SpinVox opens up its API for new apps

The speech-to-text conversion company hopes its open application programming interface will allow developers to create new, as-yet-unthought-of applications for the technology

SpinVox, a company that provides voice-to-text messaging services, announced the opening up of its application programming interface on Monday, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

SpinVox Create is an open API that will be released on the commercial speech platform VMCS sometime in the next six months. According to the company, the idea is to attract developers to create voice-to-text applications that SpinVox itself has neither the time nor the resources to create.

"We're not an application development house," SpinVox co-founder Daniel Doulton told ZDNet UK on Monday. "We've been scaling like mad as a business, and gone from voicemail-as-value-add to voicemail-as-network-feature, where the calling party can send their voice message as text, but so much can be done with our basic ability that there's no way we can do it all ourselves."

Doulton said SpinVox has its service hosted in the same core network co-location facilities as providers such as BT. It had addressed existing service provider channels in the carrier, unified communications and VoIP markets, but now wanted to turn to the "big category" that lies in other products and services.

"It could be an iPhone app for ordering pizzas, or a workflow thing for the enterprise," Doulton said. "You could use the API in an application where someone in your fleet calls in, and integrate that into your back-end workflow systems."

The model behind the open API will involve the user buying packs of "conversion events", instances of speech being converted to text. Doulton was reticent about the exact price of these events, saying: "It's not going to be 50 cents a go, but it won't be five cents either", but he said a free test API would be available for those interested in seeing what they can do without "burning" events.

The API will use "simple web-based methods" such as HTTP, Doulton said, with no need for a software development kit (SDK).

SpinVox is currently inviting developers to pre-register their interest. "This also allows us to have conversations with the developers, and find out what their expectations are," Doulton said, adding that SpinVox would be keen to help keen developers promote their products to the big distribution channels with whom SpinVox already works.

"If someone develops a great app, we're naturally going to create a channel for them to other markets," Doulton said.


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