Four new HD voice MEMS microphones deliver superior voice capture for multi-microphone applications
New line-up features AKU346, the only MEMS microphone to achieve a 64dB SNR in a tiny 6mm2 footprint
Akustica/Bosch in-house MEMS design and manufacturing capability enables more rapid product generations
PITTSBURGH – Akustica, Inc., a Bosch Group company and leading provider of MEMS microphones, has added four new high-performance analog microphones to its high definition (HD) voice product line, including the AKU346, the industry’s smallest MEMS microphone to achieve 64dB SNR. Designed to meet the size-performance constraints of smartphones and even the smallest wearables, the new HD voice microphones combine small footprint, high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), tight sensitivity matching, and a super-wideband frequency response to improve intelligibility and speech-recognition accuracy in consumer-electronic devices.
New innovations in design and manufacturing enable an inherently guaranteed +/-1dB sensitivity matching between microphones. This microphone-to-microphone uniformity, along with the high SNR of the new HD voice microphones, fulfills a critical need for consumer-electronic device manufacturers who incorporate more than one microphone along with noise suppression algorithms into their devices. These algorithms generally rely on well-matched, high-performance microphones for optimization of noise cancellation and speech recognition accuracy.
Particularly challenging use cases for speech recognition are noisy environments and applications where the speaker is far away (>3 feet) from the microphones. In these situations, testing has shown that even a small improvement in SNR (1-2dB) can lead to dramatic improvements in command accuracy rates (>5%). A few percentage points of accuracy can make the difference between speech recognition ubiquity and obsolescence. This has led device manufacturers to continually look for higher performance and more uniform microphones that can meet the needs of their multi-microphone application without incurring the extra costs commonly charged today for binning and sorting after final test.
“The need for the highest-performing multi-microphone solutions is growing rapidly in the smartphone market, where the average number of microphones per phone has been steadily increasing for the last few years,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst, MEMS & Sensors, IHS. “Today, the use of two microphones has become a standard feature for smartphones. Higher-end phones can have upwards of four microphones, further increasing the need for high SNR and tighter sensitivity matching like that provided by Akustica’ s new microphones.”
Bouchaud also pointed out that MEMS microphones achieving ≥64dB SNR comprise the fastest-growing portion of the overall MEMS microphone market and are expected to generate 50% of the revenue of this important market segment by 2017.
AKU346 – Industry’s Smallest MEMS Microphone with 64dB SNR With a footprint of just 6mm2 and an ultra-thin 0.93mm height, the AKU346 utilizes 33 percent less design space than a typical industry standard bottom-port microphone but still achieves a 64dB SNR--making it particularly well suited for use in small wearable accessories such as wired and wireless headsets, smartwatches and glasses.
AKU143, AKU345, AKU344 The AKU143, AKU345, and AKU344 are top- and bottom-port microphones with a higher SNR of 65dB, and are footprint and pin-for-pin compatible with previous generations of Akustica HD voice microphones. The industry standard form factors of all three microphones provide a straightforward path for upgrading performance of current designs.
All four of the new microphones can also support ultrasonic applications such as gesture recognition, gaming, pens and location detection.
In-house MEMS Design and Manufacturing Capability Akustica’s new generation of HD voice microphones round out a complete portfolio of Bosch MEMS sensors supporting the human-machine interface (HMI) within consumer-electronic devices, and is another demonstration of Bosch’s commitment to consistently delivering high-performance, high-volume and high-quality MEMS sensors. With in-house design teams for MEMS, circuit design, and packaging, and more than 1000 MEMS patents and 20+ years of MEMS manufacturing experience, Akustica has quickly been able to introduce a new generation of HD voice microphones with higher performance, more uniformity, greater robustness, and smaller footprints. Additionally, Akustica’s customers now benefit from the additional economies of scale gained by manufacturing in Bosch’s advanced 8” (200mm) wafer fabrication facility in Reutlingen, Germany.
“In-house MEMS design and manufacturing speeds new product development and allows us to be a reliable and valuable partner for our customers,” said Horst Muenzel, CEO and general manager, Akustica. “We are committed to delivering new and compelling features to our customers while also adhering to stringent Bosch principles of quality and environmental responsibility. As a result, our customers know they can depend on us to deliver high volumes of MEMS microphones on time and in-spec with the high levels of performance, quality, and reliability that they have come to expect from Bosch.”
Availability Samples of all four new HD voice microphones are available now for lead customers with mass production planned for Q2 2014. For customer pricing information, please visit http://www.akustica.com/contact.asp to find a local sales representative. For more information and datasheets for these products, please visit www.akustica.com.
Press Contact: Maria Vetrano Vetrano Communications +1 617-876-2770 email@example.com
About Akustica: Akustica is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group and a top supplier of silicon microphone products that are improving voice-input quality in a host of voice-enabled applications, from mobile phones, laptops and tablets to small wearable accessories like headsets. The company offers world-wide customer support services, from design-in services to post-production quality assurance. Akusti-ca is a global organization with corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, regional offices in Taiwan and Shanghai, and a worldwide team of distributors. For more information about Akustica, go to: www.akustica.com.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. According to preliminary figures, its roughly 281,000 associates generated sales of 46.4 billion euros ($61.6 billion) in 2013*. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2013, Bosch applied for some 5,000 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”
Bosch CEO Denner: “The breadth of our technological expertise and our presence in diverse sectors of the economy are crucial advantages in a connected world.”
Sales up 2.7 percent to 46.4 billion euros
Disregarding extraordinary burdens from photovoltaics, EBIT margin at roughly 6 percent
Stuttgart – According to preliminary figures, the Bosch Group increased its sales by 2.7 percent in 2013, to 46.4 billion euros, and this despite the difficult economic environment (adjusted previous-year figure: 45.2 billion euros). In the form of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 1.5 billion euros, the strong euro places a considerable burden on the sales revenue disclosed by the supplier of technology and services. Earnings have developed fundamentally better, but are once again affected by the situation of the Solar Energy division, which remained difficult in 2013. In early 2013, the company announced its decision to exit its activities in crystalline photovoltaics.
*Note: Due to changes in the law, Bosch no longer includes its fifty-fifty joint ventures in its accounting. This mainly concerns Bosch Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme, whose consolidated sales comes to some 7 billion euros. Due to these changes, current figures for sales, result, and headcount are only partially comparable with the figures previously published for 2012.
Progress in earnings According to preliminary figures, and leaving aside the extraordinary burdens caused by photovoltaics, the Bosch Group EBIT margin comes to some 6 percent. This is roughly one percentage point more than in the previous year. Including the extraordinary burdens as a result of photovoltaics, which are likely to total 1.3 billion euros, EBIT margin some 3 percent. “The many measures taken to improve profitability are clearly working. In fact, we have made better progress with result than expected,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. In 2014, Bosch will continue to work without let-up on improving its competitiveness and fitness for the future. As regards the targets for sales growth and margin, Denner said: “We have already made progress. We will continue to focus on profitability, growth, and agility.”
Seizing growth opportunities – opening up new market segments The company wants to unlock existing potential for growth and open up new market segments. Various future trends are relevant for Bosch here. Apart from energy efficiency and connectivity, there is the high-spending aging population in the industrialized countries and the rapidly growing middle class in the emerging markets of Asia and South America. Bosch is also working intensively on the mobility of the future, which will be electric, automated, and connected. In 2013, Bosch launched many products and services related to these trends. They include highly efficient gasoline and diesel injection systems, driver assistance systems such as motorcycle stability control, mySPIN smartphone integration solution, telematics services for the management of vehicle fleets, and robotics applications such as the “Indego” lawnmower.
Shaping and participating – Bosch in the connected world Bosch especially wants to open up new market segments with solutions for connected living. “The breadth of our technological expertise and our presence in diverse sectors of the economy are crucial advantages in a connected world. We want to play an active role in shaping that world, and at the same time take advantage of the business opportunities it offers. Bosch’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected world,” Denner said. For many, connectivity is already a reality. By 2015, some 75 percent of global population will be online, along with more than 6 billion devices. In Bosch’s view, however, this only scratches the surface of the potential opportunities. In the future, the company will make all its electronic appliances web-enabled. “Connectivity will open up new possibilities for all our areas of work. This goes for mobility, for industrial technology, and especially for energy and building technology – also in connection with our consumer goods,” Denner said.
Systematic preparation: activities and partnerships As the world’s leading sensor manufacturer in terms of sales, the web-enabled MEMS sensors supplied by Bosch are a key technical component for connectivity on the internet of things and services. Moreover, at the beginning of the year Bosch set up a subsidiary for the development and sales of connected terminal devices and solutions based on them. Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH is headquartered in Reutlingen, where the electronics competence center is based. The company was originally an innovation cluster. Bosch uses these cross-divisional clusters to develop new business ideas for a connected world. There are further clusters related to connected buildings, connected mobility, and connected energy. For example, Bosch will be working with partner companies to make a software platform available for standardized data exchange in smart homes. “Alliances are key drivers of the trend toward connectivity,” Denner said. Since November 2013, Bosch has been testing technologies that will allow the digital networking of an entire city in the “Monaco 3.0” pilot project. “Our broad footprint and technological expertise, combined with the creativity and motivation of our associates, are absolutely essential for innovation and growth,” Denner said. Apart from exploiting new market opportunities for connected living, Bosch will continue to make use of every opportunity that presents itself for its traditional business.
Volatility calls for agility Driven mainly by internet technologies, the connected world is dynamic, complex, and volatile as well. “The way the internet has risen over the past 20 years, as well as some of its repercussions, could not have been predicted. This will be true of future developments as well. As a result, we have to be fast and agile when dealing with a connected world,” Denner said. Increasingly, therefore, Bosch will be starting up new business activities to test their potential. Here, a key role will be played by Bosch Start-up GmbH, a company recently set up in Ludwigsburg, Germany. It will assume the role of an incubator for new business ideas and models. The team will help Bosch researchers quickly launch products and services. Bosch Start-up GmbH will make things such as infrastructure and business economics know-how available to new units with potential for growth. “An entrepreneurial mindset on the part of all associates and a culture that sees failure as part of the learning process are key factors for success. We want to further encourage and strengthen these factors,” Denner said. “We have to boldly venture into new territory and push back boundaries.
Business developments by business sector and region in 2013 The sales developments of the business sectors are also affected by significant exchange-rate effects. The Automotive Technology and Consumer Goods business sectors are especially hard hit by these effects. Regardless of this, the Automotive Technology business sector developed extremely positively in 2013. Its business with gasoline direct injection and diesel injection systems grew significantly. The Car Multimedia division was very successful with display instruments and infotainment systems. In Industrial Technology, the packaging machinery business was able to record good growth. By contrast, the global weakness of the mechanical engineering sector caused a considerable slump in the Drive and Control Technology division. In Consumer Goods, Bosch was once again successful with power tools in 2013, both for professional and DIY users. Developments in the Energy and Building Technology business sector were overshadowed by the situation in the Solar Energy division, which was again difficult in 2013. The Security Systems division was able to generate strong growth with communications services, while the Thermotechnology division was successful with energy efficient condensing appliances.
Significant sales growth outside Europe The strong euro had significant negative effects on the development of regional sales. Nonetheless, nominal Asia Pacific sales exceeded their previous-year level by some 5 percent. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales growth even reached double digits. In North America, nominal growth was more than 3 percent according to preliminary figures. At roughly minus 3 percent in nominal terms, sales developed negatively in South America. When adjusted for exchange-rate effects, however, sales grew by a high single-digit figure. Despite an economy that remained very weak, nominal sales in Europe grew slightly, by some 2 percent.
Slight increase in headcount in Asia and North America Worldwide, the Bosch Group had a total of some 281,000 associates at the beginning of 2014 (adjusted previous-year figure: 273,000 associates). In current business, headcount increased by roughly 1,000. Most of these new jobs were in Asia and North America.
Moderate economic prospects for 2014 According to current forecasts, Bosch expects the economy to develop moderately in 2014. As things stand at present, global GDP is expected to grow by 2.8 percent. The company sees risks in the further development of the countries affected by the euro crisis, as well as in a further appreciation of the euro. Against this background, the Bosch Group expects sales to grow slightly in 2014, with its earnings situation continuing to improve.
Digitalization of daily life is also generating business for small and medium-sized companies
Networking changes the competitive landscape
A dynamic world needs a new culture of entrepreneurialism – in established companies too
Politics must be “open to technology”
Reutlingen – German companies need to work together to seize the opportunities and possibilities presented by networking over the internet. These were the words of Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management, at a gathering of industry representatives in Reutlingen. He went on to say how important it is to work together in both interdisciplinary and cross-sector ways, and that collaborations between companies with complementary know-how are a major driver of the connectivity trend. Bosch, for example, is working with ABB, Cisco, and LG to develop a software platform for the smart home. The networking of industrial production also holds out the promise of joint innovations and joint successes.
Digital networking: Seizing opportunities together Denner stressed that the opportunities presented by the trend of connectivity are not reserved for major international corporations. “We all need to get a handle on these opportunities – in industry, trade, the service sector, and skilled trades. And we need to go about it in a more ‘connected’ way.” Denner challenged the 750 guests in the audience to take a chance on something new more often – perhaps even together. “Our goal must be to develop new products and new business models that enhance the quality of life.” Digital networking offers undreamed-of technological possibilities, he went on. The economic order and the competitive landscape will also increasingly be subject to change.
A new culture of entrepreneurialism – in established companies too According to Denner, the connected world is a highly volatile and dynamic one, and the task for entrepreneurs is to actively shape this world and make the most of the opportunities it presents. At the same time, external changes are demanding a more dynamic process of development within companies. “What we need is a new culture of entrepreneurialism – in established companies too. We need entrepreneurs who dare to sail uncharted waters, who aren’t put off by the risk of failing from time to time, and who have the experience to limit the fallout from any setbacks.” When Bosch enters new and generally highly dynamic markets, it does so with units that are small, agile, and independent. One recent example is the company it has founded to cater to the internet of things and services. Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH develops and sells networked end-user devices as well as solutions based on them.
A task for politics: openness to technology Denner wants policymakers to support the development of technology across the board. “Politicians should avoid backing certain technologies over others, as it is becoming less and less clear which technologies will ultimately win out and prove successful.” Denner had words of praise for the German government’s aim of expanding its high-tech strategy to become an interdepartmental strategy to support innovation. “What’s important now is to see these policies fleshed out. We need a little less bureaucracy and a little more dialog and collaboration between science and business, as well as a more flexible way to award funding.” In Denner’s view, the primary role for politics is to create a climate of openness to issues of relevance to the future.
Bosch booth, # 20812 in South Hall 1, features “Invented for life” products
Unveils the BME280 sensor, world's first integrated environmental unit that combines sensors for pressure, humidity and temperature in a single package.
Bosch, sponsor of first-ever CES Driverless Car Experience, showcases technologies that support the future of automated driving.
Bosch contributes $70,000 and Bosch power tools worth $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity for Illinois rebuilding efforts.
Las Vegas – In today's world, consumers stay connected as a way to monitor and enhance all aspects of their daily lives – from personal interactions, to home security, vehicle performance and more. As early as 2015, more than six billion devices will be connected to the Internet.
According to Dr. Werner Struth, chairman of Robert Bosch LLC and member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, some may be overwhelmed by the magnitude of change: “At Bosch, however, we feel that this is our time and we look forward to supporting consumers as they become ever more connected. The research we have done, the investments we have made and the people who are part of our team are ready for this challenge. CES is a great place to showcase what Bosch has to offer, today and into the future.”
Increasingly, consumer electronics are connected to the Internet as they provide data to the cloud. This is known as the Internet of Things and Services.
“The Internet of Things and Services makes it possible to network our know-how in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago,” Struth said. “It will give rise to new solutions that offer a better quality of life. However, this opportunity also involves a challenge: Networked technology in this connected world must not become more complex, but rather simpler.”
To that end, Bosch Sensortec announced today its new BME280 sensor, the first integrated environmental unit that combines sensors for pressure, humidity and temperature in a single package.
Measuring just 2.5 millimeters on each side, this state-of-the-art sensor was developed to support a broad range of high-performance applications, such as indoor navigation, home automation control, personalized weather stations, innovative sport and fitness applications, and telemedicine. For the past 20 years, Bosch has been recognized as a leader in producing micromechanical sensors or MEMS technology. In fact, Bosch produces more than one billion micromechanical sensors annually.
At the 2014 International CES, Bosch will demonstrate how its products make sustainable lives more attainable in today's connected world.
Automotive Technology: Taking driving to the next level Automotive Technology, Bosch's largest business sector, strives to make driving safer and cleaner, as well as more economical, comfortable and convenient through its wide variety of advanced technologies.
For example, Bosch's Power Max is its first electric vehicle charging station. At a price of $449, the Power Max is nearly half the cost of most Level 2 charging stations and twice as fast as Level 1 chargers. The end result is the Power Max allows drivers of electric vehicles to get on the road more quickly. This charging station is only one of the many sustainable automotive products Bosch offers.
With much attention on autonomous driving and speculation on when it will be widely available, Bosch produces several technologies that, in fact, enable autonomous vehicles. The company is taking significant steps toward developing fully automated vehicles through its many active safety technologies, including automatic park assist, collision avoidance,
emergency braking and much more. These technologies are featured at CES's Driverless Car Experience, sponsored by Bosch. The Driverless Car Experience will be held at the Gold Lot, next to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
From home to any travel destination, Bosch makes products to enhance quality of life. But, the commitment to sustainable living does not stop there: Bosch strives to make a positive impact in communities across the U.S.
Community: Giving back to where we live and work Bosch was founded on the principle that companies and their associates have responsibility to give back to the communities in which they live and work.
The Bosch Community Fund and Robert Bosch LLC are contributing $70,000 to Habitat for Humanity to be used for rebuilding efforts in Peoria, Ill., after devastating tornadoes hit the area in November. From helping with disaster efforts, to supporting academic institutions, Bosch makes a positive difference in the community.
The Bosch Community Fund, a U.S.-based foundation established in September 2011, awards up to $3 million annually in grants to various 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions. The Bosch Community Fund focuses primarily on the enrichment of science, technology, engineering and math education and the advancement of environmental sustainability initiatives.
Other activities at CES in which Bosch is involved, include:
The Driverless Car Experience also will feature a panel session, “Road to Driverless Mobility,” exploring the market, technological and regulatory milestones on the road to making autonomous driving a reality. Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH, will be speaking on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m. in the North Hall of the LVCC, Room N262.
CEO of Bosch Sensortec, Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, will be speaking at the “MEMS Sensor Fusion – Revolutionizing the Internet of Things” event on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 2:25 p.m. on the topic of “hardware-software co-designs and the secret to sensor fusion” in the LVCC, North Hall room N261.