Infineon invests in voice processor supplier XMOS

Infineon has disclosed it has made a strategic minority investment in XMOS, a Bristol-based fabless semiconductor company that provides voice processors for IoT devices. Infineon leads the recent US$15 million Series-E funding round.

"Through this investment, Infineon will further explore the high potential of voice control and is well positioned to address future use cases like speaker authentication or contextual awareness," Andreas Urschitz, president of the Power Management and Multimarket (PMM) Division at Infineon, was cited as saying in a company press release.

The market for consumer devices with voice-controlled human machine interface (HMI) such as digital home assistants is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 46% in the coming years, Infineon cited figures from IHS.

"This was the logical next step, as we have identified HMI as a strategic growth area," Mark Lippett, CEO of XMOS, pointed out the synergies: "Infineon and XMOS share an exciting vision of next generation user experiences, and best in class technology in complimentary areas. Partnerships like ours will be key to the realization of universally accessible IoT solutions."

Today, voice controllers, used in voice recognition systems, struggle to differentiate between speech from a person in the room, and a synthesized source such as a radio, TV, according to Infineon. They often identify the voice of Interest based on the loudest noise. Earlier in 2017 Infineon and XMOS demonstrated an enhanced solution to overcome these issues, using intelligent human-sensing microphones and gesture recognition. The solution featured a combination of Infineon's radar and silicon microphone sensors to detect the position and the distance of the speaker from the microphones, with XMOS far field voice processing technology used to capture speech.