Yesterday, February 26 at the MWC in Barcelona, Telefonica launched Aura (AI-powered digital assistant) in 6 countries and announced Moviestar Home (smart home device). Both the technologies were exhibited by company chairman-CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete.
According to Chema Alonso, chief data officer for the Spanish telco giant, these devices are ‘just the beginning.’ The company is among the top 3 of Europe’s biggest telecom as per metrics. Their works entail fiber, mobile and TV connectivity to value-added service supply, and big data. With the two latest devices, Telefonica stepped into the markets of cognitive intelligence and smart home entertainment and communications.
Alvarez-Pallete as well revealed that the company is working with other European major telecoms like Deutsche Telekom, KPN and Orange on creating a new global data portability ecosystem. This will enable users to have access to usage data while traveling.
Aura was announced at last year’s MWC, and its first release will cover the markets of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Spain, U.K. and Germany; starting this Friday through the weekend. It will be delivered to devices via mobile app in Spain, or via third-party channels like Facebook Messenger in Germany and Chile being integrated with Safety Check on Facebook.
Furthermore, Telefonica will be the first telecom to integrate the smart assistant with Google Assistant. Scott Hoffman, the company VP at the MWC stage said that their 120 million customers use Android devices.
Gurpreet Singh Pall from Bing and Cortana Products Global Ecosystem confirmed that later in 2018 will see Aura being integrated with Microsoft Cortana as well, starting in the U.K. in Alvarez-Pallete’s words: “Aura is Telefonica’s new customer relationship model based on cognitive intelligence.” He added: “Telefonica has become a platform of platforms.”
The smart assistant has been launched under different names, like O2 Ask in the U.K. It will focus on detecting user interests, and with evolution will be able to recommend concerts or coffee shops to the users, as stated by Mark Evans representing O2 Ask. It will also give info to prepaid users regarding the remainder of credit or data in respective accounts, clarified by Christian Gebara representing Vivo of Telefonica in Brazil.
As for Telefonica’s home Spain, it was the Moviestar Home that gained more attraction. The home device will be launched by the fall this year. Being integrated with Aura, it will allow users to project their voice and video calls onto the TV screen. Other benefits include voice control of TV sets, channel selection, recording programs, and even asking for recommendations.
Alvarez-Pallete hinted that Telefonica will reveal its progress on 5G and cognitive intelligence by the next year. Stay with us for the next updates on Telefonica’s innovations and the MWC 2018.