State of the art software that turns text into human-like audio files at a fraction of the cost of booking a voice artist, recording studio and sound engineer has won New Zealand Agile software development specialist Company-X its third innovation award.

Company-X won the Independent Software Vendor category in the Homegrown Innovators section of the IDG’s Reseller News Innovation Awards in Auckland on Wednesday, October 21, where Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett and senior executive Ben Judge were presented with the award.

“Company-X wins this award for designing and deploying a platform with a Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) editor to automate a labour-intensive manual process for its client, introducing automated workflow technology to transform the process for users,” said Reseller News editor Leon Spencer.

Ben Judge
INNOVATION: Company-X senior executive Ben Judge receives the Independent Software Vendor award.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Company-X has won the Independent Software Vendor award for the third time,” Hallett said.

Company-X won the Independent Software Vendor award in 2019 and 2017 and was a category finalist in 2018.

“This is the pick of IDG’s Innovation Awards for innovative software development, and is the trophy we absolutely love to take home!“

The Company-X text-to-voice editor also allows SSML tags to control emphasis, pitch, speed and tone. Software users can edit and resynthesise the result at any time using SSML tags.

Company-X clients, Stockholm-based multinational CBG and DeLaval, use the text-to-voice editor to transform the manual voice translation process essential to global operations. DeLaval Inc, USA, Delaval International, Europe, and DeLaval Ltd, New Zealand, all use the software.

“I am really proud that Company-X has won the Independent Software Vendor Award recognising such a great team of software specialists at Company-X again,” said Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes.

“I am also really grateful for the trust and confidence clients put in the Company-X team to innovate for them and create innovative and award-winning software.”

CBG key account manager Paul Jacobsen congratulated Company-X for a well-deserved award win.

"Since we first turned to Company-X for assistance with our synthetic audio needs, they have been very flexible and accommodating," Jacobsen said.

"They managed to adapt their SSML tool to give even more adjustment options to reach better audio results.

"This innovative software is intuitive and easy to use and answered our need to provide a budget-friendly alternative to professional voice recordings."

DeLaval Manufacturing milk quality and on-farm service solutions technical development manager Mario Lopez Benavides said Company-X’s SSML editor had proved to be pivotal in making good progress in his projects.

“The flexibility of the tool allows the project team to make sure that voice quality meets the requirements that any user of the final product would expect. Project time is shortened without compromising quality, and that is something we value greatly. The innovation award in the Independent Software Vendor is a well-deserved win for Company-X. Congratulations.”

DeLaval Services farm supplies training and assortment administrator Stefanie Goodhew said: “Before I was assigned the task of translating and coordinating global e-learning within our company, I honestly hadn't given any thought at all to how an automatic translation of text into spoken word could work, let alone how it would sound.

“While working with the recording tool, it is all the more amazing to me how natural the final result sounds and how easily you can change the sound of the words with tiny changes and adjustments.

“Very impressive and congratulations to Company-X!”

Company-X was also a finalist in the Digital Transformation and Internet of Things (IoT) award categories. TracPlus, which offers real-time tracking, event reporting and messaging for aircraft, vehicles, vessels and personnel, asked Company-X to build a mobile app that enabled satellite communication when cell coverage or internet was not available.

Company-X built a messaging platform that works over web, cellular, satellite, and radio.