The guiding philosophy behind every product and feature developed by the artificial intelligence technology company Endel is to build experiences that customers will love. According to Max Zaytsev, Endel’s chief product officer for voice, this mission applies to all of the company’s applications, including its services offered via Amazon Alexa.
AI Lullaby is one example of Endel’s efforts to deliver an innovative Alexa-powered experience. It’s a sleep soundscape that the company developed in collaboration with the music artist Grimes. The project combines human creativity with artificial intelligence to generate soundscapes that adapt to suit the user’s location, weather conditions, and natural light exposure.
“What’s cool about AI Lullaby on Alexa is that when you ask Alexa to start it, you can hear Grimes whisper soothing affirmations,” says Zaytsev. “This is the sort of careful detail that we use to make our Alexa experience differentiated and memorable.”
In 2022, the company released a new sleep soundscape called “Wind Down,” the product of a collaboration with musician James Blake. Like AI Lullaby, it combines art and science to redefine the bedtime ritual by focusing on the two hours prior to falling asleep. The project draws on the findings of Dr Roy Raymann of SleepScore Labs to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering the body into a restful state and preparing the mind for sleep.
Founded in 2018, Endel offers products that use the power of sound to help people focus, relax, and sleep. The products are powered by a patented technology that relies on inputs from the user’s immediate context to deliver personalized functional sounds in near real time. Relying on artificial intelligence and backed by neuroscience, these adaptive soundscapes offer users a customized wellness experience.
Endel’s offerings are available on multiple devices and applications, which is a key part of the company’s product strategy. Using Alexa has been a vital part of the product vision. The company has doubled down on voice by creating a product department for voice initiatives in late 2020.
“Our goal is to be available to users at all times, facilitating focus and relaxation whenever needed,” says Zaytsev.
Endel uses Alexa to further the voice experience in the following four areas:
1. Adaptive voice user interface
Endel uses voice user interfaces to enhance personalization for its users. One of its latest innovations is Smart Suggestions, which is available to Endel’s linked and paying customers. During the day, users open the Endel skill and receive soundscape suggestions tailored to their current ambience. Alexa then remembers the user’s choices and further customizes the suggestions to suit the user’s needs throughout the day.
Another way that Endel has augmented its customer experience is by taking advantage of Custom Tasks with Alexa Routines. Using this feature, developers can deliver specific functionalities from their skills as routine actions, removing the need for users to activate those experiences using voice input. Effectively, this means that Endel users can opt to automatically launch preconfigured actions as part of their preset Alexa Routines. This functionality offers convenience and helps users incorporate Endel into their daily lives with greater ease.
With this innovation, Endel sees the potential to further customize its offerings.
“In the future, we will introduce voice-activated custom Routines. In this case, Alexa will suggest routines that are appropriate to our users’ specific use patterns,” says Zaytsev.
Learn more about integrating custom tasks into Alexa routines here.
3. Multimodal experiences
To deliver a multimodal version of its skill, Endel is using Alexa Presentation Language (APL), a responsive layout language that lets developers build visuals to render on Alexa-activated multimodal devices. Endel has leveraged APL to develop a custom multimodal experience and introduced animated backgrounds tailored to each soundscape.
“This is the feature our app is very much loved for, and in the case of Alexa, it’s currently available on devices with bigger screens—Amazon Echo Show 10, Echo Show 15 and Amazon Fire TV,” says Zaytsev. “Alexa is so much more than voice – and our customers love the multi-modal experiences we are enabling with Endel.”
4. Alexa for automotive
Endel’s first foray into the automotive skills domain involves a use case that suggests an appropriate soundscape for when customers are in the car. For example, the AI technology powering Endel could suggest the “Focus” or “Relax” soundscapes depending on the user’s speed of movement.
“It’s very simple and graceful, and is a manifestation of the general direction we’re moving in as a company. Experiences like these are what will come to define computing in the ambient era, where the technology is ubiquitously available to people who want a functional soundscape, using as little cognitive load as possible,” says Zaytsev.
“Auto is a very promising surface for us, and we believe that it’s going to grow exponentially in the future.”
Learn more about designing automotive skills and explore best practices here.
Endel continues to create new high quality customer experiences with Alexa alongside the growing capabilities of its product.
“It’s a bit like learning a foreign language. It’s easy to take your first steps, and get your basic skill running with the fantastic framework that Alexa provides. After this initial foray, you can develop more multifaceted and intricate experiences as you progress,” says Zaytsev. “We are very proud of our user experience—be it voice only and multimodal—and we are always implementing the latest Alexa features that can provide high quality experiences for our customers.”