Islam, a quick introduction

Hi
I agree that the software to enable voice activated applications for Arabic is way behind. However, there have been some attempts in some Arab countries. For the current status of Voice Interaction Applications in Arabic, I have Googled around and compiled the following information for you. I hope this helps.
There is a company in Dubai, UAE called Votek (operating in Dubai Knowledge Village) who adapted an Arabic Speech Recognition Engine to work with smart phones. The app is available on the App Store for iOS devices. One domain of applications is to allow iPhone users to search Dubai Government Housing database using Arabic commands in Emirates dialect. Another domain is targeting the development of Smart Toys for kids. They developed a Toy in which the child inserts her/his smart Apple phone inside the Toy and interacts with the Toy in Arabic. The applications require iOS 7.0 or later and can be run on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. They have other applications. Any way here are some links you can get more information about Votek and their ambitions.
http://votek.me/
https://itunes.apple.com/ae/app/m-rf-alaskan/id926512630?mt=8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNI0pMF5eFw&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1A3Tc4WLDI
You can also go to these links from their main web page.
Apparently, Votek are very optimistic about the business opportunities for their products! And I am sure the business opportunities will grow with the increase in availability of more applications that will satisfy the market needs. You have to study the needs of the Arabic market for voice activated applications, in particular for popular smart devices, and make your business cases. However, as most Intelligent Personal Assistant Systems (IPAs), like Siri, Google Assistant and others, use already available online resources on internet to answer user queries and because such resources are predominately in English, the biggest hurdle, for voice activated application development, will be the development and availability of open source Arabic databases and online information resources on internet (however, this can be part of the development for special purposes).
I am sure you are more aware than me of the speech recognition engines, IPAs and the speech recognition API’s for Arabic and other languages that allow you to develop your Speech Activated Application. However, the following information is specific for Arabic speech applications and may be of interest for you.
Since 2015, Apple has released first Arabic version of Siri for its iOS devices, I think for iOS version 9 and over: https://www.thenational.ae/business/apple-releases-first-arabic-version-of-siri-1.110001
Recently they introduced the Apple Siri API SiriKit for application development:
https://developer.apple.com/sirikit/
Since they have Arabic support you can use the API to develop your specific Arabic voice activated applications.

I am not sure if Google Assistant and Google Assistant SDK support Arabic yet but I think that is forthcoming. It is a matter of time. However, since 2012 Google has developed Arabic Speech Recognition for many Arabic speech dialects.
It is available for iPhone and Android users. Check out the following links:
https://www.wamda.com/2012/03/arabic-speech-now-recognized-by-google
https://cloud.google.com/speech/docs/languages
https://cloud.google.com/speech/

Android and Google have Developer’s Platforms that allows developers to develop voice activated applications using their Speech Recognition API’s. I think you can use them for developing Arabic applications. Please check out the following links:
https://cloud.google.com/speech/docs/Voice interaction in Arabic. This is an area that has been growing very rapidly in North America (think Amazon Echo, Google Home, wearables like smart watches that rely predominantly on speech for interaction) and will continue to grow. The software required to enable anything like this is far behind in Arabic, and I am exploring 1) how to change that and 2) if there is a business opportunity at the moment in doing so.
http://code4reference.com/2012/07/tutorial-android-voice-recognition/
https://developer.android.com/reference/android/speech/SpeechRecognizer.html

Dragon Speech Recognition Engine was also available in Arabic for iOS users. Check out the following link:
https://thenextweb.com/me/2012/03/28/dragon-dictation-and-search-launch-arabic-voice-recognition-apps-in-saudi-arabia/

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The logistic options are a mix of companies, government, non-profits. A visit may help, but I think you’d need to make an appointment with an expert to guide and show you. I think the workings of logistics will be a bit hard to observe as an uninformed passerby in the city streets.
With the Festival approaching, I’m lacking the time to look up the right bell to ring. But we can talk about it when we meet in Brussels!

@youel Thanks for all the research! I am using a number of the technologies you were suggested in my research. I’ll keep you posted on how that evolves :slight_smile:

@winnieponcelet Sounds great, see you tomorrow!

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@imake : great projects. I love the Siri one with colloquial arabic (tunisian would be nice). I’m already dreaming about asking Chami (I just coined his name) “Win nejem nal9a a7sen chawarma fil bled ?” :wink:
More seriously, I hope that we will find time to discuss during the festival (yes I’m coming).

it’s always food :smile: