Use a Google Calendar to add upcoming events to your voice app
You can now connect a public Google Calendar to your voice app using Soundcheck. This lets your voice app easily respond to questions about upcoming events, classes, games, and more.
With Soundcheck you add "topics" to a voice app to give it interaction. Topics are things like "Company Details" or "New Announcements." Each topic has a set of questions it can respond to and is hooked up to an information source for the response. We are pleased today to announce a new topic type called "Upcoming Events".
The "Upcoming Events" topic answers two types of questions:
What's happening now?
These questions can apply to a broad range of schedule types. For example, it could be a schedule of classes, games, or events. As an example I connected the topic to the UVA sports schedule. Play the audio below for a recording of the response to what's the next event as of Friday, December 6.
The audio below is a live example that pulls directly from the calendar.
Summarizing calendar events with audio isn't as trivial as it might initially seem. The algorithm running behind the scenes takes a lot of factors into account. It tries to give enough useful information without sounding wordy or unnatural. In order to do this, the algorithm will try to group events by starting time, make smart decisions about how many future events to include in the response, and intelligently handle all-day events differently from shorter events. In addition it strives to create a response that sounds like normal speech instead of a dictated list. This means structuring sentences differently for no events, a single event, for two events, or for more than two events.
The "Upcoming Events" topic currently works with any public Google Calendar. You just need to set up your calendar for sharing and then get the link to it. Then add the "Upcoming Events" topic in Soundcheck and copy in your calendar link.
We hope to add more topics that relate to calendar events soon. One we are already working on is the "Schedule" topic. This will integrate with a calendar and be able to answer questions along these lines:
What is your schedule today?
What is the schedule on Tuesdays?
What are the classes tomorrow?
If you have ideas for more calendar topics, drop us a note and maybe we can build it for you!