Cars, homes, industrial plants and consumer devices are rapidly becoming connected to the Internet: 3 years from now, 30 billion devices will belong to the Internet of Things (IoT). While today the interaction between humans and machines is mostly done by touch, the next evolutionary step of IoT will lead to the omni-presence of high-performance voice control. Infineon Technologies AG wants to further develop its capabilities to shape this market segment. Complementing other partnerships, Infineon has made a strategic minority investment in XMOS Limited, the Bristol based fabless semiconductor company that provides voice processors for all sorts of devices. Infineon leads the recent USD 15 million Series-E funding round.
"The conclusion of our Series-E funding is a significant milestone for the business. XMOS is ideally positioned at the crossover between embedded voice processing, biometrics and artificial intelligence, and the funds will enable us to execute our ambitious product development plans. I am particularly delighted to welcome Infineon Technologies as a strategic investor in the business. We have worked closely with the Infineon team on groundbreaking sensor fusion technologies; the investment really strengthens our strategic partnership," commented Mark Lippett, President and CEO at XMOS.
"Through this investment, Infineon will further explore the high potential of voice control and is well positioned to address future use cases like speaker authentication or contextual awareness," adds Andreas Urschitz, President of the Power Management & Multimarket (PMM) Division at Infineon. "This was the logical next step, as we have identified HMI as a strategic growth area."
Bill Elmore, General Partner and Founder, Foundation Capital and Chairman of the XMOS Board, adds: "The addition of Infineon as a strategic investor in this funding round validates the progress XMOS has made in this rapidly growing market. The outstanding strategic and operational alignment between the two organizations has already delivered compelling technology which is at the forefront of human-machine interfacing. This funding round, and the strategic partnership at its heart, will further consolidate XMOS as the leader in voice capture."
The market for consumer devices with voice-controlled human machine interface (HMI) such as digital home assistants is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent in the coming years, according to IHS (IHS Markit Digital assistants and AI, May 2017).
Today, voice controllers, used in voice recognition systems, struggle to differentiate between speech from a person in the room, and a synthesized source such as a radio, TV; they often identify the voice of interest based on the loudest noise. Earlier in 2017 Infineon and XMOS demonstrated an enhanced solution to overcome these issues, using intelligent human-sensing microphones and gesture recognition.
The solution featured a combination of Infineon’s radar and silicon microphone sensors to detect the position and the distance of the speaker from the microphones, with XMOS far field voice processing technology used to capture speech. Target applications are especially smart home as well as smart TV and set top box, secure keyless entry systems, and other voice-operated consumer devices.
www.infineon.com/audiobeamforming | www.xmos.com
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