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Day 6 Edition - IFA International 2017

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NEWS Amplifying the

NEWS Amplifying the Abbey Road Sound World famous studio seeks to diversify its activities London’s Abbey Road Studios is the best known music studio in the world thanks in large part to its work with The Beatles in the 1960s. Now owned by Universal Music Group, the facility is seeking to maintain its status as a high-end studio for music professionals while also positioning itself as a forwardlooking music innovation hub and a consumer-facing brand that can connect with its global fanbase. Speaking to IFA International, Abbey Road Studios Head of Audio Products, Mirek Stiles, said he was in Berlin to showcase the company’s expansion into audio products. “I used to work as a recording engineer at the studio,” he began. “Now I oversee a division that creates music production tools based on our classic IP. We have partnered with software company Waves and hardware company Chandler on mixing consoles, EQs and compressors. It means professional musicians can use great products and enjoy the Abbey Road legacy without coming to the studio.” John Eades, Innovation Manager at Abbey Road, is also in Berlin to promote the studio’s work at the cutting edge of sound. “At the same time that we are trying to capitalise on the analogue history of the studio, we are also looking into new technical innovations around subjects like AI and virtual reality so we can figure out where the future of music production and consumption is going,” he said. The studio runs an innovation division called Red – within which there is an incubator programme. “We work with young companies – providing them with skills, contacts and market knowledge in return for an equity position,” said Eades. “I work like a kind of strategy director, figuring out what each company needs and then calling in expertise from different divisions within the Universal group.” As part of his activities, Eades said he would be talking to companies at IFA Next. In addition, Stiles and Eades were invited by Sony to take part in a session exploring developments in high-resolution audio 4

NEWS Delegates Happy with Droidcon’s IFA Debut The first appearance of Droidcon at IFA has proved valuable both for developers and tech companies Dinesh Kithany Senior Principal Analyst, IHS Markit Seven Billion Voice Assistant Capable Devices in Use by 2020 Research company IHS Markit highlights that mobile platforms will dominate the assistant installed base Droidcon Berlin co-located with IFA for the first time this year. The event is designed to put Android App developers together with people and companies who need them. It also includes a two-day conference programme that offered over 60 sessions on four stages. One company that is taking advantage of the professionals that are attracted to Droidcon Berlin is WeWork, the US shared-workspace company headquartered in New York but which operates internationally – with 120 locations globally, two in Berlin and two more coming soon to the German capital. By way of “giving back” to its clients, many of whom are young startups from around the world, it is organising the WeWork Creator Awards which is open to entrepreneurs, artists, startups and nonprofits – “anyone who embodies our mantra ‘Create your Life’s Work’.” At Droidcon, creative’s can record a 90-second video elevator pitch on a terminal at the WeWork stand. Winning pitches will share in a m development fund that WeWork has allocated to “innovative projects and the people behind them”. Amazon Appstore also has a stand at Droidcon – on the lookout for Android developers – along with other tech giants including Uber and eBay. At Droidcon, eBay has established a stand for eBay Tech, a Berlin-based division of the company that recruits developers, engineers and others to the online giant. Droidcon, the company said, “has the right profile of people that we are looking for”. It also sees Droidcon as a place to raise awareness of eBay Tech. DROIDCON: “A GREAT PLACE TO MEET PEOPLE WHO NEED DEVELOPERS” Uber, too, is at Droidcon to meet with Android developers, and found the event to be “a good place to promote the brand”. One developer attending said that Droidcon was “a great place to meet people who need developers” The growing smart home market will see voice becoming the key interface, according to new research from IHS Markit. Dinesh Kithany, IHS Markit’s Senior Principal Analyst for home appliances, technology, media and telecom; said: “Assistants are attracting attention from all types of company, but strategies can be very different. SERVICE PROVIDERS MUST BALANCE PRIVACY CONCERNS “While the digital assistants sector is gaining momentum, with a range of companies deploying digital assistants with very different core business models; voice control and verification services are used by a much broader set of companies.” He added that digital assistant strategies raise important questions for industry players including device makers, service providers and operators and messaging and social apps. Kithany added that service providers must balance privacy concerns. Concerns remain with voice assistants – popular questions include is the device always listening, how is data being used and how secure are devices from hackers. Kithany said that assistants will not generate much direct revenue, but they are part of a wider platform battle. “There will be more than seven billion voice assistant capable devices in use by 2020,” he said, “Google’s roll-out of Assistant to all recent Android devices ensures that it will have the largest addressable installed base of devices by the end of 2017.” Apple, Kithany said, will take second place because of the strong installed base of iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as the support for Siri on other devices such as recent Mac computers, Apple TV and Watch. Addressing smart speakers, Kithany said that this category is driving voice assistants in the home. “Google will eventually take smart speaker lead,” Kithany said. “Amazon has had an early lead with Alexa Skills Kit, but the launch of the Google Assistant SDK should see it gain momentum from late 2017 onwards. “Prices will fall as platform competition increases and Alexa integration spreads across more devices” IFA International • Wednesday 6 th September 2017 5

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