The way we are interacting with our digital world will be completely changed with the rise of voice assistants such as Alexa or Assistant.
We created Smartly.AI to make this transition easier for developers while pushing the horizons of Conversational AI.
The Problem Currently, if you want to build a rich message for your bot, you can use a language called SSML to mix Voice Synthesis and Audio Sounds. With SSML you can do pretty amazing things ( change the pitch and tone of the voice, add silences, …). You can check a documentation on how Alexa’s SSML . But, the issue here is that SSML has also a tricky syntax that makes it quite hard to master for a new developer. As an illustration, let’s see what I have to do to build an answer to this question with SSML:
“Alexa, ask PlaneWatcher: Where is the plane DC-132?”
<s>Welcome to Plane Watcher,
<audio src="https://server.com/audio/sad.mp3" /> <s>The plane DC-132 is currently being delayed of 30 minutes!</speak>
Wait another XML like grammar to deal with… 🤔 Come on, this has to be fixed!
Our solution As we overuse emoticons in our Slack channel, we couldn’t resist to try to transpose this awesome language to the voice world! After a few experiments, we are happy to present you our latest creation: the Audicons !
✈ Welcome to Plane Watcher ☹ The place DC-132 is currently being delayed of 30 minutes!
Audicons is a set of standardized audio-files that can be easily recognized and associated to specific meanings. Audicons will be soon open sourced so you can reuse them in your ownprojects, Stay tuned 😀 In most cases, we think Audicons can replace SSML. Audicons have the potential to evolve to a standardized audioset used in ALL the voice interfaces.
A short examples you may want to create for weather forecasts
😃 Tomorrow is gonna be sunny ☀🕶! 😩Tomorrow is gonna be rainy ☔⛈!
Cool isn’it ? 😃 Wich ones do you prefer?
You can already use Audicons in your Alexa skill if you build it with Smartly.AI but we plan to open source them soon along with our SSML generator.
Now it’s up to you to make your beloved Alexa more expressive !
Update: We are glad that Amazon was inspired by this concept and launched a similar concept they called Speechcons