Raymond Gunn, President and CEO, Clarity Technologies
Congratulations on your new funding. What are your plans for the proceeds?
Raymond Gunn Thank you. Clarity's plans for the proceeds are to deliver on dozens of significant voice quality and speech recognition projects and continue to prosecute a fertile pipeline of additional opportunities both directly and through our very capable channel partners.
Do you have any plans to broaden your product line?
RG Yes, and in acknowledgement of this we recently changed our name from Clarity to Clarity Technologies Inc. Clarity has grown its technology portfolio and its breadth of application, significantly over the past three years and this name change reflects this growth and Clarity's expanded vision for the future. Our mission is "to create the global standard for audio quality," and we have a strong foundation already in place. Clarity has an exciting roadmap of audio-based signal processing technologies that compliment or supplement existing deliverables. We have already begun to share some of these with specific customers in order to really make certain we have the "voice of the customer" and are specifically addressing their needs prior to mass release.
Will there be any board or organizational changes?
RG Yes, Clarity has added several new board members as a result of this financing as well as a new chairman. We are very excited about these additions as we feel the demonstrated business success and domain experience associated with our board provides Clarity and its partners an additional competitive advantage.
How does this impact Clarity's customers?
RG Clarity believes it has become the strongest independent software supplier of this type of technology in the world. Clarity has award winning technology, world class customers and partners, the best team to deliver the results required and the financial strength that will provide for continued success.
Recently we have seen a few companies announce funding commitments. Do you think this is a signal that investors believe the worst is over as it relates to technology and telecommunications investments?
RG This is hard to say. Of course Clarity is pleased to have been able to demonstrate a business and plan for future growth that has been received with confidence by a diverse investment community. More important than the direct investing climate, is the consolidation that has transpired over the last two or more quarters. Several companies in the embedded speech and noise/echo cancellation space have actually sold out so there is consolidation which generally represents a precursor to reinforce investor confidence that new funds can create future value. Technology is part of our fabric, everything about our nation's economic progress points to productivity gains due to our utilization of technology.
Is there any particular part of the world that you are seeing an increase in technology spending?
RG Asia is heating up and Clarity invested early there. Clarity is just now experiencing significant pay backs with world leading consumer electronics companies. The "CVC" brand is seen as a differentiator that draws attention to planned deliverables that offer premium voice quality and performance.
In March 2001 you told us that Clarity and your development partners were 'betting their futures on research and development of novel, bio-inspired software approaches to extract a pure voice signal of interest from multiple noise sources.' Is this still true and why? Discuss any changes in this direction.
RG The market dictated that Clarity reduce its novel two-microphone solution to a single microphone input. Clarity responded and was able to mimic the second mic and achieve robust performance that is commercially valuable to Clarity customers. It is now investing in eliminating non-transient noises, extracting voice on the inbound signal and positioning Clarity as the most dominant player in the audio signal processing space.
Are there any cutting-edge noise cancellation technologies out there that are not yet in widespread use, but may be implemented in the next few years?
RG Yes, there are those adding hardware and multiple sensors to detect vibration and motion. Although cutting edge and providing interesting performance gains, the cost and form factor issues will prevent these alternatives from becoming widespread. Noise cancellation is still only part of the solution for many applications. Clarity believes the real opportunity has been to leapfrog our competition in the area of echo suppression performance in a variety of applications. We believe this is a significant competitive advantage for us and will be a significant competitive differentiator for our customers and partners.
What are automotive manufactures hearing from their customers concerning in-vehicle speech recognition?
RG The automotive manufacturers need higher speech recognition performance, better voice quality and elimination of all echo. The same fundamental issues Clarity has always known; but more pronounced due to the volume of projects and heightened activity with real product deliverables in the queue.
What is ClarityLabs and what is your unique value in deploying speech applications?
RG ClarityLabs does not compete with the speech companies. Rather, it offers customers assistance evaluating, selecting and integrating their speech application. ClarityLabs maintains its independence throughout the evaluation process and no one else offers this service in the market. If the customer struggles with noise or acoustic echoes, Clarity can satisfy this requirement with its CVC technology. ClarityLabs has been a boon to its customers as most do not maintain this expertise in-house and with cuts in many of their employment levels, our timing to support them on a variable basis was perfect and has added value to Clarity's entire proposition.