New Knowles AISonic™ Audio Edge Processor Optimized for High-Performance Mobile, Ear and IoT Devices

First processor specifically designed for advanced audio and machine
learning applications, enhancing power-efficient intelligence and
privacy at the network’s edge

ITASCA, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN), a market leader and global provider of
advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and precision device
solutions, today announced the IA8201, the latest product in its Knowles
AISonicTM family of audio edge processors. The IA8201 offers
robust voice activation and multi-microphone audio processing optimized
for power-sensitive applications. This processor has the compute power
to perform advanced audio output, context awareness and gesture control
for today’s most advanced consumer electronics.

Processing audio and voice on the IA8201 keeps the power-hungry host
processor off as long as possible to extend battery life. The IA8201
delivers better far field voice understanding and processes commands
more efficiently in noisy, real-world environments. In addition, it
enables new audio use cases beyond what the host processor provides, and
through concurrent sensing of voice, audio and other sensor inputs,
delivers a more natural user experience.

“Today’s consumers expect better listening accuracy in their
electronics, which drives systems that have more mics and more
processing. Device makers are also highly motivated to enhance user
privacy and keep more personal information on-device. Together, this
creates huge challenges for designers to implement these enhanced
capabilities locally versus in the cloud,” said Mike Polacek, President
of Intelligent Audio at Knowles. “Knowles AISonic Audio Edge Processors
provide advanced multi mic processing at 10 to 100 times the efficiency
of generic processors, which helps our customers design compelling
products with performance and privacy features that end users demand.”

About the IA8201

Sampling today, the IA8201 audio processor packs 1.44MB of memory,
numerous interface options, and dual 175MHz cores with voltage scaling
in a tiny 2.6x3mm eWLB package and a 6.0×6.0mm QFN package.

Low power is achieved with a combination of cores offering the best
combination of optimized instructions and industry compatibility.

The IA8201 includes a high compute 128-bit core (DMX) with Knowles
proprietary instruction set and a Tensilica HiFi3 core (HMD), both with
Knowles audio enhancements. The DMX is a 4-way floating-point SIMD
processor targeted towards efficient performance computing (e.g.
beam-forming, barge-in, AEC), while the HMD is targeted towards
efficient, low-power, wake-on-voice applications with a two-way
floating-point SIMD processor. Both cores contain dedicated accelerators
for FFT, peak finding and DNNs.

The IA8201 solution provides generous memory (1.4MB) that is sized for
specific use cases and architected for single-cycle access and low
power. This large memory size can be used to store various keyword
models, engines or other algorithms.

Rich interface options include 2x I2C, 2x SPI, 2 x UART, and 24 GPIOs
with interrupts to support various sensor and data connections, plus 4x
PDM in, 2xPDM out, 3x I2S/TDM (4ch in/out) to support up to 4
microphones and various audio connections.


The IA8201 audio processor is sampling now to customers and will be
ready for mass production in Q3 2019.

For additional product information visit this link.

Knowles’ open DSP platform facilitates partnerships with third party
algorithm providers who will be rolling out IA8201 compatible keyword
models, various context detection plugins, and machine learning
platforms including TensorFlowLite. The ROME framework which forms the
foundation of the operating system is open to developers.

Supporting Industry Quotes

SAR Insight & Consulting, Peter Cooney, Founder
today are looking for smart audio experiences that provide intuitive and
secure services from their connected devices,” said Peter Cooney,
Founder of SAR Insight & Consulting. “To enhance the performance and
privacy, advanced audio architectures through machine learning
applications are transitioning to edge processing on device to deliver
power efficient, low latency and secure solutions. There is a growing
need for specialized edge processors that can deliver this advanced

AI Speech, Dr. Zhou Chief Technology Officer of AISpeech
the launch of IA8201, Knowles has achieved high performance and low
power in a cost effective solution, ideal for high volume smartphone,
IoT and ear end-products. The IA8201’s audio optimized instruction set
allowed us to implement a compact and power efficient solution in record
time. The compact code footprint allowed us to pull in our speech
technology features, previously executed on the application processor,
to now run on Knowles optimized audio edge processor.”

Alango, Dr. Alexander Goldin, Alango Technologies Founder & CEO
IA8201 is, simply put, the chip we’ve been waiting for. Customer
requirements and expectations for sound quality are growing, requiring
Alango advanced voice and audio processing algorithms combining reliable
voice activity detection, multi-microphone beamforming, long-echo tail
echo cancellation, sound personalization and efficient use of
alternative bone conduction voice sensors. In many cases, the
computational power, memory size and power consumption required to run
all the required technologies simultaneously on the host processor or on
an integrated Bluetooth chip is far beyond what can be allocated. The
IA8201 allows offloading these advanced tasks while reducing the power
consumption due to its complex numbers arithmetic, FFT and other
accelerators. The IA8201 can be an enabling solution for years to come.
Alango is committed to supporting Knowles’ customers using the IA8201 to
make their products sound better.”

Audio Analytic, Dr. Chris Mitchell, CEO and Founder
feel more comfortable with AI running on the edge, rather than
everything being transmitted up to the cloud for analysis. “The Knowles
AISonic family of processors and especially the IA8201 provide a great
solution for manufacturers who want to add the AI sense of hearing
directly on a wide range of edge devices.”

Elliptic Labs, Laila Danielsen, CEO
“The partnership between
Knowles and Elliptic Labs brings presence, proximity, and gesture
detection to devices while delivering OEM benefits such as higher
performance and lower power consumption. Knowles AISonic Audio Edge
Processors are optimized for machine learning and works seamlessly with
Elliptic Labs’ Virtual Smart Sensor platform, which also uses machine
learning and AI to deliver accuracy and precision.”

Retune DSP, Thomas Andersen, CTO
“Our customers have
increasing appetite for more MIPS and memory while maintaining power
consumption that aligns with battery operated devices with wake-on-voice
standby processing. After investigating several platforms, we found
Knowles AISonic Audio Edge Processors to be the best solutions to meet
these customer needs at a cost effective price-point. Our multi-channel
acoustic echo-canceller was recently ported to the platform and the
throughput was approximately ten times more efficient than on an Arm
A53/NEON core, with no compromises in performance. The instruction set
and floating-point support has enabled us to migrate from conceptual
development to running it on the hardware with very little porting
efforts. The two DSP cores together allow us to distribute processing in
way that nicely balances computational efficiency vs power consumption.”

Sensory, Todd Mozer, Chairman and CEO
“Sensory and Knowles
are both focused on high-performance artificial intelligence at the
edge. By combining Sensory’s TrulyHandfree version 6.0 wake word
technology with Knowles AISonic Audio Edge Processors’ multi-mic voice
processing technology, customers can achieve high-performance, embedded
voice solutions for smartphones, smart speakers, headphones and IoT

Waves, Tomer Elbaz, EVP of Waves Consumer Division
Maxx Technologies on Knowles’ DSP platforms embodies the perfect
collaboration to deliver user-centric experience for the ‘Voice as UI’
revolution. With Knowles AISonic Audio Edge Processors for IoT and for
‘Voice in your Ear’ integrated with Waves’ technologies, OEMs who demand
streamlined low-power consumption efficiency with optimal audio
experience will have exactly what they need.”

About Knowles

Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN) is a market leader and global provider of
advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and precision device
solutions, serving the mobile consumer electronics, communications,
medical, defense, automotive, and industrial markets. Knowles uses its
leading position in MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) microphones
and strong capabilities in audio processing technologies to optimize
audio systems and improve the user experience in mobile, ear, and IoT
applications. Knowles is also the leader in acoustic components,
high-end capacitors, and mmWave RF solutions for a diverse set of
markets. Knowles’ focus on the customer, combined with unique
technology, proprietary manufacturing techniques, rigorous testing, and
global scale, enables it to deliver innovative solutions that optimize
the user experience. Founded in 1946 and headquartered in Itasca,
Illinois, Knowles is a global organization with employees in 11
countries. The company was spun out from Dover Corporation in 2014 and
has been focused on reshaping its business portfolio and investing in
high value solutions to diversify its revenue and increase exposure to
high-growth markets. For more information, visit


Financial Contact:
Mike Knapp
Knowles Investor Relations
(630) 238-5236
Email: [email protected]

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