How Spokestack Gives Mobile App Their Own Branded Voice Assistant
Voice technology developer Spokestack debuted a new platform for building voice assistants with custom voices for mobile apps this week. The new system lets companies personalize the voice control of their mobile app with whatever voice and sounds they choose, instead of relying on the default of the mobile device like Siri or Google Assistant.
The Voice of a Brand
Most mobile apps rely on the voice assistant that the device builder provides. That limits what a user’s voice can do and what the voice assistant sounds like to the options provided by the mobile device maker. What Spokestack offers is a customizable voice assistant within the app, usable once the app has been opened by Siri or whichever voice assistant the device runs. Now, those mobile apps using Spokestack’s platform can have a unique sound to go with their unique commands.
“We offer a developer library for voice assistants in mobile apps. What’s new is that we are adding custom voices so that customers can pick and design the synthetic voice they want,” Spokestack CEO Mike Tatum told Voicebot in an interview. “We’re trying to be the Twilio of voice interfaces and take the load off of the app developers. They can easily put the voice they want into the mobile app and have a private conversation with their customer.”
As an example, Tatum pointed to how Motel 6 could use Spokestack to give its app the voice of spokesperson Tom Bodett, having him answer questions and book rooms for customers when they open up the app on their device. All it takes is a few minutes of audio recordings and the app will have a branded voice. The quality of the voice depends on how much is recorded and the fidelity of the recordings, but Tatum said the voice is easy to understand.
“The voice won’t trick anyone into thinking it’s not synthetic, but it’s distinct and helps brand the app,” Tatum said. “We give our customers the freedom to make [their app] sound like their brand.”
Mobile Synthetic Voice Value
There’s a growing understanding of the value of a voice assistant presence on a mobile device for brands. A survey by Voicebot of marketers ranked smartphones as the most important place for brands to have a voice app, well above smart speakers. As can be seen in the chart, smartphones and automobiles were ranked above smart speakers as the priority for a brand’s voice assistant.
As the technology for creating synthetic voices improves, the competition among platforms that can offer them is heating up. Startups and tech giants alike are rushing out tools for creating custom voice assistant sounds. That includes Cerence’s new tool for drivers to give their car voice assistant their own voice, Resemble AI’s online option for turning three-minute recordings into voice assistants, and Australian-born speech synthesis Replica Studios, which offers its own platform for a similar purpose.
The big platform developers like Amazon and Google aren’t ignoring synthetic speech. Alexa and Google Assistant are both starting to imitate celebrity voices like Samuel L. Jackson and John Legend. But, those synthetic voices don’t do anything for individual brand apps who want to stand out from the larger voice assistant.
“Only a handful of brands have a custom voice so far, but there will be many more,” Tatum said. “The voices help customers navigate apps hands-free. We’re catching the front of the wave of hearables that let customers talk to mobile apps without their hands, but eventually, every company will need their own voice.”