Not a big fan of Alexa’s voice? Would you like the chance to use a different one and other speaking styles?
Well, now you can.
Amazon is expanding Alexa’s voices and developers will be able to choose from multiple voice styles.
New voices and speech style for Alexa
The Polly text-to-speech service has 10 new options to choose from and the voice can be made more natural and enjoyable when it comes to longer content.
Most interactions with the voice assistant involve very short responses.
However, if Alexa starts talking for longer periods, the effect is a bit strange and still too artificial.
The new style of speaking is designed for long content and its goal is to put the user at ease and give the impression that they are talking to another person.
The way a single sentence is spoken is quite different from the way you would make longer speeches.
That’s why this new addition from Amazon is likely to be heavily exploited by the skills that can read books, magazines, or blog articles.
It’s a style that will also come in handy simply to read the contents of a web page.
For example, Alexa will take longer pauses when it switches from one paragraph to another thanks to its deep-learning text-to-speech model.
For now, the long form speaking style option is only available in the United States, but we can expect it to be extended to other countries soon.
Polly’s voice options
The choice between The Amazon Polly voices is now quite extensive.
Using them in a skill will help you create a better and more engaging user experience.
For example, you can use 2 different voices to create characters within your skill.
Now you also have the option to use the news or conversational style on Amazon Polly: Joanna and Matthew.
You can also use the news style on the US Spanish Amazon Polly voice Lupe.
Hearing their voices speak in news-style style will recall the experience we are used to living listening to the news on TV or radio.
With conversational style it will be like listening to a friend or family member, in a less formal way.
Conversational style is although available only with some Amazon Polly voices and not with Alexa’s voice.
Voice and brands
The new Polly entries are part of Amazon’s strategy to attract more customers to use voice.
In February, Brand Voice was introduced, with which a brand can get a custom voice from Amazon engineers using spokesperson’s recordings.
The feature debuted with an Australian bank and a copy of Colonel Sanders’s voice for KFC Canada.
Amazon is also working to create Samuel L. Jackson’s voice for Alexa.
2 weeks before Amazon’s announcement, Microsoft launched many new voices and emotional styles to Azure Cognitive Services.
Azure-based voice apps can choose from the newscast, customer service, and digital assistant style, for example.
As with Polly, these styles will be available to developers to give a more human and personal touch to their customers’ voice apps.
Even on voice customization, Amazon challenges all its rivals.
I think this competition will only speed up the development and progress of these functions.
And the more natural the voice of voice assistants, the greater the benefits for business use.
Having a familiar voice, the voice of a brand representative himself, or a voice of a well-known character speaking directly to you is a very powerful means of empathizing and bringing even more brands and people closer together.
I’ll keep you updated on the developments of these news.
In the meantime, if you have not already, I suggest you start working on your skill. With IPERVOX you can do it for free in just 3 steps.
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See you at the next article,
CEO and Founder of IPERVOX