Move Over Jarvis, Wisp is Here

By Sam Helmy, CEO, Neovate Developments

Looking at the landscape of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the buildings are a mix of old and new, contemporary and classical. One building, which will soon take its place amongst the gleaming skyline is Neopod One, a 45-story skyscraper that features the city’s first micro-suite units, and is being developed by upstart Tech-oriented property developer, Neovate. Neopod One is very different from all of the other skyscrapers that are in the city by also being the first to integrate a conversational AI assistant named Wisp, into the fabric of the building.

Wisp allows residents to interact with their living spaces using natural speech and simple waving gestures; controlling lights, temperature, entertainment, kitchen appliances, security as well as the buildings’ facilities. It can connect with the property manager, security desk, parking services, pay the bills, book the badminton court and control visitor access. Wisp will also be able to handle interfacing with a variety of the city’s local services enabling conference hall bookings, reserving a table at a café, calling a taxi service or Grab, ordering delivery from restaurants and grocery stores, sending flowers, to name a few

More importantly, Wisp can keep a conversation going and remember what you said earlier. The system has

Sam Helmy, CEO, Neovate Developments

“temporal awareness”, a new technology breakthrough that allows the AI to understand passage of time, and maintain a conversation based on the context of what was spoken about before. Additionally, through machine learning, Wisp is constantly improving, learning more about each user, their speaking patterns, everyday habits, and preferences. It can structure routines for bedtime or having guests over, so it will simply respond to “I am going to bed now” by turning down the lights, closing the blinds, locking up the doors, and setting the sound system to the user’s preferred white noise that helps them sleep, from the soft sounds ocean waves or a special hum that drowns out unwanted noises, all before wishing them a good night sleep.

“True AI assistants should be able to carry complex conversations and understand our intentions. They should be able to complete complicated tasks and actually build a companionship by learning and remembering what we like and how it can make our lives easier,” says Sam Helmy, Founder and CEO of Neovate.

“We developed Wisp after finding that the current solutions on the market are nowhere near the intelligent AI assistants and integrated systems that can be built using current technologies, nowhere near what we grew to aspire for from seeing in the movies and listening to futurist visions. Yes, we can turn our lights on and off with our phones or pre-program our coffee machines to brew a fresh pot of coffee every morning but these simple interactions are very limited in terms of what we can do with today’s AI and Machine Learning technology.”

Helmy continued, “We have built a conversational interface that interacts with residents in more natural ways, helping people maximize their time and feel there is a thinking, comprehending AI that actually understands their intentions and has the power to do complex things. Our advanced linguistic algorithms help ensure that Wisp understands the meaning of a speaker’s query and replies in natural language, going beyond basic voice commands. Additionally, Wisp can be communicated with and controlled by gestures, touch and saved profile routines.”

Findings from the 2017 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey state consumers across the globe reveal increasing demand and deeper interactions with digital voice assistants. Canalys predicted that the AI standalone assistants will approach the 100-million mark by the end of 2018, making it almost 2.5 times bigger than at the end of 2017. The market will keep growing, more than doubling in size to reach 225 million units by 2020, a faster rate of distribution then web or mobile.

Amazon AI assistant devices account for over 50% of the installed base in 2018, while Google’s Home series account for 30%. Apple’s HomePod models account for 4% of the 2018 base. Yet none of these solutions were properly available for the Asian market, and none were robust enough for Neovate to consider for their buildings in South East Asia.

“Consumers face challenges when first using intelligent devices, especially digital voice assistants. The most common complaint is voice recognition not working properly, especially in Asia. In terms of functionality, Wisp integrates all of the aspects of living, including: home environment, safety and security and entertainment, delivering a fully automated home with mass market appeal.”

The demand for digital voice assistants is not only increasing, but these services are also satisfying consumers’ wants and needs. Accenture’s Digital Consumer Survey in 2017 included 26,000 people from 26 countries and found that 46% of surveyed US consumers are using standalone “voice-enabled digital assistants”. These numbers were even higher in India and China — 55%. As use and market adoption increases, the rise of the truly interconnected home AI assistant will be apparent, and soon the standard – with Wisp leading the pack.

On the matter of integration, Helmy continued, “Upon the completion of the building in 2022, all of the devices and appliances installed in our properties will be integrated and controlled through one simple interface. Currently, most smart gadgets cannot interact with standalone AI assistants or each other. Most of these brands stick to their proprietary standards and interfaces, creating a situation where connecting different devices under one main system is a nightmare, if not impossible. We are creating the technology capable of connecting all of these devices and integrating an artificial intelligence entity through which users can interact with their home and outside services while the technology fades into the background.”

Neovate has attracted some of the world’s most respected and specialised professionals for this project, with Tech leaders who worked at Google, Dell and Amazon before as a key part of the development team. The attention to this project has been phenomenal as they have already attracted private investors in Neopod One and in Wisp with no marketing, rather, simply by word of mouth. “We have interest from all over the world,” Helmy concluded, “including other property developers, AI innovators and appliance manufacturers, asking how they can become part of this project, which makes us even more confident that we are on the right track. But we will never lose sight of our goal, which is to make every home a place where life is easiest.”


About Neovate

Neovate is a solution driven property development firm renewing the way people build, live, and work in urban centres. They aim to build the most innovative property developments; projects that solve persisting problems of society using high efficiency and technology to bring the greatest satisfaction to residents.

Neovate reimagines how people interact with their homes, schools, and offices, provides them with new exciting and ultra-convenient living experiences, and develops new solutions that enhance prosperity and living standards. In doing so, we advance our way of life towards the next level as a civilization.