A Russian-speaking smart speaker


© Yandex

Smart speakers with Fraunhofer technology.

Erlangen/Moscow – Yandex, the operator of a leading Russian search engine and developer of smart products and services for machine learning, has integrated Fraunhofer’s upHear® Voice Quality Enhancement technology into the company’s first smart speaker. This enables the device to accurately hear voice commands issued from anywhere in a room.

Fraunhofer’s upHear® Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) technology reduces background noise and acoustical echoes, ensuring that Yandex’s new smart speaker and the embedded intelligent assistant Alice can understand verbal commands, even when the speaker is streaming music at the same time. Fraunhofer provided a software solution that applies microphone array technology for far-field voice capturing to supply Yandex.IO with a processed audio signal. This ensures that the keyword spotter and speech recognizer receive a clean voice signal.

Yandex’s AI assistant Alice listens for and understands Russian-language requests with almost-human precision and provides contextually relevant answers using Yandex’s search engine and other services. Alice, which was initially offered in Yandex’s iOS and Android apps, is the first virtual assistant designed to serve the needs of Russian-speaking users.