What Is On-Premise Text To Speech API? What is on-premise text to speech API? Get to know everything.

By Hammad Syed in TTS

April 5, 2024 10 min read
What Is On-Premise Text To Speech API?

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Enterprises have always used either on-premise or cloud-hosted software solutions so these are not necessarily new concepts. However, on-premise text to speech APIs are becoming more popular especially when it comes to enterprises and startups. Let’s dive into everything from what on-premise text to speech APIs are to how they’re opening doors for businesses and enhancing user experiences.

Understanding text to speech APIs

Before diving into the specifics of on-premise TTS APIs, let’s first understand what TTS APIs are. Text to speech APIs enable applications to convert written text into spoken words. They generate high-quality natural-sounding speech using advanced natural language processing algorithms, machine learning and speech recognition technology, and neural networks trained on vast datasets. These APIs, powered by deep learning, are invaluable in scenarios where audio content is preferred or necessary, such as accessibility features, automated customer service systems, or multimedia applications.

The need for on-premise text to speech APIs

The largest companies in the world have been bitten by the AI bug and are poised to double their investments in the next decade. In fact, recent research by ISG found that 85% of enterprises believe investments in generative AI in the next 24 months are crucial to growth.

As enterprises venture into the AI marketplace, they bring with them decades of operating at scale, alongside uniquely tailored demands and stringent security requirements for every application they adopt.

From hospitals to banking and education, the world’s data flows through these enterprises and the world expects a lot, so robust workflow solutions are required. That’s why most enterprises are turning to on-premise applications, such as text to speech APIs, which provide them more control and customization to meet their specific needs.

Types of text to speech APIs

There seems to be a boom in text to speech APIs. While cloud-hosted APIs have been sufficient for small to medium-sized businesses, enterprises demand much more and that’s what on-premise text to speech APIs offer.

Although “on-premise text to speech API” is a relatively new term, it’s bound to become a corporate buzzword soon enough. Why?

While cloud-based offerings are popular for their scalability and convenience, there are instances where on-premise solutions are preferred. On-premise text to speech APIs provide businesses with greater control, security, and privacy over their speech data and workflows. This is particularly crucial for organizations operating in regulated industries or dealing with sensitive information.

Difference between cloud and on-premise

Traditionally cloud-hosted simply meant that enterprises would subscribe to a service that was hosted through a cloud that belonged to some other company. For example, a cloud provider like Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson, Amazon, or Google.

On-premise, historically, meant that an application was hosted in a server or a data center that was physically inside a company’s property – literally on their premises.

However, text to speech and other large language models (LLMs) are much more complicated. They require complex hardware and computing to process all the models, parameters, and weighting. It might not even be cost-effective for an enterprise to build such infrastructure.

Then what does on-premise text to speech API mean?

On-premise text to speech APIs are really just another cloud installation but inside the enterprise’s already existing cloud or data center. So if an enterprise wanted an on-premise TTS API, they would simply host the LLM in their own Google Cloud, AWS, or data center.

Unlike cloud-based APIs, which rely on remote third-party servers, on-premise solutions operate on the organization’s servers or private cloud infrastructure. This setup allows for in-house management, customized deployments, reduced latency, and adherence to compliance standards.

Could enterprises build their own, traditional, in-the-back-room data center to host the API? Sure. Can it be done today? Absolutely. However, building your own LLMs is time-intensive and costly, not to mention the use cases are slim. The on-premise cloud is easier to manage and enterprise IT teams prefer it over physical on-premise options.

How does an on-premise TTS API work?

Securely. While we can’t speak to the few other TTS APIs on the market, many of which are not fully developed, PlayHT’s on-prem (that’s how the cool kids say it) text to speech API runs securely on the company’s cloud.

How? The LLMs operate within the client’s cloud console and have very strict security measures for the benefit of the client and the 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.

Clients are the gatekeepers and can allow specific traffic in and out of this container. This is important for HIPPA, healthcare, banking, and educational institutions. IT security teams can track and choose what content leaves their cloud and what enters.

As far as on-prem vs. cloud-hosted TTS APIs, that’s the biggest difference – the architecture. There are no cosmetic differences in the feature set of the API.

How to set up PlayHT’s on-prem text to speech API

While setup instructions vary depending on your cloud provider (more on that here), your PlayHT on-prem will be deployed to your cloud in the form of a virtual appliance. This virtual appliance contains everything you need to transform text to speech. Your appliance consists of two virtual private clouds (VPC): an Isolated VPC and a Control VPC. For security and control, the only way data can flow into or out of your Isolated VPC is through your Control VPC – which enforces rules about network traffic and you fully control.

Because your appliance lives entirely in your cloud and is as close to your software stack as possible, you will also benefit from latency around ~150ms.

Benefits of on-premise text to speech API

On-premise text to speech APIs offer many advantages. Here’s a look at the top benefits of using on-prem TTS APIs:

  • Security and control: With on-premise TTS APIs, like PlayHT’s on-prem solutions, your text and speech data stays in your cloud. This means you are in control of your data, PlayHT never sees your data, and you can mitigate concerns related to data privacy and regulatory compliance.
  • Latency: On-premise text to speech APIs offer faster latency. In fact, PlayHT’s on-prem latency is around 150ms. This is especially crucial for real-time speech processing. Whether it’s transcribing live broadcasts or enabling voice commands in applications, the ability to process speech in real-time, through automatic speech recognition (ASR), enhances user experiences and efficiency.
  • Tailored pricing models: Unlike their cloud-based counterparts with fixed subscription plans, on-premise APIs offer enterprises the freedom to customize pricing based on usage, scalability, and specific requirements. This cost-effective approach ensures startups can scale their speech technology based on GPUs.
  • SSML support: On-premise TTS APIs support speech synthesis markup language. SSML allows in-house developers to make nuanced adjustments in pronunciation, intonation, and emphasis based on sentiment analysis to ensure the text to speech voices are as lifelike as possible.
  • Robust SDKs: To streamline integration and development processes, on-premise TTS APIs provide robust software development kits (SDKs). These SDKs, available in popular programming languages like Python and Java, empower developers to seamlessly incorporate speech synthesis into their applications.

Use cases of on-prem text to speech APIs for businesses

On-prem text to speech APIs are preferred for real-time speech applications (e.g. conversational AI) or if you plan on handling sensitive data (e.g. health, financial, legal, PII). By securing your data, on-prem ensures your text to speech solutions meet HIPAA and similar regulations. The versatility of on-prem text to speech APIs also makes them valuable across various industries and applications. For example, here are just a few use cases regarding how different sectors are using on-prem text to speech APIs:

  • Healthcare: On-premise TTS APIs can facilitate real-time transcription of medical dictations, improving documentation accuracy and workflow efficiency.
  • Finance: In finance, these APIs can power voice-enabled banking applications, enhancing accessibility and user experience.
  • Education: On-premise TTS APIs can support language learning platforms, enabling personalized learning experiences.
  • Legal: Legal firms can utilize on-prem TTS APIs to transcribe legal documents, court proceedings, and client consultations securely. This ensures confidentiality and compliance with regulations such as attorney-client privilege.
  • Customer service: On-premise TTS APIs can be integrated into customer service platforms to provide automated voice responses for inquiries, appointment scheduling, and service updates while maintaining data security and privacy.
  • Government: Government agencies can employ on-prem text to speech APIs for various purposes such as automated phone services for inquiries, accessibility features for government websites and documents, and secure transcription of classified or sensitive information.
  • Call centers: On-premise TTS APIs can improve call center operations by converting text-based customer queries into speech in real-time, assisting agents in responding promptly and accurately to customer needs while maintaining compliance with data protection regulations.

PlayHT: The best on-premise text to speech API

PlayHT’s on-premise text to speech API not only offers 900+ ultra-realistic voices across 142 languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Hindi, and voice cloning, but it also features a latency that’s unbeatable by any other text to speech provider. PlayHT’s models can generate the first speech token in under 50ms and you can count on a sub 100ms latency for your applications.

With PlayHT’s on-prem TTS API, you can also ensure all your data is protected. In fact, text prompts, voice cloning audio data or generated audio are all kept private in your environment. Additionally, PlayHT is constantly updating its models to become lighter, making PlayHT on-premise the cost-effective voice solution.

Check out PlayHT’s on-prem API today and experience text to speech like never before.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a speech to text API and a text to speech API?

A speech to text API, such as Google Cloud speech to text, converts spoken language into written text, while a text to speech service converts written text into speech.

Should I use speech to text on-prem or through the cloud?

The decision to use speech to text on-premise or through the cloud depends on factors such as security needs, scalability requirements, and available resources.

What is the difference between open-source and closed-source text to speech providers?

Open-source text to speech providers offer source code freely accessible for modification and redistribution, while closed-source providers do not disclose their source code and often require licensing fees for use.

Is Google Speech available on Windows?

Yes, Google Speech API can be accessed on Windows through various programming languages and libraries.

How does voice recognition work with TTS?

Voice recognition (speech to text) converts spoken words into written text, which can then be processed by a text to speech (TTS) engine to produce audio files.

How long does it take to set up PlayHT on-prem?

It takes less than one hour to set up a PlayHT on-prem appliance in your cloud. Learn more here.

How do I contact PlayHT support?

You can contact PlayHT support by emailing [email protected] or using the live chat feature on its website.

Can I download a PlayHT audio file in WAV?

Yes, you can download PlayHT audio files in various formats, including MP3 or WAV.

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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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