AudioTelligence turns up the volume
Posted on Mar 31, 2020 by Matthew Gooding
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If you’ve ever been frustrated by Alexa’s inability to understand you, help could be at hand from a Cambridge tech firm that has just raised $8.5m.
AudioTelligence says its technology can dramatically improve the accuracy of voice recognition systems in noisy environments, which could come in handy for developers of digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.
The $8.5m, the proceeds of a Series A funding round led by Octopus Ventures, will support AudioTelligence’s ambitious plans to disrupt the $10 billion voice market by fuelling further breakthroughs, supporting new partnerships with technology providers, and tripling employee headcount over the next three years.
“Voice command systems work reasonably well when the audio scene is quiet, but performance deteriorates rapidly once you have multiple people talking or when there’s background music,” explains Ken Roberts, CEO and founder of AudioTelligence. “The number of applications where our technology is needed is enormous and still growing every day.
“We’ve already seen some great results from real-world testing, and this investment will fund further product development to ensure we can all communicate clearly with the next generation of smart consumer devices, and each other.”
As well as voice assistants, it could potentially be used in TV settop boxes, and to enable clearer IP phone calls. A spin-out from CEDAR Audio, itself a Cambridge University founded company, AudioTelligence has been building momentum since 2017, when it received $4m in seed funding from backers including Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Cambridge Enterprise, both of which have also participated in this latest round.
Carol Cheung, senior associate at CIC, said: “CIC is excited to announce its continual support of AudioTelligence and its sectordefining technologies. AudioTelligence makes speech intelligible in a noisy world of ever-increasing human-tomachine voice interactions. Octopus Ventures’ investment and expertise will help expand AudioTelligence’s product offering and scale the company globally” The AudioTelligence system acts like autofocus for sound, using data-driven ‘blind audio signal separation’ to focus on the source of interest, allowing it to be separated from interfering noises. This enables microphones to focus on what users are saying, improving audio quality regardless of background noise.