Sonos Launches Voice Control

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Sonos has introduced Sonos Voice Control, offering complete command of Sonos systems using only voice.

Sonos selected ReadSpeaker's VoiceLab to create the custom voice for Sonos Voice Control. The voice is based on that of award-winning actor Giancarlo Esposito, best known for his roles in "Breaking Bad," "Better Call Saul," and "The Mandalorian." Other voices will be added over time.

The ReadSpeaker VoiceLab managed the development process, including carrying out recordings with Esposito, processing the recorded data, training deep neural networking (DNN) models on that data, and managing quality control, delivery, and all necessary quality assurance steps. Because of the technicality of the voice recordings required to build the custom voice, which requires speech to be delivered in an extremely consistent way that prioritizes precise articulation and style, ReadSpeaker’s VoiceLab experts worked closely with Esposito throughout every stage of the process.

A key challenge in the development of this custom voice was the need for it to comprehend and pronounce non-standard text content that is often found in the music industry. It was also critical that the assistant was able to read artists' track or album information in numerous languages. The VoiceLab team worked closely with Sonos and Esposito to optimize the speech output for this massively broad domain.

"We selected ReadSpeaker to power the custom voice for Sonos Voice Control for a variety of reasons, not least of which was their ability to work closely with us from the development phase all the way through delivery," said Joseph Dureau, vice president of voice experience at Sonos, in a statement. "ReadSpeaker's approach to custom voice is innovative and extremely thorough, which is exactly what we required for this project, and the company's dedicated linguistic team has been a critical tool for us throughout this project."

"As brands become increasingly aware that, much like a visual logo, a custom voice ensures consistently engaging, on-brand interactions across touchpoints, our VoiceLab is developing voices that speak to their brand persona and create unique experiences," said Roy Lindemann, ReadSpeaker's chief marketing officer and chief operating officer for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, in a statement. "With more consumers leveraging digital voice every day for everything from making purchases to choosing which playlist to listen to, having a custom branded voice is becoming table stakes for delivering a quality, personalized CX in real time. By partnering with Sonos, we are helping to bring yet another brand's voice to life in an exciting, innovative way."

Sonos Voice Control works on every voice-capable Sonos speaker, processing requests entirely on the device. No audio or transcript is sent to the cloud, stored, listened to, or read by anyone. Available on new voice capable products and as a free update for existing customers, Sonos Voice Control is compatible with Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Pandora, with more services to follow.

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