Comcast forms dedicated team to program X1 Voice Remote

(Image: Comcast)

With Comcast extending the reach of its X1 Voice Remote into the home automation piece of its business, the company announced that it has created a dedicated team for programming commands and functionality into the device. 

To further accelerate development of its voice technology, Bryan Kissinger, director of home product management for Comcast, said the operator “created a dedicated voice team, focused entirely on building voice integrations for connected home commands. The voice team works closely with the Xfinity Home apps team, ensuring that new features and tools are always considered within the context of voice control.”

Comcast introduced its Voice Remote in 2015, programming in a limited series of voice commands for the Universal Electronics-made device, all targeted to controlling the X1 video expirence. 

But Comcast has ambitions to extend X1’s functionality into home automation and security. 

In January, Comcast announced a series of new commands targeted to that segment. “Using these commands, customers can turn up the heat by simply saying, ‘Xfinity Home, I’m cold,” Kissinger said in a company blog post published today. 

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This complexity marks a key evolution for Comcast, he added, noting that Comcast first began extending its voice commands in 2016 with simple “guard words” like “Xfinity home, disarm.”

“Adding a guard word opened a lot of possibilities, but we still didn’t have a way to support more complex functions,” Kissinger said. The ability to add more complex, natural speaking terms came as the voice team began collaborating with the Applied Artificial Intelligence unit. 

The evolution of Comcast’s voice and artificial technology comes as the company has opened up its home automation business—last month, it began enabling all of the 15 million customers who have advanced Wi-Fi gateways to use home automation services.

It also comes amid some management turmoil. Last week, Comcast confirmed the departure of Xfinity Home GM Dan Herscovici. He’s being replaced by company veteran Dennis Mathew.