Voice recognition features return to TiVo through a partnership with Atlanta-based Pindrop

TiVo devices are getting new voice recognition capabilities thanks to a partnership with the Atlanta-based startup Pindrop, which is now offering its voice recognition and personalization technologies for consumer devices.

The new voice recognition capabilities replace TiVo’s discontinued use of the Alexa voice recognition service, which happened with little fanfare last year.

TiVo made a big push with its Alexa integration a little over two years ago, but the switch to Pindrop’s services shows that there’s a robust market for voice-enabled services and providers are moving from different markets to compete on Amazon and Google’s home turf.

Through the integration with Pindrop’s services, TiVo homeowners will now be able to search for shows and control their devices using their voice. But Pindrop’s tech, which was developed initially as an anti-fraud technology for financial services firms and big business customers, goes beyond basic voice recognition.

Pindrop’s tech can tell the difference between different speakers, setting up opportunities for the personalization of programming with each user being able to call up their individual account for Netflix, Amazon or other services with simple voice commands.

“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 & Conversation Services at TiVo. “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.”

It’s cool.

When different users say the “What should I watch?” prompt, TiVo devices can now pull up personalized content they are most likely to want to watch. If another member of the household says the same command, the device will display different results.

The technology requires user opt-in, and while Pindrop’s tech can differentiate between speakers, the identity of the speaker is anonymized. 

It’s a service that Pindrop has already rolled out to eight of the ten largest banks in the U.S., according to Pindrop co-founder and chief executive Vijay Balasubramanian. And the foray into consumer devices through the TiVo partnership is just the beginning.

The company has also integrated with SEI Robotics devices, the white label manufacturer of Android devices.

Pindrop has plenty of cash in the bank to finance its push into the world of consumer devices. The company’s profitable and is looking at an annual run rate just shy of $100 million, according to Balasubramanian.

For its next trick, the company intends to roll out its voice recognition service in cars and other networked consumer devices, according to Balasubramanian.

“[We’re] working with OEMS for auto… they’re in the proof of concept phase,” he said.