THE FUTURE WOMEN IN VOICE

MICHELE J MARTIN

All of this month, we have been celebrating "Women MAKING history in voice tech." These are women working across disciplines within the voice technology community who we believe help build this innovative industry and push for it to be more diverse and inclusive.

Recognizing & supporting women in STEM is something we believe in strongly.

According to UNESCO's global statistics, only 29.3% of the researchers working in science are women. In the U.S., women fare a bit better - "Women in 2019 also made up nearly half of those in all math (47%) and life and physical science (45%) occupations."

But that isn't enough. The U.S. Census Report also explains that women aren't making gains in computer or engineering occupations, which comprise 80% of the STEM workforce.

It goes on to say, "women represented only about a quarter of computer workers and 15% of those in engineering occupations. They were, however, a majority of the nation's social scientists. But social science accounted for only 3% of STEM occupations.

Women working in engineering occupations increased from 3% in 1970 to 15% in 2019. And while the percentage of women in computer occupations is higher than in 1970, it actually decreased between 1990 and 2019."

So, to decrease this massive gender gap, what do we do? How do we attract and retain more talented young women into STEM? One of those ways is through mentoring, which is near and dear to our Founder, Dr. Rupal Patel.

Dr. Patel often *speaks to young scientists and entrepreneurs, focusing mainly on young women in STEM. Over her long career as a scientist, she has personally mentored many students and young clinicians who are just beginning their careers. Whether it is at a conference, a small talk at a university, or one-on-one, mentoring is a passion for Rupal.

She recently participated as a guest mentor in the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Apprenticeship Program, speaking to a group of young women between 14-18-years old. The purpose of the program is to address the gender gap in science by focusing on female high school students with a curiosity for STEM-related topics. These young women who apply must show an interest in how science and technology are transforming the world and are considering what opportunities are available to the next generation of leaders. By leveraging female mentors' experiences from various STEM industries, the program attendees gain invaluable insight to help nurture their interests in STEM fields and potentially help reduce the gap.

CDL Apprenticeship Program Event

If you have been thinking about mentoring, but aren't quite sure how to do it, here are some suggestions. Consider reaching out to your alma mater, local schools, or organizations that align with your mentoring goals, i.e., mentoring a young woman in science or entrepreneurship.

Rupal has provided some of her best advice, gained from her many mentoring opportunities, for those just starting out as a mentor:

Mentoring happens naturally and organically. It isn't the same process as searching for an intern or employee, don't approach it as such. The process is more intuitive — you will see potential in someone, and you will want to help them succeed.

Find alignment - you'll have more fun, and you'll be able to contribute greater if you have alignment between their interests and goals and your interests and background.

Be realistic. Only take on mentees if you have time - you can't be there for everyone. But if you commit, make sure you follow through and make yourself accessible.

Be a sounding board - we don't need clones. Mentoring is about helping and nurturing through supportive advice, not telling someone how to do something to be just like someone else.

Be you - often, women will feel that they can only portray their professional self; their personal life needs to be hidden. Your mentee doesn't need to know details about your personal life. However, understanding what real balance looks like and the varied roles you play in your life can be a vital lesson.

Sometimes it doesn't work out, and even the best intentions may not land well. Be open and transparent but don't force it. You aren't obligated to be a mentor, nor are they to being your mentee. Life happens, people change, situations adapt. Keep the conversation open and know when it is time to walk away.

Mentoring isn't one way - I have found that you learn and get back as much from your mentees as you give.

While we only spent a month highlighting these brilliant women on social media, we hope that this has inspired others to call out and recognize bright women they know. Let's continue to shine a light on them, and instead of Women's History Month, let's transform 2021 into The Year of the Woman!

*If you are interested in having Rupal speak to your organization about her experiences as a mentor, a founder, or scientist, please email your request to hello@vocalid.ai

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VOCALiD :
YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW

MICHELE J MARTIN

2020 was, without question, a year like none other. While there was division, there was also a tremendous sense of community, coming together to help and support its own. People spoke up, spoke loudly, and continued to speak… all for those that weren't being heard.

These actions inspired us every day because it parallels our obsession with voice, and what voice means. Finding your voice, being brave enough to use it, and being heard authentically - these are powerful moments in a person's life, and these should be available to everyone. Having a voice is not limited to those who can speak. Everyone deserves to be heard, whether they were born with an operatic range or are living with speechlessness.

This is what we believe — everyone has a unique voice that deserves to be heard. This belief fundamentally fueled everything we did last year.

Within the assistive communication space, we have many accomplishments to share. We are proud to have welcomed 7k new Voicebank contributors, including our first from Greenland! And 57 students from the USSG International school in Guangzhou, China, participated in a Voice Drive in 2020! That brings the total number of our Human Voicebank users to over 87K today. Amazing, thank you!

To further this gift of voice - we have launched a Corporate Social Responsibility Employee Volunteer Program. We developed this in response to brands seeking unique remote volunteer opportunities for their staff. We are proud to welcome Verizon as our first CSR partner! Learn more about our CSR Programs.

Many of you know that we expanded our offerings in 2019 and began offering AI voice options to companies. We were receiving a growing number of inquiries in the enterprise business space as companies sought more robust and authentic-sounding text-to-speech voice options. Businesses that relied solely on traditional voice talent began seeking new ways to augment their content production processes — recognizing that their talent wasn't always available when they needed to deliver audible content.

For companies seeking audible content solutions, we recognized there was a need for more diverse voices, so we began recruiting voice talent from a broader range of vocal personalities, regions, and ethnicities for our enterprise-ready AI voices.

We have developed Parrot Studio, an audible content creation platform to further serve our enterprise clients. A first of its kind offering for content creators, Parrot offers efficiency AND customization to the audio production process, bringing AI voice to a new level. Those already using it in BETA call it a unique creative tool that stands out over standard API deployments.

To grow this side of our business we are forming alliances with other organizations who collectively see the potential benefits of AI voice for brands and consumers. We look forward to sharing these partnerships with you as they develop. Stay tuned for announcements soon.

Speaking of consumers, we heard you! In response to continued requests for a consumer voice product offering AND the increasing need for story preservation, we have launched a new consumer product called Voice Capsule. It is a technology-proof heirloom for individuals and families seeking to preserve their most important stories in their own voice.​

Voice Capsule captures stories through regularly scheduled guided prompts. Those recordings can later be shared with loved ones or turned into voice-based products such as an audio-biography audiobook. Unlike tape cassettes, voice memos, or videos… we ensure that the recordings are kept safe from accidental loss, erasure, or technological obsolescence.​

Click the image above to read Rupal Patel's post explaining her inspiration for creating Voice Capsule.

Learn more about Voice Capsule.

Rupal's obsession with voice and dedication to diversity is why she was honored with several industry recognitions in 2020:

In addition to Rupal's achievements, VocaliD received several press mentions in 2020. We are incredibly proud of the piece by Meghan McDonough for Scientific American entitled "Artificial Intelligence Is Now Shockingly Good at Sounding Human".

Finally, as we recap our achievements and advances, Meghan's article is an excellent segue into our technology. We continue to see massive improvements in the speed of voice building and reduction in data needed to create a voice. Today, VocaliD voices sound nearly identical to the individual who provided the source material, surprising those who have heard them side by side.

We are immensely proud of what our research and engineering team has accomplished. Currently, these advances are most accessible to our enterprise clients. Still, we keep pushing for these advances within the assistive realm. We believe those using synthetic voices to communicate should benefit from the latest technology, rather than limited by old-generation speech synthesis. We continue to advocate for this ideal.

Lastly, we are very excited about the psychological power of voice. We have been conducting an in-depth mapping of empathic response to voice, how people respond or feel when they hear a specific voice style. This will help us to better understand how AI voice can be used more effectively. By delving deeper into this, we are excited to see how we can bring our technology to greater heights.

We recognize that speaking of AI voices that sound just like voice talent or using voice to impact behavior may excite people and raise concerns about what-ifs. We need to stress our commitment to ethics in all of these advances.

In 2019 we were a founding member of Aithos Coalition, a consortium of synthetic media companies committed to ensuring ethics in AI. We believe that with every advance in technology we must consider any potential misuse of the technology. We MUST then take action to safeguard against these misuses. Click here for more information about Aithos Coalition.​

This year we have grown our team, and in response to Covid-19, shifted to remote work. We are so thankful for their continued dedication and ability to rise to new challenges through honest communication, humility, and the occasional embarrassing Zoom interruption from children, spouses, and pets.

Like many of you, we have also struggled with social isolation, lack of personal routines and professional structure, and detachment from family and friends. While we have been blessed with our physical and business health through this pandemic, we have watched friends, family, and community members suffering significant losses. With all sincerity, we send our love and compassion to all of you who have experienced loss. We are hopeful for what the future brings.

Thank you for being part of our community
- From all of us at VocaliD

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Rupal Patel Named 2020 Voice Visionary

MICHELE J MARTIN

VocaliD is honored to announce that our Founder & CEO Rupal Patel has been named one of 17 Top Voice Visionaries for 2020 for the second year in a row.

The Top Leaders in Voice is a recognition bestowed upon those working in the voice space by a panel of journalists and voice technology peers. Now in its second year, the 2020 Voice Leaders are segmented into four lists - Visionaries, Designers and Products, Technologists, and Influencers.

Topping the list in the Visionaries category are once again Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Adam Cheyer from Samsung and Viv Labs. While Patricia Scanlon of Soapbox Labs and Dr. Ben Goertzel of Singularitynet join the list for 2020.https://voicebot.ai/top-visionaries-in-voice-2020/

Design and Product Leaders have added some new honorees, including Lisa Falkson and Wally Brill of Google, and Maaike Groenewege of Convocat.

The Technologists category has some exciting new additions including Ilya Sutskever of OpenAI, Monica Lam of Open Virtual Assistant Lab, and Juergen Schmerder of Mercedes-Benz R&D NA.

Then there are the Influencers that are shaping the way consumers and corporate executives think about voice technology today such as Michal Stanislawek & Karol Stryja of #VoiceLunch, plus podcasters Teri Fisher of Voice First Health and Carl Robinson of Voice Tech.​

"Even while the tech giants expand their reach, companies such as Deepgram, Open AI, Pryon, Rasa, Sensory, SingularityNET, Stanford University, and others are pushing out innovative technology architectures while end users ranging from Deutsche Telekom and Comcast to Mercedes, BBC, and Mayo Clinic are showing how voice AI is being incorporated into everyday life."
-voicebot.ai

Voicebot utilized a variety of methods to narrow down their list and determine the final Top 68 Leaders in Voice, including - surveys of voice professionals, panel suggestions, media coverage, and social media activity. None of the writers affiliated with Voicebot were eligible for consideration. Unlike last year, this year a judge was allowed to be included when she (Katherine Prescott of Voicebrew) received too many nominations to ignore. Each individual was then scored based on several factors and, if chosen, were then segmented into their leadership category.

Learn more about the selection process and the panel of judges, listed at the bottom of the overview page, linked above.

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Rupal Patel Named A Top Voice AI
Influencer To Follow by Soundhound

MICHELE J MARTIN

Soundhound (powered by the team at Houndify) recognizes that as the Voice AI space has grown, so has the need to identify those experts leading the way — innovating and inspiring both industry insiders and everyday people with their work.

As anyone who uses Twitter knows, it can be hard to filter through the noisy stream of tweets and find the high-quality, credible content you want. We are honored that our Founder and CEO, Rupal Patel, has been included in this list.

Featured alongside such respected peers as Heidi Culbertson of Marvee, Dr. Joan Palmiter Bajorek of Women in Voice, Adva Levin of Pretzel Labs, Noelle Silver of HackerU and AILI, as well as Mark Tucker Mark Tucker and Dr. Teri Fisher.

To follow Rupal Patel and the others on Twitter:
twitter.com/i/lists/1334977812168511488

Read more about Soundhound's picks for Top Voice AI Influencers on Twitter and how they are impacting the Voice AI space in the Soundhound blog.

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#SHAREVOICE:
THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE LIVES (INFOGRAPHIC)

MICHELE J MARTIN

#SHAREVOICE is a movement born from the belief that our voices are not identical, they are our identities.

When our founder, Rupal Patel, found herself witnessing people of different genders, ages, geography, and personalities all using the same text-to-speech voices to communicate, she knew that by harnessing technology, we could do better AND we could change lives. This was the beginning of the Human Voicebank and VocaliD's global voicebanking initiatives.

Voicebanking is a small gesture — with a huge impact. It is the simple act of recording yourself as you read aloud stories on VocaliD’s online studio. Your recordings are then used to train an AI voice for yourself — Vocal Legacy or blended for someone living with speechlessness —BeSpoke.

All of us. Sharing the gift of voice brings us all closer, allowing everyone the ability to express ourselves authentically, rather than with a generic voice that doesn't sound anything like who we are.

Voicebanking for you? Voice loss might be personal —If you or someone you love is currently facing voice loss or is at risk, begin voicebanking today and retain your vocal identity forever.

Voicebanking for others? Contribute your voice to VocaliD’s Human Voicebank so that we can design a totally unique AI voice for those living with speechlessness.

Absolutely! Voicebanking is a great activity to participate in while social distancing and staying #safeathome. You can even organize a virtual community voice drive so that your colleagues, friends and family, or neighbors can join in and share their voices!

All you need is a computer, headset microphone, a quiet room, and a few hours. At your own pace, you will record a total of around 2k sentences. You don't need to record it all in one session, in fact you shouldn't because you want your voice and energy to be strong all the way through your recordings. The better the recordings, the higher quality the AI voice will be!

We are excited that you want to learn more about how you can join VocaliD's global community of over 27k voice contributors!

Read our infographic below for an overview on the different types of voicebankers and how you can get started. Then go to portal.vocalid.ai/account and sign up! Please click the social share buttons right below the infographic and share it with your friends and followers on social media. You can also download it and print it out!

VocaliD Voicebanking Infographic

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INTERVIEW WITH RUPAL PATEL:
'OUTCOMES ROCKET' PODCAST

MICHELE J MARTIN

VocaliD's CEO, Rupal Patel, recently sat down with Outcomes Rocket founder Saul Marquez to discuss the benefits voice technology bring to healthcare and how it can be mastered on the Outcomes Rocket Podcast.

You can listen to this episode below:

Here are the topics that Rupal Patel and Saul Marquez touch on during this 33 minute podcast:

  • Overview of VocaliD and Rupal Patel
  • What inspired Rupal to make voice and voice tech her passion
  • The voice technology applications she sees in the medical sector
  • Why voice matters in healthcare tech
  • How voice can improve healthcare outcomes
  • The differences between traditional voice synthesis and Voice AI
  • VocaliD's setbacks, achievements, and proudest accomplishments
  • "...we can build models of speech with less data and more economically than we've been able to do in the past. That also means we can have a variety of voices for applications rather than just saying we only need one voice for all of our IVR system.

    Think about what we've been doing. I mean, I think right now we're saying there is one voice associated with one brand. Problem is that your customer base is much more, they're very different. So, if you're talking to all your customers in the same way, you're not necessarily resonating with all of them."

    - Rupal Patel, Founder & CEO - VocaliD

    Graphic of sound wave which takes on the shape of a heart before turning back into a regular sound wave patterns

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    INTERVIEW WITH RUPAL PATEL:
    'WHEN SHE FOUNDED' PODCAST

    MICHELE J MARTIN

    VocaliD's CEO, Rupal Patel, recently sat down with Channel Clinical Founder and CEO Ms. Somer Hamrick to share her personal and professional experiences as a female founder in STEM for the When She Founded Podcast.

    You can listen to this episode below:

    Here are the topics that Rupal Patel and Ms. Hamrick touch on during this 36 minute podcast:

  • What inspired Rupal to start VocaliD and the gap in the market she hoped to fill
  • How she found the funding to launch the voice AI company
  • Transitioning into an entrepreneurial mindset and the challenges she faced when making this shift
  • How the VocaliD team has evolved since its inception
  • Why surrounding yourself with a solid team is critical to the success of your business
  • The challenges of finding a co-founder with a vision, mission, and passion that is aligned with yours
  • The phases of building the business that pushed the development of her AI technology to the next level and increased market awareness
  • Strategies she used to increase consumer awareness and share her message with prospective customers
  • Why VocaliD’s messaging speaks to two specific audiences
  • Rupal’s prediction for the trajectory of her business
  • What her team currently looks like and how it has evolved since the inception of the company
  • Her passion for STEM4SocialChange and how they help teach children about voice technology and STEM as well as it’s social impact on the world
  • Rupal’s advice for female entrepreneurs
  • How Rupal channels her inner strength when faced with uncertainty
  • "Surrounding yourself with a solid team, both on your staff as well as in the advisory or board capacity is vital."

    - Rupal Patel, Founder & CEO - VocaliD

    Graphic of sound wave which takes on the shape of a heart before turning back into a regular sound wave patterns

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    VOCALID WINS PROJECT VOICE AWARDS 2020

    MICHELE J MARTIN

    VocaliD is honored to announce that we took home the Healthcare Voice Experience of the Year award at this year's Project Voice Awards in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    The awards recognize best-in-class global achievement across the realm of voice-first technology and its underlying AI. The Project Voice Awards are part of the annual Project Voice conference, an event focused on everything voice tech — featuring practitioners, technologists, executives, and leaders in this emerging space.

    Voice Preservation Clinic -VocaliD + Northeastern University

    From all of us at VocaliD, thank you to the judges for their votes and to all of you, for your continued support!

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    VOCALiD FEATURED ON
    VALUE INSPIRATION PODCAST

    MICHELE J MARTIN

    As technological advances bring breakneck changes and new opportunities for society as a whole, businesses need to adapt to keep up and stand out. VocaliD's CEO, Rupal Patel, recently sat down with Value Inspiration podcast host Ton Dobbe to discuss the potential of Voice AI to give people, brands, and products their own vocal identity.

    You can listen to this episode below:

    In a world where everything speaks, the voice sends a message as much as the content it is speaking. Organizations and companies need to unpack and examine what voice means for their brand. Uniqueness is a strength — a differentiator, and technology can help to demonstrate this.

    Not only does voice technology allow an organization or brand to demonstrate their value proposition through audible differentiation, it also assists in powering interaction and connection. Technology can engage and unite people and if these connections are achieved in a manner that is meaningful, then the tech has done its job.

    "The ultimate kind of application is not where we become dependent on the technology but that the technology really facilitates interaction between humans."

    - Rupal Patel, Founder & CEO - VocaliD

    Graphic of sound wave which takes on the shape of a heart before turning back into a regular sound wave patterns

    During this interview, you will learn three things:

    Why voice is still so underutilized as a mechanism to connect and interact with the users of our products.

    How voice can help take adoption of your product to new levels by its ability to create a unique bond with users, build trust and change behavior.

    That you role as a product owner is not to reinvent everything – sometimes you are way better of using readily available components and understand their value proposition in context of what you are trying to achieve.

    In summary, this podcast provides an interesting forty minute dive into the science of speech synthesis and the opportunities for Voice.

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    VOCALiD NAMED FINALIST IN
    PROJECT VOICE AWARDS 2020

    MICHELE J MARTIN

    VocaliD is honored to announce that we are finalists for three Project Voice Awards. The awards recognize best-in-class global achievement across the realm of voice-first technology and its underlying AI. This year's Project Voice Awards Gala takes place in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15th, 2020. Winners will be announced live so please stay tuned to our social accounts for live updates!

    Rupal Patel - CEO & Founder of VocaliD

    Voice Preservation Clinic -VocalID + Northeastern University

    Voice Preservation Clinic -VocalID + Northeastern University

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