Taking the quality of TV audio to a whole new level with CSR’s MAPX™ and ZIRENE® SOUND by AM3D

AM3D, a Danish provider of audio enhancement software, is our first partner to offer audio enhancement solutions on MAPX™, CSR’s high quality audio system-on-chip (SoC) for soundbars, docking speakers, AV-receivers, home theatre systems, and integrated audio systems. 

This is great news for developers of TVs and soundbars as the combination of the MAPX processing power and the audio expertise of AM3D’s ZIRENE® SOUND solution will bring the sound quality of soundbars to an all new level. We spoke to Jacob N. Andersen, Senior Vice President at AM3D, to find out more about ZIRENE® SOUND, what the partnership means for the business and his outlook on audio industry trends.   

CSR: Can you please give a brief description of ZIRENE® SOUND?

AM3D: ZIRENE® SOUND is a HD quality audio enhancement solution. It significantly improves the output sound quality of audio playback devices such as smartphones, tablets, TVs, soundbars, Head Mounted Displays, headphones and other kinds of devices in which audio is an essential part of the user experience. The solution is purely software-based and easily integrated into a device.

CSR: How does it help manufacturers improve the audio quality on their products?

AM3D: The demand for small, slim and portable audio devices means that audio playback capabilities often differ significantly from those intended by the creators of the original media content. For example, stereo music and multi-channel audio are produced with specific loudspeaker arrangements in mind. These are not directly achievable with small devices or headphones. Other limitations may be caused by low acoustic output power or reduced bandwidth capability. To overcome the inherent performance limitations of audio devices, ZIRENE® SOUND offers state-of-the-art audio enhancement technologies to optimise the audio playback capabilities. ZIRENE® SOUND significantly increases the sound quality by post-processing the audio signal in the device. ZIRENE® SOUND includes high-quality features to:

  • Create surround sound virtually for headphones and stereo loudspeakers playback
  • Enhance audio content to boost voice dialog and equalise loudness differences
  • Enhance playback capabilities by equalising and boosting bass, treble and level

In addition to the ZIRENE® SOUND software solution, AM3D offers tuning tools for quick and easy adaption to each device model.

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CSR: In what ways is CSR MAPX helping to achieve this?

AM3D: CSR MAPX is a family of highly integrated SoC designed for audio applications. It offers such a large amount of processing power and professional audio interfaces that we were able to implement our algorithms on MAPX without compromising audio quality.

Furthermore, MAPX’s extensible architecture means our algorithms can run in conjunction with other standard audio decoders, allowing cost-effective but fully-featured solutions based around one single chip.

Finally, MAPX’s toolset allows us to tune our algorithms in real-time, thus considerably reducing the tuning effort required for each project.

CSR: How do you see the audio market developing in the next five years?

AM3D: After several years where audio has suffered with poor quality because of the demand for still smaller and slimmer devices, we see a market shift where audio once again will be used as an important competitive parameter when companies seek to differentiate their products. This shift is happening because thin high-resolution displays have become an everyday commodity. Manufacturers therefore need to come up with a new selling point as the wow-effect declines. Audio is the natural successor to fill up this wow-gap, as there is a demand for HQ audio and 3D audio from the manufacturers as well as the consumers. We believe that audio in the next five years will boom and take the market into a new dimension.

CSR: In what ways will your partnership with CSR help you achieve your own long-term objectives?

AM3D: Being part of CSR’s eXtension partner program helps our unique audio software to reach a much wider range of consumers; CSR has a large choice of platforms for Soundbars, Speakers, Headsets and Home Theatre Systems, and AM3D’s products are part of CSR’s offering.

Further product information about MAPX is available here.

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CSR and ARM® mbed™ webinar: how to get your IoT device to market fast


*UPDATE* – If you missed this webinar or would like to listen to it again, you can download a recording by following this link.


 

The ARM® mbed™ platform, established last year, is designed to build the technology and ecosystem that can enable connected device development at scale. It is helping speed the development of Internet-connected products and concepts based on ARM microcontrollers. CSR is excited to be part of the mbed community and is helping drive growth of the IoT by making our connectivity and location solutions, including our Bluetooth®, Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi® and GPS available to developers using this platform.

CSR GPS Shield

CSR GPS Shield based on SiRFStarV™

If you’re interested in finding out how the platform and our mbed solutions could help you get your Internet of Things device to market fast our upcoming webinar will tell you all you need to know.

Simon Finch, Head of Systems Integration at CSR will be joined by Rohit Grover, Staff Engineer, and Chris Styles, Application Engineering Manager, IoT at ARM to discuss the benefits mbed can offer and to show CSR’s mbed solutions in action.

The webinar will cover:

  • An introduction to mbed – what is the ecosystem, how it can help you and how you can join
  • An overview of CSR mbed shields with a video demonstration of:
  • The chance to get your questions answered live about the platform and CSR shields

 

Whether you’re a developer who wants to build a consumer wireless home security system or you require connection for sensors to an industrial control system, this webinar will help you discover how we can help ease your efforts in getting your connected products to market quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

The webinar will take place twice on Thursday 12th February to cover all time zones:

 

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CSR8670™ helps Edwin the Connected Duck float at CES

The invention house Pi Lab has been developing exciting products for over a decade and CSR is proud to have collaborated with them on its latest creation, Edwin the Connected Duck. Billed as the “world’s first interactive rubber ducky,” Edwin is an app-enhanced smart toy that engages children in learning. While at CES we caught up with the founders to talk about how CSR’s technology is giving wings to their project.

Don Inman, President and Co-Founder at Pi Lab describes Edwin as “no ordinary duck”. The smart toy links to a smart device and allows a parent and child to connect with content using the Edwin App. The impressive roster of features includes interactive read-along stories, Bluetooth® waterproof floating speaker, LED night light, temperature sensor and accelerometer.

Matt Macbeth, CEO and Co-Founder explained how the dual-mode CSR8670™ audio system-on-chip (SoC) solution with Bluetooth Smart support made app communication and audio streaming possible: “There’s been a great collaboration between CSR and Pi Lab. If there’s questions we need to ask, we can quickly get the answers we need. Using the CSR dual-radio module made speed to market so much faster.”

According to the founders, Edwin is not going to be the only smart toy they make. Eventually they plan to launch a whole family of characters that are part of Edwin the Duck’s world. Inman said: “When it’s launched in March 2015, users will be able to see the town that Edwin lives in and be introduced to the different characters. The idea is that these additional characters will be able to link to Edwin and offer some really cool interactive experiences. We have a lot of cool things coming.”

You can find out more about how CSR’s audio SoCs can help you get innovative products to market fast here.

 

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CSR GAIA integrated into LG’s newest premium Bluetooth stereo headset, the LG Tone Infinim™, allowing for seamless interaction with a select range of smartphone functions

For many, the terms ‘Bluetooth®’ and ‘audio’ are used in the same breath. Bluetooth is of course well known for being an excellent wireless audio transmission technology, but one of the added benefits of Bluetooth is that it is incredibly flexible – software can be built around it which can significantly enhance the end user experience when it comes to personal and home audio products.

A perfect example of such software is CSR’s generic application interface architecture (GAIA), which enables communication between apps running on a device such as a mobile phone or tablet and Bluetooth connected accessories such as headsets and speakers. Included with our CSR8645™ stereo ROM solution, GAIA delivers added value and user experience for consumers including:

  • Simplicity of pairing and connecting devices through an interactive app using our GAIA architecture
  • Using an app to personalise ring tone for individual callers
  • Personalising the accessory through the app

 

LG’s Tone InfinimTM is a stylish, convenient, behind-the-neck type premium Bluetooth headset which demonstrates how a headset can use CSR GAIA to interact with a smartphone. The Tone Infinim seamlessly integrates GAIA’s features to provide you with a simpler and more convenient way to use your smartphone.

Features include:

  • Current time alert control
  • SMS/SNS replay control
  • When there is an incoming text message, the headset will vibrate
  • Direct Dial lets users easily call their designated contacts

 

Combined with our Bluetooth stereo platforms, we are enabling manufacturers like LG to develop  fully featured audio accessories that not only deliver outstanding wireless audio capability (thanks in large part to the aptX® codec and our cVc® voice enhancement technologies) but also seamless interaction with their tablet or smartphone via the GAIA software. To get a clearer picture of how Tone Infinim works in tandem with GAIA, see the below video:

GAIA is made free of charge for all our customers. If you are looking for an easy to use interface that manages information flow between your host device apps and their Bluetooth connected accessories, GAIA is perfect for enabling the features mentioned above, as well as advanced features such as Device Firmware Updates, True Wireless Stereo audio routing and live EQ updates.

Further information is available on CSR Support for those that have a valid CSR Support account:

  • For the GAIA API and relevant documentation please visit:

https://www.csrsupport.com/AudioSolutions/AudioDevelopmentKit-ADK/ADK251

  • For the GAIA V2 Android App and source code (Java) please visit:

https://www.csrsupport.com/CSRGAIA/GAIAAppResources

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CSR Lights Up Las Vegas Nightlife with 1,000 CSRmesh™ Connected Glow Sticks

Although the conversations about Bluetooth® Smart at CES 2015 earlier this month centered around the connected home, the possibilities it provides go far beyond it. CSRmesh™ enables a single mobile device to control a nearly unlimited number of Bluetooth Smart enabled devices that are networked together.

At our Connected World exhibit at CES 2015, we demonstrated the role that CSRmesh™ will play in the Internet of Things experience of the future. But we wanted to go outside the home to ambitiously illustrate its potential, so CSR collaborated with our partner Incipio to create a truly unique and memorable experience for its CES party at Life nightclub in Las Vegas.

We created 1,000 CSRmesh™ connected glow sticks to hand out to the event’s attendees. Inside of each glow stick was a simple LED light connected to a CSR1012™ chip.

With a custom app, the DJ was given the power to control every attendee’s glow stick to, for example, change the colors on-the-fly or display patterns in rhythm to the music. Because CSRmesh™ enables any device to relay a message to any other, the DJ’s messages were instantly spread across the entire colossal venue without worrying about range restrictions. As long as one glow stick was in range of another, the information was communicated.

In the Internet of Things, lighting, music and mobile devices can now interact in new and innovative ways to enhance the entertainment experience. CSRmesh™ makes it all possible.

Watch the video below to see CSRmesh™ light up the party.

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CSRmesh™ combines with Android Wear to allow whole home voice control

Among the exciting demonstrations currently running at CES in Las Vegas is CSR’s Connected World, a glimpse at the future of the Internet of Everything.

Here, we’ve created a totally connected CSRmesh™ enabled home – including home automation, audio, a connected car and location and asset tracking. In fact, even the giant illuminated ‘CSR’ sign behind the reception desk is CSRmesh-enabled.

Throughout the home we are showcasing our one-stop chip-to-cloud solutions for audio and home entertainment, the connected car, connected wearables, and health & fitness. As technologies converge, no other company is as well placed as CSR to help consumers manage the emerging challenges – including interoperability, low power, interference, latency and security.

In particular we’re happy to be showcasing a new addition to the protocol – the integration of Android Wear for whole home voice control. CSRmesh has proven to be popular for lighting applications via Bluetooth Smart, and with the increasing popularity of wearable technology, this new feature will allow consumers to control devices with voice commands.

To see CSRmesh and Android in action, a video demo can be viewed here.

If you’re in Las Vegas this week then please stop by the 8th Floor of the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center. Here you can visit our Innovation Lab, a great place to get ‘hands on’ with fifteen technical demos and to meet some of the pioneers and innovators behind our products.

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State Of Play Report – The world of home audio through the eyes of the consumer

CSR commissioned a survey to understand the attitudes, habits and trends set to influence the design of home audio system in the coming years.

Audio buyers are becoming increasingly selective about what they want from their audio equipment but are manufacturers delivering on the needs of the market today and the wants of the future?Audio_4

The State Of Play Report reveals how people like to listen to music, how they would like their listening experiences to be improved, and the audio attributes they are willing to spend money on – both now and in the future.

Some key findings include:

– 77% of people yearn for better sound quality at home

– 59% want home audio technology to be interoperable with their favorite brands and devices

– 76% say ease of use is highly critical when choosing a new audio system

To find out more, please fill out the form below to download the report.

State Of Play Report

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Bluetooth 4.2 is here – but what does it mean?

Over the past year CSR has implemented all of the important enhancements introduced in the Bluetooth 4.1 specification in its connectivity platforms, from single mode low energy and wireless audio platforms through to discrete connectivity products. This has allowed developers to employ the latest Bluetooth capabilities in their devices and expand their offerings to new markets.

Today, CSR has qualified a product compliant to version 4.2, which was officially adopted by the Bluetooth SIG last week. The update adds some significant improvements that further secure Bluetooth Smart’s position as a key enabling technology for the Internet of Things. But what are these updates?

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Version 4.2 introduces three major updates to the specification: Low Energy data packet length extensions, Low Energy privacy upgrades and Low Energy secure connections. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Low Energy data packet length extensions: The length of data packets transferred over Bluetooth Smart has been increased from 27 bytes to 251 bytes, which translates into maximum data rates of over 800kb/s. This allows for both the master and slave to negotiate the maximum length of packets to transmit and receive.

A larger data rate transfer means one thing – speedier downloads that are up to 2.6 times faster than previous Bluetooth versions. This is massively important for those developers looking to create devices that might require downloading large amounts of data – for example, regular firmware updates or downloading large data logs from sensors. Also, increased data transfer speeds and packet size reduce the opportunity for transmission errors to occur and lessen battery consumption, resulting in a much more efficient connection.

Low Energy privacy upgrades: For Bluetooth Smart settings to be truly private, address resolution of private devices had to be done in the host CPU. Now, address resolution is moved from the host CPU to the controller, which reduces power consumption on private devices. Bluetooth Smart chips will now only ‘wake up’ when someone designated as trusted is within a user’s proximity, which has the added bonus of lowering power consumption on the host CPU. So, to take a retail store using beacons as a real life example, unless a consumer has enabled permission for the beacon to engage with their device, they can no longer be tracked.

Low Energy secure connections:  Last year’s 4.1 update introduced AES encryption to deliver more secure BR/EDR connections. The 4.2 update now completes the security upgrades by adding full public key cryptography for authentication in LE using FIPS compliant algorithms, essentially updating the authentication mechanisms to the same standard as Bluetooth Classic. With this feature, dual mode devices only need to pair once and have the same fully secure connection regardless of which mode was used to authenticate.

Today, the Bluetooth SIG will make its qualification site live – please refer to this to find out which CSR products are 4.2 qualified – but you can expect to see all CSR dual mode platforms make their way onto the list.

For any questions relating to CSR’s Bluetooth Smart products, please contact bluetoothsmart@csr.com or leave a comment below.

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CSR SiRFusion™ webinar will reveal how to solve the indoor location challenge

Indoor location is a hot topic, carrying the promise of ubiquitous location and user context. Set to take social networking, analytics, content targeting and enterprise efficiency applications to a new level, the technology hails from a high pedestal.

SiRFusion™ from CSR is a new, innovative and technically disruptive solution, combining multiple sources of information including real-time Wi-Fi® signals, satellite positioning information and pedestrian dead reckoning to create high quality and accurate indoor positioning. It’s significant because it’s able to utilise these technologies and give incredibly accurate positioning performance without the need for expensive new infrastructure or site surveys.

In collaboration with GPS World magazine, myself and other experts from CSR’s SiRFusion team will be hosting a webinar on Thursday December 4th. If you are developer looking to integrate indoor positioning into an app or you would like to learn how this innovative technology can create new revenue streams for you through accurate understanding of your customers’ location indoors, please register and attend by following this link.

Register Now: Join us on December 4th at 10.00am PST / 1.00pm EST / 6.00pm GMT

In the meantime if you’re interested in finding out more about SiRFusion visit http://www.csr.com/products/technology/sirfusion

And if you’re unable to join the webinar please get in touch with sirfusion@csr.com with any questions.

Webinar topics will include:

  • Commercial applications for indoor location
  • SiRFusion – solving the indoor challenge via fusion of multiple technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth® Smart, GNSS & MEMS
  • Challenges and solutions for Pedestrian Dead Reckoning & Bluetooth Smart beaconing
  • SiRFusion performance results in real world situations

 

Presenters:

  • Dave Huntingford, Director of Product Management for Location, CSR
  • Dimitri Rubin, Sr. Director of Emerging Technologies, CSR
  • Nicolas Graube, Fellow, Advanced Algorithms, CSR

 

 

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Keep track of your personal belongings with PebbleBee Bluetooth® Smart Tag

PebbleBee is a Bluetooth®-enabled tracking tag that uses the single-chip CSR1010™ to help its customers never lose their personal belongings again. Its Kickstarter campaign struck up over 3,000 backers contributing over $200,000 – ten times the original target – to help make the vision a reality. Founder and CEO David Daoura spoke to CSR to give his insight on how Bluetooth Smart is helping bring the PebbleBee to market.

What is it about the PebbleBee device that is so exciting?

People don’t want to lose things. On average you spend ten minutes a day looking for things you’ve misplaced, or 20 minutes for me! That’s lost time you’ll never get back. By placing a PebbleBee on your treasured items, you can quickly locate them and never lose anything. That’s the basic feature of the device.

Furthermore, by using the CSR1010 we can provide extra functionality for people such as remotely taking selfies with your phone, setting range alerts, keeping track of your items’ location history on Google maps, and much more. All that in an affordable, sleek and small functional device.

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When developing the PebbleBee what were the top things you wanted to achieve?

Firstly we wanted to create a quality, compact product with a sleek design that is durable. The main purpose of the device is for loss prevention and lost item recovery, meaning it needed multiple embedded sensors for monitoring the environment at an extended range. It also needed to have a replaceable battery with a long life.

Why did you choose to work with CSR?

We chose to work with CSR for a number of reasons including that the CSR1010 is the most widely used Bluetooth chip. CSR also has very responsive customer support and competitive pricing. We are also interested in the cutting edge technology produced by the CSR team, for example CSRmesh networking.

How do you think the market for smart trackers and sensors will evolve over the next five years?

It really depends on the battery and Bluetooth chip technology. Power management is what it all boils down to. The more power you can harness or conserve for a small device, the more user friendly it is. This translates to more people adopting and using this Internet of Sensors market. We aren’t just a manufacturer of tracker devices, we mainly focus on sensors. People want to know how active their pets are while they’re at work or who ripped that pillow apart at 3:00am. With sensors all of that information is available to you from the comfort of your mobile phone or tablet.

In the next five to seven years from now, I think the smart tracker market will be as big, if not bigger than the cell phone market is today. The devices will be so small that you can stick them on paper and won’t know the difference. High value assets in mail, items, toys and even merchandise and clothing will all have some sort of tracking device on them. Retailers will use them as they do today with RFID, but with Bluetooth Smart instead. The key is improved battery technology that is smaller, more efficient, and thin as a film and Bluetooth Smart chips and sensors that hardly consume any energy.

Find out more about CSR Bluetooth Smart products here: http://wwwr.csr.com/products/technology/low-energy

 

Pebblebee founders Nick Pearson-Franks (left) and David Daoura (right)

Pebblebee founders Daniel Daoura (left) and Nick Pearson-Franks (right)

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