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Forgot to leave instructions? Try unified messaging

A tech startup in Singapore is leading the global race to develop a way for people to talk to machines, or at least relay orders to their smart home appliances via their smartphones.

Through the UnificationEngine messaging platform, startup Unified Inbox would enable smartphone users to send a verbal instruction either via Facebook Messenger, Skype or Viber to their coffeemaker at home to make them an espresso or cappuccino; or for all the lights to be turned up, or for a cleaning robot to tidy up their smart home.

“Basically, with the integration into those messaging channels, we allow people to talk to their smart devices at home,” said serial tech entrepreneur and inventor Toby Ruckert. 

Ruckert said that they had used the natural language developed by IBM for their Watson cognitive computing technology to enable the UnificationEngine messaging that fuses the Internet-of-Things (IoT) with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“(We) used natural language from IBM Watson to process the user connotations,” Ruckert said, noting IBM Watson has a natural language processor.

Fortunately for Unified Inbox, IBM has announced that it was collaborating further with the startup to provide businesses with the world’s first intelligent IoT messaging platform using IBM Watson.

Unified Inbox will also be provided by IBM with Bluemix Cloud infrastructure, application program interface (API) and platform support.

The UnificationEngine is regarded as the only messaging platform to date that is compatible with over 20 international messaging platforms and protocols including legacy channels of email and SMS; social media channels such as Twitter, Weibo, and Facebook; and messaging apps and chatbots from Line, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and others. 

IBM said that Watson powers the natural language and conversational intelligence of UnificationEngine, which makes it possible for users to communicate with their appliances.
Beyond consumer appliances, the UnificationEngine can also be used in smart enterprise cases such as messaging commuters waiting for a bus. 

In a smart city scenario, it can be used to message city officials on crowd movements and formations.

“Bringing together IoT with AI and unified messaging, we have created the world’s first UnificationEngine. UnificationEngine is a device- and platform-agnostic middleware that enables products and software to simply communicate with people and things,” Ruckert said.

He said since the engine enables communication seamlessly, need for an app will be significantly eliminated and thus help companies succeed in the rapidly expanding markets of IoT and AI.


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