TMC president Rich Tehrani speaks with Andrew Sviridenko, chief executive officer at SPIRIT DSP
RT: Describe how your business has changed the world.
AS: Since its inception in 1992, SPIRIT was focused on mathematically-intensive software for the global market, and from 1996 we were focused entirely on voice and communications software. By 2002 SPIRIT became the largest DSP software house in Europe (TI data on the number of processors sold with third-party software). With all of our DSP expertise and 140-person team, in 2004 SPIRIT entered the PC voice engine market and licensed SPIRIT voice products to Adobe, HP, Paltalk, MediaRing, Oracle and Microsoft, among many others. In 2005 SPIRIT entered the mobile voice engine market (VoIP over WiFi and 3G) with deployments now both in Asia and Europe. During the last 10 years SPIRIT built a global reputation for technically the best voice software products worldwide. Today SPIRIT powers 100 million voice channels and about 40 million audio (music) channels in 80 countries. SPIRIT is now on track (the proper partnerships are already in place) to power a billion voice channels by 2008. SPIRIT is a bootstrap; it had no VC funding, and our prime pricing scheme is a royalty per copy or per channel. So we are not paid much until our client’s hardware or software product becomes successful. SPIRIT’s success is based on the market successes of our customers’ products. SPIRIT now serves 200 telecom, hardware and software customers with passion and this is why our voice products are technically the best in the world today.
RT: How has your business changed as a result of supplying solutions to Adobe, Paltalk, Oracle, MediaRing, Microsoft, HTC, Compal and other clients in enterprise conferencing and mobile OEMs space?
AS: Each customer brings experience and deeper market understanding. In less than two years SPIRIT got to the leading position in the enterprise multi-way voice conferencing and collaboration market, and now SPIRIT is the global leader in the mobile voice engine market as well. SPIRIT is constantly staffing up professionals, both in R&D and S&M. Lately, HTC and Compal have signed with SPIRIT for mobile voice engines for their 3G video handsets. As I’ve said, SPIRIT is now on track to power a billion voice channels by 2008, the proper partnerships are already in place for that, such as the one with ARM.
RT: What products we can see from your company soon?
AS: We’ve already added video to the SPIRIT mobile voice engine. SPIRIT will make major announcements with Tier-1 global customers soon in the mobile voice engine and mobile audio (music) markets. SPIRIT and ARM are global partners now.
RT: What do you think about the future of Mobile VoIP and Wi-Fi telephony?
AS: It is great, and SPIRIT is going to continue its lead in the global mobile voice engine market. The TeamSpirit® Mobile Voice Engine enables wideband, full-duplex, noise- and echo-free voice and a decent battery life on low power ARM processors.
Mobile applications are a true acid test for capabilities of a voice engine supplier. SPIRIT has solutions today to serve the needs of mobile OEMs and softphone developers. TeamSpirit® Mobile is the industry’s first voice engine that enables a full VoIP application and can be run on an ARM9e at 168MHz, as compared to Skype running on a 312MHz Intel XScale processor. The SPIRIT solution ensures rich voice and quality video and is optimized for devices running under Windows Mobile 5.0, Windows Mobile 5.0 SmartPhone Edition, Windows PocketPC 2003, or Windows Smartphone 2003 operating systems.
RT: What benefits do you bring to your clients?
AS: TeamSpirit® Mobile is the world’s most compact voice engine running on mobile devices today – and with the highest voice quality. It allows our clients to aggressively pursue the markets of VoIP-enabled handsets for fast and mass deployments.
RT: What do you think about the future of 3GVT market?
AS: In 2008, 3G phone shipments are forecast to reach 300 million with approximately 250 million consumers using mobile video services. It’s a market having great opportunities for everybody. SPIRIT voice products are already deployed in mobile video devices distributed by T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone and O2. SPIRIT voice powers the first 3G video phones from both Compal and HTC.
RT: What do you think about the future of VoIP, SIP, and Wi-Fi?
AS: Voice will be in nearly all applications. VoIP is not a stand-alone market – voice is the infrastructure. So far, consumers do not use video extensively, but all hardware markers ask for video as the product differentiator. The market for embedded Wi-Fi clients (including mobile PCs, PDAs and phones) is predicted to grow at a 67% CAGR to 226 million units shipped in 2008.
RT: Where does SPIRIT now stand against GIPS?
AS: GIPS is now losing the voice engine market to SPIRIT fast as evidenced by GIPS’ publicly-available 2006-Q2 financial report that reveals lower revenues and shrinking profits. Increased expenses would be necessary to catch up to SPIRIT, but it is difficult for GIPS as SPIRIT is a bigger company, with more clients, that has been in the market longer. Moreover, SPIRIT product is technically better, and several SPIRIT global partnerships now in place have wider mobile market reach.
SPIRIT DSP (www.spiritDSP.com) is the world’s leading provider of carrier-grade voice & video software engines since 1996. SPIRIT communication software is used in over 80 countries and powers more than 100 million voice channels. SPIRIT counts among its direct customers Adobe, ARM, AT&T, Blizzard, BT, China Mobile, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, HTC, Huawei, Korea Telecom, Kyocera, LG, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Polycom, Radvision, Samsung, Siemens, Skype, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, ZTE, and 200+ other telcos, OEMs and software vendors. SPIRIT smart-phone OEM customers’ shipments jointly exceed 60% share of the global market.