Combining computer tech and speech science gives a voice to those who cannot speak | #theCUBE


One of the most recognizable characteristics of personality is the voice. It gives so many clues about us: where we are from, how old we are, whether we’re male or female, even our level of education. For the more than 10 million people worldwide who are unable to speak, they rely on voice devices to communicate with others, according to VocaliD Inc. Until quite recently, these individuals had only a few generic, synthetic voices from which to choose to express themselves.

Thanks to the work of Rupal Patel, CEO and founder of VocaliD, and a recent CloudNOW award winner, many more people will be able to express themselves through voices that are much more personalized to who they are. CloudNOW is a non-profit consortium of leading women in cloud computing and converging technologies.

Patel and April Bryant, a VocaliD customer, recently joined Lisa Martin (@Luccazara), host of theCUBE*, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, at the CloudNOW 5th Annual “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards, held in Mountain View, CA. They discussed the original idea behind unique digital voices, as well as why it is so important for people to have a voice that reflects who they are in the world. (*Disclosure below)

The importance of speaking with one’s own voice

Patel explained that her background is as a speech scientist. She was at a conference many years ago, where she observed people using speaking devices to talk because of a speech impairment, and she noticed that they were using a few standard digital voices. For instance, it’s not uncommon for a female or a child to use an adult male voice.

“Building a speech synthesizer is difficult and expensive; that’s why there are only a handful of the generic voices,” explained Patel. She said VocaliD crowdsources voices from people around the world. They are asked to read a set of standard sentences. From those voices, and from a little bit of the client’s own sound, if they can make sound, VocaliD can then create a voice that fits the client, including their personality, demographics and preferences.

Patel said that as Bryant is an early adopter at VocaliD, she is in queue to get her own voice in a couple of months. Bryant, using a generic digital voice, said, “I would like my voice to be urban, but classy.” VocaliD will make that happen so that she will have her own voice with which to express herself, Patel concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the CloudNOW – 5th Annual “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards(*Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored. However, no sponsorships have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo by SiliconANGLE