TiVo teams with Pindrop for smarter voice search

TiVo and Pindrop, a company specializing in fraud detection and voice authentication, have formed a partnership to build voice-enabled personalization for streaming video content.

The companies said they will work on a solution for TiVo-enabled devices that, through normal voice interactions, will over time distinguish between household members and changes its behavior accordingly.

For example, a user could say, “What should I watch?” and the TiVo service will tailor an experience with personalized content. If another member of the household says the same thing, they'll get completely different results without the need for profile switching.

Pindrop said its technology analyzes more than 250 specific biological and behavioral voice characteristics, like the frequency and harmonics of speech as well as the patterns of intonation, rhythm, style, tone and emotions. The technology also accounts for background noises or changes in a speaker's voice caused by sickness, aging or even mask wearing.

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The solution will require user opt-in and Pindrop said that while the technology is able to distinguish between different speakers, it doesn't know nor need to know the identity of who is speaking.

"Contextual awareness is key when engaging users through a Natural User Interface. Beyond just understanding what was said, we want to understand the context of the situation to drive intelligent system behavior in the moment," said Jon Heim, senior director of product and conversation services at TiVo, in a statement. "The ability to distinguish between different members of a household based on their voice is an example of this contextual awareness, enabling us to provide an unprecedented level of personalization through an experience tailored to that specific person."

“We believe that with our state-of-the-art voice authentication technology combined with TiVo’s expertise in the OTT video space, we’ll be able to unlock new experiences for consumers across the globe... and we’re just getting started,” said Pindrop CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan in a statement.

The companies plan announce the first TiVo-enabled product with Pindrop's technology in the coming months. Right now, though, developers can request access to the Pindrop technology.