New SSML Support on Alexa
Buried among the calling features, new devices, and announcements over funding and acquisitions of the past two weeks, there was smaller announcement around newly supported SSML tags for Alexa. We announced back in March that our Ubi Portal Prototyping Skill for Alexa now supported SSML tags. The tags that Amazon just announced should also be supported through our skill.
The new tags allow for softness and emphasis, as well as changing the prosody of the voice. Prosody refers to pitch, speed, and specific syllable emphasis. Someone with some patience can now play around with both the Ubi Portal Skill and the tags to create a very human-like Alexa response.
The war of TTS is heating up and it seems like the release of Amazon Polly as an AWS tool has allowed for Alexa to also benefit from a separate dev team (my hypothesis).