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Engineering

Speech Recognition: Use Cases and Solutions

In this blog, we will talk about some of the solutions that developers can use for implementing Speech Recognition in their applications.
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Sohail Pathan
Last updated on January 03, 2024

Introduction:

In our daily lives, we rely a lot on technology to make things easier and quicker. Think about talking to your coffee machine to get it to make coffee, speaking out emails while you're on the way to work, or asking your car to tell you the way. Not long ago, these ideas sounded like a science fiction movie. Nowadays, this is quite common and a big reason for this is the evolution in speech recognition technology. This technology is now a big part of our everyday life and It changes how we communicate and use our gadgets, making them easier to use and more helpful. In this post, we will take a closer look at speech recognition and see how it is changing the way we use technology.
Speech recognition, also known as speech cognition, is a cognitive ability that enables computers to process and interpret human speech. This technology converts spoken language into text or executes commands, making interactions with digital devices more intuitive and efficient.

Types of speech recognition services:

Below we have some common functionalities that are delivered by speech recognition.
Dictation Systems: These systems are designed to transcribe spoken words into written text. They are widely used in professions where documentation is crucial, for example in law and healthcare.
Speech-to-Text for Accessibility: Tailored for individuals with disabilities, these services help convert speech to text, aiding those who have difficulty typing or reading screens.
Language Translation: Advanced speech recognition systems can translate spoken language in real-time, breaking down language barriers in international communication.

Use cases of speech recognition services:

Numerous industries leverage speech recognition technology. Below are some of the compelling use cases that demonstrate speech-to-text conversion versatility and impact:
Healthcare: Doctors and medical professionals can use speech recognition for transcribing patient notes, thereby saving time and improving record accuracy. For example, an application could use speech recognition APIs to enable doctors to dictate patient notes hands-free, directly into their Electronic Health Records (EHR) system.
Healthcare
Retail and E-Commerce: Voice-assisted shopping and customer service can improve user experience, making shopping more convenient and personalized. For example, An app could use speech recognition to help users search for products using voice commands.
Retail and E-Commerce
Telecommunications: Improving customer service efficiency through automated systems that understand and respond to customer queries. For example, an app that effortlessly transforms audio conversations between customers and the support team into text. It could then automatically integrate these conversations into support tickets or organize them in a database.
Telecommunications
Home Automation: Smart home devices use voice commands for controlling lights, thermostats, and other home appliances, epitomizing convenience and efficiency. For example, an app could centralize control of all smart devices in a home through voice commands.
Home Automation

Some providers of Speech Recognition Services:

To add speech recognition functionality to your application, there are two ways you can go about it:
  1. Deploying open-source pre-trained models
  2. By using cloud APIs

Open-source Models:

Open-source speech recognition models offer a readily accessible and cost-effective solution for developing and implementing speech recognition in applications. Now, let's take a look at some well-known open-source models that are available.
  1. Whisper: Whisper is a Python-based open-source model developed by OpenAI renowned for its highly accurate speech recognition capabilities. It is built on advanced deep learning techniques, utilizing neural network architectures optimized for processing and understanding spoken language.
  2. DeepSpeech: Developed by Mozilla, DeepSpeech is famous for its exceptional performance in converting speech to text. It's designed to be fast, accurate, and adaptable to various speech nuances.
  3. eSpeak: eSpeak is a compact open-source model speech synthesizer that converts text into spoken voice output. eSpeak is known for its small size and its wide range of language support, making it a popular choice for applications needing speech output in multiple languages.
While open-source speech recognition models can be appealing due to their no-cost nature, deploying and maintaining these models requires significant engineering efforts. From data preprocessing and model training to hosting and scaling, organizations need strong machine-learning teams to properly operationalize open-source models.
This approach can be suitable or even ideal for some projects, but many companies are limited by their existing tech stack and team capabilities.
A good alternative to such models is to use cloud-based speech APIs. These APIs provide pre-built speech services with simple API calls over the network. By leveraging the provider’s infrastructure, developers and companies can avoid the hassles of building and running speech recognition capabilities internally and focus their engineering efforts on their core products and services.

Cloud APIs:

Now, let's explore some popular API providers that offer speech recognition capabilities.
  1. AssemblyAI: AssemblyAI offers advanced speech recognition APIs that cater to a variety of needs, including transcription, sentiment analysis, and content moderation. Their AI-driven system is known for high accuracy and the ability to handle complex audio environments.
  2. Microsoft Azure AI Service: Microsoft Azure provides a comprehensive suite of AI services, including speech recognition. Their Azure Cognitive Services harness advanced algorithms to offer real-time transcription, speech translation, and natural language understanding. This service is integrated into various Microsoft products, enhancing its accessibility and utility.
  3. AWS: AWS offers Amazon Transcribe, a powerful speech recognition service that converts speech to text. It is capable of identifying different speakers, understanding various languages and dialects, and is easily scalable to accommodate large-scale applications. AWS's service is particularly popular for its deep integration with other AWS services, making it a versatile choice for businesses.
  4. ApyHub: ApyHub provides services for converting speech to text, text to speech, translating documents, and detecting languages. The main benefit of this specific service is that they are available in one place, so there's no need to create separate credentials or API keys. ApyHub also comes with an API Playground to test the output before using the services.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, speech recognition technology is a powerful tool in the digital age. It enables developers to improve connectivity, accessibility, and efficiency for businesses and products.
There are tools available as per the requirements. On a programmatic level, APIs like the  ApyHub APIs can help developers incorporate speech recognition functionalities into their applications and automate the process.
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