CereProc Partners with FTW and Voice Business to Give the Austrian Postal Service a Voice

Text-to-speech technology vendor CereProc has created the world's first Austrian text-to-speech (TTS) voice together with Telecommunications Research Centre Vienna (FTW), partnering with Voice Business, to deliver an advanced track and trace system for the Austrian mail service.

Working with FTW for two years as part of the Viennese Sociolect and Dialect Synthesis (VSDS) project, CereProc created the Austrian TTS voice, named Leopold, from voice recordings and clippings before being deployed and subsequently integrated in partnership with Voice Business for use across the country.

"We're very proud of the Leopold voice, and the way in which it is being used in such an innovative and purposeful employment to such fantastic reception," said Matthew Aylett, chief technology officer of CereProc, in a statement. "With all partners involved in the project offering their respective expertise and resources efficiently and with enthusiasm, it has been a real pleasure to work alongside each team to deliver the final track-and-trace system on time and on budget."

Handling more than 30,000 calls each month, CereProc's Leopold voice technology, delivered by Voice Business under prime contractors Telekom Austria and Siemens, is being used to effectively answer telephone calls from customers seeking to track and trace their parcels throughout the Austrian postal network.

"As is the case among all strong cultural groups, people clearly enjoy the engaging nature of experiencing natural and characterful native voices in automated communication systems. We're looking forward to exploring further sectors across the Austrian market, while examining further potential text-to-speech voice creation projects across the globe. It gives us great satisfaction to provide the less spoken languages, but no less important, of the world with a cost-effective and natural TTS voice," Aylett continued.

A highly effective IVR deployment of CereProc's multichannel TTS cServer and MRCP Connector to service the more than 8 million people, the system processes identification numbers to compose a summary of all status messages, which is then delivered to the caller as a dynamic summary using TTS.

Michael Pucher, senior researcher at the Telecommunications Research Centre Vienna, said: "When we decided to commercialize our research results, we were happy to have CereProc as an industrial partner with its competence in voice building and software development. Together we built the first high-quality Austrian German synthetic voice, which is now successfully used for reading Web sites, in spoken dialogue systems, and for screen readers."

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