Bluetooth audio codec
Ittiam Unboxed June 19, 2018

Our Audio Codec Solutions Power the Top Brands with ‘Powerformance’

'Tete-a-tete' with Mukund Srinivasan,
Chief Business Officer, Ittiam
Ittiam CBO Mukund Srinivasan

First in our new web series – Ittiam Unboxed – is a ‘tete-a-tete’ with Mukund Srinivasan, our Chief Business Officer (CBO), who leads the company’s Americas Business Development and Sales execution. He also helms the company’s Media Client Technologies (MCT) business, and represents Ittiam in the Alliance for Open Media (AOM).

Mukund is just back from a trip to US, which saw a flurry of interactions with Ittiam’s leading partners and potential clients. Talking to the marketing team in Bengaluru, against the backdrop of pleasant summer showers, he sounds positive and gung-ho about what the future holds for our audio technology business. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Q1: At the outset, I am reminded of the legendary music producer Jimmy Lovine’s words, “Ground zero for me is audio.” So what is your broad take on audio?

An avid Carnatic (Indian Classic) music lover, I have always been in awe of sound and how it can mesmerize us in its various forms. Perhaps what is equally interesting is the meteoric evolution of audio technology over the decades that has enabled powerful listening experiences.

Outstanding sound has become a showstopper of sorts, sharing the spotlight with high quality visuals.

Right from the gramophone, cassette tapes and CD to today’s MP3, streaming services, wireless headphones and earphones, technology has allowed us to discover the true power of sound. In fact, with the rise of smartphones, tablets and smart TVs along with professional cinema and automotive infotainment, outstanding sound has become a showstopper of sorts, sharing the spotlight with high quality visuals.

Q2: So sound takes the center stage. What does this mean for multimedia content producers and consumer electronic devices companies?

While audiences revel in the magic of mind blowing sonic experiences, those on the creative and technical side of the ecosystem have a huge mandate before them – to ensure seamless distribution of audio across wired and wireless networks, while reducing bandwidth consumption. This has been possible thanks to a whole array of audio codecs that enable effective compression and decompression of audio data.

Q3: Could you throw some light on Ittiam’s repertoire of audio solutions?

Ittiam offers codec implementations for some of the most popular algorithms including MP3, AAC, WMA, SBC, and Dolby AC3, on a wide array of processors from ARM, Intel and other SoC vendors.

Ittiam’s comprehensive portfolio of high performance audio codecs power over 100 million consumer electronics, broadcast, automotive and industrial products across the globe.

I am quite pleased to highlight that Ittiam’s comprehensive portfolio of high performance audio codecs power over 100 million consumer electronics, broadcast, automotive and industrial products across the globe.

Thanks to our audio IPs – which are at the heart of over 25 million units of automotive customer products – end users are able to relish awesome audio on the move.

Q4: How have Ittiam’s audio codec solutions and expertise evolved over the years?

Ittiam has been at the vanguard of audio codec innovations right since its inception in 2001. We have been enabling top global brands to scintillate their audiences with the best audio quality. Our seasoned engineers bring in extensive experience working across a range of codec standards that evolved to address the growing need for high compression and quality.

Over the years, digital audio technologies scaled up in complexity to achieve better compression and user experiences across advanced multimedia and portable applications and internet audio. We have played a key role in optimizing these technologies for various embedded processors. By working tirelessly on breaking new grounds in audio codec technologies, we have in fact added over 15 US patents in audio codec optimization to our rich repertoire of software IPs.

By working tirelessly on breaking new grounds in audio codec technologies, we have added over 15 US patents in audio codec optimization to our rich repertoire of software IPs.

Q5: Consumers across the world have taken enthusiastically to wearables. How does Ittiam’s audio solutions fit in this picture?

Global leaders in this space rely on our optimized low power audio solutions for launching their new wearable products and gaining an edge against competition.

The wearables market is estimated to be worth $25 billion by 2019. What holds the key in this space is Ittiam’s high performance low-power audio codecs and post-processing components on ARM and other embedded processors. By engineering these for Bluetooth driven wearable devices, we enable an experience comparable to a typical smart phone.

In fact, our low-power audio codecs including SBC and mSBC are 2x faster than open source codecs, while our optimizations help deliver high quality along with extended battery life of products. Extensive validation with conformance streams and erroneous streams provides a higher degree of robustness to Ittiam’s audio solutions. It is therefore not surprising that global leaders in this space rely on our optimized low power audio solutions for launching their new wearable products and
gaining an edge against competition.

This market is also poised to witness huge developments like audio-only Augmented Reality (AR) platforms. As audio technology experts, we look forward to being at the cutting edge of innovations that drive many of these new trends.

Q6: Is there any new audio technology project at Ittiam you would like to highlight?

Yes! We are currently working on the latest audio standard – Unified Speech and Audio Coding (USAC) that promises very good sound quality at low rates to enable seamless delivery of streaming sound to consumers. USAC, as the name suggests, is aimed at unifying speech and audio coding into one single standard. We are quite upbeat about it as we believe this will be future of speech and audio coding.

Q7: Immersive audio experience has become a buzzword in the industry. How is Ittiam making a difference in this space?

Today, emphasis is on personalization of audio to suit each user’s individual preferences. Ittiam’s proven portfolio of audio effects and advanced pre-processing algorithms for head-end broadcast play a significant role in enabling this. We also offer the Loudness Metering and Levelling (LML) solution that delivers ‘harmonized audio’ in compliance with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act.

Our solutions deliver superior sound quality along with low memory footprint, power consumption and processor loading. By leveraging these, our clients build high performance applications at reduced cost and time to market. Ultimately, audiences enjoy the true impact of richer and more distinct sounds.

In recent years, cinema and even our home theatre experience has undergone massive transformation thanks to multi-dimensional or surround sound technologies. These include the immersive audio innovations from the likes of Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. Today we are no longer passive audiences just watching a movie, but a part of the movie actually experiencing it. Ittiam is also part of this revolution, working with industry leaders in delivering 5.1 and higher multi-channel content over headphones or two speakers – helping immerse listeners in an unbelievably accurate surround sound environment. Our virtual surround sound technology solutions help simulate a range of environments like a concert hall, cinema or even an amphitheater, allowing users to feel they are part of the actual live performance.

Q8: How are we delivering value for our clients?

Ittiam’s well rounded expertise in the domain empowers the audio OEMs to effectively take their white board designs and mathematical formulations to end users. All this without being bottlenecked by device constraints in terms of power, connectivity or processing capability.

By leveraging our field-proven technology IPs, we help customers shorten their time to market. But that’s a given. What is more remarkable is our ‘Powerformance’! Ittiam’s unerring focus has been on enabling power efficient and high performance solutions for devices that span across personal smartphones, home electronics or consumer wearables. The result? Ittiam’s clients get to enable powerful experiences for end users, which might not be possible without the kind of performance our solutions deliver.

Ittiam’s clients get to enable powerful experiences for end users, which might not be possible without the kind of performance our solutions deliver.

Q9. As a final note, how do you think we are geared for the future?

The industry outlook seems sunny, with the audio codec market expected to reach USD 7.44 Billion by 2022. I strongly believe that Ittiam is poised to address new and emerging market needs, and will continue to be one of the strongest links in the global audio technology ecosystem.

Ittiam is poised to address new and emerging market needs, and will

continue to be one of the strongest links in the global audio ecosystem.

Meet you again with another interesting edition of Ittiam Unboxed

If you have any questions or suggestions, mail us at mkt@ittiam.com