Microsoft has made Custom Neural Voice available on the Azure AI platform. The text-to-speech capability uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to create highly realistic custom, synthetic voices.
Microsoft says that “Custom Neural Voice is helping to bring engaging and interactive experiences to life for their customers”.
Many organisations are already using the service. AT&T has created a life-size, high-definition Bugs Bunny in its Experience Store in Dallas, Texas using its 5G network. Customers can talk to Bugs and help him to find golden carrots hidden throughout the store.
Insurance company Progressive has used Custom Neural Voice to give its chatbot the voice of its iconic spokesperson, Flo, and language learning company Duolingo has created a set of characters to help learners engage with lessons.
“Voice is very important when learning a language,” said Severin Hacker, chief technology officer at Duolingo. “It was particularly important for us as a language learning app that we expose our learners to authentic voices and accents, and we’re able to do that with this technology.”
To ensure the responsible use of Custom Neural Voice, all interested customers must apply to Microsoft for approval before using the service.