Audio Tours and Amazon Polly

Stephen Canis
April 13, 2017

In April 2016 I was busy building YourAudioTour.com to help small organisations create audio tours for free. Between coding sessions I watched AWS re:Invent, an event where Amazon announces their newest web products. On of these products was Amazon Polly.

Amazon Polly allows anyone to generate lifelike speech from text. This technology uses the latest machine learning technology to generate lifelike text-to-speech audio. Gone were the days of a robot voices reading text, now it sounds like a person!

As soon as I heard about Amazon Polly I knew I needed to integrate it into YourAudioTour. It's now the way audio is generated for every tour on the site. All you need to do is write down the description and information at the stop and the audio is generated in a lovely British accent. No microphone. No editing software. No recording!

One of the biggest pain points of creating an audio tour is recording the audio. There are a few problems with recording your own voice and audio for a tour:

  1. It takes a time to record audio yourself.

  2. Good recording equipment and software is expensive and hard to set up properly.

  3. Any time you want to make a change to your tour you need to record the entire stop again.

  4. Many people don't like hearing their own voice recording and a may avoid creating a tour for that reason.

Guess what? Amazon Polly solved all of these problems! It lets people avoid the time and difficulty associated with recording audio for their tour. Instead they can focus on creating excellent content for the tour. More time spent on content means more time spent on what matters - teaching people more about the world!

I do understand that some people will have the time and resources to record their own audio. If you have those resources a real recording can certainly be more engaging and refined then what Amazon Polly can create. We are working on options to allow people to record their own audio for a tour. This way you get the best of both worlds!




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