A very promising startup: VocalZoom

How many times you wondered what it’s like if you had a “Knight Rider” car which you could talk to and just tell it what to do. This car identify you when you come, just as if it was your human assistant, and perform simple tasks at your request. How many times you had to operate a device while your hands are full, simple tasks, like answer a call  while holding a baby, or turn ON the light while carrying a heavy box.

Many applications and technologies try to address those needs today as well as Virtual assistant applications such as Siri(Apple) and Cortana(Microsoft). These applications fail to reach what we call the “usability threshold”. In the world of User interface (UI) and User experience (UX), if a device like a mouse, keyboard or touch screen has even a small error probability, the user gets frustrated and stop using it. By the way, it doesn’t matter if it’s a complex task to operate this device. Take for example keyboard. This is still the interface of choice for typing. Even in smartphones. Keyboard is an extremely complicated task to learn. But users are willing to go for it, because once you master this, it’s convenient and seamless to use. Gestures using touch screen, experts for Laughed at Apple when first lunched, saying this is not a natural way to communicate. Today we all use it.

In parallel to these un-natural-UI devices, new technologies like voice control and eye tracking evolved. These are considered much more natural interfaces for humans, but no one uses it. Why? Because it’s still suffer from robustness issues and errors. It’s easier to master, but the fact that we need to repeat words, even if it’s once every 10 words, or that we need to move our eyes again and again when the light conditions are bad for the camera, creates the feeling we have no control of the device. Or, as Steve Jobs said, the device should feel like an amplification of ourselves, an extension of our body, which we have full control of.

VocalZoom has developed a multi-functional Human-Machine-Communication (HMC) device, which enable accurate voice control and voice authentication. This super small and low cost sensor, has the ability to measure micro-meter vibrations on a human face and extract the voice out of these vibrations. The human face vibrate only because of the human voice and is not affected by background noise and the voice of other speakers. This way the sensor can listen to the speaker in front of the sensor. Using VocalZoom, Voice control software such as google voice, Siri and Cortana, can perform in a very accurate way and exceed the usability threshold.

Another important usage of the sensor is for voice authentication. The sensor not only improve the accuracy by having a cleaner signal, it also guarantee the voice comes from the speaker in front of the sensor. This is an advantage over conventional microphones which hear the voice from all directions and can detect other people speaking in the background. The market for these applications become larger as online payments become common as well as self-service kiosks such as ATMs.

The ability to measure very small movements and accurate distance, enable many additional applications such as replacing the need for buttons, vibrations measurement in machines to detect failures, proximity sensing and 3D imaging applications. Also battery operated devices require accurate indication for speech to turn the device ON just when required (Smart phones, BT headsets etc.).

VocalZoom today partner with lead customers in the consumer electronics and the automotive, and first products, which use the VocalZoom technology, expected in the market before end of 2016.

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Written by: Tal Bakish, CEO at VocalZoom. Mail: tal@vocalzoom.com

 

 

 

 

3 INTERESTING ISRAELI MUSIC APPS

Our smartphones became our primary media player. Today, there’s a huge community of developers that create apps that can better the experience on our phones.

This time I chose to focus on 3 Israeli Music Apps that make this experience much better.

Fusic “takes the selfie to the next step” according to its app store listing. The app lets people film videos of themselves singing, lip-syncing or dancing to their favorite songs, with that footage then being integrated with the song’s original video, for sharing.

This Israeli app lets users integrate their version of a song with the one sung by their favorite singer.

Fusic features about 200 songs from licensing agreements with a number of “second-tier music distributors,” said Sade-Sternberg the CEO, but she expects to land a licensing agreement with one of the world’s largest distributors in the coming months, substantially increasing the app’s library. Most of the music videos on the site now are from the pop charts, which Fusic’s core audience, teens and young adults up to age 25, like the most, with a smattering of other genres, such as 80’s rock, disco and show tunes

SoundBetter is a “music creation marketplace” that helps musicians “finish your song” by connecting them with studios, mixing and mastering engineers, producers and session musicians. Artists can post a brief, and then get quotes from these various professionals for how much their services will cost.

Recording is only the first step of the process, and every song that is recorded needs to be mixed, mastered and produced by skilled professionals. That’s millions of songs every year.

SoundBetter is disrupting a $15B/year inefficient music-production services market by connecting musicians with vetted professional mixing & mastering engineers, producers, singers and other production pros who get musicians to a great sounding finished product. SoundBetter is democratizing the last mile that musicians needed democratizing.

 

YOKEE allows users to have an entirely private karaoke experience on their smartphone. Founded in 2013, by Gil Selka and Ariel Yaloz, the application has an impressive 30 million users who have come to appreciate the opportunity to partake in their very own “empty orchestra”.

In Japanese, the word ‘karaoke’ literally means “empty orchestra,” which may be the most accurate description of the interactive sing-along activity that entertains the masses. But until now, in order to enjoy an evening of karaoke, you had to head out to a crowded karaoke bar or befriend someone with a home karaoke machine.

Yokee presents its users with an extensive library of licensed songs from US publishers in some twenty languages, as well as access to YouTube’s database of sing-along videos. Everything from classical opera to pop, rock and country genres are represented on the platform so that users can really test out their range. Yokee simultaneously records and saves a song, so that your harmonies don’t go to waste.

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Written by: Carmit Oron, VP Marketing, Brooks-Keret Financial Management.

carmit@brooks-keret.co.il