Friday, November 17, 2017

It's Official! AirKast and Cortana: Streaming quality radio content using the Cortana Skills Kit

All of us at AirKast are thrilled to announce our official partnership with Microsoft and Cortana Skills!

With the launch of the new Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, consumers now have access to a home speaker that combines premium Harman Kardon audio with Cortana’s intelligence. The speaker comes with first-party music integrations to Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, but there are a number of 3rd party skills that utilize the audio streaming functionality of the Cortana Skills Kit to provide premium audio content to consumers. AirKast, one of our partners, worked closely with the team to build on these features to ship a number of radio skills for Cortana.


AirKast is a category leader in audio streaming that works with over 60 media companies -- including CBS Radio News, Fox Radio News, and Cumulus Media. AirKast uses it's proprietary technology to create applications that are used for listening and interacting with radio station streams and advertisings.

Working closely with the Cortana team, AirKast was able to publish multiple skills in a short duration using the Microsoft Bot Framework and the audio streaming capability of the Cortana Skills Kit. One of their Cortana Skills, for CBS News Radio, helps you listen to live CBS news feed on Cortana from anywhere - just say "Hey Cortana, Open CBS News Radio".

Larry Leung, CEO of AirKast Inc., says "We are just getting started and wanted to show the world what is possible with Cortana and IoT. We at AirKast are thrilled about the engagement so far and its potential to further advance our customers’ presence; it’s just the beginning."

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To learn more and discover the currently available skills, visit:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Microsoft's Cortana and AirKast: A Match Made In Heaven.

It's nearly impossible to turn on a television, open a magazine, walk into a retail store, shop online or turn on the radio without hearing about a new smart speaker.  The world is rapidly changing to a 'screen-less' world and your voice, now more than ever is in control.

This holiday season, smart speakers will be the hottest gift item due to their low cost and infinite power as a digital assistant.  Simple tasks such as finding time and weather, recipes, sports scores and news headlines become as easy as saying "start" or "play".

AirKast is proud to have been asked to be a beta partner in the development of Cortana smart speaker skills for Microsoft.   The newly released "Invoke" speaker from Harman-Kardon is the newest entry into the home entertainment world.  It's sleek design, numerous speakers for high fidelity playback and tap pad for shortcuts are just part of this amazing new product. Inside the Invoke are three woofers, three tweeters, two passive radiators, and a 40 - watt amplifier that creates a 360 degree sound that can fill a room and seven microphones so it can hear you from anywhere. Check out the full capabilities here.

What also differentiates the Cortana is that it not only works with smart speakers, it's compatible and/or pre-installed on all Windows 10 personal computers and Xbox and even your Android and Apple phones; opening up a whole new world beyond its competitors.  This ubiquitous distribution across multiple platforms is the first step in voice activation, anywhere, anytime and on any device.  It integrates with Skype, Linkedin, Outlook and Office 365 to name a few creating seamless integration into your daily personal and business life.  Another difference is that Cortana works with "AI or Artificial Intelligence" Bot's, little pieces of code that control your voice commands.  No more need to install skills or say "Alexa play" all you have to do is tap Cortana say "Start" and your audio session begins.

The world of AI in 2017 will be everywhere from personal assistants and smart speakers to industrial automation, the power of the human voice is changing the world at lightning speed and AirKast will continue to build smart speaker skills on all platforms for our clients as they emerge.