Text-to-Speech Wizardry – Niclas Bergstrom, ReadSpeaker – Voice Tech Podcast ep.072

Niclas Bergstrom ReadSpeaker

Episode description

Brand recognition has long been about logos, taglines, and advertising campaigns, but what if you could use a voice that sounded like your brand to add another level of brand awareness? This is one of the many interesting services ReadSpeaker, an innovative text-to-speech company offers, and its founder and CTO, Niclas Bergström, joins us today.

In this episode, we learn more about the company and the variety of products they offer. From web-based SaaS solutions for management and educational systems to hyper-customized voices for brands, their solutions can be deployed to any hardware ranging from embedded systems to high-capacity servers on their cloud. From there, we dive into what it takes to build a voice for brands. There are so many characteristics that make voices what they are, which is why brands and ReadSpeaker need to have a common understanding of what makes a voice what it is.

As the industry evolves, so too do the expectations of what a synthetic voice can do, and while people have become much more accepting of them, it’s still important to realize their limitations. We discuss these constraints along with when to use a human voice over a synthetic one. From there, we dive into what the tech giants are doing in the space, and why Niclas believes that small companies will lead the innovation charge rather than the last players.

We round the show off by talking about the future of the industry generally as well as for ReadSpeaker specifically, and there are some big things on the horizon.

Highlights

  • ReadSpeaker’s ‘elevator pitch,’ what they do, and who typically uses their technology.
  • Some of the reasons to use a custom voice, as opposed to a generic voice, like Alexa.
  • Learn more about the variety of products that ReadSpeaker offers.
  • Details about embedded voice synthesis and how it fares against server-generated audio.
  • The cultural shift where people are more accepting of synthetic voices has aided growth.
  • A ReadSpeaker use case and big media client they are currently working with.
  • Find out how ReadSpeaker communicates with clients and uses the same ‘language.’
  • Humans versus TTS: Pros and cons of each and which cases are best-suited to each voice.
  • Some of the limitations of what text-to-speech can do.
  • Learn more about the process a customer would take to develop a synthetic voice.
  • Niclas’s take on adding prosody to voices and some of the technology available to do it.
  • What some of the big players are doing in the space and how small companies compete.
  • The advantages of using a small, specialized TTS company as opposed to a tech giant.
  • What the future has in store for TTS and where Niclas sees it going.
  • Deep fakes and the potential backlash that could happen as TTS continues to grow.
  • Final rapid-fire questions: Niclas’s best investment, what’s in-store for ReadSpeaker, and more.

Quotes from the show

[05:55] In a branded voice, you can communicate the company’s values.

[07:24] How does your brand sound? That is the important question.

[48:10] We are not trying to fool people

[51:05] It’s great to be in this industry at this time because it’s never been more fun

Links from the show

About the author

Carl Robinson
Carl Robinson

Carl is the host of the Voice Tech Podcast. Since launching in April 2018, Carl has conducted scores of in-depth interviews with voice industry experts, building one of the most well known media brands in the voice AI space.

He also publishes Voice Chops Tuesday, the number 1 voice technology newsletter, enjoyed by thousands of voice tech fans each week.

Carl is a startup founder, product manager and data scientist, and recently presented a model for voice emotion conversion at ICASSP 2019.

To contact Carl, use the links in this box to send an email, tweet or message.

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