Speech Technology Magazine

 

Real-Time Audio News Available from Spokata

Spokata's mobile app converts news stories to audio with Amazon's Polly text-to-speech service.
By Phillip Britt - Posted Dec 11, 2017
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Spokata has launched a website and an iOS app for streaming real-time news. Spokata streams real-time audio content from more than 100 verified digital news sources, using a combination of its proprietary algorithms and Polly, the Amazon text-to-speech service.

"I started working with speech technologies more than a year ago," says Zack Sherman, Spokata's founder and CEO. "It was good that speech technology was moving beyond the call centers. The technologies were opened up with APIs. I thought we might be able to create a new audio experience."

Sherman saw verified news from commonly known sources as an opportunity because people are listening to audio more than ever before, plus there has been a tremendous growth in podcasting, he explains. "Podcasting and music streaming are surging because on-demand audio delivers content within the context of mobility. Video and text require your undivided attention. Spokata's short format is explicitly designed for people on the go. Our target audience is typically doing something else while listening, such as driving, working out, or in line at the grocery store."

According to a recent report from Activate, more than 67 million people in the United States listen to podcasts each month in their cars, bedrooms, living rooms, gyms, and while at work. Additionally, two-thirds of podcast listeners engage in purchase-related behaviors after hearing podcast ads.

"We're providing a broad swath of news, all from hand-picked sources," Sherman says. "They're nothing you've never heard of. We have a database of more than $40 million articles."

Sherman relies on the news sources to verify the news. The Spokata app itself will provide only a short summary of the facts, not unlike Twitter headlines. If the listener wants anything beyond the summary, like commentary or further detail, he can tap Spokata's links for instant access to the original article associated with the stream. Plus, whenever users return, they will always find the latest news at the top of their channels.

According to Sherman, the real-time nature of the platform makes Spokata's news the freshest content among audio news products. Within seconds of articles posting online, the app generates audio summaries, providing users with short, fact-based streams. Spokata's interface enables users to create personalized news playlists or browse a wide range of channels.

Among key features of the Spokota website and iOS app:

  • Dynamic content network: The network transforms breaking news from more than 100 verified digital news sources;
  • Daily Briefing:The top stories from around the world are automatically compiled into a short briefing delivered every morning;
  • Custom playlists: Users can cue up stories from across Spokata's channels to create their own personal radio stations;
  • Social media friendly: Users can make sure their friends are on top of the news and know what they care about, by sharing audio through integrations with Facebook and Twitter.

The Spokata mobile app currently only supports iOS devices. There are no immediate plans for supporting the Android platform.


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