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Akshar Speech Technologies: Give a Voice to your Text SMS, in FourDifferent Languages

Meghna Chhabria
7th May 2012
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An incubatee at CIIE, IIIT Hyderabad, Akshar Speech Technologies, was founded in 2010 with a goal to provide information access in voice mode to the IVR industry, and the general public, including the literate and illiterate. They achieve this goal by developing core engines (platforms), products and services in the area of text-to-speech, speech-to-text and language learning. Based in Hyderabad, they use text-to-speech, speech-to-text and voice biometrics technologies with a focus on building these platforms mainly in Indian languages, including Indian accented English.

Founder and CEO Raghavendra Veera, is an alumnus of IIIT-Hyderabad. He has an MS in Computer science and engineering, with a specialization in speech and language technologies. The Akshar Speech team consists of 5 engineers. Each member has expertise in a specific area including voice technologies, Android development, Windows phone development, Application testing and Web designing.

msg2voice

Launched on 5th arch this year, Akshar Speech’s most popular product/platform is msg2voice. msg2voice, as the name suggests, converts a message into voice using text-to-speech technology. This voice is then delivered to a phone number (mobile/landline) specified by the user. Applications of this technology includes group dialing, messages to illiterate or literate in spoken form in native languages. Currently, it supports English and a few Indian languages (Telugu, Hindi and Kannada).

Key features:

  • Voice SMS: Hassle free voice messaging. A text message is sent as a voice message
  • Local language voice SMS: Voice SMS in Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and English
  • Broadcast your own message: Record with your own voice and send multiple people at a time
  • Quick Message Delivery
  • No Ads
  • Scheduled SMS: Voice SMS can be scheduled to the future date
  • Address book
  • DND Filter: DND numbers are filtered
  • API: PHP APIs are available for sending Voice and Text SMS from their own applications.

This product, which targets bulk usage by companies for customer outreach, can also be used by individuals by registering at the product website.

“Currently, the notification between businesses and customers happen in the form of text SMS. But, 60-80% of the text messages are ignored by users due to technology/language barriers. msg2voice resolves these issues by sending voice messages in local languages,” says Raghavendra.

The good thing about this service is that unlike conventional voice messages delivered through phone, this can work across all service providers. Also, the voice message can be delivered to landline phones as well.

Once the users are registered on their website, they allow a quota of five free text messages and five free voice messages per day (restricted to 130 characters). The users have to pay for the services by buying credits when they exceed the limit. msg2voice is priced according as the service you seek. For 100 credits and a validity of 3 months, it is charged at 60 paisa per voice SMS, 45 paisa per credit and 15 paisa per text SMS. The more credits you buy the lesser you pay.

“The revenue model includes advertisements of small and medium business. This tool helps as an advertisement tool to businesses. For ex., Stock exchange: Stock prices changes from time to time. By using msg2voice, traders can update their customers about current stock prices. Another form of usage of msg2voice can be to send a message to older people, who are not tech savvy, in a situation when one cannot call them,” says Raghavendra.

Their future plans include customizing this product to different verticals in small-and-medium enterprises and developing more Indian language synthesizers that will help sending voice messages in more languages.

“This kind of product is new to the Indian market and requires huge marketing efforts. Reaching the market is the biggest obstacle we face. We have tried to do our best however, by marketing through word of mouth, newspapers and our website. We know this market has huge potential and are positive about the future,” concludes Raghavendra.

For other similar startup stories, you must read about Uniphore and Croak.it!

For more on Akshar Speech technologies, visit their website here.

For more on msg2voice, check this out.

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