Read to me: ReadSpeaker for everyone!

By Lettie Y. Conrad

From the time I was a child, I’ve enjoyed listening to people read aloud — from parents and teachers reading storybooks to spoken-word nights at college to audiobooks on long journeys. There’s something quite soothing and somewhat magical about the written word coming to life with voice. While I listen, my eyes are free to look up and gaze out a window, my hands are available to tinker with a puzzle or pet a cat. Continue reading “Read to me: ReadSpeaker for everyone!”

Blackboard and ReadSpeaker Partner to Enhance Accessibility of Digital Course Content

ReadSpeaker’s leading text-to-speech technology integrated into Blackboard Ally, helping instructors worldwide create more accessible content for learners

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2018Blackboard and ReadSpeaker are furthering their partnership to help instructors worldwide improve the accessibility of course content for their students. Currently, ReadSpeaker is Blackboard’s exclusive text-to-speech provider that is fully integrated within Blackboard’s learning management systems, supporting Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Now, as part of this extended collaboration, ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech technology will also be integrated within Blackboard Ally as an offline audio alternative for course content. This allows students to automatically access an MP3 version of content added by the instructor into the LMS. Continue reading “Blackboard and ReadSpeaker Partner to Enhance Accessibility of Digital Course Content”

Politics publisher The Canary is converting text articles to audio to find new audiences

To broaden its audience, British left-leaning news site The Canary has been converting all its text articles to audio since last September. In time, it plans to make its audio articles available on voice assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, where publishers are increasingly making more content available. Continue reading “Politics publisher The Canary is converting text articles to audio to find new audiences”

FT Conversation: the FT at BBC newsHack

Back in October, the BBC organised a hackathon as part of their newsHack series. This time, they focused on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) and, for the occasion, invited other news organisations to take part. The FT joined in with a pluri-disciplinary team (editorial, UX design, software engineering).

At the end of the 2-day event, we had a prototype ready for FT Conversation, an application running on Google Home, with our users’ comments at its heart. Continue reading “FT Conversation: the FT at BBC newsHack”

2018 will be the year chatbot conversations get real

As we enter 2018, it’s clear the expectations of intelligent assistance providers and enterprise practitioners are more in balance than ever before. It’s also clear that the number of “known knowns” is growing rapidly.

Here are five examples of how and why we will learn more about the complex workings of conversational commerce in the coming year. Continue reading “2018 will be the year chatbot conversations get real”

Everything Amazon’s Alexa learned to do in 2017

Amazon’s Alexa is leading the AI assistant pack. Echo devices are dominating smart speaker sales, and that was before Amazon brought the devices to more than 80 nations around the world. To defend its crown, Amazon moved fast this year to outpace competitors like Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. Apple’s delayed HomePod is due out next year, while Samsung and Facebook are also reportedly planning to debut smart speakers. It can be challenging to keep up with all the features Alexa has added to stay ahead of some of the largest tech companies on the planet, so here’s a rundown of everything Alexa learned to do this year. Continue reading “Everything Amazon’s Alexa learned to do in 2017”

CNBC eyes monetization after its voice audience doubled this year

Publishers have been enthusiastic about voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant this year, often undaunted by the fact that these platforms require bespoke content, and the route to monetization is still unclear. After promising levels of its audience returned each week to use its Alexa skill, CNBC’s global ad sales team will start selling audio sponsorship packages to advertisers in the next few months. Continue reading “CNBC eyes monetization after its voice audience doubled this year”

5 best practices for implementing voice marketing in 2018

Hey Alexa, play some music.
Ok, Google, turn on the lights.

Five years ago, these commands would have made no sense. But for the past two and a half years, voice-enabled speakers have steadily gained traction, introducing the world to voice-activated technologies. As we approach 2018, there’s no sign of slowing down the smart speaker revolution. Continue reading “5 best practices for implementing voice marketing in 2018”

Five innovative audio implementations in the news industry

Did you hear the news? Five innovative ways of implementing audio in newsrooms

The second half of 2017 has been saturated with talk about news organisations investing significantly in video. In all that talk and speculation, I noticed an important topic being overlooked: audio. Here, I’ve looked into some recent experiments in digital audio news and podcasting I was curious to learn more about. Continue reading “Five innovative audio implementations in the news industry”

How the BBC is using voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home

Next year, the BBC will pair editorial staffers with its software engineers to figure out what content experience people want from voice-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home in order to inform new interactive editorial formats that are technically feasible.

“We will do some experiments together,” said Mukul Devichand, editorial lead for BBC Voice. “We are keen to understand what it means to natively publish in this platform — no one has cracked it yet.” Continue reading “How the BBC is using voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home”

SEO is not enough in the age of voice

With so many technological innovations now transforming our lives, it should be noted that the ideas for these innovations have existed for decades in science fiction novels and television. The capacity to talk to a computer (and have it talk back) was a staple of Gene Roddenberry’s, Star Trek, where the Starfleet computer was voiced by Roddenberry’s wife, Majel. The 1970 movie, Colossus: The Forbin Project, featured a supercomputer that was intended to prevent war and proclaimed itself “the voice of World Control.” And before Google’s self-driving cars, the 1980s brought us KITT, an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware, and nearly indestructible car from the TV show, Knight Rider. Continue reading “SEO is not enough in the age of voice”

Why the best approach to voice marketing might be nothing at all


Seemingly overnight, capable voice recognition joined forces with artificial intelligence and machine learning to push voice-enabled experiences to the forefront of business thinking. But before brands leap into the fray, they need to recognize where and when to invest in the new technology. For some, that means investing elsewhere, for now. Continue reading “Why the best approach to voice marketing might be nothing at all”

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