MapmyIndia, the Qualcomm Ventures, KPCB, Sherpalo, Nexus Venture Partners funded location based services and maps company has forged a seven year strategic partnership with Nuance Communications to offer street level turn-by-turn voice navigation on its next generation devices. Following the alliance, MapmyIndia’s forthcoming devices will feature Nuance’s text to speech engine, Vocalizer for Automative, which according to the company, will ensure a more accurate voice guidance experience.
Announcing the tie-up at VAS Asia 2011, MapmyIndia informed that it will fine tune the Nuance engine to get accurate pronunciations of Indian street names and points of interests across 1200 cities. The company is in the process of creating a phonetic database with localized accents of street names and landmarks for different parts of India. The company intends to launch the new devices that support this technology, within 2011, with support for Hindi an English initially, and for other Indian languages further down the line.
While navigation is still not that big a proposition in the Indian market, the introduction of a more accurate voice guidance system will certainly boost the adoption of navigation devices. Honestly, listening to an almost robotic voice, giving driving directions and street names in an American accent, half of which is incomprehensible, only made it more difficult for companies to sell Navigation devices in the market.
We also hope that the integration goes beyond MapmyIndia’s proprietary devices to its smartphone apps, specially when Nuance has already announced the availability of its Dragon Mobile SDK, which includes Text to Speech capabilities are supported for more than 35 languages including Indian English and Hindi, to benefit a larger section of users.