Azure AI Services (formerly Cognitive Services) provides the ability to quickly add artificial intelligence to an application without the pain and complexity of building models.

The Azure AI Speech Service allows you to implement text-to-speech and speech-text via simple API calls. To make it even simpler, Microsoft has provided SDKs in a number of languages.

To use the APIs or the SDK, you must first create a Speech Service.

To do this, navigate to and login.

Click the [Create a Resource] button (Fig. 1) and search for "Speech Services," as shown in Fig. 2.

Create Resource Button
Fig. 1

Fig. 2

On the "Speech" tile (Fig. 3), click the [Create] button to expand the submenu; then, click the [Speech] button, as shown in Fig. 4.

Speech Tile
Fig. 3

Create Speech Buttons
Fig. 4

The "Basics" tab of the "Create Speech Services" displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

Create Speech Services - Basic Tab
Fig. 5

At the "Subscription" dropdown, select the Azure subscription in which you wish to create this service. Most of you will only have one subscription.

At the "Resource group" field, select a resource group for this service or click the "Create new" link to create a new resource group for the service.

At the "Region" field, select the Azure geographic region in which to deploy the service. Consider the location of the clients who will access the service. Keeping the service close to the clients will reduce latency.

At the "Name" field, enter a unique name for this service.

At the "Pricing tier" field, select the pricing tier. Currently, the only options are "Free" and "Standard." You are allowed only one free tier speech service per subscription.

Other tabs allow you to configure a network, identity values, and tags, which are all optional.

Select the "Review + create" tab, as shown in Fig. 6. This displays the data you entered, along with any errors that you must correct before proceeding. If no errors list, click the [Create] button (Fig. 7) to create the Speech Service. This takes only a few seconds. When the service is created and deployed, a confirmation message shown in Fig. 8 displays.

Create Speech Services - Review Tab
Fig. 6

Create Button
Fig. 7

Deployment Complete message
Fig. 8

Click the [Go to resource] button (Fig. 9) to display the "Overview" blade of your new Speech Service, as shown in Fig. 10.

Go To Resource Button
Fig. 9

Speech Service Overview Tab
Fig. 10

The keys on this blade are important. You will need them to tell your application where to find this service.

In this article, you learned how to create an Azure AI Speech Service. In the next articles, I will show you how to write code to access this service.