Huw Geddes's Blog
Do you want voice-enabled products that can hear commands from across the room?
You’ll need the right acoustic echo cancellation solution.
If you're designing a voice-enabled product for the smart home that includes a loudspeaker, you'll need to remove the acoustic echo it generates so you can interrupt the audio stream – barge-in – and give a voice command when the device is playing such as adjust volume.
Voice interfaces are still in the early days of an evolution that will radically change how people interact with technology. As product designers add voice interfaces to products and look for opportunities for new categories of no-interface products, they’re learning more about the complexities of voice capture, particularly in the far-field (3-5m from the microphone)...
With rumours of upgrades to the iPhone's audio capabilities set to be announced next week at the iPhone 7 launch, let's look at how this could affect the Hi-Res Audio sector.
It's fairly safe to say that the way we consume music has changed significantly over the last five years. The CD is clinging on, but if Google Trends (see graph below) is accurate this is mostly as Christmas presents. Vinyl has made a comeback among audiophiles. And streaming services have really taken off; Spotify alone receives a greater proportion of Google searches than CDs, overtaking it for the first time in March 2015 and staying ahead for all except the Christmas period.
I've mentioned before that voice interfaces will provide new opportunities for great innovative products. But while big technology companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook invest huge amounts of money into developing the natural language interfaces that enable speech recognition, we've so far seen few smaller companies taking advantage of the rich diversity of available hardware and software that is available.
So it's great news that the Chinese hardware company Seeed Studios have announced on KickStarter their latest product, a modular development platform called ReSpeaker, with the objective of adding voice interaction to products in your home or office:
A lot has changed in the streaming audio sector since I wrote my blog last year. And while outwardly it looks similar, some companies have gone into receivership and others are seriously contemplating IPOs mainly due to the costs involved in delivering a lossless streaming service. Yet the rewards are likely to be great for those that can make it work, so let's see what's happened to the main players in the last year.