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Barking dogs and booming markets: why pet care is a key part of the intelligent home

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Intelligent homes could look after the wellbeing of dogsAccording to Petcube, 95% of American households with pets would describe their animals as a member of their family, often describing themselves as pet parents. In his article for Entrepreneur magazine, Yaroslav Azhnyuk (CEO and co-founder of Petcube) claims that $100bn was spent globally on pets last year with $67bn alone being spent in the US. People clearly and increasingly love their pets and are very keen to spend hard-earned cash (an average of $1200 per pet per year) on keeping them happy and healthy.

This sentiment was echoed in the Economist’s 1843 Magazine recently where the journalist concluded that the status of pets is changing because Millennials are delaying marriage and children, instead deciding to lavish their animals with time and the emotional energy that they would one day show a child.

As an example, owners are investing in their wellbeing, fitting them with wearable devices to monitor their physical health or installing ‘pet cams’ to monitor their emotional health while they are away from home.

The major focus is the wellbeing of dogs, as they are often confined to indoor spaces and are more reliant on their ‘parents’ for support. I don’t think your goldfish will particularly notice that you’ve left and we all know that cats are fairly self-sufficient, after all, it is possible to snack between meals on a small rodent or chaffinch.

In order to satisfy the owner’s need for safety and wellness, modern, intelligent smart home devices like cameras, security devices, central hubs or even bespoke pet monitoring products need to react to what is happening within the home. This could be through motion or visual sensors, which can identify if the dog is walking around.

However, it is not unusual for a dog to walk about the house and the animal may be quite content as it does so. Equally, it is not always possible to place cameras in every location.

The sound of a barking dog is a pretty good indicator of its emotional wellbeing. It can inform an owner if the dog is playful or feeling unsafe or unhappy (perhaps somebody is approaching the house). By detecting and recognising the sound of a dog barking, the intelligent home can respond and either alert the owner, sending them to a live feed from their home camera, or automatically take steps to protect or comfort the dog, such as turning on lights and music, perhaps even allowing the owner to comfort the dog directly or deploy a treat.

To further explain how an intelligent home can respond to a barking dog we produced a short film about Eli and Monty, his pet dachshund, which you can watch below. For more information on our dog bark software sensor click here or contact us.

The smart home sector heats up as Apple enters the fray with HomePod

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Apple’s HomePod (Image source: Apple)

So it is now official. Apple has launched a Siri-powered product, called HomePod, to rival Amazon Echo and Google Home. Unveiled tonight during WWDC, the device offers control of your HomeKit enabled products, Siri’s new musicologist abilities, and spatial awareness for a much-improved music listening experience.

All three of these players have considerable marketing budgets and resources at their disposal to make a big impact and the battle to control the market for intelligent/voice activated home speakers within the smart home will be interesting to watch. But as well as providing tech journalists with no shortage of news stories, having three major household brands compete within the space is great for the smart home market overall.

These three tech giants will generate demand as well as familiarity with the value proposition of a smart home through their marketing. Analyst firm Parks Associates claim that only one-third of US consumers are familiar with smart home devices, so there is plenty of growth potential. This will undoubtedly create more demand for other smart home products as consumers see the benefits that they could enjoy by introducing technology throughout their homes. The smart home is not a single product. Instead, it is a network of different devices, all aimed at different consumers and different price points. According to Parks Associates, at the recent Connections conference that we attended, smart speakers with personal assistants serve as smart home enablers with 62% of owners having another smart home device. Only 21% of those without a smart speaker own another smart home device.

And for Audio Analytic, what happens next is the most exciting bit. We sell our sound recognition software into consumer tech companies making these next-gen products, so an increased spotlight and an increased demand from consumers drives product innovation.

The smart home market is still very much in its first generation: the connected home. We see the development of a new generation where the products are connected AND intelligent, automatically responding to what is happening them and better helping us.

So Apple’s announcement means more competition, more demand, more familiarity and more innovation. And that can’t be a bad thing.

OK Rover! Now connect your dog to your smart home

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** ABI Research forecasts that 4.5bn smart home sensors will be installed by 2022 and that sensing capabilities have “the potential to change how homes are built, owned, shared, and lived in.”

** Sound recognition will enable the smart home to move beyond connected devices to intelligent devices

17 May 2017 — IoT World, Santa Clara, USA and Cambridge, UK – Dog-loving homeowners will soon seamlessly connect their pet to their smart home, enabling a wide range of applications to support home security or monitor pet wellness. Using AI-based sound recognition software, next-generation smart home products can respond instantly to the distinct sound of a barking dog. The range of applications are unlimited but could include turning on home appliances like lights, personal digital assistants and speakers to deter intruders or alerting consumers who can connect to their home security cameras to check on their pet.

The new dog bark software sensor will be officially unveiled today during IoT World where Audio Analytic’s CEO, Dr Chris Mitchell, is presenting on ‘Understanding machine learning and audio event detection’.

Developed by sound recognition pioneer Audio Analytic, the dog bark software sensor is fully integrated with the company’s flexible ai3™ software platform alongside other established software sensors on the market, such as window break, CO/smoke alarm detector, and baby cry. The software is hardware agnostic and can work in a wide range of products from light bulbs and security cameras to digital personal assistants.

“Our mission is to make technology more helpful to people. By giving smart products the ability to respond to what is going on around them, we can create the intelligent home of the future, not just the connected one that we have today,” commented Dr Mitchell. “When you look at what is important to consumers they care about their family, their possessions and their pets. Our new dog bark sensor enables innovative tech companies to add a really valuable capability to their products. The software is designed to work with standard MEMs microphones and has a very small code and memory footprint, so it can be integrated easily.”

“Automated home management, grounded in sensing capabilities, has the potential to change how homes are built, owned, shared, and lived in,” says Jonathan Collins, Research Director at ABI Research, who also forecast that there will be 4.5 billion smart home sensor installations by 2022.

As well as announcing the availability of its dog bark sensor, Audio Analytic will also share with IoT World delegates a glimpse into its roadmap for 2017.

“Because each software sensor is based on the meticulous gathering of high-quality, real-world audio recordings, each one takes time to develop and fully test. Our engineers and data scientists are currently developing software sensors for snoring and speech detection, which we plan on launching later this year,” adds Mitchell.

Audio Analytic will also be attending the Connections conference (www.connectionsus.com) in San Francisco on May 23-25, which has been organised by Parks Associates.

Notes for editors:
A short 100 second video titled ‘Eli and Monty’ has been created to showcase the capability of Audio Analytic’s dog bark software sensor. It can be embedded from Audio Analytic’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8YWjFfZAew

More information about ABI Research’s report into smart home sensors can be found here: https://www.abiresearch.com/press/abi-research-forecasts-45-billion-global-smart-hom/

Images:

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Audio Analytic CEO and founder, Dr Chris Mitchell

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Monty

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About Audio Analytic

Based in Cambridge and Palo Alto, Audio Analytic is a pioneer of what it calls artificial audio intelligence where consumer products can be empowered to listen out for and react to certain sounds. Based on high-quality, real-life recordings, Audio Analytic passes each recording through its machine learning algorithms to identify and capture key features for each sound. Then, once boiled down to a few kilobytes of data, each software sensor is integrated into the ai3™ software platform, which is able to match these particular sounds and make a decision.

Media contacts
Audio Analytic
Neil Cooper, VP of Marketing Communications
UK: +44 7463 336 274
neil.cooper@audioanalytic.com

ABI Research
UK:+44 203 326 0142
Americas: +1 516 624 2542

Audio Analytic moves into new HQ

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The view from Audio Analytic's new HQ in Cambridge

The view from our new office

Audio Analytic has today moved into its new headquarters in Cambridge. Located within the picturesque Quayside opposite Magdalene College, the new office marks an exciting chapter in the company’s journey.

“This is the fourth office in our history and each time it gives us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come from, as well as looking to the future. Our new office matches our ambitions for growth, providing the space for us to double the size of the company, as well as continuing to be based in the heart of Cambridge,” commented CEO Chris Mitchell.

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Audio Analytic CEO to speak at two key industry conferences in May

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This May, Audio Analytic CEO, Dr Chris Mitchell, will address the burgeoning IoT and smart home markets at IoT World (in San Jose) and Connections (in San Francisco).

The first, on Wednesday May 17th, takes place during the world’s largest IoT event IoT World. Chris will be addressing the workshop ‘The future of voice and audio for connected products’, which is being organised by the world’s leading microphone supplier Knowles. The title of Chris’ presentation, which takes place at 14:00, is ‘Understanding machine learning and audio event detection’. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

The second, just over a week later on Thursday May 25th, happens during the premier connected home conference Connections, which is organised by Parks Associates. Chris is on a panel at 11:45 titled ‘Smart home platforms: revolutionising the consumer experience’ alongside the CTO of Stringify, the CEO of Centercode, the CEO of the Internet of Things Consortium and the VP of product management at Greenwave Systems. The session is being moderated by Tom Kerber, the director of IoT strategy at Parks Associates. Audio Analytic is also a sponsor of the event. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Audio Analytic partners with Angee to bring Artificial Audio Intelligence to the world’s first autonomous Home Security system

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Meet Angee - the world's first fully autonomous Home Security system

Meet Angee – the world’s first fully autonomous Home Security system

** Audio Analytic is leading provider of AI-based sound recognition software to Smart Home OEMs and chip companies **

** Announces partnership with Angee – the automated cloud-based Home Security system slated to launch in early 2017  ** 

5 January 2017, Cambridge, UK – Audio Analytic, the Artificial Intelligence company addressing sound recognition for the Smart Home, today announced a partnership with Angee – the world’s first truly autonomous Home Security system.

Since its highly successful campaign on Kickstarter, Angee has been developing an automated, cloud-based Home Security solution which will be introduced to the US market in early 2017. The innovative system is the first of its kind, providing reliable, automated home security without requiring constant human attention and operation.

Audio Analytic has pioneered the development and commercialisation of intelligent sound recognition using advanced machine learning. Audio Analytic’s ai3™ software can be embedded in Smart Home devices, enabling them to recognise a range of sounds within the home and take automated action. All sound recognition is conducted on device with no requirement to stream audio to the cloud, ensuring user privacy, security and peace of mind.

Thanks to this partnership, Angee will have ai3™ inside, enabling the system to recognise and respond to a range of significant noises in the Smart Home including the sounds of a window breaking and a smoke alarm at the time of the release.  Software updates will enable new ai3™ sound profiles and features to be continually added to Angee after its release.

Angee CEO Tomas Turek said “We’re thrilled to announce this partnership with Audio Analytic. Their Artificial Audio Intelligence will enhance Angee’s already robust monitoring and threat detection capabilities by allowing the system to understand the context of audio events and take the appropriate automated action to protect our customers and their homes.”

Audio Analytic CEO and founder, Chris Mitchell said, “Angee did exceptionally well on Kickstarter because it has a unique customer proposition that resonates with end-users. People are looking for devices that open up compelling new ways to live smarter, but without the need for their constant observation and interaction.  By incorporating our ai3™ platform, Angee is among the first companies to live up to the true promise of the Smart Home – a home where devices understand their environment and take appropriate automated action without the need for continuous human interaction and control.”

Audio Analytic is an official exhibitor at CES 2017 (5-8 January, Las Vegas) and will be demonstrating a range of new ai3™ sound profiles and features to customers and partners at the show. An early demo model of Angee is also available to view. To request a meeting, please email CES-meetings@audioanalytic.com.

About Angee http://www.meetangee.com/

Angee is developing an Automated, cloud-based Home Security solution, which was successfully backed on Kickerstarter. While the rest of the Home Security industry relies on human labor to provide reliable protection, Angee’s Automated Monitoring provides the same reliable protection without requiring constant attention.  Angee can be controlled both by your voice and your mobile devices, and the combination of smart hardware, software, and services deliver a complete, autonomous, and easy-to-use solution for home security and beyond. The company has offices in Palo Alto, California with R&D in Prague, Czech Republic and will introduce its solution to the US market in early 2017.  More about Angee can be found at www.meetangee.com

 

 

Audio Analytic showcases Artificial Audio Intelligence for Smart Home devices at CES 2017

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** Company is leading provider of AI-based sound recognition software to Smart Home OEMs and chip companies **

** Unveils range of new embedded sound recognition capabilities for Smart Home devices at CES 2107 ** 

4 January 2017, Cambridge, UK – Audio Analytic, the Artificial Intelligence company addressing sound recognition for the Smart Home, will be demonstrating a range of new features for its ai3™ platform at CES 2017 (5 – 8 Jan). This news follows the company’s announcement yesterday of a $5.5 million Series A round.

Every sound tells a story – especially in the home. Voice recognition has become a standard user-interface in the Smart Home, opening up new product opportunities and use cases. Sound recognition is a different technical challenge from voice recognition and requires a different approach, but like voice recognition, sound recognition creates compelling new use-cases for smarter living.

Founded in 2008, Audio Analytic has pioneered the development and commercialisation of intelligent sound recognition using advanced machine learning. Audio Analytic’s ai3™ software can be embedded in even low-power Smart Home devices, enabling them to recognise a range of sounds within the home and take automated action. All sound recognition is conducted on device with no requirement to stream audio to the cloud, ensuring user privacy, security and peace of mind.

With ai3™ inside, a Smart Home device can recognise the sound of a window breaking or a smoke alarm while a home’s occupants are out, alerting the owners and emergency services and triggering other devices within the home to take appropriate action. A smart device in a nursery can recognise the sound of a baby crying and play a lullaby, soothing baby back to sleep so parents and baby get a restful night.

At CES, Audio Analytic will for the first time demonstrate a new sound profile being added to the ai3™ platform. The software can now also recognise the sound of a dog barking so absent dog owners can monitor their pet’s wellbeing – and their home’s security – remotely.

The company will also showcase Custom Sound Recognition –  a new feature which enables end-users to program devices to recognise and alert them to specific sounds within the home such as individual doorbells and whitegoods alerts.

In addition, the ai3™ platform is now capable of Audio Anomaly Detection – understanding the normative pattern of sounds within an individual home and sending an alert whenever deviations occur, such as aggressive shouting or slamming doors. This has many potential applications in security and also elderly care.

The ai3™ platform has been adopted by numerous original equipment manufacturers and chip companies, with a range of consumer devices containing ai3TM software already in the market and more slated to launch in 2017. “In the last two years, Smart Home device ownership has more than doubled,” said Stuart Sikes, President of research firm Parks Associates. “We estimate companies will sell almost 55 million smart home devices in 2020.”

Dr. Chris Mitchell, Audio Analytic’s Founder and CEO, said “Sound recognition is the missing link in the AI landscape – enabling devices within the home to automatically understand and respond to contextual events without requiring human instruction or operation. We’re delighted to demonstrate our unique Artificial Audio Intelligence software at CES 2017, working with our partners to develop smarter devices that better protect people and property.”

Audio Analytic is an official exhibitor at CES 2017 (5-8 January, Las Vegas) and will be demonstrating a range of new ai3™ sound profiles and features to customers and partners at the show.  To request a demo, please email CES-meetings@audioanalytic.com.

A demonstration of sound recognition for the Smart Home using Audio Analytic’s ai3™ platform will also be available at the ARM booth (LVCC, South Hall 2 – MP25250) on invitation.

An ARM whitepaper addressing the opportunities for sound recognition on low-power Smart Home devices is available for download at: https://community.arm.com/processors/b/blog/posts/machine-learning-in-low-power-devices-brings-sound-recognition-to-the-smart-home-market

AI company Audio Analytic closes $5.5m Series A round to meet Smart Home demand

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** Company is leading provider of Artificial Audio Intelligence software to Smart Home OEMs and chip companies **

** Funding to enable company to meet rapidly growing Smart Home OEM demand and further develop sound recognition platform ** 

3 January 2017, Cambridge, UK Audio Analytic, the Artificial Intelligence company addressing sound recognition, today announced the closing of a $5.5m Series A round. Cambridge Innovation Capital led the round, with IQ Capital, Rockspring, Cambridge Angels and Martlet participating.

The funding will enable the company to scale and meet growing Smart Home OEM demand for its Artificial Audio Intelligence software, ai3™. “In the last two years, Smart Home device ownership has more than doubled,” said Stuart Sikes, President of research firm Parks Associates. “We estimate companies will sell almost 55 million smart home devices in 2020.”

Founded in 2008, Audio Analytic has pioneered the development and commercialisation of intelligent sound recognition using advanced machine learning. Its innovative ai3™ software enables devices to recognise significant sounds and take automated action.

Audio Analytic works with Smart Home original equipment manufacturers and chip companies, with a range of consumer devices containing ai3™ software already in the market and more slated to launch in 2017.

This Series A funding follows previous rounds in 2014 and 2015, bringing the company’s total money raised to $8 million. The new round will enable the company to scale to meet increasing customer demand – doubling its team to 50 employees within the next 12 months –  and introduce new sound profiles and features to the growing ai3™ platform.

Victor Christou, CEO at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said “Audio Analytic’s market traction over the past 18 months has been highly impressive in the rapidly growing smart home market. We’re delighted to lead this series A round and continue our support of one of the world’s most exciting AI companies.”

Dr. Chris Mitchell, Audio Analytic’s Founder and CEO, said “At Audio Analytic, we believe every sound tells a story, especially in the home. This $5.5m Series A round will enable us to meet growing customer demand for our Artificial Audio Intelligence and continue to develop the recognition of new sounds with the ai3™ platform.

“2017 promises to be the year of the Smart Home and AI – we are excited to be working with our customers right at the intersection of these two seismic industries.”

Audio Analytic is an official exhibitor at CES 2017 (5-8 January, Las Vegas) and will be demonstrating a range of new ai3™ sound profiles and features to customers and partners at the show. To request a meeting, email CES-meetings@audioanalytic.com.

A demonstration of sound recognition for the Smart Home using Audio Analytic’s ai3™ platform will also be available at the ARM booth (LVCC, South Hall 2 – MP25250) on invitation. An ARM whitepaper addressing the opportunities for sound recognition on low-power Smart Home devices is available for download at: https://www.community.arm.com/processors/b/documents/posts/machine-learning-in-low-power-devices-brings-sound-recognition-to-the-smart-home-market

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Editors Notes

Audio Analytic http://www.audioanalytic.com/

Audio Analytic is the world’s leading provider of sound recognition software. Our ai3™ software enables device manufacturers, chip companies and service providers to enable products with Artificial Audio Intelligence, recognizing and automatically responding to sounds such as smoke and CO alarms, breaking window glass – even a baby’s cry. Recognizing sound within the Smart Home allows manufacturers and service providers to open up a range of compelling new applications for smarter living.

Audio Analytic Ltd. is a privately held company, founded in 2008 and headquartered in Cambridge, UK with offices in San Jose, CA. For further information, contact Chief Marketing Officer tamara.sword@audioanalytic.com / +44 1223 909305.

Cambridge Investment Capital http://www.cicplc.co.uk/

Cambridge Innovation Capital plc (“CIC”) combines a unique relationship with the University of Cambridge with deep financial and industry links to invest in rapidly growing intellectual property rich companies in the Cambridge Cluster.

CIC has an unrivalled appreciation for the application of world-leading scientific developments given its position within the Cambridge Cluster. The company is committed to building leading businesses from brilliant technologies – with the support of some of the most influential figures in the sector and a patient capital structure.

For further information, including more details of CIC portfolio companies, see www.cicplc.co.uk

 

Google shows Home is where the UI is

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Earlier this month at the #MadebyGoogle event, Google spectacularly made their entry to the hardware game across a swath of consumer electronics, writes Audio Analytic CEO, Chris Mitchell.

Google Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai fronted a team that in one fell swoop launched the brand new smartphone Pixel, a low cost VR headset named Dreamcatcher, a Google WiFi router and last but not least Google Home – an aggressively-priced competitor to Amazon’s successful Smart Home assistant Echo. All that was missing from Google’s launch was a smart kitchen sink.

Sundar pitched the artificial intelligence and knowledge graph behind their voice-activated assistant as the culmination of 18 years of the company’s history. For those wondering what exactly a ‘knowledge graph’ is when it’s at home, it’s the semantic-search information that Google gathers from users across its wider range of platforms and services. And with Google Home now ‘living’ among us, we can expect Google to further improve not only their knowledge graph (and therefore their search experience) but also to train their artificial intelligence – giving us an ever more ‘human’ assistant.

The benefits of an improved assistant won’t be limited to the home – key to Google’s proposition is that this same assistant will mediate our interactions with Google across web, mobile, home and soon (if Google’s self-driving cars are any indication) our cars too.

And yet, there was a sense that the launch of Home was perhaps a little rushed, driven perhaps by the commercial need to release a competitor to Amazon’s increasingly popular Echo. Amazon have stolen a surprisingly rapid lead in the march to conquer the Smart Home market and now Google are, for once perhaps, playing catch up. In Google’s favour is the ability to leverage an enormous developer community and create connected experiences between online, mobile, home and soon, our cars.

In addition to Google’s bold vision for their knowledge graph, a few features clearly differentiate from Amazon’s Echo. One notable difference was the form-factor – smaller and squatter than the Echo – and with a customisable base to suit different home decors. Consumers tend to respond to increasing aesthetic choice – especially when purchasing devices for the home. We can no doubt look forward to a range of different smart assistant design approaches as more companies enter the home assistant market.

Looks aside, perhaps the greatest point of difference for the consumer will be the price point. Google are launching Home at the very aggressive price of $129, which is $50 below Amazon Echo’s tag of $179. Google’s entry into the Smart Home may herald the beginning of a price war, waged between tech giants who can afford to sell devices near to or even below their bill of materials.

The value for these companies is of course not to be measured in device sales, but in the services these devices can provide on top and (certainly in Google’s case) in the additional consumer data they can provide.

But capturing our homes means capturing our hearts. And here, it feels that Google maybe missing a trick. While Amazon Echo is beguilingly activated by calling out “Alexa” – the very human name of their smart assistant – Google Home requires us to call out a more android “OK, Google.” Acceptable perhaps when operating our phones hands-free in the car, but surely a phrase that becomes a little tiresome when used thirty times a day around the home.

The entrance of Google to the Smart Assistant space will no doubt add rocket fuel to the already fast-ascending Smart Home market, creating competition between two of the world’s most innovative and valuable companies as they jostle for a place in our homes.

The world’s largest consumer tech players simply can’t afford not to win a share of the Smart Home ecosystem. Any company that successfully dominates the Smart Home user interface will have a tremendous advantage in other assistant-driven markets as they emerge and coalesce – such as self-driving cars, telemedicine and future mobile.

Those companies that fail to get their foot in the Smart Home door will no doubt lament their failure to move fast enough into the space on future earnings calls – in much the same way as Microsoft, Yahoo and HP all publicly regret not embracing mobile early enough.

It’s unsurprising then that most of the consumer tech giants have Smart Home assistants in rapid development. Samsung are queuing up a Smart Assistant of their own and Apple, as ever fashionably late to the party, is rumoured to be doing the same.

And with every Home Assistant purchased, homeowners will seek out new smart companion devices to add to their home assistant’s ecosystem, driving more innovation in the Smart Home space and ever smarter ways to live.

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This post originally appeared in Business Weekly.

Bloomberg TV features Audio Analytic

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Bloomberg TV, an international channel that reaches over 300 million households worldwide, recently visited our offices in Cambridge as part of their mission to discover “the best technology England has to offer”.

In the programme, CEO Chris Mitchell and daughter Daisy demonstrate our technology’s ability to recognise the sound of a baby’s cry to writer, presenter and legendary ‘Valley Hack’ Ashlee Vance.

The programme recognises Audio Analytic as one of the UK’s leading Artificial Intelligence, and features us alongside ARM, Microsoft, Raspberry Pi and Dyson. Watch our segment by clicking here – or check out the entire (informative and surprisingly humorous) programme below.