Audio-Analytic: Sound recognition meets audio branding
When smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home “listen”, their understanding of the sonic environment is usually limited to spoken word. Audio-Analytic has been described as “the Shazzam of noise”. Their sound recognition technology is already helping brands deliver better customer experiences, and now they are envisaging a future where this relates more directly to audio branding.
Many brands are associated with a specific sound. We hear these sounds when we listen to advertising, use products and apps, and visit spaces. Back in 2013 Audio-Analytic filed a brand sonification patent which details how their technology could be used to detect the sound of product usage and trigger a user reward in response. This could be in response to physical products like cans, bottles, and boxes, electronic goods, or the sound of advertising. For users this may result to more intuitive user experience (like ordering a replenished item or linking to online content) or users. For brands it can track sonic reach and usage habits like never before. Audio-Analytic acknowledge that this technology must be managed responsibly.
This technology is complex. To give a sense of how long it can take for a machine to learn identify sounds, it has taken Audio Analytic ten years to license seven different sounds, like a barking dog, breaking glass, a smoke alarm, and a crying baby. They aim to raise this to 50 sounds by 2021.
In the meantime, Audio-Analytic are helping brands to deliver more intuitive experiences through sound. For example, their partnership with Hive smart-home software gives consumers peace of mind through sound recognition. The Hive Hub 360 “looks after your home while you’re away” by recognising smoke alarms and the sounds of a break-in (dogs barking, and glass breaking). This sound recognition technology may eventually be used to recognise individual human voices, which would allow an intuitively personal conversation with a smart-speaker device.