Project Link Proposal/The Home User Agent

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Proposal Overview

  • For better or for worse, the smartphone is already the User Agent for most people. On the other hand, the form factor of the smartphone is ill-suited for the house. This proposal is about providing a device that complements the smartphone for use in the house.
  • The Home User Agent is a set of devices that lets users interact with their smartphone(s) by voice, from any room in the house.
  • As a first delivery of features, the Home User Agent lets users receive/reject/place phone calls, hands-free, and serves as an interphone. Post-launch updates progressively increase the set of available features, including managing schedules and connectivity to other devices in the house (e.g. the SmartTV).

Technical documentation

  • Each room is outfitted with a cheap speaker/microphone device (the Drone) that relays instructions to a smarter device (the Queen), connected to the Smartphone. Each Drone can be used as a voice interface for the smartphone.
  • Speech Recognition and Text To Speech can be handled either by the Queen, by the Smartphone, by a third-party service to be determined. This can even be changed post-launch by an upgrade and/or a preference change.
  • An application running on the Smartphone handles telephony and contacts, ensures synchronization of data between the phone and the Queen. Longer-term, this application serves to interact with specific applications on the SmartPhone.
  • A daemon running on the Queen handles routing of telephony to the appropriate Drone. Longer-term, this daemon will handle connection with other devices (using FoxLink), as well as services that require Always On support (using Thinkerbell or a variant thereof).
  • In a house with more than one Queen, each Drone can be paired with one Queen or more.
  • For the MVP, this proposal targets only recent Android Smartphones.