Knowles Releases White Goods Standard Solution to Bring Voice Control to Smart Home Appliances

Knowles, a provider of advanced micro-acoustic microphones and speakers, audio processing, and precision device solutions, has launched the AISonic White Goods Standard Solution, a development kit for voice integration for smart appliances.

The development kit enables manufacturers to build voice-activated control and far-field speech recognition capabilities into smart appliances, including refrigerators, ovens and microwaves, washers and dryers, vacuums, dishwashers, and more.

The AISonic White Goods Standard Solution is built on Knowles' AISonic Audio Edge Processor IA8201 for contextual audio and sensing and includes an IA8201 reference board accompanied by an API supporting integration with application processors or chipsets, a system firmware release configured to support sensors, and pre-integrated microphones from Knowles.

The Knowles White Goods Standard Solution supports voice service interoperability, allowing multiple voice assistants to be integrated into a single device and enabling customers to talk to the service of their choice by simply saying its name.

"As the smart home appliance market matures and continues to expand, support for voice interfaces is expected to become a highly requested feature that consumers look for in new appliances," said Vikram Shrivastava, senior director of IoT Marketing at Knowles, in a statement. "The ability to ask your refrigerator to read aloud your grocery inventory, play a recipe video while cooking, or ask your oven to pre-heat while you prepare dinner, all contribute to the user experience, but often, OEMs and ODMs face reduced power and memory constraints when adding voice capabilities. These constraints can have an impact on usability. The AISonic Audio Edge Processor removes this friction by providing high performance in a small size, with high efficiency, privacy, and compute power enabling customers to design modern products with far-field voice processing functionality for accurate listening. We also have an ecosystem of hardware system integrators that have developed modules to integrate with legacy appliance control boards."

The AISonic White Goods Standard Solution also includes algorithms for an audio front end suitable for use with Amazon Alexa assistants and other cloud-based speech recognition APIs through the Knowles OpenDSP partner program. Knowles integration partner Sensory provided the wake word engine for the White Goods Solution, enabling Amazon-certified voice wake and far-field voice recognition for memory-constrained smart appliances.

"The smart home and appliance market continues to be a major opportunity, but it has also become highly-competitive. Support for voice can be a major product differentiator," said Joe Murphy, vice president of marketing at Sensory, in a statement. "Working with Knowles, we are excited to provide Sensory's VoiceHub and TrulyHandsfree wake word engine for OEMs and ODMs to develop and deploy voice support for new smart appliance applications that perform efficiently and provide the best user experience."

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