A smart lightbulb that can recognise the sound of an intruder breaking a window has won a major industry award. This has fuelled further demand for Audio Analytic, the world's leading sound recognition company. To address its growing order book and fund new developments, the company has raised £1 million from investors including IQ Capital Partners, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Cambridge Angels.
In January 'Sengled Voice' won the 2016 CES Best of Innovation in the Smart Home category*. It is a light bulb with an integrated microphone and speaker that allows the detection of noises, such as glass breaking or a smoke alarm, to be analysed using Audio Analytic's ai3 (acoustic intelligence 3) technology and communicated to the homeowner via a mobile alert.
The Smart Home market is growing rapidly and Audio Analytic is working with the leading brands to incorporate its unique sound recognition and identification software into products - such as sophisticated baby alarms, net cams, smart home hubs, intelligent lighting - that can identify sounds associated specifically with safety and security and alert the home owner.
Dr Chris Mitchell, founder and CEO of Audio Analytic, says that the company has pioneered this technology: "I have always been interested in how sound can be detected and identified so when I finished my PhD and found there were no companies addressing this market I set up Audio Analytic."
The Cambridge-based company is now 17 strong and the new funding will be used to bring on new people to manage the sales pipeline and to invest in further R&D.
Mitchell continues: "The Audio Analytic Labs really are the technological brain to Audio Analytic; where fundamental research is undertaken. We are leading the way at the technology level and this further investment will help keep us there."
As leaders in the field of Automatic Environmental Sound Recognition, Audio Analytic software is much in demand and the £1 million investment will support this.
Mitchell comments: "We have a strong client-base in the smart home space. This includes Sengled, a global innovator in LED lighting, integrating our software into their product helped them win the prestigious innovation award at CES."
The company so far has catalogued seven sound types, including breaking glass (comprising four different types), baby cries and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and has the world's most extensive reference-base of these noises, allowing high precision recognition.
Mitchell explains that there are considerable differences between the different brands of alarms, so creating the database has involved importing hundreds of alarms, mostly from the US.
He says: "A major challenge was creating the world's first sound libraries designed for sound recognition. This resulted in us breaking panes of glass at the "Hush House" at Alconbury, which was previously used for testing jet engines, or setting off smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in lots of houses."
A report by Markets and Markets in February 2015** estimates the smart home market will reach $58.68 billion by 2020.
Victor Christou, Chief Executive Officer at Cambridge Innovation Capital, comments: "Recognition of the importance of smart audio in the home automation market has grown massively recently. With the world's largest audio database and key customer relationships already established, Audio Analytic is the category leader in this sector. CIC is very pleased to be supporting another world class, home-grown, Cambridge business."
Max Bautin, Managing Partner at IQ Capital, added: “We have tracked impressive progress at Audio Analytic over several years and are delighted to be part of this exciting company at a time when IoT and smart home tech is starting to grow so rapidly.
“It is also great to see Cambridge investors working together yet again to fund an exceptional Cambridge start-up with global potential.”
*"Best of Innovation Award CES 2016" - Sengled Voice (http://cesweb.org/innovation)
[Image shows Dr Chris Mitchell, (holding lightbulb) founder and CEO of Audio Analytic with Victor Christou (far left), Chief Executive Officer at Cambridge Innovation Capital and Max Bautin, (middle back) Managing Partner at IQ Capital.]