Cypher prepares demo to show off software-driven approach to improving audio quality

Taking a page from the software-defined networking (SDN) crowd, a Utah-based startup is using software to solve one of the oldest problems in the wireless biz: eliminating background noise.

Instead of relying on hardware, infrastructure upgrades or network capability -- the traditional ways to improve audio quality -- Cypher, recognized by FierceWireless as a 2015 "Fierce 15" winner, says its software isolates the target speaker's voice and ignores everything else. The technology is so effective, there could be three occupants in a car each having their own phone conversation and the parties on the other end would never detect it, according to John Yoon, Cypher's director of strategy.

Cypher for the first time will have a booth at the CTIA Super Mobility trade show that takes place at the Sands Expo this week in Las Vegas, and CEO John Walker will be ones of the speakers at the show. Live demos at the booth, located in the startup pavilion, will show how the technology eliminates noise -- literally. Audio demonstrations will be occurring, but the company also will present visual representations of audio files as well.

Earlier this year, Cypher announced that it partnered with CEVA, licensor of DSP and IP platforms for cellular, multimedia and connectivity, to offer its noise reduction solution for smartphones, tablets and wearables. That solution integrates Cypher's voice-isolation software with the CEVA-TeakLite-4DSP for inclusion in devices. Cypher isn't currently in any commercial devices on the market but it is talking with OEMs and the chip companies.

Yoon said the company's founders weren't interested in doing a "retread" of things that already have been done in the noise cancellation space. Some patents related to noise cancellation date back to 1936. "We said … is there a way we could use a different technique?" By treating it like a math problem, they were able to come up with a pattern recognition solution. "It was a bit of a hunch," he added.

Cypher says its patented voice isolation technology eliminates more than 99 percent of background noise and also improves speech recognition as it cuts the word error rate by 40 percent in noisy environments. "We think there's a market for better phone in the smartphones," Yoon told FierceWirelessTech.

In recent, third-party standards-based testing conducted with Spirent, Cypher showed as much as 17 times more background noise reduction than today's most popular cell phones, according to the company. Overall, the results show a virtually complete elimination of background noise with accompanying improvement in audio quality.

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