Virtual newscasters are now available for hire thanks to the launch today of NewsBots – an innovative combination of news, speech and avatar technology from Birmingham chatbot specialists Advanced Chatbot Solutions (ACS).
When a visitor lands on a NewsBot enabled home page they are greeted by a talking virtual newsreader who can brief them on a company's latest news stories and announcements. The NewsBot is a Flash application, and as a result will work on most PCs without any need to download new software. Since NewsBots use automated news feeds there is no need to ever programme the NewsBot directly – if the web site is updated then the newscast gets updated as well.
ACS Managing Director David Burden said, “NewsBots are a great way to catch a visitor's attention, and to make web sites more memorable -all of which helps drive traffic and ultimately sales.”
NewsBots have been designed to capitalise on the growing use of news syndication standards such as RSS, RDF and ATOM. Most content management systems, from simple blogging tools to enterprise solutions provide these feeds. Many web sites, including most major media organisations, are already making the feeds available as computer text for visitors to use – but most people do not know what the feeds are. NewsBots let web site owners exploit this technology investment by using the same feeds to drive a virtual news reader who can inform and entertain.
David added, “Web site owners can use one of our standard avatars, or use a design tool to tailor one of the standard models to their own needs. We even offer a bespoke avatar design service for owners with specific branding requirements. We have a range of male and female voices available, and even different languages. With prices starting at under £500 NewsBots are within the budget of almost every business and organisation. And being virtual personalities the virtual newsreaders work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and don't disappear down the wine-bar at lunch-time!”
The same technology which is behind the NewsBot can also be used to provide a virtual tour guide for web site visitors, and even a virtual sales assistant who can answer questions about a company's products and services.
David concludes, “This combination of avatar and speech technology lets us take a wide variety of web based information and services and deploy them for clients in new and innovative ways. The technology also has considerable application in helping web sites meet the accessibility needs of visually impaired users, and can even allow us to provide access to the web, as speech, from an ordinary telephone.”
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Notes for Editors
1. A web page is available to see the service in action. Just visit www.chatbots.co.uk/newsbot and either enter your own news feed address, or click on one of the demonstrations provided.
2. Advanced Chatbot Solutions is a new technology venture and operating division of Daden Limited. It is committed to bringing advanced chatbot and voice technology to market in the UK. See www.chatbots.co.uk.
3. Daden Limited is a small privately owned UK company with a focus on marketing, strategy and advanced technology. Daden is based in Birmingham UK. See www.daden.co.uk
4. Avatar is a generic term for a visual representation of a user or computer programme within a virtual environment.
All media enquiries should be addressed to:
103 Oxford Rd
Tel: 0121 247 3628
Photos are available from the above address. Screenshots may be taken from the demo site.
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