Peter Cahill has been working in voice technology for 15 years. He has a PhD. in Text-to-Speech, was a professor of speech technology at the University of Dublin and more recently founded speech technology platform, Voysis. Voysis raised $8 million in VC funding in February 2017 and has offices in Dublin, Boston and Edinburgh. The company is building an independent speech platform that can be tailored to the needs of specific companies and processes. In the interview, Peter discusses the challenges of voice technology, how text-to-speech (TTS) differs from speech-to-text (STT), how Deep Learning has transformed speech technology, what Voysis is doing in voice commerce and where the industry is headed.
What Does it Take to Succeed in Voice Technology
While Peter expects Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri will have great success in many consumer applications, he founded Voysis to provide businesses with a flexible platform to enable end-to-end ownership over the entire user experience. He says that billion of dollars of R&D investment are not required to succeed in the speech and AI space.
If you want to compete at that state-of-the-art level, I don’t think you don’t need that many people or billions of dollars, but you do need a team of dedicated experts with lots of domain experience. I’d say in this space in particular, domain experience is generally what does win. So, given a choice of having 10 domain experts with lots of and lots of experience who are super enthusiastic as opposed to having a thousand people who don’t have that much experience and are not that enthusiastic, the 10 people who are very dedicated will win.
As evidence he points to the team at DeepMind and even the team that built Alexa whom he says at the time among three teams building the automated speed recognition (ASR), text-to-speech (TTS) and natural language understanding may have only totaled 60-70 people. Voysis is itself is focusing on specific domains for companies that have a need for that end-to-end experience ownership.
Voicebot Podcast Episode 10 Show Notes
- Find Peter Cahill on Twitter here @petercahill and here @voysis
- You can learn about Voysis on the company website: Voysis
You can listen to the podcast interview above or at any of the locations below.