Interview with Denis Cabrol, GM of IoT Solutions at NXP

Snips x NXP on the iMX.8

Snips recently announced a strategic collaboration with NXP, the market-leading manufacturer of processors and integrated circuits.

Snips and NXP will jointly enable, optimize and market AI-powered voice interfaces and language understanding technology, both in the consumer and industrial markets.

Cost optimized, form factor SOM for local voice control

We got a chance to talk to Denis Cabrol, GM of IoT Solutions at NXP, to ask him about what made us attractive to NXP and how Snips can help their customers.

What makes voice attractive to your clients?

The ability to have simple, natural interaction with objects in their lives. No one wants to read user manuals any more or have to fiddle with complex user interfaces.

What about Snips technology stood out to you?

The ability to work offline. This affords several key benefits:

  1. Private by design: as voice is processed locally on the device, there is no concern about ‘big brother’ listening in to your conversation, or that your information is being mined
  2. More robust: does not depend on cloud connectivity, and specifically does not need to be re-configured when a home wifi gateway SSID or password changes
  3. Lower cost: adding connectivity to any device increases BOM cost from $1 to $5.
Denis Cabrol, GM IoT Solutions, NXP
No one wants to read user manuals any more or have to fiddle with complex user interfaces.

What makes working with Snips exciting for NXP?

A strong complementarity — Snips has developed a state-of-the-art local voice capability, and the tools associated with implementing that capability. NXP provides the optimized, low power chips needed to run the algorithms, the overall system knowhow as well as a global sales and marketing and support network.

In addition, the Snips team is a pleasure to work with — leaning forward, high energy, outstanding technically, with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

What are the key challenges your clients are facing when they think about embedding voice in their devices?

  1. Concerns about losing their brand identity — our clients are concerned with embedding cloud-based voice services as they lose control of the customer experience and hand it over to the cloud provider.
  2. Lack of skills / know-how needed to implement: while voice is concentrated in smart speakers and consumer electronics today, there are many potential use cases in appliances, access control, lighting, HVAC and multitude of industrial applications. The companies making those products typically do not have the in-house skills (acoustics, audio processing, machine learning) needed to implement voice.
  3. Time to market: because of the complexity of their systems and the lack of know-how noted above, we see many clients that are unable to add voice functionality to their product in a short timeframe.

Each of those challenges is addressed by the Snips/NXP partnership.

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