YouView Box for BT - Using Voice Control For The Sight Impaired

Dave_SDave_S Member Posts: 1
This is my first post.
My father is sight impaired; not yet blind but , due to macular degeneration, has very poor eyesight. He can see enough to enjoy football when it's full screen (though he can't recognise individual players and relies on the commentary) but struggles to identify the tiny screen images when he tries to navigate recordings.
The arrival of the ability to pair with Amazon devices and use the Alexa skill for voice control would seem a gamechanger for people like my father and the 350,000 other people that are registered blind or partially sighted in the UK. You would think that there would be some profit to be had in catering to this market, as well as for the many thousands of other disabled and elderly people who would love to exercise some personal choice in how they experience media thereby retaining a degree of control over their lives..
Unfortunately it seems that little attention and few resources are given to this burgeoning , and pretty much captive, market.
The Alexa skills for YouView and BT are pathetically basic. All one can do is a basic search for a particular TV programme. 
When will voice control be given the development time and attention it really needs to be taken seriously and become a really useful tool rather than the toy it currently is? 

While there are many commands I may not have thought of , a few that would be useful include:
"Play the latest episode of [name of programme]"
"Show me all my recordings"
"Show me recordings of [name of programme] that I haven't watched yet" 
"Play the next recording of [name of programme] that I haven't watched yet" 
"Tell me my options" [List icons on screen and ask for action {select (if menu item),play,next,back}]
"Go back [x] minutes"
"Volume Up"
"Volume Down"
"Start Audio Description"
"Stop Audio Description"
"Delete all watched recordings"
"Delete watched recordings of [name of programme]"
"Show Channel Guide"
"Read/Tell me what's on TV now/on [day]/at [time]/this [afternoon,evening] [starting from/on  {channel name or number}]"  - Alexa normally provides a limited list and then gives the option to choose from the list or continue. This may be slow but , with the ability to reduce the initial list size by honing in on a specific channel to start from or time frame, it should be workable. Alexa does need to be programmed to be much more responsive, asking only relevant questions and to learn from previous responses, becoming , eventually, more conversational and less tiresomely robotic. This is the promise of AI and needs to be delivered through the better development of "skills".   

My poor 91-year old Dad is a strong believer that technology could be a great help to him in his condition but he is constantly frustrated when buying new "aids" that don't actually fulfil his needs. 
Is there any chance of any of this happening in the near future? 



  • kodikidkodikid Member Posts: 312
    edited 30 July 2020, 1:58PM
    Afraid if you want to make full use of Alexa you need to invest in a 4k fire cube, spookily enough another Amazon device which the cynical amongst us would suggest that Amazon are unlikely to develop Alexa for other companies. 
    Ignore this if you disagree. 
  • Stevef_fr8ysStevef_fr8ys Member, Super User Posts: 276 ✭✭
    Sadly there have been trials with many types of commands, but they all experienced issues. Hopefully these issues can be overcome, but I for one am not holding my breath.
  • VisionmanVisionman Member, Super User Posts: 9,857 ✭✭✭
    There are many people on here who were trialists on Alexa voice command with a view to helping the less physically abled. Sadly it failed badly as the background YouView software is just too complex. Alexa had to handle menus within menus within menus and it just couldn't do it. Voice command is still in its first formative few years and so is still basic. It does some things well. Others not at all.
    I'm now happy with the disagree icon, because its gone.
  • RoyRoy Member, Super User Posts: 15,905 ✭✭✭

    That is perhaps to misunderstand the relationships here. It is up to the developers of Alexa ‘Skills‘ to provide the pathway between what is said to Alexa and what action the device it is said about then takes.

    While it is certainly up to Amazon to expand the range of what you can say to Alexa, and how context is best preserved, your cynicism would need to identify Alexa actions you can take on the Firecube which are outside the API available to external developers, and which are kept outside it to give Amazon some competitive advantage.

    Can you point me to any such?
    These tests for COVID-19 get right up my nose.
  • RoyRoy Member, Super User Posts: 15,905 ✭✭✭

    YouView offer quite a range of Accessibility features:-

    Have you worked through these to ensure that your father is getting the maximum possible benefit from assistive technologies other than Alexa?
    These tests for COVID-19 get right up my nose.
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