Spokestack Offers Streamlined Development for Mobile App Custom Voices
Voice technology developer Spokestack has launched a simplified version of its custom mobile app voice interfaces that can be rapidly deployed by mobile app developers and connected to Google Assistant and Siri. The new Spokestack Tray packages speech and wake word recognition, natural language processing, and every other necessary component into what the company refers to as a mobile library. Developers can edit around the edges for basic customization, but the idea is that Spokestack Tray is easy and fast to set up, despite lacking the unique fingerprint of the custom voice assistant designed by Spokestack for its clients.
Spokestack’s customizable voice assistant runs within any app that integrates the technology. Spokestack Tray comes as a kit that walks developers through writing the conversational cues and responses for the app’s interactions with users. But the basic skeleton of the voice assistant is in place. The developers are fleshing out the details, while the technical details of supporting voice interactions are taken care of by Tray, speeding up the whole development cycle. To demonstrate Spokestack Tray, the company published a mobile app for iOS and Android called Bartender. You can test it out yourself or see a bit of how it works in this video.
“Spokestack Tray is the manifestation of all these conversations we’ve had with developers. It became clear there was a need to further package the conversational interface and that it just needs to be a user interface component someone can add to their app,” Spokestack CEO Mike Tatum told Voicebot in an interview. ” What we’ve realized is that most mobile developers don’t know how to be voice developers. They think in touch and type, but, they are interested in voice, even if almost none have built an Alexa or Google Assistant skill. A blank slate turned out to be too much of a burden for many of them. They want light customization like we offer with Tray.”
The turnkey approach of Spokestack Tray stands out in comparison to the company’s standard, much closer relationship with clients. Spokestack released the initial customized voice for mobile apps in January. Then in June, the company added a complementary ability to make voice-enabled mobile apps perform like voice apps on smart speakers. Tray extends Spokestack’s previous creations into a more self-serve direction. Clients willing to pay to work with Spokestack to get a completely personalized voice control system with any voices and sounds they want and can afford.
Spokestack is not unique in looking to help connect mobile apps to a custom voice interface. It doesn’t operate at the scale of companies like SoundHound as of yet, however, and Tatum made a point of mentioning that Spokestack’s software is open-source on GitHub, which SoundHound’s Houndify platform is not. And while companies like Cerence, Resemble AI’s online option for turning recordings into voice assistants, and speech synthesis startup Replica Studios, can design and generate artificial voices that can say anything, they aren’t able to merge with mobile apps as easily. They also can’t point to Spokestack’s focus on data privacy. As with the earlier products, Spokestack Tray operates on the device, keeping customer information private. Already, a few dozen companies have signed up to try out Spokestack Tray, with more in the wings, according to Tatum
“A lot of companies looking for ways to use voice technology independently from Apple or Google, and Tray can give them a lot of the answers they are looking for. The biggest interest has been from financial and fintech companies that want to offer privacy and find voice to be a good use case. Exercise companies and retail firms are also very interested because of how retail has changed [due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis],” Tatum said. “Tray condenses the voice UI stack into something easy for a user interface developer to use. It’s like a color-by-numbers painting.”