Just over a year ago Twitter built and introduced Fabric to mobile app developers, and since then it has become a leading build and release platform for more than 225,000 app developers eager to simplify and accelerate their efforts. Fabric comes with essential dev kits for app stability, distribution, revenue, location, experience and other goodies – and now officially voice powered by Nuance.
Twitter announced back in October that it would be adding Nuance’s SpeechKit to the Fabric palette to make it easier and faster for developers to integrate voice as part of their app experience.
In a world of expanding consumer electronics and applications for the IoT, interfaces are becoming smaller or non-existent – making voice a critical component of the UI. In the end, it’s easier and more intuitive to interact with your voice – and gives developers the ability to create a truly unique experience for their next innovation, whether it’s for gaming, health and fitness, social media or retail.
The range of modular Kits available on Fabric illustrates that the needs of the app developer community have been fully recognized and embraced by many technology providers. Nuance, like these other providers of essential app technology, have in turn embraced Fabric’s principle goal to provide powerful development tools that are easy to use.
The Nuance SpeechKit for Fabric—available for iOS and Android—provides developers with access to Nuance ASR and TTS technology in over 40 languages.
Then it’s a simple set of steps to get your Nuance Developers credentials, and add a few lines of code to your XCode project to get started designing a natural speech UI.
Similarly for Android developers, you can use Gradle or Android Studio Fabric plug-in to get instant access to the Nuance Fabric Kit.
The Nuance SpeechKit handles all the heavy lifting associated with speech recognition and text-to-speech integration by simplifying difficult tasks like:
- Audio acquisition via the device microphone and encoding the audio in SPEEX for both low bandwidth and high quality.
- Audio end-pointing, or end-of-speech detection, to robustly determine when the user has finished speaking and close the microphone.
- Control text-to-speech effects like prosody, emphasis and pitch using SSML markup within your app code.
- Speech volume or energy feedback to users as a visual queue.
- Audio playback of pre-recorded prompts or tones to add additional user-feedback to the app UI.
- Connectivity to the Nuance Cloud Services platform is handled in a session-based manner to reduce network calls.
The main concept underlying SpeechKit is that all operations are streamlined using the Sessionobject. The SKSession represents a persistent connection to the Nuance server. Within a SKSession, you can initiate many SKTransactions. To execute SKTransactions in parallel, you must initiate extra SKSessions.
Of course there’s more to creating a great voice UI than just adding the Nuance SpeechKit, and that’s where the fun starts. With Nuance SpeechKit integrated into your app you will be able to explore new interaction models while developing a deeper understanding of how and why users want to interact with your app.
Human language is a complex and beautiful tool for expressing complex ideas and intentions. Designing a UI that takes full advantage of this requires careful thought and some practice. Nuance provides a wealth of experience in terms of best practices for design, evaluation and usability testing. Please visit the Nuance Developers homepage to learn more.