Prior to Xiaomi coming to the U.S. market, it appears that they want to beef up their speech recognition and digital assistant. In recent years, Xiaomi has invested heavily in speech recognition. Its voice-activated smart assistant Xiaoai, as shown above, claims to support two-way natural continuous conversation on Xiaomi-branded smartphones and is used in their XiaoAI Smart Speaker that competes with Google and Amazon smartspeakers.
It's now being reported in Hong Kong that Xiaomi's Founder Lei Jun has announced that Daniel Povey, the father of speech recognition toolkit Kaldi, will become their chief voice scientist.
Povey, who was formerly an associate professor in Johns Hopkins University’s language and speech processing department, made his maiden public appearance at the 2019 Xiaomi Developer Conference, which opened yesterday in Beijing.
Povey hinted of such a move back in mid-October on this Twitter account followed by a twee yesterday confirming that he had officially signed on with Xiaomi.
... this is offical now, I have signed with Xiaomi.— Daniel Povey (@dpovey1) October 19, 2019
Initially created by Povey and other collaborators as part of a Johns Hopkins University workshop in 2009, the Kaldi platform brings together global scientists and researchers to use a wide range of applications in speech recognition, speech synthesis, sound production, and machine learning.