Alisa vs Alexa: Yandex launches Russian-language voice assistant

By bne IntelliNews October 11, 2017

Russian online giant Yandex has launched a voice assistant, "Alisa", available on Android and iOS and, as a beta-version, on Windows, the company said on October 9.

Based on neural networks technology, the assistant can recognise speech, understand the user's request and provide assistance. Yandex claims that "Alisa" is more than just a voice assistant, but a character with a personality and a sense of humour.

The voice of "Alisa" is Russian actress Tatyana Shitova, known for dubbing Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson in Russian versions of her movies. Amazon's virtual assistant, "Alexa", doesn't have a Russian language version. 

Currently, "Alisa" can work with several Yandex services, including the search engine, maps, music and weather.

"We want "Alisa" to speak with people in their language rather than impose her own, as it was the case with computer interfaces in the past," Denis Filippov, head of the speech technology division at Yandex, said in the company's statement.

He added that "Alisa" can recognise normal human speech with incomplete sentences and mispronunciations.

Yandex is also in the process of developing an audio device that would be able to recognise human speech, Vedomosti reported.

In late September, Yandex presented "Alisa" to President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the company's headquarters.

However, the voice assistant struggled to answer the president's questions, responding to Putin's inquiry as to “Are they mistreating you here?” by saying “I’ll take it into account.”

When Putin asked what "Alisa" was doing, she replied, "Looking at recent pictures of cats on Yandex. Cats are the best!"

 

 

In April –June, Yandex saw its revenue rise 23% y/y to RUB22.1bn (€316mn).

The company's advertising revenues, which made up 95% of the top line, were up 21% y/y to RUB20.9bn, while other revenues, mostly comprised of Yandex.Taxi’s revenues, rose 59% y/y to RUB1.2bn.

Yandex - KEY METRICS

 

2014

2015

2016E

2017E

2018E

Financials, $ mln

         

Revenues

1,337

986

1,037

1,272

1,418

EBITDA

554

346

366

476

548

EBITDA margin

41%

35%

35%

37%

39%

Net income

549

160

122

173

207

EPS (adj), $

1.13

0.63

0.68

0.92

1.07

Div/share, $

0

0

0

0

0

Valuation, Gearing and Yield

         

EV/EBITDA

6.4

13.1

18.3

13.3

11

P/E

10.6

23.9

32.8

24.4

20.8

P/CF

9.9

15.6

20.1

15.7

14

Net debt/EBITDA

neg

neg

neg

neg

neg

Dividend yield

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

Growth

         

Revenues

8%

-26%

5%

23%

12%

EBITDA

2%

-38%

6%

30%

15%

EPS (adj)

-3%

-44%

8%

35%

17%

Sector Valuation

       

EV/EBITDA

7.5

12.7

15.1

12

10

P/E

9.8

21.5

26.2

21

18.4

P/CF

4.2

15.9

18.5

15.1

13.6

Sector Growth

       

Revenues

5%

-28%

1%

18%

11%

EBITDA

-1%

-35%

0%

20%

13%

EPS

13%

-42%

8%

25%

 

Main Shareholders

       

Baring Vostok

   

4.50%

 

Founders and senior management

10.90%

       

Other

5.40%

       

Free float

75.40%

       

Treasury shares

3.80%

       

Website

         

http://company.yandex.com

         

 

 

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