Voiceitt Makes Alexa Accessible for the Disabled
Speech recognition technology provider Voiceitt is making it possible for people with speech impairments to use the Voiceitt mobile app to access and interact with Amazon's Alexa.
"We're excited to work with Amazon to bring the benefits of voice technologies to a broad segment of customers who, until now, may not have been able to enjoy these products," said Danny Weissberg, CEO and co-founder of Voiceitt, in a statement. "Voice technologies are increasingly mainstream, and this Alexa integration is testament to the growing awareness among major technology players of the importance of ensuring these technologies address the diverse needs and preferences of their customers, including people whose voices deviate from standard speech. Integration of Voiceitt's speech recognition with a powerful service like Alexa further demonstrates Voiceitt's value proposition in a rapidly expanding industry, and of our vision to make speech recognition accessible to everyone."
"We're incredibly excited to work with Voiceitt to make Alexa accessible to even more people," said Peter Korn, director of accessibility at Amazon Lab126, in a statement. "We share the company's vision to help people with speech impairments live more independently through voice. We were delighted to support them through an Alexa Fund investment and now through an Alexa integration via their mobile app."
The announcement follows a successful pilot with Inglis House, a long-term care wheelchair community for people with physical disabilities. In the pilot, Voiceitt worked closely with Inglis' Assistive Technology Team to help participants with cerebral palsy and atypical speech use Voiceitt and Alexa to perform daily tasks, such as controlling channels on their TVs or playing music, independently.
"Voiceitt takes the intuitiveness of Alexa and opens it up to an even larger population. It will prove to push beyond the boundaries of possibility for assistive technology while empowering its users," said Dyann Roth, president and CEO of Inglis, in a statement. "Due to lack of neurological and motor control, speech impairments are often accompanied by other motor control disabilities, making it difficult for some of our residents to do everyday activities like asking for help, saying hello to a friend, and turning off a bedroom light.
"Commercially available solutions do not always work well for people with speech impairments, who may need them the most. Through Alexa and Voiceitt, Inglis residents and many others in our community will be able to access these innovative technologies for the first time," Roth said.
"Voiceitt's integration with Alexa strengthens Voiceitt's position as a leading provider of speech recognition for people with speech impairments," said Sara Smolley, vice president of strategy and co-founder at Voiceitt, in a statement. "Voiceitt's applicability can be extended from the voice-activated connected home to an array of use case settings, including care centers, disability organizations, elderly care facilities, and hospitals. During the worldwide pandemic, we empower our users to get things done by using technology rather than relying on other people, which can help reduce viral exposure. Most of all, the integration we implemented with Alexa demonstrates how Voiceitt can enhance independence and quality of life for people with disabilities and those who care for and about them."
Voiceitt is providing its product to a limited number of organizations and individuals through its Community Release, a program it launched in preparation for its commercial product launch in early 2021.
The company's technology helps those with speech impairments communicate with a voice.
Connecticut Innovations (CI)—a quasi-public venture capital fund—"has completed its initial $500,000 equity investment to the winner of last year's VentureClash pitch competition."