SoundHound Partners With ReadSpeaker to Make Branded AI Voices More Human
SoundHound is augmenting its Houndify voice AI platform with more lifelike, distinct voices using digital voice interface creator ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech (TTS) software. The combination gives Houndify developers more control in customizing a voice assistant that companies can introduce as their ‘sonic brand.’
Companies already use Houndify to build their own customized voice assistants to interact with customers in cars, at drive-thru restaurants, at hotels, and in social media apps like Snapchat. Houndify is popular because of its proficiency at understanding complicated requests with multiple commands embedded in casual language. By adding ReadSpeaker’s tech to the mix, those developers can now finetune the voices that customers hear to sound precisely how they want. Houndify developers can map out basics like gender, but also drill down into working out exactly the personality that matches best with a synthetic voice. The neural text-to-speech software enhances the audio into sounding more human and less robotic as well. There are more than 90 adjustable voices speaking in more than 30 languages now available on Houndify.
“Sonic branding is the next big thing in digital voice and with our TTS technology, we have the ability to help brands develop voices that can help bring their brand to life,” ReadSpeaker North American president Matt Muldoon said. “Our partnership with Houndify highlights the importance of completely personalized digital voice solutions. We look forward to working closely with Houndify and their partners in the coming years.”
ReadSpeaker’s tech will help Houndify keep up with competition large and small. Amazon’s Brand Voice feature can help companies that want a unique voice for their Alexa skills, for instance. KFC Canada’s Alexa skill now speaks in a Colonel Sanders-esque voice, while a professional-sounding Australian voices the Alexa skill for the National Australia Bank. Google started offering custom voices for Google Cloud Contact Center AI clients. Startups and small firms are bringing their own approach to custom voices too, from former voice prosthesis developer VocaliD, which works with call centers and voice apps, to voice cloning startups like Replica Studios or Resemble AI, which provide different home tools for generating an artificial voice from recorded audio. Sometimes, one voice may not be enough for a developer. Sber, the Russian finance giant transforming into a tech company, released a voice assistant with three personalities, each with its own name and fictional background. SoundHound can better counter rivals in the customized voice aspect of the industry, but the partnership acknowledges how crucial the idea of sonic branding, still in its infancy, could soon become.
“As more and more companies adopt voice assistants for their products, services, and mobile apps, sonic branding is becoming a critical factor in brand differentiation,” SoundHound explained in a blog post about the partnership. “Soon, the sound of your voice assistant will be as important as your visual branding elements and as recognizable as your logo. An exclusive, custom voice provides immediate brand recognition and the ability to grow awareness and affinity, while meeting customer demands for personalization.”