Smart toys voice tech firm SoapBox detail US expansion and senior team promotions

The kids’ voice technology company, SoapBox Labs has detailed its expansion into the US and the promotion of three employees within its leadership team, as the Dublin-based company maintains its momentum amid ‘growing demand for child-specific voice tech’ in the global market.

“A decade after the introduction of voice assistants like Siri and Google, brands and companies are realizing what SoapBox Labs has long known to be true: voice technology built using adult voices does not work for children,” said SoapBox Labs CEO and founder Dr. Patricia Scanlon.

“In order to meet the increasing need for voice-enabled solutions that actually work in kids’ play and learning, we’re now scaling our diverse, committed, and world-class team – at home and abroad.”

A trio of promotions at the company sees Jonathan Hume named vice president of Global EdTech sales. Hume has spent the last 16 years in business development roles at a variety of technology companies with a particular focus on building global teams in education technology companies including Schoology, Abl, and now SoapBox Labs.

Meanwhile, Dr. Amelia Kelly has been promoted to vice president of speech technology. Dr. Kelly has more than a decade of experience in speech signal processing, natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence and holds a patent in cognitive computing. 

Finally, Robert O’Regan has been named vice president of engineering. O’Regan has over 20 years development experience working with both start-up and enterprise-level companies. He previously helped co-found a start-up that developed automated trading algorithms for the online gaming industry.

The promotions of staff based in Ireland and the United States reflects SoapBox Labs’ commitment to delivering voice solutions to a growing roster of entertainment and education clients globally and is mirrored by the growth in staff numbers internally.

In the last year alone, amid the global pandemic, SoapBox welcomed 10 new team members – the majority speech engineers and scientists – and continues to add new roles to the team.

The momentum and expansion of SoapBox Labs also responds to an unprecedented expansion in the education technology market. According to education research firm HolonIQ, this market is growing at a rate of 16.3 percent per annum and will have more than doubled in size by 2025, reaching $404 billion in total global expenditure.

SoapBox Labs has been vocal about its own mission to transform play and learning experiences for kids using voice technology. Its proprietary technology is built for two to 12 year old kids’ voices, language and behaviors. It caters to global accents and dialects and shows no racial and socioeconomic bias.

The SoapBox voice engine has been built using a privacy-by-design approach. Protecting kids’ fundamental right to voice data privacy is a cornerstone of our work and philosophy.

SoapBox Labs licences its technology to third party entertainment and education companies and partners with them to deliver world class voice-enabled kids’ products to market, including literacy and English language tools, smart toys, games, apps and robots.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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