets, which estimates that the market for electric vehicle charging stations would expand from $5.3 billion in 2018 to over $30 billion in 2023.

Electric Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges

Electric vehicles have the potential to fundamentally alter the US transportation sector, significantly reducing carbon emissions and paving the way for considerable climate gains. Transportation is the country’s most polluting sector, accounting for 28% of total carbon (CO2) emissions in 2018. Electric vehicles have the potential to change this high-emissions sector. According to a 2015 research published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, electric automobiles produce half or less than half the emissions of equivalent gasoline-powered cars from manufacturing to disposal in the United States.

Time Required for Charging

There are three distinct “levels” of EV chargers available. The normal 120-volt plug, which is frequently used for residential appliances, charges slowly but may fully charge a battery in many nights, or approximately 20 to 40 hours. Charge rates of 20 to 25 miles per hour are typical for 240-volt “level two” chargers, which reduces charging time to eight hours or less. Level two chargers can be plugged into the same sort of outlet as laundry dryers or electric ovens in the home. The connectors used for level two charging are referred to in the EV sector as SAE J1772. Finally, “level 3” direct current (DC) rapid chargers can charge a battery to 80% capacity in under 30 minutes. Level two chargers are now the most popular; the Department of Energy lists 22,816 public charging stations in the United States.

Compatibility With Chargers

The development of level two chargers has been somewhat coordinated, with all automakers save Tesla adopting the same charge port architecture (with Tesla drivers using an adapter to connect). Various automakers utilize three types of DC fast chargers: the SAE Combined Charging System (CCS), which is used by the vast majority of manufacturers; CHAdeMO, which is used by Nissan and Mitsubishi; and the Tesla Supercharger (only available to Tesla drivers). This lack of vehicle compatibility differs from universal car access to petrol stations and may be a barrier to the broad adoption of electric vehicles.

Infrastructure for Charging is Readily Available

Rather than being fueled at a traditional petrol station, electric vehicles must be recharged at electrical outlets. Many EV users charge their vehicles at home using a specific wall-mounted charger. This setup is suitable for the vast majority of people, as the average person drives 29 miles each day. This distance is well within the range of today’s electric automobiles, which can typically travel between 150 and 250 miles on a single charge. However, two significant issues occur. To begin, for drivers who live in apartments, parking garages are rarely equipped with charging equipment, and building management may find it too expensive to add such infrastructure. Additionally, there is the issue of the electric expenses associated with common outlets. Due to the fact that frequent EV charging consumes more energy than the majority of other residential uses, building managers want a way to monitor EV charging to ensure that each vehicle’s driver is responsible for their own electrical usage.

Second, new charging infrastructure is required to enable EVs to do long-distance trips that necessitate many charging stops. According to recent research by the International Council on Clean Transportation, 10,000 additional charging stations would be required by 2025 to serve EVs traveling on intercity corridors. When doing longer trips, EV users may experience “range anxiety”, or the concern that the vehicle will run out of juice before reaching a charging station. According to surveys, worries regarding range and charging availability are a significant impediment to consumer adoption of EVs. According to a 2018 Harris poll, 58% of respondents cited “running out of power” as their primary reason for not purchasing an EV, while 49% cited “lack of charging stations.”

Climate Change Mitigation and Renewable Energy

Despite the fact that electric vehicles reduce emissions even while connected to a fossil-fueled grid, they are a considerably more cost-effective emission reduction strategy when renewable energy sources account for a bigger share of the energy mix. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), light-duty electric vehicles can cost “several hundreds of dollars” every tonne of CO2 abated on a relatively high-carbon grid (which emits 500–600 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity output). EVs, on the other hand, cost less than $200 per tonne of CO2 abatement in a low-carbon grid (one that emits less than 200 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour). It is critical, therefore, to maximize the usage of renewable energy to power electric vehicles.

Vehicle Expenses

Electric vehicles often have a higher sticker price than gasoline-powered vehicles, owing to the high cost of the materials and processes involved in battery production. Despite the fact that these costs have reduced dramatically over the last decade, the average sticker price for a new electric vehicle is between $30,000 and $40,000. However, over a 15-year period, electric vehicles are anticipated to save large amounts of money on fuel. According to research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Idaho National Laboratory, electric vehicles might save consumers between $4,500 and $12,000.

Financing and Ownership of Charging Stations

Installing charging stations for electric vehicles is expensive; component costs for public charging stations can range from as little as $2,500 for a level two charger to $35,800 for a DC fast charger. These figures exclude installation costs and “soft costs” such as navigating the permitting procedure, regulations, and utility hookup. These expenditures raise the question of who will bear the cost of these stations’ construction. At the moment, charging station installation is mostly funded by automobile and energy corporations, as well as business owners, such as operators of parking lots and garages, shopping centers, and businesses attempting to attract EV users. Volkswagen’s Electrify America program and Tesla’s station deployment are two of the largest charging station programs in the country. Each company is investing approximately $2 billion in its own project. EVgo, a startup that installs DC fast chargers, is now working on a project that is being supported through venture capital, state government grants, and environmental programs.

Pricing

Unlike petrol stations, where the price of fuel is fixed per gallon, EV charging can now operate under a variety of different pricing methods, resulting in uneven pricing and occasionally exorbitant charging fees. Home charging fees are set by utility regulators at consistent kilowatt-hour (kWh) rates. Pricing strategies for public charging stations have included session fees, per-minute costs, and tiered pricing based on a vehicle’s maximum charging speed. Frequently, charging station fees are not displayed. This inconsistency and lack of transparency act as impediments to EV adoption, as they might result in customer annoyance and poor experiences. Per-kWh pricing schemes are most similar to gas costs in that they are decided by the amount of energy delivered to the vehicle. Typically, EV drivers prefer this pricing model. State laws impose restrictions on available pricing structures. States are gradually allowing per-kWh pricing, sometimes in conjunction with a tiered pricing structure that costs more for faster charging speeds. In areas such as Maryland, where regulated utilities operate charging stations, drivers pay per-kWh prices set by the utility regulator.

Six Ways To Increase EV Battery Life, As Well as Six Things Lithium-Ion Batteries Despise

Our lives are becoming increasingly reliant on battery-powered products, the majority of which now utilize lithium-ion batteries, such as cell phones, computers, power tools, and—most significantly for us—electric vehicles. And many of us, at the very least, have encountered some degree of battery degradation. However, electric vehicles are more expensive, and reductions in battery capacity or ability to retain a charge might have a substantial effect on your driving behavior. Consider the fuel tank of your gas-powered car dwindling over time!

So, what are EV owners to do? The University of Michigan’s research into how customers may extend the life of lithium-ion batteries (in automobiles, phones, and other devices) was recently published in the Journal of Energy Storage, and it includes a few pointers. The research was funded by the Responsible Battery Coalition, a group of companies (including Ford and Honda), universities, and organizations committed to responsible battery management now and in the future to mitigate the environmental impact of our increasingly battery-powered lifestyles. Along with an academic study into battery longevity, the team examined battery usage and charging recommendations found in user manuals from manufacturers such as BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Tesla.

Continue Reading To Discover Six Ways To Extend the Life of an Electric Vehicle’s Battery

1. Avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures during storage and use — Whenever possible, park your EV in the shade or plug in to allow the battery’s thermal management system to operate on grid power.

2. Avoid prolonged exposure to low temperatures — Again, the threat is primarily associated with unplugged parking in extremely cold conditions. If you can connect to a power source, the battery’s thermal management mechanism can keep the battery comfortable. Even when the vehicle is not plugged in, certain EVs automatically use the thermal management system until capacity decreases to 15%, at which point things turn ugly.

3. Minimize time spent at 100% charge — Resist the temptation to plug in all night every night. If daily travel consumes 30% of the battery, using the middle 30% (between 70% and 40%) is healthier for the battery than continuously using the top 30%. At some point, smart chargers will interact with your schedule, anticipating daily driving needs and tailoring the need for charging accordingly.

4. Minimize time spent at 0% state of chargeBattery management systems often turn off an electric vehicle well before it reaches 0%. The larger danger is leaving a vehicle unplugged for an extended period of time, to the point where it self-discharges to zero and remains there indefinitely.

5. Avoid fast charging — Automakers understand that one of the keys to mainstream EV adoption is the ability to charge as quickly as filling a petrol tank, which is why they are hesitant to caution against high-voltage direct current charging. Furthermore, it is entirely suitable for recharging during infrequent lengthy trips or when an unforeseen appointment depletes your targeted 70% overnight charge. Make a point of not allowing it to become a habit.

6. Avoid discharging faster than necessary – Simply keep in mind that each one increments the eventual demise of your vehicle’s battery by a certain degree.

The Lithium-Ion Battery’s Operation

As the name implies, these batteries operate on positively charged lithium ions. These ions are electrostatically attracted to electrons. They cling to several anode molecules (which are often carbon) in a fully charged battery, along with an electron. When energy is extracted from the batteries, the electrons leave to perform their functions, while the lithium ions migrate through a specific separator that permits only these ions to pass. Once on the other side, they cling to cathode molecules (often metal oxides) alongside the electrons that just assisted in spinning a motor, lighting a lamp, or delivering a tweet.

Battery Aging and Degradation Types

The University of Michigan battery research took both calendar and cycle aging into account. Additionally, it focused on two primary types of battery degradation: capacity fade (when the amount of energy stored in amp-hours decreases) and power fade (when the internal resistance of the battery in ohms increases, reducing the rate at which energy can be pushed into or drawn out of the battery). Capacity fade affects the range and fuel consumption of an electric car; power fade affects the vehicle’s driving performance—acceleration, gradeability, and the rate at which it can be recharged via the brakes or a charger.

What Is the Actual Cause of Battery Degradation?

Lithium inventory loss occurs as a result of different processes that remove lithium ions from circulation. When lithium is plated onto the anode as a protective “solid electrolyte interphase” (SEI) layer during the initial charging cycles of a new battery’s life, it always depletes roughly 10% of available lithium. Loss of active material (LAM) occurs naturally as electrodes degrade, resulting in fewer sites for lithium ions to connect. Capacity fade will be influenced by whichever of the above is the worse, but both forms have an additive effect on causing power fade. Mechanical stress occurs when the electrodes undergo “lithiation” and “delithiation,” causing their volume to vary by up to 10%. This swelling and contracting of the SEI can result in “exfoliation” and cracking, which may remove further lithium from circulation when it re-plates.

6 Things EV Batteries Despise

1. High Temperature — Can deteriorate the materials used to bond the carbon or metal oxide materials to the electrodes, melt the separator, dissolve the cathode metals, dissolve the SEI layer, induce oxygen loss from the cathode’s metal oxide, and/or cause the electrolyte to decompose.

2. Low Temperature — Slows the rate of ion diffusion through the separator, primarily.

3. High State of Charge — Can induce corrosion of the aluminum current collector in the cathode, decomposition of the binder material, dissolution of the SEI layer, formation of gases with rising internal mechanical stress, and decomposition of the electrolyte.

4. Low State of Charge — Can corrode and dissolve transition metals in the anode’s copper current collector.

5. High Charging Current — Can retard ion diffusion and aggravate volume changes and mechanical strains caused by charging.

6. High Discharging Current — Exaggerates volume changes and mechanical strains caused by the discharge.

What Is the Chemistry Behind Electric Vehicle Batteries?

Cobalt, Nickel, Manganese, Graphite, and Silicon are the primary components used in EV batteries. The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is accelerating, with countries such as the United Kingdom and France imposing timelines for the phase-out of gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles. While electric vehicles are the apparent replacement, EV batteries have always been prohibitively expensive and inefficient. Until recently, electric vehicles struggled to drive more than 200 miles on a single charge, and the lengthy charging period makes long travels a nightmare. Now all of that is going to change.

What is the reason for the change? A breakthrough in the materials used in rechargeable electric vehicle batteries will boost their efficiency, enabling longer ranges and shorter charging periods.

The Five Primary Types of EV Batteries

At the moment, all five of the principal battery types used in electric vehicles are lithium-ion (Li-ion)-based:

1. Cobalt Lithium Oxide (LCO)

Although LCO batteries are primarily utilized in portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets, they can also be employed in smaller electric vehicles. It is a relatively inert and harmless substance.

The primary disadvantage is that they include considerable amounts of cobalt, an expensive metal with source issues. As a result, it is rarely employed in commercial electric vehicles.

2. Oxide of lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt (NMC)

NMC batteries are perhaps the most often utilized type in EVs. They have stable chemistry and are reasonably inexpensive compounds that include only a trace amount of cobalt. They work admirably, delivering a high energy density and charging more quickly than other batteries.

3. Aluminium-lithium-nickel-cobalt (NCA)

NCA batteries were the first commercial attempt to replace the prohibitively expensive cobalt in Li-ion batteries with nickel. They perform well, create a high amount of energy, and are quite inexpensive to produce. They have been extensively employed in portable devices and electric vehicles, while NMC batteries have supplanted them in recent years.

4. Iron-Lithium Phosphate Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LFP)

The most secure of all are Li-ion batteries, with an extremely stable chemical composition. Additionally, these batteries have a high energy density, which make it excellent for usage in bigger electric vehicles such as vans, buses, and trucks.

5. Manganese Lithium Oxide (LMO)

Due to its reasonable energy performance and inexpensive material cost, LMO batteries were among the first to be employed in early EVs. The disadvantage is that the cells are not as durable as those found in other battery types, resulting in a relatively short life cycle.

This article will examine some of the critical materials utilized to fabricate the various components of the most efficient and cost-effective batteries, such as NMC, and the reasons for their selection.

Electrolyte Substances

The electrolyte is a critical component of any battery, acting as a catalyst to boost conductivity during charging and discharging by assisting in the transport of ions from the cathode to the anode. Electrolytes can be liquid, such as sulphuric acid (H2SO4) or soluble salts, or solid, such as polycarbonate.

At the moment, all EV batteries are liquid-state, but solid-state batteries offer numerous advantages, including reduced size and weight, increased capacity, and lower manufacturing costs. Toyota recently stated its intention to release an electric vehicle using a solid-state battery by 2020.

The majority of EV battery electrolytes are lithium-ion based, which means they use lithium to conduct electricity between electrodes. While the mechanism is similar to that of a mobile phone battery, an EV battery typically uses 10,000 times the amount of lithium. As a result, the price of lithium has risen in lockstep with rising demand.

Materials for the Cathode

Cobalt

Cobalt was the first material to be used in Li-ion battery cathodes and has been utilized extensively in recent years. Due to cobalt’s compact compound molecular structure, it is perfect for maintaining a quick electron flow across the battery.

However, cobalt is becoming increasingly scarce due to abuse in the lithium-ion battery industry, which consumes 55% of world cobalt supplies. It is produced as a byproduct of copper and nickel mining and is extremely difficult to recover. Another issue is that cobalt is not easily recycled, requiring extensive refinement before it can be used again, making them prohibitively expensive.

As the cathode accounts for around 24% of the total cost of a Li-ion battery, less priced alternatives to cobalt have gained popularity in recent years.

Nickel

Due to the increased endurance of nickel, it is required to manufacture EV battery cathodes. Nickel sulfate is utilized in the cathode and can be manufactured using either class 1 (premium) or class 2 nickel. Although class 2 nickel is less expensive as raw material, it must be dissolved and purified before being used in the cathode, which is a costly procedure. As a result, class 1 nickel is the preferred material.

Battery producers are eager to increase their use of nickel since it is significantly less expensive than cobalt. It is frequently used with trace amounts of cobalt to generate more economical cathodes. Thus, between 2018 and 2025, demand for class 1 nickel is predicted to expand at a 30% annual rate, potentially reaching 570 kT, or roughly 10 times the current demand. According to these projections, several recycling companies are showing interest in nickel recycling from old batteries to help satisfy demand.

Manganese

Manganese with high purity and grade is frequently utilized to make the cathodes of NMC batteries. Additionally, it is occasionally utilized in the form of Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD), which is generated by dissolving manganese dioxide (MnO2) in sulphuric acid and passing a current between two electrodes.

Manganese dioxide dissolves in the liquid to form sulfate, which is subsequently deposited on the anode’s surface. The material is extracted and combined with a trace amount of cobalt to form the cathode in lithium-ion batteries.

Materials for Anodes

Graphite

Graphite is the most often utilized material for the anodes of electric vehicle batteries. For an average-sized battery, 25kg of high purity graphite is required, and for large batteries, such as those used in the Tesla Model S, up to 54kg is required.

Manufacturing graphite anodes is a time-consuming and expensive procedure. It entails synthesizing graphite from calcined or cleaned petroleum coke (a by-product of oil refineries), a thin, gravelly substance bonded together with coal tar pitch. To maximize lithium-ion absorption, the anode must be made of high-quality graphite with a highly crystalline structure.

The mixture is then baked to create pure carbon, which has almost negligible conductivity. Following that, a process known as “graphitization” or magnetic induction begins, during which a low-voltage, high-current direct current charge is supplied through the furnace. Finally, wax or resin is added as a moisture barrier to the anode in liquid-state batteries to prevent it from degrading.

Silicon

Silicon as an anode material has a variety of advantages over graphite, including lower material and manufacturing costs. Additionally, it can absorb and contain a far greater amount of lithium ions than graphite when charged. This boosts the battery’s efficiency, allowing EVs to go further on a single charge. Silicon anodes are still in research, but they are expected to be commercially available by 2020.

The Future of Battery Materials for Electric Vehicles

Numerous materials critical to the manufacture of EV batteries are in low supply. In tandem with the growing number of electric vehicles being created, the batteries that power them are undergoing fast innovation. The industry’s aims include developing materials that are inexpensive to produce as well as increasing battery efficiency, durability, and weight reduction.

For instance, silicon and graphene are potential candidates to replace graphite as the anode material of choice. Utilizing these materials will extend the range of cars on a single charge.

What Is a Solid-State Battery in the Context of an Electric Vehicle?

A solid-state battery is a rechargeable energy storage unit that is structurally and functionally comparable to the more well-known lithium-ion battery. The two are distinguished by the fact that a lithium-ion battery has a liquid electrolyte, but a solid-state battery, as the name implies, contains a solid electrolyte. This enables solid-state batteries to be lighter, more energy-dense, have a greater range, and recharge more quickly. The issue in commercializing solid-state batteries is to take technology that is already widely utilized in small devices and apply it to large-scale applications such as electric vehicles (EVs).

Which Battery Type Is Used in an Electric Car?

General Motors introduced the EV1 in 1996 as the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle. The two-seat coupe, which was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, had a range of 78 miles, accelerated to 50 mph in 6.3 seconds, and required more than 5 hours to fully charge. It was powered by a lead-acid battery.

Three years later, the second-generation EV1 debuted with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack and a roughly doubled driving range of 142 miles.

While the EV1 was being phased out, Tesla Motors joined the automotive industry with the Tesla Roadster, the world’s first mass-market battery-electric vehicle to use lithium-ion batteries. The rest, as they say, is history.

How Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Work?

Lithium-ion batteries have established themselves as the industry standard for powering a wide variety of devices, ranging from consumer electronics such as cellphones and laptops to mobility and transportation such as bicycles and automobiles.

Unlike traditional lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium-ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte to regulate the energy transfer between the cathode and anode. The advantages of lithium-ion batteries include increased battery life, improved performance in extreme temperatures, recyclable components, and a higher energy density. The energy density of a battery refers to the amount of energy it can store per unit weight. Simply put, the greater the density, the greater the output power.

Despite their numerous advantages, lithium-ion batteries have several disadvantages. Although lighter than prior battery technologies, lithium-ion batteries are nevertheless rather hefty due to their liquid interiors. Additionally, they function better when packaged in stackable packets, which adds additional weight. Moreover, the electrolytes are flammable, can become unstable in severe temperatures, and can result in explosions or fires if damaged or charged improperly. There is no shortage of news accounts ranging from cellphone malfunctions to airplanes catching fire as a result of battery problems.

How Does a Solid-State Battery Work?

Solid-state batteries are more stable and compact by default because they do not contain a sloshing, flammable liquid electrolyte. The solid electrolyte can be made of a variety of common materials, such as ceramics or glass.

For years, solid-state batteries have been utilized in small devices such as pacemakers, RFID tags, and wearable gadgets. With fewer components, fewer things can go wrong. Along with increased safety, compactness, and stability, solid-state batteries in EVs would enable faster charging times, increased travel range, and increased energy density. Solid-state batteries can charge to 80% in 15 minutes and are less prone to strain after numerous charging cycles. After 1,000 cycles, a lithium-ion battery begins to degrade and loses capacity. On the other hand, a solid-state battery will retain 90% of its capacity even after 5,000 cycles.

When Are Solid-State Batteries Going To Be Used in Electric Vehicles?

Despite its numerous advantages, expanding production up to the level required for use in EVs remains an expensive operation. Remember, solid-state batteries are well-known for their use in smartwatches and heart rate regulators.

The development expenses and production problems associated with creating solid-state batteries for mass-market EVs are significant disadvantages. However, just as lithium-ion batteries have become more economical, the hope is that solid-state batteries will follow suit. And automakers are investing heavily in the technology, particularly with the proposed zero-emission brand strategy and EV-only lineups.

BMW and Ford have invested $130 million in Solid Power, a solid-state battery firm based in Colorado. Hyundai is investing $100 million in SolidEnergy Systems, a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In collaboration with Panasonic, Toyota announced the premiere of a prototype SUV powered by solid-state batteries this year. Additionally, General Motors and Volkswagen are investing.

Audi, Bentley, Dodge, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lotus, Mazda, MINI, Nissan, and Volvo have all announced their electrification intentions and zero-emissions goal dates. Some have even gone so far as to declare that gasoline and diesel engines would be phased out of their lineups by 2050.

However, EVs must be profitable for automakers, inexpensive for customers, and capable of completely replacing vehicles equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE) pound for pound. Even though there are more electric vehicle options than ever before, gasoline-powered vehicles continue to dominate the market. After all, fossil fuels are still inexpensive, vehicle options are many, and refueling takes only a few minutes.

Nonetheless, the appeal of solid-state batteries is self-evident, and their potential may compel manufacturers to maintain their manufacturing commitments. Electric vehicles are already on par with or outperforming their internal combustion engine equivalents in terms of design. One needs to eliminate range anxiety, maintain price parity, and offer compelling performance, then perhaps people will truly embrace an all-EV future.