what3words and Speechmatics launch Voice API

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what3words and Speechmatics have launched a new end-to-end speech recognition and post-processing API for developing new location services.

The Voice API combines automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with in-built post processing.

Launched this week at CES, the API allows a user to say three words into any application or service, with it returning the what3words address and corresponding GPS coordinates, all through a single API call.

The Speechmatics integration provides industry-leading speech recognition and machine learning capabilities that enable new what3words languages to be built on demand.

what3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m squares that have a unique address made up of three words. People can then identify and share precise locations using those three words. The company says this addressing system eliminates many of the frustrations encountered when using voice to enter traditional street addresses. Street addresses, for example, frequently use non-dictionary words, the pronunciation of which can be near impossible to guess.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words, said the new Voice API is "the ideal solution for apps and services that want to enable simple address entry via voice, without the speech recognition ambiguity associated with address search through traditional ASR systems – duplicate names, for example."

John Milliken, CEO of Speechmatics added, “Speechmatics enables its partners to innovate with voice by providing accurate speech recognition regardless of your accent and can learn new languages on demand. We’re delighted to support what3words in the launch of our combined API. Using automatic speech recognition to unlock the value in voice data is becoming more widespread and we are excited about the potential for our technology to help what3words create a new global standard for addresses.”

The what3words Voice API powered by Speechmatics currently supports English, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, German, Arabic and Spanish.