We sat down with Felicia D’Ascanio, territory sales manager at Josh, to chat about one of our favorite topics: voice control.
What was the inception of Josh?
The idea came from Alex Capecelatro and Tim Gill, Josh’s CEOs. Alex wanted a solution to control his home and was very frustrated with the options out there. There wasn’t anything all-encompassing that also included voice. He partnered with Tim to start the programming for the voice side of things about 11 years ago.
What sets Josh apart from products like Google Voice and Amazon’s Alexa?
Those are voice assistants and we are more of a voice companion. We’re focused on the integrator channel–full home control–not only through voice but also through a beautifully designed app, so you can move through all the different ways to control your home, and voice is a layer of that. We also have a ton of functionality outside of voice.
We’re focused on simplicity and language processing; you can have nicknames for every type of scene, which allows flexibility and ease of use. End users have the ability to be more conversational than with other products. I can say, “Okay Josh, let’s turn on the lights, open the shades, and play Billie Eilish outside.” That’s a compound command, which is natural language processing–I can say three different commands at once instead of breaking it up.
Josh also has room awareness–the ability for a user to walk into the room and say, “Turn on the lights.” You don’t have to say “in the kitchen”–it knows contextually that you’re in this room because of the microphone you’re near.
But what really sets us apart is the privacy-centric part of our product–it’s the backbone of everything we design. There’s no IP address associated with it, and we use military-grade encrypted information. Everything is kept under very close wraps and we don’t let that info be tied to any specific user. Voice is new for a lot of people and it is the technology of the future; it’s going to be in every home eventually, so it’s important we are keeping those conversations at home private and confidential–especially since so many people are working from home now and we’re having more sensitive conversations at home.
What other unique features does Josh bring to the table?
Not only can you control each device and room individually, but you can create scenes as well. You can also talk to Josh through the app, so even if you don’t have a microphone in that room, you can pick up your phone and use the near-field mic in your app.
There’s a time and place to use voice, which is why we want to give these multiple ways to control it. If you’re having a party and the music is loud, you don’t want to scream at the device; you can go to your phone and control it through the app.
Who is the ideal user for Josh Micro and Josh Nano?
If you’re just dipping your toes into voice command, Micro is a way to start. Micro is perfect for retrofits–if you aren’t able to wire to a location, Micro runs on WiFi as well, which allows the ability to use it as a table top device or mounted on a wall. Nano is great for really custom homes because it’s a piece that completely disappears into the environment, and it’s a lot more designer-friendly in that way. It’s PoE (Power over Ethernet) only, so it’s ideal for renovations that allow you to get into walls or new construction. You can also use a combination of the two.
Then there’s Core, which acts as the brain of the smart home. It communicates with Nano, Micro, and the app. It offers VoiceLink, which allows simultaneous voice feedback, and voice cast, which integrates with Sonos.
How did Acoustic Architects and Josh connect?
Alex and the Acoustic Architects team had been talking about working together for a long time. Josh had come really far from its inception, and Acoustic Architects was ready to come onboard.
What do you value the most about collaborating with Acoustic Architects?
The brainstorming, their ability to spitball back and forth, is inspiring and what we look for in dealers. Their cohesiveness as a team is really important and shows they are willing to work together toward a common goal, and that means their clients are approached in a way that makes them feel heard, seen, and taken care of. Even if things do come up, they are very solution driven.
How are you and Acoustic Architects working symbiotically to meet each other’s needs?
As of right now, we’ve identified some upcoming projects and are seeing how we can work together to provide the resources they need. We only sell Josh through certified dealers, and they have gone through the certification. They are a really brilliant team. We’re seeing how we can better help them with those resources and for their clients.
How have the demands in home automation changed your approach as a provider?
Voice, as i said, is the interface of the future. We are finding more and more interest in voice, but at the same time, we’ve seen people frustrated with other products on the market because those products aren’t very intuitive. People are already ready for a change. Also, if people feel they are being listened to all the time and recorded–and they are–they want another solution, and that’s where we come in. The ambition of these big companies is to transform how you operate, and not in a healthy way–we offer something different.
What are you doing to prepare for the increase in home automation demand?
It’s important to us that clients feel confident that we are here with them in mind, and with the dealer in mind, and making things simpler for them. We’re here to stick around and be a leader in what voice is going to look like for everyone. Especially the natural-language side–that in itself is a huge wake that we are making in how we should be able to talk to our homes.
So, what does the future of voice look like?
Adoption of voice is going to become bigger and bigger. The dealers who offer voice now are on the forefront of that charge. Over time, everything is going to integrate with voice. All devices, all remote controls. It’s already starting with our phones, some remotes–some providers are doing that. The great thing about Josh is some of these voice systems we do integrate with, like Roku for example, we integrate with natively. That gives us the ability to simply say, “Let’s watch Netflix,” and Josh turns on the TV, opens the Roku app, and I can then move to my Roku remote or use voice there. We’ll see more of that in the future.
Voice allows us more free time and more intentional time as well. I can set my phone aside and control my space by voice. Sometimes I just want to forget about my phone. Although voice is technology, it’s something that’s there in the background that allows you to be in your space without having to notice that technology is around.
Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.
If you would like to learn more about Josh.ai, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.
For more information, visit acousticarchitects.net.
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