Sitecore Cognitive Services - Blog Casting

August 24, 2020

Blog Cast is a feature I've built on Sitecore Cognitive Services that allows you to convert text to audio using Microsoft's Speech API. This can basically turns your blog into a podcast. Obviously it's not the author reading the article. A machine voice is reading the text but the voice is pretty advanced. It's also a nearly effortless way to expand the surface of consumable content for your audience allowing them to continue to consume your content 'on the go'. To get started there's a few videos to get you started:

Installation

The installation goes like this:

  • download the source code (Core and BlogCast)
  • put together the solution
  • publishing the solution to your local Sitecore environment
  • run a unicorn sync
  • add host name (blogcast.local) to hosts file and IIS bindings
  • browse to the site and click on 'Create Media Files'
  • press the play button

Usage

This is not a finished product or downloadable module. This is just a proof of concept to show you how you could convert text to an audio file. 

The value here is really in the idea. A production ready feature would include uploading the file to the media library or a digital asset management system. The creation would need to be triggered on a publish event or after a button push to batch convert a large number of articles. Overall you'd want to allow the content author some control on when, how much and what voice type they wanted to generate. You'd also need a way to manage token replacement for other markup/content that should be removed from the domain specific content that doesn't need to be read.

Maybe in time, this will become a full featured offering but for now I just wanted to raise awareness and provide a working example of it so you can feel confident building one yourself.