Make Your Product’s Future Bright – Powered by Linkplay and Alexa

February Newsletter 2017
We are experiencing unprecedented demand for Powered by Linkplay solutions with speaker and device manufacturers, technology partners, music streaming content providers, and the Amazon Alexa developer community. And the press coverage surrounding our announcements and events is being reported by industry media in a positive light. To our current partners, thank you for trusting us with your business.

We are relentless in our passion and pursuit to offer the highest performance, Alexa Voice Service, music streaming and app packages, with fast time to market and cost effective price points. We’ve developed multiple modules that greatly scale the number of available AVS devices for end consumers. And, we are leading the audio speaker category with the most Alexa enabled speaker products representing five brands with plans to deliver many more smart home devices in 2017.

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Make Your Product’s Future Bright – Powered by Linkplay and Alexa

How Linkplay Will Enable Dozens of Connected Products with Amazon Alexa in 2017

Today a speaker is not just a speaker—it’s a connected device we use to play music when we want, where we want, and from whatever service we prefer. New cloud-based, streaming media providers have given us greater control over our music libraries, creating magical and memorable experiences every time we hit “play”.

More than ever, convenience matters, and that’s where Linkplay excels.

Who Is Linkplay?

Linkplay is a turnkey Wi-Fi audio solution provider that works with device manufacturers to build connected speaker products at various price points and for a growing number of use cases. Whether you want to build a high-end product for the home or a durable portable speaker for camping trips, Linkplay offers customizable product solutions, complete with the latest technologies, to meet your needs.

In November 2016, we worked with Linkplay to introduce its turnkey Wi-Fi audio solution with an Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration. The solution enables speaker brands and OEMs to quickly and cost effectively launch Wi-Fi speaker products with access to Alexa. In the months since launch, Linkplay has brought five portable speaker products with Alexa to market. Its most recent launch, the Omaker WoW, is the first hands-free device, and represents Linkplay’s growing expertise in enabling voice-powered interfaces on speaker products.

Linkplay is now focusing heavily on voice user interface (VUI) design and Alexa, building out a suite of technologies and processes to help its customers integrate conversational AI and hands-free voice control into their connected products.

Founded with the mission of making the audio listening experience convenient for the end consumer, Linkplay serves as a valuable partner for device manufacturers that don’t have the resources to invest and maintain IoT solutions. “Many speaker manufacturers don’t have the resources to take on this technical challenge and financial investment,” Linkplay’s CEO and Founder Lifeng Zhao, Ph.D. said. “It’s taxing for speaker brands to be good at both audio and IoT—Linkplay seeks to take the pain out of the process, enabling speaker brands to conveniently, quickly, and cost-effectively bring cutting edge products to their customers.”

How OEMs Work with Linkplay

Anyone familiar with product development knows that time-to-market is a crucial metric. Linkplay has helped a growing number of speaker manufacturers and OEMs build and launch products with Alexa in under six months, a significant accomplishment in and of itself. But perhaps more important for the manufacturer is how Linkplay designs customized solutions to get a product to market.

According to Zhao, Linkplay recognizes that not all audio devices are created equally, so the technology inside should be adjusted to support these differences. Beyond providing brands and OEMs with Wi-Fi connectivity and access to streaming media, the company plays a crucial role in identifying hardware-based solutions to streamline production and keep costs down. Linkplay offers partners a number of resources to get started, including reference designs and schematics, product design guidelines, standard software and mobile applications, toolkits for testing and debugging, self-test suites, and highly customized mobile applications.

Once a partner has defined their requirements and design, Linkplay works with the OEM to add connectivity to their products. The company’s Wi-Fi and DSP modules enable devices to access AVS, as well as streaming media providers such as Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, and Napster. Additionally, these modules enable AirPlay, DLNA, Spotify Connect, and QPlay protocols.

The built-in Alexa experience allows customers to ask Alexa for weather reports, traffic updates, Flash Briefings, access local information, control smart home products, and enable more than 8,000 Alexa skills.

Throughout the development process, Linkplay acts as the certification proxy. Linkplay ensures the OEM’s product meets Amazon’s UX and functional guidelines and hands-free acoustic requirements. Within these processes, Linkplay recommends mic array placements, form factor design, integration use cases such as push-to-talk or hands-free, LED requirements, and more.

“Linkplay has always been about creating great wireless audio experiences for our partners’ customers. We have relationships with most major music service providers and a robust whole home audio solution that enables customers to group and manage their speakers across the home,” Zhao said. “For us, integrating with the Alexa Voice Service made perfect sense as it enabled us to easily bring the convenience of voice interaction to our customers.”

How Omaker Launched with Linkplay and Alexa

When Omaker came to Linkplay with the idea for a hands-free speaker with Alexa, Linkplay worked with Amazon to identify the appropriate mic array and wake word engine to fit the budget and form factor. Using the Conexant AudioSmart 2-Mic solution and Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree wake word engine, Linkplay helped Omaker design a high-quality product at an affordable price.

“We chose the Conexant mic array for this product because of its high performance and cost,” Zhao said. “However, cost was only one factor—the 2-microphone array also ensured that we could fit the required technology into the form factor.”

Amazon announced the Conexant 2-Mic AudioSmart Dev Kit in December 2016. With a Wi-Fi solution from Linkplay and a recommended reference solution from Conexant, Omaker was able to build and announce its WoW speaker in time for CES 2017. It is this type of speed-to-market that makes Linkplay a valuable option for many OEMs.

“We are excited with Amazon’s vision for Alexa, and working with their team was a natural choice for us as it complements our strategy and bundled solution,” Zhao said. “Alexa’s technology allows us to implement multiple software and hardware platforms to address a variety of price points. This flexibility enabled us to target numerous product lines, such as audio speakers, sound bars, IoT devices, and enterprise applications with the most cost-effective solutions for our clients.”

What’s Next for Linkplay?

Linkplay has experienced incredible interest in its smart Wi-Fi solution with Alexa. “We are amazed by the number of requests we get from people asking how they can integrate Alexa into their products with Linkplay,” Zhao said. “Our first-to-market position proved to be a huge advantage for us, and the extreme halo effect of being associated with Amazon Alexa at CES this year helped introduce our brand and services to new customers.”

While Linkplay has enabled five Alexa products in-market today, Zhao says that’s only the beginning, and the company is off to a fast start in 2017.

“Our roadmap is evolving, and we’re constantly soliciting feedback from customers from new areas. We recently held an Alexa Summit for our speaker manufacturers and OEM customers that drew hundreds of attendees, and I believe we’ll see more of these activities in the future,” Zhao said. “From a brand perspective, we have dozens of projects in our queue for 2017.”

Linkplay has made it easy for brands to build and launch connected products with Alexa. In less than three months, the company has developed a solution that will greatly scale the number of devices with Alexa available to end consumers. Reflecting back on its core mission of making it more convenient for consumers to listen to music when, where, and however they want, Linkplay’s desire to delight its customers, focus on deepening business relationships, and embrace new technologies has helped the company to exceed expectations without any sign of slowing down.

Contact Linkplay by email if you’re interested in building a product with the “Powered by Linkplay” solution.

New to voice user interface design? See how the technology works by building your own Amazon Alexa prototype for Raspberry Pi.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Visit us on the AVS Forum or Alexa GitHub to speak with one of our experts.

See the full article here

How Linkplay Will Enable Dozens of Connected Products with Amazon Alexa in 2017

Linkplay Experiences Rapid Adoption of its Turnkey WiFi Audio Speaker Solution Approved with Amazon Alexa Voice Service

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Hosted Alexa Summit with Technology Partners to Highlight the Benefits and Ease of Adding Voice Service in Audio and Smart Home Products 

Palo Alto, CA, February 1, 2017 — Linkplay Technology, a leading WiFi audio solution provider and one of the first audio platforms approved for integration with Alexa Voice Service (AVS) for hands-free voice recognition and push to talk capabilities, hosted 300 attendees from global speaker brands, OEMs and ODMs for an Amazon Alexa technology summit. The one day conference held in Shenzhen, China provided an opportunity to educate customers interested in designing and building Powered by Linkplay products with AVS. The presenters introduced the broad AVS ecosystem and offered insight on developing customer differentiated audio products and other smart home devices. The keynote speakers included Linkplay’s Founder and CEO, Lifeng Zhao, Ph.D., and Amazon’s Director of  Alexa Voice Service, Jon Kirk, in addition to executives and senior technical experts from technology partners Conexant, a leading provider of audio and far-field voice technology solutions, and Sensory, a leader in speech and vision technologies.

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Photo caption: Jade Wu, Linkplay, John Kirk, Monson Tseng, and Todd Emerson, Amazon

Linkplay’s patented Smart WiFi audio hardware and software module provides AVS integration, global streaming music content integration, app and cloud development, and multi-room speaker capabilities as well as low latency, high resolution (192khz/24bit; 44.1KHz/16bit), loss-less audio. It enables customers to bring products to market faster and more cost effectively, shortening product development cycles from 3 – 6 months. The AVS-enabled Linkplay platform has been incorporated into five brands’ speaker products, including FABRIQ, GGMM E5 Wireless, Jam Audio Voice, iLuv Aud Click and Omaker WoW, and many more will be launching this year.

Linkplay makes it possible for speakers to be wireless and hands-free with consumers simply asking Alexa to play their favorite music, turn on the lights in the living room, provide news, traffic and weather reports, set alarms, order food, and more. Linkplay’s turnkey WiFi audio solution provides access to millions of songs through services such as Amazon Music, Audible, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, Napster, and many others and operates with AirPlay, DLNA, Spotify Connect, and QQPlay protocols, making it seamless for companies to bring music to their devices. Specializing in interruption-free music streaming from any iOS or Android device to speakers over a WiFi network, Linkplay’s solution eliminates the need to connect a phone to the speakers, allowing users to stream music without interference from calls or texts.

“We are seeing overwhelming excitement from customers eager to integrate our platform and voice services,” said Lifeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Linkplay. “It is important that we educate our customers about the possibilities available with AVS-enabled audio products and differentiated feature sets, in addition to other categories of products for a smart home.”

Linkplay’s features include a holistic audio package with customized hardware, firmware, mobile app and cloud server for OTA and Amazon Alexa with wake-up mode. Also, the platform offers multi-channel wireless stereo pairing, as well as left and right channel playback on two or more WiFi speakers simultaneously.

The multi-source functionality supports audio streaming from the cloud, NAS, local music (from phone or tablet), USB disk/TF card or third party app and offers support for AUX-in, SD/USB, and Bluetooth re-transmission to multi-room via WiFi.

If you are with the media and would like an interview, please contact Linda Ferguson, PR Director, Lindaf@Linkplay.com.  For more about the Alexa Voice Service, visit the Amazon developer portal. To learn more about how Linkplay can help you develop a product with Amazon Alexa, send a request to Alexa@linkplay.com.

About Linkplay:

Linkplay Technology, headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA, was founded by a global team of hardware and software engineers, business executives, and wireless audio experts. Linkplay’s patent-pending technology is a turn-key WiFi audio platform with global streaming music content integration, app and cloud development for speaker brands and ODMs. Technology partners include original design manufacturers (ODMs), component suppliers and key technology investors. For more information about Linkplay, visit www.linkplay.com or email info@linkplay.com.

Linkplay Experiences Rapid Adoption of its Turnkey WiFi Audio Speaker Solution Approved with Amazon Alexa Voice Service

Linkplay Makes it Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers with Amazon Alexa CES 2017

CES 2017 Press Center For High-End Audio By Enjoy the Music.com
CES 2017 Press Center For High-End Audio Brought To You By Enjoy the Music.com
CES 2017 Press Center For High-End Audio By Enjoy the Music.com
Linkplay Makes It Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers With Amazon Alexa

Linkplay Makes It Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers With Amazon Alexa

  What is Linkplay? They create the Wi-Fi ecosystem that links content streaming partners to audio brands. They also provide a complete Wi-Fi audio solution that includes, software, Wi-Fi modules and content integration in one central app so you can focus on building the latest innovative Wi-Fi enabled speakers for your consumers. The DAC chip currently supported via firmware the Wolfson WM8918 / WM8960 for 24-bit/96kHz sound quality.

Linkplay is excited to introduce “Powered by Linkplay,” a turn-key audio solution that comes with an Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration. With “Powered by Linkplay,” OEMs now have a quick and cost-effective way to launch Wi-Fi speaker products with Amazon Alexa.

Linkplay Technology, a leading Wi-Fi audio solution provider, is proud to be one of the first audio platforms approved for integration with Alexa Voice Service for hands-free voice recognition capabilities with its Wi-Fi audio platform. The smart audio solution provides AVS integration, global streaming music content integration, app and cloud development, and multi-room speaker capabilities.

The initial product incorporating the hands-free technology is Linkplay customer, Omaker with the WoW portable speaker. It is one of five Powered by Linkplay AVS certified speakers being demonstrated at CES Unveiled and in suite 30-121 in the Venetian Hotel, during CES January 5-8, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. WoW will be available exclusively through Amazon.com starting in mid-to-late January.

Linkplay Technology Releases Wi-Fi Audio Speaker Solution With Amazon Alexa Speech Recognition And Handsfree Control

“We are thrilled to be one of the first companies approved for integration with AVS for both push to talk and hands-free voice recognition speaker technology, enabling our customers to launch products more quickly, at a fraction of the cost,” said Jade Wu, chief business officer, Linkplay. “Alexa Voice Service is creating a new category within the speaker industry and we are capitalizing on that innovation, bringing this solution to numerous manufacturers and ODMs.”

To bring this solution to life, Linkplay utilized Conexant’s 2 microphone solution with Sensory’s Alexa wake word technology. The integration with AVS makes it simple, cost effective, and fast for speaker manufacturers and ODMS to bring devices with hands-free capabilities to their customers. Optimizing far field technology, the Alexa wake word can be activated from several meters away, anywhere in the room – even if the music is playing or people are talking.

How it Works
Linkplay makes it possible for speakers to be wireless and hands-free with consumers simply asking Alexa, through multiple Wi-Fi speakers, to play their favorite music, turn on the lights in the living room, provide news, traffic and weather reports, set alarms, and even order food.

As it relates to music specifically, Linkplay’s hardware and software speaker solution provides access to millions of songs through services such as Amazon Music, Audible, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, Napster, and many others and operates with AirPlay, DLNA, Spotify Connect, and QPlay protocols, making it seamless for companies to bring music to their devices.

Specializing in interruption-free music streaming from any iOS or Android device to speakers over a Wi-Fi network, Linkplay’s solution eliminates the need to connect a phone to the speakers, allowing users to stream music without interference from calls or texts.

In addition, Linkplay’s features include a holistic audio package with customized hardware, firmware, mobile app and cloud server for OTA and Amazon Alexa (with wake-up mode). Also, the platform offers multi-channel wireless stereo pairing, as well as left and right channel playback on two or more Wi-Fi speakers simultaneously. The multi-source functionality supports audio streaming from the cloud, NAS, local music (from phone or tablet), USB disk/TF card or third party app and offers support for AUX-in, SD/USB, and Bluetooth re-transmission to multi-room via Wi-Fi.

Where to Experience WoW
Media may drop by CES Unveiled, table 129 on January 3rd at the Mandalay Bay Hotel or schedule a meeting in our suite at the Venetian Hotel to receive a demonstration.

About Linkplay
Linkplay Technology, headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA, was founded by a global team of hardware and software engineers, business executives, and wireless audio experts. Linkplay’s patent-pending technology is a turn-key Wi-Fi audio platform with global streaming music content integration, app and cloud development for speaker brands and ODMs. Technology partners include original design manufacturers (ODMs), component suppliers and key technology investors.

Linkplay Makes It Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers With Amazon Alexa

The built-in Alexa experience allows customers to ask Alexa for weather reports, traffic updates, Flash Briefings, and to play their favorite music. Linkplay also gives manufacturers the ability to offer end users access to a range of streaming music providers, including Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, Napster, and more. Best of all, “Powered by Linkplay” makes it easy to pair multiple speakers together to play music throughout the home.

Linkplay Makes It Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers With Amazon Alexa

OEMs that use the Linkplay audio solution to power their speaker products also gain access to thousands of Alexa skills, new features and capabilities through regular AVS API updates, and smart home controls with partners such as Philips Hue, Belkin Wemo, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.

Linkplay Makes It Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers With Amazon Alexa

LinkPlay Wireless Smart Audio Module (A28) Features
2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n with highly optimized Wi-Fiperformance
10/100Mbps Ethernet
Internet audio streaming via Apple AirPlay or DLNA
Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Tidal, Tune in and many more …
TCP/IP/UDP/HTTP/UPNP protocol
Play-list with M3U, M3U8, WPL,ASX, PLS formats
MP3/WMA/AAC/AAC+/ALAC/FLAC/APE/WAV etc. audio formats
STA/AP/AP Client mode
Ethernet, UART and USB2.0 interfaces
Digital audio input and output via I2S interface
Built-in web server to easily configure the module
Support remote control of module via WLAN
Online firmware upgrade
Module configuration via iOS or AndroidAPP
Wi-Fi UART pass-through or self-defined MCU/UART interface
Multi-room audio (a.k.a, party mode) and multi-channel audio with time synchronization
Support most popular streaming services around the world
Provide iOS, Android and PC SDK and applications to work with the module

See the full article here.

Linkplay Makes it Easier to Build Wi-Fi Speakers with Amazon Alexa CES 2017

Linkplay Technology Adds Hi-Res Streaming and Alexa to Wireless Speakers

 

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Linkplay is a “a leading WiFi audio solution provider,” which basically means they make the core communication hardware and software that speaker manufacturers can use to design new wireless, streaming speakers without having to engineer everything from the ground up. In other words, a loudspeaker manufacturer—such as Fabriq or Jam Audio, two of the first companies to embrace the Linkplay solution—can concentrate on the thing it does best (make speakers) and get the digital backend from Linkplay. Another huge bonus of incorporating Linkplay into a streaming speaker is that Linkplay provides integration with Alexa Voice Service, wirelessly and hands-free.

But the Linkplay technology is more than just a way of cramming an Amazon Echo Dot into a wireless speaker. The bit I like best about Linkplay’s overall design is that, unlike DTS Play-Fi or AirPlay, Linkplay offers “interruption-free music streaming from any iOS or Android device to speakers over a WiFi network…[and] eliminates the need to connect a phone to the speakers, allowing users to stream music without interference from calls or texts.” Linkplay also provides access to numerous streaming audio services, including Amazon Music, Audible, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, Spotify, TIDAL, and Napster. It also works with AirPlay, DLNA, Spotify Connect, and QPlay protocols.

Linkplay has even more to offer, though. The platform offers multi-channel wireless stereo pairing, as well as simultaneous left and right channel playback on two or more Wi-Fi speakers.

Linkplay says it is working with over 40 brands that are “powered by Linkplay”. In addition to current speaker models from Jam Audio and Fabriq, the Linkplay demo suite included a sample of the $59 MUZO Cobblestone speaker. Also on display was the soon-to-be-released (January 25, 2017) Omaker Wow Wireless Wifi Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Amazon Alexa.

Momentum seems to be building among speaker manufacturers to include Linkplay technology for two main reasons: it’s relatively easy to implement in their speakers, and it makes their speakers Alexa-enabled. At CES 2017, Alexa was everywhere—and I mean everywhere. At least incorporating Alexa into a wireless speaker makes sense. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. Expect to see (or hear) much more from Alexa-enabled speakers in the coming months.

See the full article here.

Linkplay Technology Adds Hi-Res Streaming and Alexa to Wireless Speakers

“[Linkplay] will surely be the most important booth I visited at Unveiled”

CES 2017 Preview: Wireless Audio and Headphones

Sound Stage Global
By: Brent Butterworth

unveiled_linkplay

“My CES preview column published a few days ago predicted we’ll see many voice-controlled speakers this year. Many of them will be powered by Linkplay, which used Unveiled to show its technology running in speakers under the Fabriq, Omaker, GGMM, and Jam brands. A Linkplay module and a microphone array add Amazon Alexa voice-command capability to any speaker. The module has an I2S digital output and can be equipped with Bluetooth and other extra features depending on what a manufacturer needs. The company says its modules can handle one channel of 24/192 digital audio, or as many as 12 channels (or six stereo feeds) of 24/96. Linkplay is also working on modules for Google Home and Microsoft Cortana voice-command systems. This will surely be the most important booth I visited at Unveiled, because it suggests that audiophiles will soon be able to get the same voice-command convenience that millions of Amazon Echo owners now enjoy.”

Read the full article here: http://www.soundstageglobal.com/index.php/shows-events/ces-2017-las-vegas-usa/212-ces-2017-features/666-ces-2017-preview-wireless-audio-and-headphones

“[Linkplay] will surely be the most important booth I visited at Unveiled”

GeekWire: Amazon poised to dominate CES, thanks to Alexa and Dash integrations

geekwire

Amazon doesn’t even have its own CES booth, but the Seattle-based tech giant promises to be one of the biggest stories at the tech-a-palooza in Las Vegas next week — thanks to two of its technologies that are increasingly being embraced by consumer electronics manufacturers.

What’s driving the trend? Appliance makers, home electronics companies and car manufacturers are all looking for a competitive edge in a commodity market, and Amazon’s services are providing many of them with a chance to be different than their rivals.Early CES pitches and announcements reveal a new wave of devices and gadgets that will integrate Alexa, the company’s voice-enabled virtual assistant. At the same time, more appliance makers are embedding the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service, technology that can be incorporated into devices to automatically reorder items like detergent or filters when sensors detect supplies are running low.

Alexa’s momentum in third-party devices reflects the company’s surprise early lead over competitors including Google and Microsoft in the market for voice-controlled devices. Amazon debuted Alexa in its Echo devices, but the virtual assistant can also be integrated into third-party hardware through Alexa Voice Services.

Samsung, for example, is planning to debut a robotic vacuum that is compatible with the Amazon Echo, so consumers can control it with their voice. Chip maker Conexant will show off a new development kit for processing voice commands to make it easier for manufacturers to integrate Alexa.

Several makers of third-party speakers will also show off Alexa-integration at CES. Dok Talk, a multi-device charger and Bluetooth speaker is demoing its Alexa Smart Search, which can make phone calls, play audio, and respond to search queries. The Nightingale Sleep System, dual white noise speakers that can be controlled by Alexa, will also be on display.

Amazon’s voice services will be ubiquitous among home security companies exhibiting at CES. Motorola is debuting a smart home monitoring system that uses Alexa voice control and the Blink Home Security System is launching new additions to its connected home products, which integrate fully with Amazon Echo.

Invoxia, the company behind the first non-Amazon speaker to incorporate the Alexa voice is launching a new product at CES. The device is a hub to control the connected home with voice commands.

Linkplay has partnered with Amazon’s Alexa team to debut several certified Alexa Voice Services for audio products. “We take the complexity and pain out of the process and make it easy for manufacturers to implement AVS push- to-talk and hands-free technology,” says Linkplay.

This list may seem exhaustive, but it’s just a small sample of the companies that are heading to CES to show off their integration with Amazon’s services.

Check out the article here: http://www.geekwire.com/2016/amazon-poised-dominate-ces-thanks-alexa-dash-integrations/

GeekWire: Amazon poised to dominate CES, thanks to Alexa and Dash integrations