Digital assistant's like Alexa and Google Assistant are getting smarter and more capable of carrying out more and more tasks every year. They are perhaps the most convenient however, when our hands are tied and we need to make or receive a phone call. This requires an app or that your smartphone is nearby and able to communicate with the A.I., but one manufacturer is looking to change that requirement with their latest partnership.
In July, Xiaomi launched the Mi AI in China, a smart speaker with a digital assistant to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The price point was much lower than the competition at CNY 299 ($45) while packing all of the necessary features. Xiaomi's new partnership with communications company, Agora.io, will allow voice-calling capabilities for the Mi Ai.
"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," according to a company press release.
The founder and CEO of Agora.io, Tony Zhao, stated the Mi Ai will be the first smart home speaker which allows users to make and receive calls without a smartphone or app and by combining Agora.io's communications technology with Xiaomi's hardware, it would foster a new generation of multi-functional virtual assistants and smart home devices.
Currently, the Mi AI has only been released in China and Xiaomi has yet to announce whether the product will be available internationally. However, it's likely Amazon, Google and Apple will integrate some sort of stand-alone option that enables voice calling on their smart home products in the future here in the U.S.
Let us know what you think about the prospects of smart speakers acting as a new generation home telephone in the comment section below.