New virtual assistant may have you saying "OK Djingo" to your next phone

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It’s not enough that Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, Alexa, Bixby, and many other virtual assistants are on-hand every day, ready to help out with our every whim; there are still companies that think we need another one. The latest is named Djingo, and it’s a joint project between mobile networks Orange and Deutsche Telekom, which makes it a bigger deal than you may initially think.

Djingo has been announced at an event in Paris, France, and shown off as an Amazon Echo Dot-style speaker, but it will also be released as an app on devices, and there are plans to integrate it into a remote control for Orange’s set-top TV boxes. Unsurprisingly, it’s woken by an “OK Djingo” keyword, and the demonstration showed Djingo playing a requested audio track, and sending a tweet. It will also be able to make calls, send SMS, and control connected smart home devices.

So far, nothing new; but it’s the wide reach of Orange and Deutsche Telekom that makes Djingo djinteresting. Orange is the top mobile operator in France, and has networks throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It also has stakes in major online companies including music streaming service Deezer, and video site Dailymotion. Orange is co-developing Djingo with Deutsche Telekom, and the two companies are working together on both the hardware and software. Deutsche Telekom also operates and backs networks throughout Europe, often under the T-Mobile brand, which it also uses in America. Both networks also operate television services.

There has been no announcement regarding where Djingo will launch, or if it will be pre-installed on smartphones released by any of the Orange and Deutsche Telekom networks around the world. However, the combined audience of both these companies is easily in the many hundreds of millions, and research estimates the artificial intelligence market could be worth at least $16 billion by 2022. It’s unlikely either will want to ignore the potential. Additionally, Orange says Djingo will be compatible with AI systems from Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

Amazon and Google may have a new challenger on their hands, but neither need lose sleep just yet. Djingo is still in the development phase, and is expected to be released in early 2018, plus Samsung has shown how hard it is to get AI assistants right first time out.

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