Fraunhofer IIS and VoiceAge Provide Reference for Upcoming MPEG Audio Codec



    MONTREAL, Sept. 10 /CNW/ -- Leading providers of audio codecs Fraunhofer
IIS and speech codecs VoiceAge Corporation have announced that their proposal
for a new MPEG audio codec has been selected to provide the basis for ongoing
standardization work. The new technology is the first-ever audio codec to
support high-quality compression of both speech and audio at very low bit
rates.
    Standardization body MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) initiated a
global search for the new codec in October 2007, ultimately securing
submissions from eight companies -- many of them market leaders. Following a
very rigorous testing procedure that involved approximately 80 listeners in 11
test laboratories grading a total of 65,000 subjective responses, the new
technology devised jointly by Fraunhofer IIS and VoiceAge Corporation was
declared to be the winner during an MPEG session in July 2008, thereby
becoming the basis for future standardization work.
    When completed, the new codec (working title: 'MPEG Unified Speech and
Audio Codec') will provide superior quality at very low bit rates between 12
and 64 kbit/s for both music and speech in comparison to existing,
state-of-the-art audio and speech codecs, respectively.
    Applications expected to benefit from the new codec's combination of high
quality delivery and low bit-rates include digital broadcasting systems,
mobile TV, and multimedia downloaded applications via wireless networks.
    For Fraunhofer IIS, the new project -- due for completion in early 2010
-- represents the latest stage in a successful history of audio innovation
that includes the development of mp3 and the co-creation of AAC and MPEG
Surround.
    "We are delighted that MPEG regards our proposal as the best foundation
for this important new technology," says Bernhard Grill, head of the Audio
department at Fraunhofer IIS. "Enhancing the quality of both music and speech
at lower bit rates has been a headline priority for Fraunhofer IIS for some
years now, and we regard this new codec as a major step forward. We look
forward to its completion and all the new opportunities that it will give rise
to."
    For VoiceAge, the adoption of our technologies in a new 'MPEG Unified
Speech and Audio Codec' is a recognition that low bit rate audio is paramount
in wireless networks and that speech is becoming an essential component of new
multimedia broadcast and streaming applications.
    "For many years now, VoiceAge has maintained its leadership in low bit
rate speech and audio coding", says Redwan Salami, Vice-President R&D at
VoiceAge. "We are proud that our technologies have been selected to form the
basis of this new and important MPEG standard for unified speech/audio coding.
With the spread of digital broadcasting systems and multimedia applications,
this new standard will open exciting possibilities for service providers and
users."
    
    Fraunhofer IIS
    
    Founded in 1985 the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in
Erlangen, today with 585 staff members, ranks first among the Fraunhofer
Institutes concerning headcount and revenues. As the inventor of mp3 and
co-inventor of the MPEG AAC audio coding standard, Fraunhofer IIS has reached
worldwide recognition. It provides research services on contract basis and
technology licensing. The research topics are: Audio and video source coding,
multimedia realtime systems, digital radio broadcasting and digital cinema
systems, integrated circuits and sensor systems, design automation, wireless,
wired and optical networks, localization and navigation, imaging systems and
nanofocus X-ray technology, high-speed cameras, medical sensor solutions and
communications technology in transport and logistics.
    The budget of 68 million Euro is mainly financed by projects from
industry, the service sector and public authorities. Less than 25 percent of
the budget is subsidized by federal and state funds.
    
    www.iis.fraunhofer.de
    VoiceAge Corporation
    
    VoiceAge(R) is a leading developer of digital speech and audio
compression solutions for devices that operate over fixed and mobile networks,
including internet, cellular, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and convergence applications as
well as consumer electronics. Our business activities focus on: speech and
audio compression technology R&D, standardization, codec and audio processing
software implementations and IPR licensing. Using designs based on our widely
deployed flagship ACELP(R) technology platform, VoiceAge(R) speech and audio
codec solutions deliver unsurpassed quality experienced daily by well over two
billion users worldwide.




For further information:

For further information: Louis Pare, Director of Business Development,
VoiceAge Corporation, +1-514-737-4940, or fax, +1-514-908-2037,
louis.pare@voiceage.com Web Site: http://www.voiceage.com                
http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de

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VOICEAGE CORPORATION

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FRAUNHOFER IIS

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