On-Premise VS Cloud Text To Speech API Everything you need to know about On-Premise VS Cloud Text To Speech API.

By Hammad Syed in API

April 16, 2024 10 min read
On-Premise VS Cloud Text To Speech API

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Larger enterprises and startups alike have been turning to text to speech APIs. However, choosing between an on-premise vs cloud text to speech API can be tricky. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know so you can decide what the best text to speech API option is for your needs.

What is a text to speech API?

Have you ever had Alexa, Siri, or Cortana speak to you? These are all excellent examples of text to speech APIs at work. Text to speech APIs are software interfaces that enable developers to integrate speech synthesis into applications.

This allows applications to transform text into natural-sounding audio files and “speak” to users. Through a combination of speech synthesis, automatic speech recognition (ASR), and machine learning technology as well as natural language processing capabilities, virtual assistants like Siri can respond to you in voices similar to that of a human.

How a text to speech API works

Now that you have the basic break down, let’s dive a little deeper into how text to speech technology works. Text to speech APIs employ neural networks and language models that are trained on vast datasets so the deep learning algorithm can learn proper patterns, phonetics, and intonations within provided texts – basically how to produce humanlike responses.

These artificial intelligence systems then synthesize speech by selecting appropriate sounds, tones, and accents to create high-quality and lifelike audio output. This is how virtual assistants like Siri respond to your inquiries in a coherent and lifelike way.

Text to speech API use cases

Although we’ve mentioned virtual assistants being powered by text to speech APIs, TTS APIs have a wide range of applications across industries. Some common use cases include:

  • Accessibility tools for visually impaired individuals
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) systems and chatbots in customer service
  • Voice-enabled GPS and navigation assistants in automobiles
  • E-learning platforms for audio-based content
  • Multilingual communication and language translation services

What is an on-premise text to speech API?

Historically, on-premise text to speech APIs were hosted in a server or data center that was located physically on the premise of an enterprise. However, now an on-premise text to speech API is an API that’s hosted in an enterprise’s already existing infrastructure. Rather than hosted on a third-party cloud like cloud-based TTS APIs, on-prem TTS APIs are hosted within an enterprise’s own private cloud or a data center, allowing for more control over data privacy, security, and compliance.

How an on-premise text to speech API works

While we can’t speak to all on-premise TTS APIs, PlayHT’s on-prem text to speech API operates securely on the company’s private cloud or data center with very strict security measures for the benefit of the client and vendor. For example, PlayHT’s LLMs run inside a container, or black box, creating a hermetic seal. Traffic in and out of this container is restricted and controlled by the client so the client’s IT teams can choose what leaves or enters their cloud. This is important for industries that require stringent security measures such as those banking and educational institutions as well as healthcare facilities bound by HIPAA.

What is a cloud text to speech API?

A cloud text to speech API is a hosted service provided by third-party cloud computing vendors, such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. These APIs offer scalable and flexible speech synthesis capabilities accessible via remote endpoints over the internet. These APIs offer seamless integration with cloud-based applications and services, enabling rapid deployment and global accessibility.

How a cloud text to speech API works

A cloud text to speech API operates on remote servers managed by third-party cloud providers leveraging their infrastructure and resources to deliver TTS functionality over the internet. By offloading tasks to remote servers, cloud text to speech APIs offer flexibility, scalability, and accessibility, making them ideal for businesses with dynamic workloads and global operations.

On-premise VS cloud text to speech API: What are the differences?

As far as on-premise VS cloud text to speech APIs, the architecture is the biggest difference. There are no cosmetic differences in the feature set of the API. On-prem text to speech APIs are hosted within a company’s existing infrastructure and managed internally for increased security.

Cloud text to speech APIs are hosted and managed by third-party cloud providers, requiring companies to relinquish some control to third-party providers. In addition, here are a few other differences to consider when it comes to TTS API options:

  • Deployment: On-premise TTS APIs require local installation and configuration, while cloud-based alternatives are accessed via remote servers over the internet.
  • Latency: With on-prem TTS APIs, your API lives entirely in your cloud and is as close to your software stack as possible so you will typically benefit from lower latency around ~150ms and faster response times.
  • Control: On-premise TTS APIs provide greater control over data privacy and security, as sensitive information remains within the organization’s network perimeter. Cloud-based solutions require trust in the security practices of cloud providers and adherence to regulatory compliance standards.

Benefits of on-premise text to speech API

By hosting the API on-site, or in their own cloud, companies can tailor the solution to their specific requirements and integrate it seamlessly with existing workflows. On-premise text to speech APIs offer several benefits, including:

  • Data privacy: Hosting the API locally ensures data remains within the company’s network, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.
  • Customization and integration: On-premise solutions can be tailored to meet specific requirements and integrated with existing ecosystems using software development kits (SDKs) in languages like Python.
  • Predictable performance: By eliminating reliance on external network resources and remote servers, on-premise TTS APIs can deliver consistent performance and low latency for mission-critical applications.
  • Compliance: With on-prem TTS APIs retain full control over their data and infrastructure, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and data governance policies.
  • Latency: On-premise text to speech APIs offer faster latency, especially crucial for real-time speech processing.

Benefits of cloud text to speech API

By using cloud-based TTS APIs, users can convert written text into natural-sounding speech with ease and efficiency. Here are a few key ways cloud-based TTS APIs help modern application development needs:

  • Scalability: Cloud TTS APIs offer elastic scalability, allowing resources to be adjusted based on demand and fluctuating workloads without the need for additional infrastructure or resources.
  • Reliability: Cloud TTS API service providers typically offer service level agreements (SLAs) guaranteeing uptime and performance levels, reducing the risk of downtime and service interruptions.
  • Global reach: Cloud-based text to speech APIs are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing developers to build applications that can serve a global audience.
  • Automatic updates: Cloud-based TTS APIs are continuously updated and maintained by the service provider. This automation ensures you always have access to the latest features, improvements, and security patches, and eliminates the need for manual updates and maintenance tasks.
  • Security: Cloud-based service providers invest heavily in security measures, such as data encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications, to protect user data and ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.

On-premise VS cloud text to speech API: How to choose?

The choice between on-premise or cloud text to speech APIs depends on your user experience preferences and specific needs, workload demands, and risk tolerance.

Consider opting for on-premise solutions if you prioritize data privacy, low latency, and customizable flexible deployments. On-prem solutions are best for real-time applications such as interactive voice response systems and live transcription services that benefit from the reduced latency, as well as industries that have strict compliance regulations like TTS APIs for HIPAA-compliant healthcare facilities or legal services that need to adhere to attorney-client confidentiality.

On the other hand, cloud APIs offer scalability, accessibility, and cost-efficiency advantages, making them suitable for organizations with dynamic or global operations. By evaluating your unique needs and priorities, you can choose the solution that best aligns with your business objectives.

When should you use on-premise VS cloud text to speech API

Hosted TTS APIOn-Premise TTS API
Setup and MaintenanceMinimal setup required; maintenance and updates handled by the service provider.Requires initial setup and regular maintenance by the user’s IT team.
CostOften operates on a pay-as-you-go model, which can be cost-effective for variable usage patterns.Higher upfront costs due to hardware and software installation, but potentially lower ongoing costs depending on usage.
Data PrivacyData is processed off-site, which might be a concern for sensitive information.Better control over data security, as all data remains on-site. Ideal for highly regulated industries or sensitive applications.
CustomizationLimited customization options dependent on what the provider offers.High degree of customization possible, allowing for specific modifications tailored to the organization’s needs.
Internet DependencyRequires internet connectivity to access the API services.Functions independently of internet connectivity, ensuring availability even in offline scenarios.
ScalabilityEasily scalable with demand due to cloud infrastructure; can handle high loads without user intervention.Scalability is limited by on-site resources; scaling up may require significant additional investment in infrastructure.
LatencyPotential for higher latency if the provider’s servers are geographically distant or under heavy load.Generally lower latency as processing is done locally, which can be crucial for real-time applications.
ReliabilityDependent on the reliability of the internet and the provider’s uptime.Reliability is controlled by the organization’s own infrastructure and IT support, which can be both an advantage and a responsibility.
IntegrationEasier integration with other cloud services and APIs, facilitating a more extensive ecosystem of tools.Integration might require more bespoke solutions but can be closely aligned with internal systems and security requirements.
Regulatory ComplianceThe provider must comply with regulations, which may not always align perfectly with the user’s requirements.Easier to ensure compliance with specific local regulations concerning data handling and processing.

PlayHT: The best on-premise and cloud text to speech API

PlayHT offers both on-premise and cloud text to speech API solutions so you can choose the perfect fit for your needs. PlayHT text to speech APIs not only offer ultra-realistic voices across 142 languages, including GermanSpanishFrenchJapaneseArabicBengaliUrduKoreanRussianItalian, HindiTagalog and Polish. It also supports different accents like BritishCanadian,  Australian,  AmericanIndian and Irish, as well as voice cloning, but they also feature a latency that’s unbeatable by any other text to speech provider.

Whether you’re seeking an on-premise or cloud API solution, PlayHT offers two different versions, V1 and V2, which feature 800+ unique voices and access to 20K additional text to speech voice options in the community voice library. PlayHT APIs also support instant or high-fidelity voice clones to ensure you have voices that are tailored to your specific preferences.

Sign up for PlayHT’s API today and provide your apps with AI-generated speech that is indistinguishable from human voices.

Does Google Speech offer a speech to text on-prem solution?

Yes, Google Speech offers both on-premise and cloud speech to text API solutions to transcribe audio files into written text.

What is the pricing for TTS APIs?

TTS API pricing varies depending on factors such as usage volume, features, GPUs, and service level agreements. Providers typically offer tiered pricing plans to accommodate different needs.

What’s the difference between on-device or on-premise TTS?

On-device TTS refers to speech synthesis that occurs directly on the user’s device, while on-premise TTS typically involves hosting the synthesis process within the user’s own infrastructure or local network.

Are TTS APIs typically open source?

While some TTS APIs may offer open-source components or support open standards, the APIs themselves are often proprietary services provided by companies like OpenAI and others.

Can I find TTS API resources and documentation on GitHub?

Yes, many TTS API providers host their SDKs, sample code, frameworks, and documentation on GitHub, providing developers with easy access to resources and fostering collaboration within the community.

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Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed holds a Bachelor of Engineering - BE, Electrical, Electronics and Communications and is one of the leading voices in the AI voice revolution. He is the co-founder and CEO of PlayHT, now known as PlayAI.

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