Connected Devices/Projects/Vaani

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Status: Closed

Vaani is no longer a gate 0 approved project. Although Project Vaani is currently closed, work is still being done for a IoT voice platform. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to this voice initiative, please click here.

Vaani aims to bring a voice to the Internet of Things (IoT) using open, Mozilla-backed technologies. We believe a voice interface is the most natural way to interact with connected devices, but currently, there are no open solutions available at scale. With Vaani, we plan to offer an "IoT enabler package" to developers, device makers, and end users who want to add a voice interface to their devices in a flexible and customizable way, while avoiding the need to “lock-in” with one of the major commercial players. Initially, Vaani will target smart homes, but will eventually expand to voice-enable a wider range of applications of IoT.

If you would like to get involved with Project Vaani as a tester, developer or adviser, you can get in touch with our connected devices participation team.

Project overview

At present, there is gap in the industry for an open voice solution for connected devices and IoT, and the existing commercial players are moving quickly to lock-in users, partners and developers. This is part of their "staircase" approach by building steps like voice interface, IoT back-end, user data collection, and AI, to create long term lock-in. For example, if you are a hardware maker or a developer looking to voice-enable your gadget, the most clearly defined path is to commit to one of the big players.

We believe we need to challenge the status quo here. At least, create a "wedge in the door" before everything becomes completely closed. Merely enabling a voice interface should not have to lock you down. Imagine if you could only buy an Apple or Samsung device if you wanted to use touch interface. Voice is critical, especially for connected devices, as user interfaces make way for other user experiences as we go about their daily lives.

Project status - Vaani Local

Before we decide to build a platform or create a set of technologies to enable this, our approach is to first focus on the releasing a narrowly defined product that solves a specific consumer problem(s). So far, we have conducted several market surveys and user studies with initial concepts. During these, we consistently heard one specific problem about taking mental notes to keep track of "things to do" or "items to buy" (e.g. shopping lists) etc. People complained that their mental notes do not work (e.g. not remembering what to buy when at the store) and creating lists with pen & paper (or with apps) has a lot of friction involved when your hands are busy with a laundry or while carrying a baby.

We broke down this user pain point into a narrow goal for us below -

Goal: Remove friction from creating lists (& provide reminders when it matters)

and formed a following hypothesis based on this:


We believe that

  • … (target audience) smartphone-equipped grocery decision makers (Women between 25 and 40 years old, living in North America urban areas, who work full time and run a 3 to 5 person household)
  • … (current solution) who are currently making shopping lists with pen and paper or smartphone applications
  • … (problem) find it cumbersome to create and use these lists when shopping

Solution and Benefit

  • ... by building a device that takes voice commands and creates lists with a note-taking app
  • ….we will provide a faster and easier way to create shopping lists than what they are currently using.

We will know this to be true when we see that a majority of participants who use the prototype for (..x.. days) prefer this device to their current solution, and believe this device provides a faster and easier way of creating lists.

You can view the lean canvas here.

We are currently in a validation phase of our product innovation process. If you would like get involved, you may get in touch with our connected devices participation team.

Vaani's code is on GitHub.

The current milestones

Status Key
Milestone Date Status
Legal review - User testing form to sign complete 8/19/16 Done
Finance approved 7/5/16 Done
Nascent Objects Shipping Timeline Confirmed 7/17/16 - 7/23/16 Done
Beta version of software ( 7/1/16 Done
Vaani internal software testing 7/1/16 - 7/15/16 Done
Nascent Objects Shipping to Berlin ETA 7/15/16 -7/23/16 Done
Find Mozilla Users to Test With + Sign Legal Doc for Data Collection 7/29/16 Done
Berlin Troubleshoots Hardware and Sends to End Users 7/25/16 - 8/22/16 Done
***User testing of prototype 8/29/16- 9/12/16 Done
Surveys for User Testing Complete + Analyzed 9/19/16 Done
User Testing of the Prototype Complete 9/19/16 Done
Color Status Key
On Target The project or deliverable is expected to meet its due date.
Challenged The project or deliverable is facing an issue that might cause it to miss its due date, but a “get well” plan has been developed to get it back on track.
At Risk or Late The project or deliverable is blocked or facing an issue that might cause it to miss its due date, and there’s no “get well” plan to get it back on track, or it is already late.
Done The project or deliverable has been completed.
On Hold The project or deliverable has been placed on hold.


  • Sandip Kamat - Product Management (@sankam on Twitter)
  • Andre Natal - Speech Engineer
  • Kelly Davis - Speech Engineer
  • Tilman Kamp - Engineer
  • David Flanagan - Engineer
  • Chris Lord - Engineer
  • Gregor Wagner - Engineer Manager
  • Tiffanie Shakespeare - UI/UX
  • Mahendranadh Potharaju - Release Manager
  • Brian King - Participation
  • Lindsay Saunders - Program Manager
  • Mihaela Zahariev - User Research