Tuesday August 20, 2019
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Developers Can Now Start Building Hindi Skills for Alexa in India

Right now, Alexa can understand some Hinglish commands but these are few and far between

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Alexa, Amazon, Virtual Assistant
Amazon Echo led the Indian smart speakers market with 59 per cent share in 2018 (Representational image). Pixabay

Amazon on Tuesday announced that developers can now start building Alexa skills for customers in India with the new Hindi voice model available in Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

Developers would get a headstart and submit skills for certification as the company prepare to offer engaging experiences for Alexa users in one of the most spoken languages in the country, the company said in a statement.

Commercial hardware manufacturers who want to develop Alexa Built-in products for Hindi-speaking customers in India can request early access to the invite-only Alexa Voice Service (AVS) developer preview.

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of free, self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create skills, or capabilities, for Alexa.

Amazon last year launched a new category of skill called “Cleo” that enables customers in India help Alexa learn Hindi and other languages. The idea was to improve Alexa’s language model and help her gradually speak in local languages.

Lawsuit, Amazon, Alexa
The lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving ‘voice prints’ of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices. Pixabay

Apart from Hindi, users can respond to Alexa’s English statements in Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other regional languages.

Alexa is currently available in over 80 countries and speaks more than 14 language variants.

One can sign up for the first webinar on Hindi skill building scheduled on July 24. Developers in India who have their Hindi-language skill certified for publication in India before July 31 would receive exclusive early bird Alexa merchandise.

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Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa, told IANS recently that the company is working on infusing regional languages capabilities in Alexa for the Indian market but these are early days.

Right now, Alexa can understand some Hinglish commands but these are few and far between. (IANS)

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People in India Get the Best Good Night’s Sleep: Survey

Sleep quality, patterns, and duration may vary among countries, but one thing’s clear – people still aren’t getting enough sleep, it noted

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When it comes to quality sleep, India has astonishingly come on top — followed by Saudi Arabia and China — among the most restful populations where people get the best good night’s sleep.

The survey, conducted online by global market research firm KJT Group on behalf of Philips among 11,006 adults ages 18 and older in 12 countries, found that roughly 62 per cent of adults worldwide feel that they don’t sleep well when they go to bed.

The worst on the chart is South Korea, followed by Japan for poor sleep habits.

On average, adults globally sleep only 6.8 hours per night during the week and 7.8 hours per weekend night.

Rather than getting the recommended eight hours each night, more than six in 10 adults sleep longer hours on the weekend to catch up on sleep (63 per cent), the findings showed.

More than 4 in 10 adults say their sleep has gotten worse in the past 5 years, compared to only 26 per cent who said their sleep has gotten better and 31 per cent of adults saying their sleep hasn’t changed.

Canada (63 per cent) and Singapore (61 per cent) are the two countries with the highest reports of worry/stress impacting their sleep, said the “Philips Global Sleep Survey” 2019.

Lifestyle factors are crucial determinants when it comes to an individual’s sleep. The top five reasons around the world were worry/stress (54 per cent), the sleep environment (40 per cent), work or school schedule (37 per cent), entertainment (36 per cent) and a health condition (32 per cent).

Sleep, Mental Health, Students
Insufficient sleep is associated with a wide range of mental health issues. Pixabay

Sleep is finally being recognized as a key contributor to an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.

Losing just one or two hours of sleep per night can have the same impact on motor and cognitive functions as going without sleep for a full day or two.

“However, adults across the globe deal with various health and lifestyle factors that can stand in the way of them getting the best night’s sleep,” said the survey.

Among those who live with a spouse or partner, 35 per cent of women either only occasionally, frequently or never sleep in the same bed as their partner who snores.

Six in 10 global adults experience daytime sleepiness at least twice per week.

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Nearly 67 per cent of global adults reported they typically wake up at least once during the night.

Adults in India (36 per cent) and the US (30 per cent) were the most likely to sleep with a pet in their bed, said the survey.

Sleep quality, patterns, and duration may vary among countries, but one thing’s clear – people still aren’t getting enough sleep, it noted. (IANS)