Speech for the Future

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For the 75th anniversary of the company, Lacoste is inviting Internet users to give their say on what tennis will look like in 75 years.

Using text-to-speech technology from French firm Acapela Group, visitors to the site can share their vision of tennis in 2083 by typing thoughts (up to 200 characters) into a text box. When done, they can select a voice—the site features six English voices (three for U.S. English and three for U.K. English); two German voices; two Spanish voices; one Italian voice; and six French voices (four for standard French, one for Belgian French, and one for French Canadian)—and have their thoughts played back to them. The thoughts are also captured on the site and can be shared with other visitors.

Acapela offers many other voices, including its latest additions announced last week: Elin (Swedish), Eliska (Czech), Sanna (Finnish), and Ania (Polish), but the Lacoste promotion, built with Web campaign developer Megalos, is only available in five languages (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish).

Visitors to the site can also watch a 3D movie that gives a preview of what tennis could look like in 2083. It features a futuristic man playing tennis, decked out in high-tech clothing and equipment. Users can also see a history of the Lacoste brand, made famous by the trademarked alligator and its founder, 1920s tennis great Rene Lacoste.

"Acapela's pleasant tones once again demonstrate that voice solutions can actively contribute to animating high-value content, turning multimedia, Web animations and interactive marketing campaigns into powerful tools that people will remember and talk about," the company said in a statement.

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