This article was originally published on Ynet – Israel’s largest national publication. Below is a translation.
Israeli start-up Trinity Audio is prepared for an era in which we speak with our devices instead of clicking on them. You’ll be able to listen to this article while driving or running, and when commercials appear, you’ll be able to purchase the products through voice commands. “Audio is making a huge comeback,” says CEO Ron Jaworski
Yuval Mann, Las Vegas
Ron Jaworski was going down the elevator on his way to his car while reading an article on one of the websites. “Why can’t I click play and hear the rest of the article while driving?” he wondered. Thus two years later the startup Trinity Audio was born, which has become the online address for content consumption that can be heard in cars, in the kitchen, in the gym – anywhere you want.
If you ask Jaworski, the next technological revolution will not involve augmented reality (AR) or artificial intelligence (AI). The audio revolution and its vocal operation, he says with excitement, will change our lives just as much as the smartphone has in the previous decade.
Jaworski’s talk at AWS re:Invent
For example, look at the world of smart speakers. This market grew by 44.9% in Q3 2019, and according to Pew Research Institute, one-quarter of Americans already have this type of speaker in their homes. The situation in Israel is different, particularly due to the lack of support in Hebrew but in several years, we will also be able to order clothes through Alexa or ask Google Assistant to turn on our boiler.
Another example can be found in the world of podcasts, which has grown at a stunning pace. The market whose revenue from ads was estimated at $479 million in 2018, is expected to cross the one billion dollar mark in 2021. This will happen, inter alia, with the help of strong players such as Barack and Michelle Obama, who will produce and record podcasts for streaming giant Spotify.
Clooney, I want Nespresso
Jaworski enthusiastically speaks about a future in which we listen to articles, hear ads based on our interests and if we want to, issue a voice command to make the purchase. Our credit card has already been fed in the smartphone. A company such as Nespresso, for example, can record its presenter George Clooney and the entire purchasing process will be carried out with his digital avatar.
“This is an insane revolution and it will arrive in Israel as well,” says Jaworski, who founded Trinity Audio as a subsidiary of Somoto, which is listed on the TASE. “Ultimately, all of this technology converges into something that comes very natural to us – speaking.”
“Incredible revolution” Ron Jaworski
It will be several years until a scenario presented by Trinity Audio materializes, and users will have to overcome their concerns and allow for the automatic operation of the microphone. Hi-tech companies, for their part, will need to prove that they are working to protect user privacy and not transcribe their recordings, for example, without disclosing this in advance.
“We were concerned about GPS in the beginning as well,” says Jaworski. “Now, however, we all use it all of the time. We are training the market, teaching people, saying – come listen. Today you can be stuck in traffic on the Ayalon and listen to an article”. There is also the social angle. Jaworski mentions that the service will help the visually impaired and the population that does not know how to read or write. For example, in developing nations such as India.
Today, Trinity Audio is working with several publishers around the world, including the US publisher McClatchy, converting their content into audio using algorithms that analyze the text and filter whatever is not relevant to the article. The main tool they use is Amazon Polly – an AWS service, the computing and network service division of the technological giant, to transform text into speech.
“There were complaints about the mechanical sounding voice in the beginning,” admits Jaworski “but we have significantly reduced this gap. Two things are happening – solutions of converting text into speech are rapidly improving, such as Amazon Polly, and we, as human beings, are becoming accustomed to mechanical voices due to our increasing speaking to devices.”
Amazon’s re:Invent Conference
Trinity Audio translates content form English into six different languages with the assistance of Amazon. According to Jaworski, publishers in France and Germany were incredibly surprised by the quality of the translation. Hebrew is still not available but the company hopes that Amazon will provide a solution within the next year so that we in Israel can hear articles anywhere we want to. Jaworski’s dream is to go as far as possible, to provide service to readers of CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.
The meeting with Jaworski takes place at the re:Invent conference hosted by AWS, Amazon’s Computing and Cloud Services Division, in Las Vegas. “I came here to give two lectures with Amazon Polly staff members on text-to-speech conversion,” he says and takes pride in the close cooperation with the technology giant. From there, he will travel to the conference of the ad industry in New York, in an attempt to infect more people with the audio bug. “We can discuss this field for hours on end and at the end of the conversation, we will have ideas for five new start-ups” he promises.
The author is a guest of AWS in Las Vegas