Of course, the self-generated noise created by air conditioners or
vacuum cleaners make it tough for automatic speech recognition engines
to decode voice trigger and user-control commands.
The Conexant CEO
explained that his company’s engineering team gained significant
experience by working closely with smart TV lead customers, especially
in understanding microphone positioning, microphone enclosure design and
cost-effective solutions. The technology is now ready to go beyond
smart TVs, into broader applications, he noted.
speech recognition, there’s nothing more challenging than the automobile
A car is surrounded by a constantly changing variety of
noise sources, both inside and outside. Showing his confidence in this
field, Chiddippedi said that Conexant is already “closely working with
one of the Japanese automotive manufacturers” to bring far-field voice
input and control technology to cars. Conexant’s selective source pickup
algorithm can actually “separate one talker from another, or from the
environmental noise using only two microphones,” according to the
Asked why it’s important to apply voice control
technology to cars or even home appliances at a time when consumers can
easily turn a system on and off by touch, Chiddippedi emphasized the
sheer speed and ease of hands-free voice triggering.
The sound of a
voice can “wake” up the system instantly and automatically push any
buttons that need pushing. Acknowledging that a majority of in-car voice
control system are using cloud services (i.e. “Find me a restaurant”),
an on-board voice control system is still important as its subset, said
Chiddippedi, since “it gets the job done well and faster.”
other potential revenue-producing products Conexant is pushing hard is a
4-channel serial digital interface receiver for HD video surveillance
digital video recorders. Currently sampled on the market, Conexant
claims it as “the most highly integrated, cost effective quad channel
SDI receiver.” It’s integrated with four cable equalizers, clock data
recover blocks, deserializers, auto extraction modules, ancillary data
extraction modules and motion detection support, according to Conexant.
leveraging its imaging expertise, Conexant is also eager to lead the
printer SoC market. Conexant competes with ASSPs developed by other chip
suppliers such as Zoran and Marvell Technology, in addition to ASICs
internally developed by printer OEMs themselves.
OEMs were more reluctant to use printer SoCs designed by external chip
vendors, since system OEMs’ printer software is proprietary and directly
linked to each OEM’s ink cartridges. But as the price for printer
hardware goes down to $99, $69 or even less, “OEMs can no longer afford
the internal development of an expensive ASIC for each of their
printers,” observed the Conexant CEO. “They’re looking for printer SoC
firmware that can drive various printers ranging from entry level to
enterprise-class products,” he noted.
While Conexant’s printer SoCs are
already used by three leading printer customers, Chiddippedi said that
his company is adding to its SoC lineup a new version based on a
dual-core ARM A9, powerful enough to process 50 color copies per minute.
the company was going through the Chapter 11 process, the most
important goal for Conexant has been “not to lose our customers,” said
Chiddippedi. “Big customers look at your financials and worry about your
interest payments and debt level.” Fortunately, “our customers and
suppliers have been very supportive of us,” said the CEO.