Voice on Voice #142 
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Voice Technology in Asia

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Asian consumers in China, India, and Southeast Asian countries have spearheaded the global adoption of voice. In 2018, iProspect found that 62% of smartphone users in China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore have used voice-activated technology in the last six months. Usage has primarily been driven by the prevalence of inexpensive smartphones in the region, making capabilities like voice search and in-app voice features more accessible to consumers. Specifically, China has emerged as a global voice leader with its major tech companies building out robust smart home device and smartphone lines. Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Huawei have launched advanced voice-enabled devices from speakers and phones to even scooters and robotic dogs. As brands plan for growth in markets outside of North America and Europe, Asian countries harbor underexplored opportunities.

Baidu’s Next Move

Chinese tech company Baidu raised Series B funding valued at $5.1 billion for Xiaodu Technology, its smart home business for smart speakers, displays, and more. Xiaodu is also the developer of DuerOS, the software that powers the company’s voice assistant technology. Back in September, Baidu raised Series A funding valued at $2.9 billion for its internal unit that oversees both Xiaodu and DuerOS. These two fundraising rounds hint at Baidu’s expansion efforts — increasing usage of its smart speakers, in addition to a partnership with Chinese device manufacturer Midea, has framed the company to lead in the Chinese market over competitors Xiaomi, Huawei, and Alibaba.
More on Reuters

New Voices

Synthetic voice AI company Lovo recently raised $4.5 million in its pre-Series A round. The funding will be used to bolster its research and development capabilities and expand its team. Back in June, the company released its AI Voice Marketplace for voice actors to create and sell their own synthetic voices. These types of services are emerging into the spotlight not only as industry leaders realize the time and cost savings of the technology, but also as documentaries such as Val and Roadrunner unearth the potential ethical implications of creating synthesized voices for real people. However, Lovo’s funding proves that audio deep fakes have tremendous value for creators.
More on TechCrunch

Cockpit Assistant

Lockheed Martin has tapped ReadSpeaker’s synthetic voice and text-to-speech software for its F-35 Lightning II jet training course for pilots. The aerospace company wanted to create an audio guide that pilots can follow along to, bypassing the need to use any paper manuals while in the jet. ReadSpeaker’s customization and licensing for the voice helped it secure the deal. While synthesized voices have grown in popularity for use in video games and entertainment, leveraging them for educational and training purposes remains a nascent use case. Especially for employees who have their eyes and hands occupied, voice-led training presents a more interactive way of learning material.
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By the Numbers


of US in-car voice assistant users are monthly active users. (data via


The Series B funding that customer service automation company raised. (data via TechCrunch)

Emerging Tech Stories 

  • I Spy. Snapchat launched its updated edition of the Scan feature that can identify objects in the world around you and recommend AR filters based on your environment.
  • Dress Up. Gap recently purchased 3D avatar company Drapr, which lets users virtually try on clothing by building 3D avatars of themselves.

  • TikTok, Upgraded. TikTok is testing Effect Studio, a new tool that allows developers to build AR effects for the TikTok app.

RAIN Is Hiring a Front-End Developer
The product organization at RAIN is looking for a front end web developer to join a small, and mighty team focused on building a multi-modal voice-first solution for the deskless workforce. You will work directly with the Senior Architect providing technical direction, and in close partnership with the head of product alongside the design and strategy team.
Apply here
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