July 6, 2018

Five for Friday: Audio-related innovations

Believe it when you hear it – Finnish expertise in sound is far from being white noise.
Believe it when you hear it – Finnish expertise in sound is far from being white noise.
Julia Bushueva

Listen up! These Finnish companies are worth hearing about.

Let’s make some noise for this quintet of Finnish innovators exploring sonic possibilities on the global stage.

Catchbox

Putting an end to conference monologues, this spongy microphone can be thrown to people in the audience to encourage listeners to participate more than a traditional mic. The core idea was to make the product as simple as possible.

“When you throw a Catchbox at someone, they’ve only got a couple of seconds to figure out how it works,” CEO Timo Kauppila pointed out in 2015. “Hence the gadget can’t be too complicated.

Kieku Labs

This independent media startup has launched a new kind of audio listening service: a YouTube for podcasts.

“We are not focused on ‘click this and laugh’ content, but more so on stories that might stimulate thinking,” CEO Sampsa Fabritius explained to us last year. “Kieku makes it easier for people to find inspirational and brainy content. Better thinking leads to a better life and better ideas.”

Genelec

Founded in 1978, this company has been making sonic waves ever since with speakers reflecting its focus on reliability, sound quality, design and environmental friendliness.

“Today our typical customer is someone who monitors sound and makes sound,” Genelec’s managing director Siamäk Naghian said in our feature article on the company. So, it could be a sound engineer working for a TV, radio, film or music studio or an artist creating music. This very much reflects the makeup of the company itself — most of the staff play musical instruments, making them both musicians and engineers.”

Flexound Systems

This Finnish startup gives prominence to the idea that music can lift our spirits and help us relax by transforming sound into touch. Its augmented audio can be implemented into car seats, theatre seating, furniture and gaming devices, to name but a handful of uses. Many agree.

“Our strategic goal is to have multiple licensing partners and over 200 million euros in revenue by 2020,” said CEO Mervi Heinaro in our feature on the company. “It is an ambitious goal, but our board members consider their calculations conservative and we believe them.”

Soften

Improving sound quality by creating easy-to-customise, modular acoustic elements for public and commercial spaces is the raison d’etre of this Finnish company.

“Of course, our core focus is acoustics, but besides that the most important factor for us is how a product looks,” CEO and founder Sami Helle said earlier this year. “We aim to make stylish and easily transformable products which you are not ashamed to put on display in any space.”

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