Rhetorical looks to bright future with Orange
EDINBURGH, U K - Rhetorical has been revealed as one of the core technology providers behind innovative voice services from Orange, the UK's most popular mobile phone service provider. In a move which highlights the growing importance of text-to-speech technology and the ability to support a major brand, Orange will use the technology to keep customers up-to-date with news, sport and regional weather across the UK. The server license deal between Rhetorical and Orange is an upgrade to the original service, which previously used pre-recorded information. The new system utilises two voices from Rhetorical's rVoice text-to-speech technology to read the requested information back to the user in a clear, natural sounding voice. Orange offers a range of information for customers through the Orange Voice Media Service. Users on either "pay-as-you-go" or pre-pay phones can access news and weather services by calling 177 from their mobile handsets; alternatively, they can call 247 for the Ananova news round-up. The weather service went live in March and given the British preoccupation with all things meteorological, covers 15 regions across the UK and features Rhetorical's latest English female voice. For the 247 service, Orange has chosen Rhetorical's US female voice to supply news to users. Emma Jones, Voice Portal Development Manager at Orange, said: "The previous system was very laborious. When we first set up the Voice Media Service two years ago we looked into text-to-speech systems but found the quality did not match the image we wanted to project. However, on being introduced to Rhetorical's text-to-speech system we were impressed by the ability of rVoice to read back complicated names, sentences and other varied information in a clear, concise and above all natural sounding voice - which is why we chose Rhetorical as a technology partner. The voices were chosen to accurately reflect the Orange brand. We felt the English female voice sounded factual and trustworthy while the US female voice fits in well with Ananova, our web-based news service." This latest announcement again underlines the power and flexibility of the rVoice technology. Previously rVoice has been deployed in call centre style applications to answer customer queries, as a tool to inform parents their children are playing truant from school and even in flight simulators for training air traffic controllers. Marc Moens, CEO of Rhetorical said: "Voice as a brand is becoming more and more important. As companies move towards multimedia messaging for sales, marketing, customer relations or, in this case, content delivery, the effect voice can have on the customer's perception of that company is becoming more and more noticeable. This is why we are pleased to be working with such a prestigious company as Orange. We have now proved the ability to deliver mobile content using our products, an application which suits rVoice exceptionally well. "