Speech Technology Magazine


Nuance Gives Voice to Waze App for iPhone and Android

Nuance's connected text-to-speech reads aloud turn-by-turn directions and traffic alerts for social mapping and navigation app.
Posted Sep 23, 2011
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Nuance Communications today announced that its text-to-speech technologies are powering the new Waze social mapping and navigation apps for iPhone and Android to provide turn-by-turn directions and traffic alerts. Waze integrated Nuance's Vocalizer Network, a connected text-to-speech technology, through Nuance's Vocalizer Studio.

The real-time traffic source of choice by more than 5 million drivers, Waze is a free social mobile application providing turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road, and is completely powered by the Waze user community. By integrating Nuance's Vocalizer Network cloud-based text-to-speech technology, Waze iPhone and Android app consumers are able to engage in a safer, smarter driving experience with upcoming traffic alerts and directions read aloud, enabling drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

"With millions around the world relying on Waze for up-to-the-minute traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation, we needed to ensure the best possible user experience behind the wheel. By integrating Nuance's cloud-based text-to-speech technology, we were able to quickly update, enhance and customize our iPhone and Android applications with natural, human-like voices that provide the guidance our consumers demand," said Uri Levine, founder and president of Waze.

Vocalizer Network is Nuance's cloud-based text-to-speech service leveraged by leading global enterprises that has now been optimized for HTTP-connected mobile devices to deliver the readback of street names, route numbers, city, towns, traffic alert details, and much more. And because it's in the cloud, Vocalizer Network is device-independent, enabling developers like Waze to quickly and easily voice-enable their applications.

Additionally, Waze integrated Vocalizer Network with Nuance's Vocalizer Studio, a suite of graphical tools that delivers more control and customization over text-to-speech audio output. With Vocalizer Studio, developers like Waze can monitor and evaluate output, adjust text processing and pronunciations, and fine-tune speech output by customizing intonation and expressivity.

"Apps like Waze are incredibly dynamic, with lots of content and information being delivered to consumers all day, every day, on multiple platforms, and giving them a voice can be challenging if the speech technology isn't flexible or customizable," said Matt Revis, vice president of product marketing and management at Nuance Mobile. "Vocalizer Network and Vocalizer Studio take full advantage of the power of the cloud to bring our robust text-to-speech capabilities to a broad range of apps, devices. and platforms in over 40 languages, faster and easier than ever before possible.

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