Blog / December 12, 2016
The personal audio market has changed more in the past few years than in the previous few decades. The recently released 2018 State of Play Report from Qualcomm highlights several consumer trends that will necessitate faster and deeper innovation from device suppliers.
Smart assistants and seamless voice interfaces have transformed the technology industry,accelerating advances in audio components and capabilities. This has resulted in a virtuous feedback cycle, as great software requires improved hardware capabilities. The advances in piezoeletctic MEMS microphones particularly are delivering incredible new listening experiences across the personal audio space.
Personal audio can be split into two form factors: smart speakers and wireless hearables. Smart speakers have surged in popularity as the seamless experience of checking weather, setting timers and playing music through voice control delights consumers worldwide. The top five factors consumers care about in choosing a smart speaker include concerns around portability (3 of top 5 factors) and concerns around sound quality (2 of top 5 factors).
Vesper launched our proprietary ZeroPower Listening™ technology to directly address portability constraints. In tests, a portable Bluetooth speaker using ZPL™ technology can achieve far field voice control standby times of up to 4½ years. In normal operation, and using the speaker daily, the battery life can reach almost a month. In comparison, without ZPL™, the Amazon Tap had a standby life of about 10 hours. Vesper’s ZPL™ technology enables the entirely new market segment of portable smart speakers. In addition, all Vesper products are natively resistant to dust, water, oils and any environmental contaminant due to our unique piezoelectric technology.
Not only do Vesper microphones allow for more portable smart speakers with longer battery life, Vesper has also developed a new class of microphones with ultra-dynamic range™, allowing Vesper microphones to assist with sound quality as well. This technology gives clear, distortion-free signals from sounds as quiet as a whisper to as loud as a jet engine. Specifically, this distortion-free technology can go as high as 175dB without overloading the mic. This capability has several benefits in a high-end smart speaker: 1) it allows the voice interface to function perfectly even when the speaker is pumping mega bass at high volumes and 2) it allows for a dynamic feedback loop so that distortion on the speaker can be measured and digitally compensated in real time, producing an overall better sound quality. This ultra-dynamic range also enables phones and hearables that are completely immune to wind noise, so consumers can make crystal clear calls even in the noisiest environments.
As if the smart speaker market exploding weren’t enough, the second form factor in this market, hearables, is also predicted to see tremendous growth. Consumers have embraced the freedom of untethering from their phones with an effortless wireless connection, and wireless hearables are set to become the dominant form factor enabling this. In fact, 62% of consumers surveyed said they would purchase wireless earbuds from any brand if they could deliver the quality and features they wanted. Vesper products enable new features and use cases in this market such as: 1) using ZPL™ to create a touch-free voice assistant activation 2) using the ultra-dynamic range™ to detect and digitally cancel out wind noise 3) creating durable mics that are natively resistant to sweat, water and dirt and 4) enabling incredible ambient noise reduction in a tiny package. Although hearables will not replace smartphones in the foreseeable future, they allow select and change music, make calls, text, check weather, order Ubers and perform countless other tasks while leaving their smart phones in their pockets. The most incredible part is, this technology is still in its infancy there will be major improvements and new use cases in the coming years.
Vesper could not be more excited to be at the epicenter of the voice and audio revolution happening all around us. Our team is hard at work delivering hardware enabling the features consumers want with the most advanced audio technology ever invented. To learn more about Vesper and what we do, visit us at https://vespermems.com/.