Railway station announcements are set to become virtually word-perfect, thanks to significant investment by the British company Infotec whose text-to-speech technology is currently used at over 200 UK stations to provide train service information and security details.

Infotec developed its microPA systems to offer a viable alternative to other automated PA and long line PA (LLPA). The Infotec system uses a sophisticated TTS engine as its means of creating the announcements, rather than the segmented speech used by the others.

The company’s display technology receives textual information from the CIS system central computer and interprets this to produce the visual output on the displays. This same textual information is also used as the input to the TTS system, allowing the microPA units to create the necessary audio announcements directly.

Infotec’s first systems to provide public address announcements using Text to Speech (TTS) technology were released in 2010 and have been widely used ever since.

In its quest to make its system the very best in class, Infotec has now made significant investment in creating a new and virtually word perfect TTS library.

The audio output generated by the microPA Text to Speech (TTS) engine has always been as accurate and natural as possible, but in the latest release of the microPA TTS libraries it has got a whole lot better!

Over 2000 place names from throughout the UK were analysed and optimised for the new Infotec TTS library release and emphasis has been placed on ensuring place names, including complex Welsh ones, are pronounced as correctly as possible.

Spoken words are made up of small sound segments called phonemes and these are created for use in the TTS engine using actual recorded voices. A new, more accurate phoneme library has been created for Infotec’s updated library.

The ‘word perfect’ Infotec project has so far focussed on the female voice (Rachel) and work is now in progress to update the male voice (Peter).

Check the clarity and accuracy of the new sounds for yourself by visiting the home page of Infotec’s website and clicking on the ‘check our sounds’ button.