UCIC Adds Speech Synthesis Markup Language support to the Ubi Portal Alexa Skill

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Developers can re-imagine their Alexa skill prototypes using expressive and emotion-laden text-to-speech capabilities.

Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation

We want to make it possible for anyone who’s making a device or running a web service to easily test Alexa functionality. With SSML support, responses to Alexa can really come alive.

With the enormous increase in interest among developers to build on Alexa Skills Kit and to celebrate a full year since the launch of its first Alexa skill, Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC) has added Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) support to its Ubi Portal Voice Prototyping skill for Alexa. The new feature allows developers to add SSML tags to the Alexa skill response to create emphasis and expressions to the response. For example, developers can add interjection tags that make words expressive, e.g. “wowza” and “nanu nanu” be spoken in a more realistic tone. The SSML tag feature also allows for proper pronunciation of numbers, addresses, or placement of emphasis on words, and allows for the playback of Alexa-compliant audio files.

The goal of the Ubi Voice Prototyping skill and UCIC’s Ubi App is to help Alexa developers quickly prototype skills and test out the prototypes. “We want to make it possible for anyone who’s making a device or running a web service to easily test Alexa functionality,” said Leor Grebler, CEO of UCIC. “With SSML support, responses to Alexa can really come alive.” The feature is available through the Ubi Portal Voice Prototyping Tool skill and by signing up for a free account on the Ubi Portal at https://portal.theubi.com.

About the Ubi Portal Voice Prototyping Tool skill:
Using the Ubi Portal (portal.theubi.com), developers can create a lesson using graphical rules to allow their Alexa skill to execute tasks like sending email and text messages; controlling devices like Nest, Harmony, SmartThings, and others; creating customized responses through the Amazon Echo; and, making calls to web APIs, parsing their requests, and announcing the response back through an Amazon Echo or other devices with Alexa. Once developers have set up a free account, they can connect to devices with Alexa by enabling the skill online or through the Alexa app.

About Ubi App:
Ubi App is an app available for Android devices via the US Google Play store. It allows users to access and interact by voice with Alexa, the cloud-based voice service. Users can push a button on their Android phone to access many of the same services that are available on the Amazon Echo. These services include getting general information such as weather and facts, controlling home automation devices, making purchases and accessing Alexa skills. Developers can also use the app to test out their Alexa skills right from their Android phones. The address to download is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avsintegration.android

About UCIC:
UCIC is a Toronto-based technology firm dedicated to bringing natural interaction to technology. The company primarily focuses on adding voice interaction to consumer electronic products and Internet of Things devices. UCIC's clients include top consumer brands and chipmakers. UCIC is known for introducing one of the first ambient voice-interactive hardware products to market - The Ubi - in 2012.

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