Listen! This is also Augmented Reality

By Listen! This is also Augmented Reality Holger Reisinger

Overshadowed by all the latest augmented reality buzz is augmented reality for our ears. Find out how audio augmented reality is radically transforming how we interact with the world of sound around us.

 Woman wearing the augmented reality Jabra Intelligent Headset

In case you haven’t heard – or experienced it – augmented reality (AR) is all the rage.

We’re surrounded by apps that add a new visual layer to our personal environment, enabling us to drive virtual cars, send holographic messages, paint graffiti in thin air, preview virtual furniture in our living rooms and do lots of other cool stuff.

All I can say to Apple, Google and the other industry giants who have embraced this new technology is “Welcome to the club!”

That’s because augmented reality for the world of audio has been around for decades. In fact, you were an early adopter of audio augmented reality the first time you slipped on a headset and turned up your favorite music, got calendar reminders or used it for navigation. Audio AR enables us to control our personal soundscape by placing an audio layer over the real audio that surrounds us.

Unlike the big splashes visual AR has been making – think the Pokemon Go craze a few years ago and the new apps flooding the market today – augmented reality for audio has been slowly but steadily creeping into our consciousness.

The technology became a household name with the 2013 movie Her, which saw Joaquin Phoenix fall in love with an operating system that acted like a digital girlfriend version of Siri or Alexa. While the movie has done plenty to help ease the transition and adoption of audio AR, its real-life applications are poised for a transformational leap forward.

An Ear to the Future

As one of the pioneers of audio AR, we at Jabra are now on our third generation of the Jabra Elite Series, a full lineup of different wireless and true wireless (no wires between the two) earbuds. Apart from offering hear-through properties and concert-hall-like sound, they feature tiny motion sensors that can track your movement, allowing you to effortlessly monitor speed, distance and calories burned while walking, running or biking. They even track your heart rate and estimate your VO2 max, which determines aerobic endurance by measuring the maximum amount of oxygen the body consumes.

You can even pair our audio devices with digital personal assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant to use your voice to access the world of online products and services, navigate your smartphone and even respond to texts and emails without ever looking at your phone.

And when navigating the busy city streets, simply hit the hear-through button on your earbuds to let in the surrounding sounds of traffic and other hazards, all the while continuing to stream your tunes or podcasts. This is the essence of augmenting reality and taking control of your soundscape.

What’s most surprising is that the technology I’ve just described is actually a couple years old. The new stuff promises to be even more amazing!

The audio AR capabilities featured in the newest technologies will allow us to take unprecedented control over our personal soundscapes by adding situational awareness, artificial intelligence and much more. We’ll still be able to experience the world around us, but we’ll also be able to filter out and choose what we want to hear and how we’d like to hear it.

Here are just a few of the virtually unlimited ways audio AR will soon transform our relationship with our world:

  • Staying informed. How about a supercharged version of your next museum or art gallery visit? Ultra-accurate GPS embedded in your earbuds will identify your precise location and even the direction you’re looking, then tell you more about what you’re seeing from Wikipedia or another source.
  • Staying sane. Looking for some inner calm? Insert your earbuds, head for the woods and adjust your personal EQ to isolate and amplify soothing bird songs while dampening other, more chaotic surrounding noises.
  • Staying focused. You know the feeling of not being able to focus on a single sound source, usually during a conversation among several people or in a meeting with a lot of background noise? Audio AR will let you “zoom” in on the source and filter out the rest. The future possibilities this holds are virtually endless, including the potential for a crystal-clear, studio-like concert experience.

So as we welcome all the shiny new visual AR apps, let’s remember that audio AR has been transforming how we hear the world for decades – and the best is yet to come.

Meet the Company That Asks Its Customer the Perfect Question

By Meet the Company That Asks Its Customer the Perfect Question Holger Reisinger

It’s time that we stop considering customer service as a cost and start focusing on the value it creates for our customers – and our business. Let’s look at how one successful organization does it.

 Meet the Company That Asks Its Customer the Perfect Question

“Do you feel in safe hands?”

For travelers who face an emergency in a foreign land, it’s a question that could mean the difference between life and death. Continue reading

Your Customers Are Calling…. But Who’s Answering?

By Your Customers Are Calling…. But Who’s Answering? Holger Reisinger

With consumers now firmly in charge of the digitized customer journey, the demand for prompt, accurate and personal service is critical. It is time to once again move our customer service efforts closer to those who matter most: the customer.

Your Customers Are Calling…. But Who’s Answering?

Among the biggest casualties of companies’ decades-long drive to cut costs has been the customer service organization. With an eye toward short-term results, many “conversations” with customers that were previously handled in-house were either outsourced, shipped overseas or both.

That no doubt pleased investors and made our finance people heroes, but it’s also had the perverse effect of placing our customer service functions even farther away from the customer, instead of closer. Continue reading

Google Searches Leave Customer Service with the Tough Calls

By Google Searches Leave Customer Service with the Tough Calls Holger Reisinger

Thanks to the explosion of information online, customers are more knowledgeable – and more demanding – than ever. Here’s how to make sure that “hyper-informed customers” also remain loyal, satisfied ones.

Google Searches Leave Customer Service with the Tough Calls

At the dizzying rate information accumulates online, we see a staggering rise of what I call “hyper-informed customers” – those who diligently scour social media, blogs, review sites and more to know virtually all there is to know about our products and services. Continue reading

The True Power of Sound – from Embryonic to Old Age

By  Peter Hartmann

The wrong sounds will make you and your loved ones stressed, tired and anxious. Get expert advice for creating a healthier, more positive sound environment and have sound work for you – not against you!

The True Power of Sound – from Embryonic to Old Age
Welcome to Part 1 of my conversation with Lyz Cooper, founder of The British Academy of Sound Therapy and who have spent more than two decades conducting research into sound and offering courses, training, sound therapy and music to promote health and well-being.

Peter Hartmann: Why is sound so important in our lives? Continue reading

6 Rules for Mastering the Art of Conversation

By 6 Rules for Mastering the Art of Conversation Peter Hartmann

Conversations are the lifeblood of interpersonal communication. But, for some people, they’re the equivalent of a trip to the dentist. Here are some tips for breaking the ice and engaging in good, meaningful conversations.

6 Rules for Mastering the Art of Conversation

I recently attended a great dinner party. It had everything you’d expect of a terrific get-together – fabulous food, interesting people and fascinating conversations all around the table.

Well, almost…. Continue reading

Who owns Customer Experience in your organization?

By  Saurabh Singhal

Unboxing an Apple product – Wow!

Buying products from Amazon and ease of returning – Wow!

Being put on hold for 15 minutes during a customer support call – Terrible!

The battery lasts for 3 hours compared to the promised 5 hours – Frustrating!

Who owns Customer Experience in your organization?

We all have experienced moments of delight and despair during our interactions with “brands”. The above examples are not of good/bad products, but of “experiences” that we have around products or services that we buy. Continue reading

Why a Nice Lunch Beats Facebook and LinkedIn – Every Time

By Why a Nice Lunch Beats Facebook and LinkedIn – Every Time Holger Reisinger

Emails, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other digital solutions are great for information sharing but are killing innovation, collaboration, and efficiency in modern knowledge-based companies. It’s time to enter the era of meaningful conversation. I just rediscovered an old book that shows us how.
Why a Nice Lunch Beats Facebook and LinkedIn – Every Time

Just the other day I finished re-reading the New York Times bestseller, “Never eat alone,” written by Keith Ferrazzi. The book is basically a cookbook in achieving success by building and utilizing your personal network to get better jobs, more business, new opportunities, or whatever you crave in life.

The concept is simple: if you build a large personal network, the network will, over time, reward you with more opportunities in life. All you need is to plan your targets and execute your plan, and, of course, buy Mr. Ferrazzi’s book.

“Never eat alone” is about your personal success; re-reading the book made me realize that it also holds a hidden gem for the successful companies of the future. Continue reading

The Hidden Secret of the Super-Productive

By Holger Reisinger

If you tune into your biological clock, you can do ten hours of work in half the time and stop stress at the same time. All it takes is a piece of paper and a little understanding from your co-workers and your boss. 
The Hidden Secret of the Super-Productive
Have you ever wondered why some of your co-workers manage to be more productive than the rest of the bunch? You know, those “annoying” elite workers that meet all their deadlines without ever working late? I must admit that it puzzled me for quite some time until recently when I discovered the hidden secret of highly productive people. All it takes is to be fully in tune with your internal biological clock. And here’s the good news: we can all learn how.

The secret to being super-productive Continue reading

Techies Spill their Headphone Pain Points at CE Week 2017

By Karl Bateson

Getting in front of tech enthusiasts to understand their pain points is what helps manufacturers design products to meet the actual needs of the consumer.

Techies Spill their Headphone Pain Points at CE Week 2017

As part of this approach, we sometimes survey techies at the various global events we attend to understand what needs we need to fulfill with our products.  At CE Week in New York, a show that brings together media, influencers, retailers and tech aficionados alike to vet new products, we asked attendees about their daily use of headphones—in and out of the office. In doing so, we uncovered that the chief complaints are challenges for which Jabra has a solution. Here’s what we found: Continue reading