In July, Xiaomi launched Mi AI in China, a smart speaker with a voice-enabled assistant aimed to compete with the Google Home and Amazon Echo. In typical Xiaomi style, its price tag undercut the competition at CNY 299 ($45) while managing not to be deficient in terms of features. However, a new partnership with Agora.io, a real-time communications company founded in 2014, enables the product to have a feature advantage against the competition.
Yesterday, Agora.io announced a partnership with Xiaomi to power voice-calling capabilities for the Mi AI. The press release by the company states that “while smart home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home enable voice calling through a connected smartphone’s cellular network, Xiaomi and Agora are allowing users to make Internet voice calls directly from Mi AI.” In short, this is a different approach than those employed by other smart assistants.
Agora.io noted that Mi AI has been designed to deliver crisp sound and great call quality. The smart assistant has six microphones, which creates a 360° sound field that can pick up user commands and “deliver clear broadcasts anywhere in the room.”
The Mi AI’s AI software is dubbed XiaoAI, and Agora.io is the only VoIP communications provider selected for it. The company promises that it will provide “best-in-class call quality and low latency to ensure an uninterrupted user experience.”
The founder and CEO of Agora.io, Tony Zhao, said that Xiaomi’s Mi AI would be the first smart home speaker that allows users to make and receive calls without a smartphone or app. He added that by combining Agora.io’s “world-class communications technology with Xiaomi’s industry-leading hardware,” the partnership would lead to a new generation of smart home devices and multi-functional virtual assistants.
The press release noted that Xiaomi plans to roll out more products using high-definition, real-time communication cloud services through Agora.io’s Software Defined Real-Time Network (SD-RTN), which is said to be a global network of distributed data centers that “ensures a consistent, high-quality experience regardless of the user’s geographic location or device.”
It has to be noted that the Mi AI has only been released in China so far. Xiaomi hasn’t stated whether the product will be made available in international markets.
Source: Agora (press Release)
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