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Neospeech Addresses The Limitation Of The Text-To-Speech Technology

NeoSpeech specializes in creating text-to-speech (TTS) solutions that speak to you and your customers, clearly and naturally, without sacrificing quality or performance in 8 different languages with over 30 voices to choose from. Below is our interview with Trevor Jackins, Marketing Specialist at NeoSpeech:


Q: You’ve recently announced VoiceAlarm – an iOS alarm app that uses text-to-speech to announce custom messages; could you tell us something more?

A: We’ve always had a passion for seeing our text-to-speech voices improve people’s everyday lives. While making iOS apps isn’t our main business at all, we do it so we can allow anybody to use our technology for free in a way that benefits them.

VoiceAlarm is the latest example. We decided to create this app because we noticed two problems with traditional alarm clock apps. First, they didn’t fully utilize the technology available to them. Even though these apps were running on powerful smart phones, they still offered no additional features than the alarm clocks our grandparents used. You just set a time for it to go off and it did.

The second thing we noticed was that traditional alarm clock apps weren’t always fulfilling their purpose. When we say that we mean people set alarms at specific times with an intent to accomplish something. Maybe they want to wake up an hour earlier to work out, but when the alarm goes off at 5 am they’re too tired to think about why they wanted to wake up earlier and just hit the snooze button to fall back asleep.

VoiceAlarm addresses both of these issues. We built an alarm clock app that works just like any traditional alarm clock app out there, and then we integrated our text-to-speech technology into it. Whenever a user sets an alarm, they can write in a custom message that will be announced by one of our two text-to-speech voices when the alarm goes off.

The custom text-to-speech message makes each alarm more personalized, and can be used to help people motivate themselves to wake up earlier or complete certain tasks.

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Q: Could you explain the function and advantages of your text-to-speech technology?

A: The function of our text-to-speech technology is quite straight forward. We provide the technology that converts digital text into audible speech. We provide text-to-speech solutions to call centers, announcement systems, eLearning providers, medical devices, navigation devices, and many other types of industry leaders and application developers.

The main advantage of our text-to-speech technology is the quality. Since our foundation in 2002, NeoSpeech has been addressing the limitation of the text-to-speech technology and working hard to improve the quality of computerized voices. After many years of R&D investment, we succeeded in developing the most realistic, natural sounding text-to-speech voices that would even rival actual human speech.

Since then, we’ve set the standard for high-quality text-to-speech. We’ve accomplished this by improving the Unit Selection Synthesis (USS) technique. USS is one of the two main techniques used today to create text-to-speech engines.

It starts by taking over 20 hours of recordings from a voice actor, and then breaking it all down into linguistic segments (such as words and phonemes) and storing those into a speech database. Then, when our text-to-speech engine receives a request to convert text into speech, it analyzes the text, searches the database to find all the parts of speech needed, and then puts them together to generate beautiful sounding speech.

Another big advantage is that we optimize our solutions for our customer’s needs. We package our text-to-speech engines with specific software development kits and APIs our customers need to build their own speech-enabled product. Whether they’re building a screen-reader for people with vision impairments or a call center server capable of hosting 100 calls at once, we can optimize our solutions for them.

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Q: Tell us something more about TTS On Demand?

A: Our TTS On Demand is one of our cloud-based solutions. We provide this software as a service tool as a simple and easy to use way to generate sound files instantly.

Generally, to have a text-to-speech application run on your computer, you would have to download the whole engine onto your device, and then you’d only be able to access the engine from that one device. Our TTS On Demand solution eliminates the need for that by allowing anyone on any device to connect to our text-to-speech engine over the internet.

Once you login to our site you can listen to any length of text you wish to be spoken. You can edit the pitch, volume, and speed of the speech, and then download it when it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Let’s say there’s an article online that you have trouble reading. You can copy the text into our TTS On Demand tool and listen to the article instead, or download the speech onto your phone and listen to it on your drive to work.

We offer a pay-per-use model, so signing up for an account is free. And anyone who signs up gets 50 free credits, so I strongly recommend trying it out if you’re interested in text-to-speech. In addition, we offer “Web Service” that is designed for software developers who want to dynamically control our TTS engine via our web-based API and integrate it into their applications and services. In comparison to On Demand, the Web Service API offers much more powerful speech integration for professional software developers and application providers.

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Q: What are your plans for the next year?

A: One of the main benefits of text-to-speech is that it makes technology more accessible to all. Keeping that in mind, we want to make our high-quality text-to-speech voices accessible to all by releasing more new languages.

We currently offer more than 30 voices in 8 different languages. Just this year alone we released our first Taiwanese and Cantonese Chinese voices, as well as our first male Canadian French voice.

We plan on releasing more new languages so we can offer our text-to-speech solutions to anyone in the world. And we’re always working on ways to better optimize our product packages so developers out there can build the next great speech-enabled solution using our technology.

Q: How would you convince the reader to start using VoiceAlarm?

A: If I could talk to them face-to-face, I’d ask them how their current alarm clock is working. Do they always wake up on time? Do they set early alarms only to snooze through them? If so, I’d tell them to give VoiceAlarm a try. We tend to forget that voice is a very powerful tool. Just hearing an inspiring message or even a simple reminder can be enough to push someone out of bed in the morning.

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