“IVONA offered really high quality TTS voices supporting a wide variety of languages. Also, one of the important factors was pricing flexibility. We wanted to offer a limited-time trial version so our customers could try the application and fully appreciate its positive impact before purchasing it. IVONA was fantastic in supporting us to launch a free trial which enabled the app’s success”
– Narayanan Ramakrishnan, Product Manager, Avaz
Around 40 million people in the world live without a voice due to a variety of conditions. Invention Labs use Assistive Technologies to develop and deploy Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices that help non-verbal people communicate, with a special focus on children. Their flagship solution is called Avaz. The application is designed to help non-verbal users communicate and leverages IVONA text to speech voices in an array of languages from around the world. Avaz users may include children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Challenges, Down Syndrome, etc. They all have complex communication problems due to speech-impairing neurological conditions that make them unable to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Watch how Avaz works:
True to the origins of the app’s name, which means voice in the Hindi language, Avaz plays an essential role in its users’ activities, life events and daily experiences. It is the artificial voice they reach for to intuitively communicate with the world around them. User ages can range from 3-year old children to adults or the elderly. Avaz is a picture-based communication app in which users choose words and put them together to create a sentence and express themselves with family members and care givers. Through its intuitive, user-friendly and aesthetic design, individuals can now speak in a way that had never been envisaged before this ground breaking application was created.
A few of the challenges the Avaz team faced and the strategies they leveraged to solve them:
- Challenge: Providing a gender and age-appropriate voice enabling each user to relate to the voice as their own.
- Solution: Avaz integrated synthetic speech voices that offered options for boys, girls, male and female adults.
- Challenge: The app became popular in a number of English-speaking countries – such as Australia, the UK, and India. However, despite the lifelike quality of the IVONA synthetic voices, Avaz users from non-US backgrounds found it challenging to adopt the US accents featured in the app. Users and those interacting with them preferred text to speech personas with the familiar accents of their specific English language. Even the most realistic text to speech software needed to blend in with the local culture for users to fully identify with it and perceive it as a natural way to communicate.
- Solution: The Avaz team broadened their offering of English accents– including options with an Indian accent, Australian accent, and British accent – by adding natural-sounding IVONA Text to Speech voices in the regional variants of the English speech engine.
- Challenge: The Avaz team received requests from a number of countries to make the app available in their languages.
- Solution: The team was able to create apps in a wide range of languages, including Danish, French, Swedish and Spanish using the natural-sounding, expressive IVONA text to speech voices in these languages.
Results and benefits of using the Avaz app featuring IVONA text-to-speech voices:
Today, people from around the world use the Avaz solution to “verbally” interact with their friends and families. With the Avaz app, these individuals enjoy greater independence. They are more social and empowered to effectively express themselves in their surroundings, whether they are with their family, friends, colleagues or caregivers.
This state of the art application plays an extremely important, life-enhancing role by lending its voice to non-verbal kids, giving each child his or her unique communication tool for interacting with the rest of the world through speech: children who would previously communicate using gestures and sign language, or not communicate at all – now enjoy being able to speak naturally, using their “own voice”.
The Avaz team receives powerful feedback from parents and teachers about how children’s self-esteem and confidence improve as a result of the app enabling them to independently express their wants, needs, thoughts and feelings – without depending on their caregivers to interpret what they are trying to communicate.
The power of communication cannot be better expressed than by Daniel Webster, who said:
“If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.”
About Invention Labs
Invention Labs prides itself in creating world class technology products that empower, educate and engage people.
Avaz is an iPad-based AAC application that enables children with complex communication needs to communicate.
FreeSpeech is a mobile/tablet based application for language teaching. FreeSpeech is unique because it’s the only app in the world that predicts grammar. You can throw a bunch of picture tiles at it, and the app will automatically figure out a grammatically correct sentence from them.
Our products – Avaz and FreeSpeech have positively impacted the lives of thousands of people around the world.
ReadSpeaker is IVONA’s partner providing text-to-speech licenses across a wide range of applications in the accessibility market.
ReadSpeaker provides text to speech for locally hosted servers, embedded text to speech, and SAPI. All powered with IVONA voices. Developers can choose from 51 distinct voices in 22 languages.
ReadSpeaker looks forward to continuing its long-term commitment to the accessibility segment, with a focus on critical, everyday applications including ATMs, emergency announcement services, assistive technology, public address systems, and learning applications.