Will.i.am, rapper and founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, took the stage at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last week to debut his latest tech endeavor—a voice assistant called Omega. Omega voice is the most recent project by the musician’s wearable technology company, I.am+.
According to the company’s website, the AI assistant is agnostic across platforms and devices, meaning it can be integrated with any existing smart product. Their intentions of breaking into the smart-home space was hinted by their acquisition of Wink in July 2017 for $59M. Wink’s platform ties together different internet of things products in one app, giving the Omega assistant an edge in compatibility.
Will.i.am expressed that the company aims to make up for some of the gaps in existing AI-powered assistants, stating that consumers are frustrated over the “limitations of the systems, what they do and the obvious things you wished they did” and conclusively claiming “that’s what we’ve built.”
The launch at Dreamforce was the first public appearance of the voice assistant and garnered decent results based on the demonstration. Omega managed to one-up Google’s Assistant by going a step further in a restaurant reservation scenario. Google showcased how the assistant can call and make reservations at their IO conference earlier this year. Omega voice can make reservations, but will also put the restaurant on hold and contact the user in case the restaurant cannot book the desired time.
The company seems to be positioning themselves in the enterprise and big-business market with “Omega Enterprise” front-and-center on their website. Some of the assistant’s functionalities for Omega Enterprise can be seen below in a video released by I.am+.
Omega also seems to be angling music and entertainment-focused features. The assistant can call upon a song and follow-up with recent news about the artist as well as any upcoming performances.
Given the steep competition from third party voice assistants such as Soundhound, and Will.i.am’s previous flops in the tech industry, there reason to be skeptical about the company’s future. However, I.am+ is backed by $123M in venture funding with support from Salesforce and holds a high-profile musician as the face of the company. It is safe to say Omega clearly stands a chance against tech giants in the AI-assistant field, but we will have to see how their performance fares with early adopters of the platform.