Baidu, Inc. unveiled DuerOS 5.0, the latest iteration of its conversational AI system, at Baidu Create 2019 in Beijing. The upgrade advances the development of its AI assistant technology that powers a rapidly-expanding ecosystem of smart hardware products. Baidu also showcased three new DuerOS-powered smart speaker additions to its product lineup, further strengthening its innovative consumer offerings.
Baidu’s upgraded conversational AI assistant, DuerOS 5.0, pushes the burgeoning AI technology forward with two major new features. Integrating AI into real-world applications, a new ‘full-duplex’ feature allows Xiaodu to respond without the need for a wake word, creating a continuous conversation experience for users. Further underscoring Baidu’s pioneering vision for exceptional user experiences, DuerOS 5.0 also introduces a key feature that enables Xiaodu to recognize in sync when to reply and execute tasks and when to just listen and not to respond or react. The overall experience brings a seamless integration of AI to life, generating a more natural human-machine interaction.
Robin Li, Baidu’s co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, took to the Baidu Create stage and amazed attendees with a demo of Xiaodu’s new “continuous conversation” ability and its “super-high IQ”. Li said that, with the two new features, Baidu has taken a huge step forward in voice interaction experience to realize smooth human-machine communication without the hassles of constantly having to wake up devices or getting interference from conversation.
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Kun Jing, Vice President of Baidu and General Manager of Baidu Smart Living Group (SLG), officially kicked off the launch of DuerOS 5.0 and the three new Xiaodu series smart speakers at the conference. In his keynote, he said that, as of June 2019, the DuerOS voice assistant install base has surpassed 400 million and monthly voice queries on DuerOS exceeded 3.6 billion (not including those from Baidu’s apps).
As an entrance and hub for a connected world, smart speakers hold an increasingly integral position in Baidu’s smart living revolution. The launch of three new Xiaodu smart speakers further accentuates Baidu’s efforts to drive transformation in this fast-growing segment. The new devices include Xiaodu smart speakers “King Kong” , “Play” and the “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. All three devices are priced competitively at RMB199, demonstrating Baidu’s commitment to enabling more families to enjoy smart living affordably.
Xiaodu smart speaker “King Kong”, rolled out in early June, brings a premium and sophisticated design, complete with infrared control and DLNA projection screen technology that can instantly turn the device into a TV. Xiaodu smart speakers have also joined forces with iQiyi, whose AI projection technology powers a voice-controlled video experience. Responding to user demand for a more expansive smart speaker experience, Baidu developed its first mobile smart speaker, “Xiaodu at Home 1C 4G” battery version. The portable device runs without needing to connect to a power source, supports Nano SIM cards and can even serve as a mobile hotspot, allowing users to take Xiaodu’s AI with them anytime, anywhere. Xiaodu smart speaker “Play” was specially designed with innovative features that cater to younger generations.
Baidu’s technological strength in AI software-hardware integration has quickly translated into commercial success. According to data from three independent market research firms including Canalys, shipments of Xiaodu smart speakers ranked third globally and first in China for Q1 2019.
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Underpinning the company’s commitment to openness, Baidu’s Xiaodu Skills Open Platform has also seen explosive growth, with the number of skills growing by 300%, the skill PV by 1,926,523%, the skill types by 126% and the next-day skill retention rate by 200% between May 2018 and May 2019. Currently, the Xiaodu Skills Open Platform counts more than 32,000 developers and over 2,000 wide-ranging skills.
Further showcasing Baidu’s ecosystem of offerings, Kun Jing announced the official launch of Xiaodu VIP, which offers two joint membership models – ‘Xiaodu x iQiyi’ and ‘Xiaodu x brand’. The new VIP membership is part of Baidu’s business transformation that harnesses the power of user experience through AI by allowing users and brands to interact effortlessly.
Baidu Create 2019 provided an end-to-end demonstration of how Xiaodu’s implementation of AI technology is having a profound impact on Baidu’s leading position in the intelligent transformation of industry. Xiaodu will serve as a pioneer in shaping the future of the smart living as Baidu continues to deliver smart interactive technology and product innovation to respond to the needs of its users.