Microsoft Introduces Surface Studio for Creative Professionals, Ignoring USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Microsoft made a series of impressive announcements, revealing ambitious plans to make its Windows 10 ecosystem more attractive to creative professionals, announcing the Windows 10 Creators Update and a series of impressive new hardware options. Microsoft introduced the new Surface Studio all-in-one desktop PC, designed to turn the desk into a creative studio, with an impressive 28" 4K touch-screen display, working in tandem with the also-new Surface Dial programmable knob.  Read More

Audionamix Releases Speech Volume Control (SVC) Speech-Specific Separation Plug-in
Audionamix, renowned audio source separation experts and creators of ADX TRAX Pro software and the ADX VVC plug-in, released its new Speech Volume Control (SVC) plug-in, paving the way for new advancements in the field of post-production audio. The new plug-in is an evolution of Audionamix' state-of-the-art technology, which automatically separates a master recording's vocal track from its accompanying music track. With a simple interface, the new SVC plug-in focuses on speech volume control over background elements in mono or stereo recordings.  Read More

Amazon Alexa Can Control the Complete Room Entertainment System with Logitech Harmony Remotes
Logitech announced a new Amazon Alexa skill that enables voice control of the entire living room entertainment experience using a Logitech Harmony Hub remote control with Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. When the skill is enabled on Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot, users can start and stop Harmony Activities, control entertainment devices, or even select favorite channels, using only their voiceRead More

Texas Instruments Introduces Improved USB Type-C and Power Delivery 3.0 Devices
Texas Instruments (TI) continues to expand its portfolio of USB-compliant integrated circuits (ICs) - already one of the most comprehensive in the industry - with USB Type-C and Power Delivery 3.0 devices that improve power and data transfer, signal quality, and circuit protection. According to TI, the new devices enable developers to optimize system performance with the industry's first USB Type-C overvoltage port protector and the only redriver supporting 10G USB data and video transfer.  Read More

ATC Launches P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier
British loudspeaker company ATC announced the upcoming availability of its new P2 PRO Dual Mono Power Amplifier, a really cool looking true dual mono design, which simultaneously delivers 300 W of continuous power from both channels to drive the most challenging loudspeaker loads. Offering wide bandwidth and ultra-low distortion, the new P2 Pro amplifiers are hand-built by ATC in the UK using a new low-vibration 19" rack-mount chassis, with precision machined 12.7 mm brushed aluminum front panel.  Read More

RØDE Microphones Sponsors Beethoven's 9th Symphony Recording and Offers Free Hi-Res Download
RØDE Microphones is promoting the evolution of its professional microphone catalog with an original initiative. The Australian microphone company sponsored a unique concert of the Anima Eterna Brugge & Australian Brandenburg Choir performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony in D Minor, Live from The Sydney Opera House, recorded using only RØDE microphones. The recording is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray, and as a free download and free high-resolution audio download.  Read More

Hearables to Aid and Improve Audio Communications in the Workplace
The enterprise market, led by the government, military, and retail verticals, is also beginning to turn to hearables to foster better communication, collaboration, and workforce productivity. Market research from ABI Research forecasts enterprise hearable shipments will top one million in 2021, increasing from just 30,000 in 2016, at a CAGR of more than 108%.  Read More

Jabra Chooses Comply Foam Tips for Special-Edition Headphones
Jabra launched its next-generation wireless headphones for sports enthusiasts with Hearing Components' Comply Isolation foam tips included as an accessory for superior passive noise cancelation and comfort. The new Jabra Sports Pulse and Jabra Sports Coach Special Edition headphones enables users to get rid of the surrounding noise at the gym and focus on performance with enhanced bass.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Secure IoT: It's Our Time!

Last week - Friday, October 21, 2016 - the world experienced its very first massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, relayed through compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Directed at Dyn DNS - a company that operates part of the Internet's Domain Name System, the repeated DDoS attacks severely affected websites such as Twitter,, Netflix, Tumblr, Spotify and many more, not only in the US, but also around the world (services based in US were affected...). More technical reports about the motivations, real scale, and consequences of this attack are still being investigated, but among the confirmed reasons - as Dyn reported - was that the requests "coming from tens of millions of IP addresses at the same time," was made possible because of "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices infected by the Mirai botnet," freely available as open source code to hackers.
As described by Dyn executives, a "sophisticated, highly distributed" assault that involved millions of Internet addresses, "across multiple attack vectors." Among the culprits, they mention IP surveillance cameras, webcams, DVRs, baby monitors, printers, and all sorts of appliances connected to the Internet. Some manufacturers, such as Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co., from China, already admitted the vulnerabilities on millions of devices, most shipped since 2015, and they are now voluntarily recalling the affected units (they say...).
When you search for information about the malware code and the IoT implications, one thing becomes clear. This was already on the radar of many security experts and many manufacturers and no one can say they could not imagine such a thing happening. The scary part is that, since no clear motivations exist for the widespread attack targeting all sorts of companies and websites, it becomes clear this was probably just a test and that very little was revealed to us so far.

People will not trust "smart home" devices unless they feel secure.

Next on the list for this type of hacking is certainly the more sophisticated - and usually better connected - smart-home market. In the revealed DDoS attack, the botnet simply scans the web for IoT devices that have kept the factory default username and password (yes...). We all know that among hundreds of millions of devices (soon to be many billions), there will always be unprotected devices. But as cyber security experts are already warning, these vulnerabilities are being explored all the time and there are even known examples of devices already shipping with malicious pre-installed or embedded code. Those exist because some manufacturers decide to keep a backdoor that "only they will use," but more often it is code that was deliberately created for certain functionalities - like retrieving usage information for marketing or maintenance purposes - and is suddenly diverted for completely different uses, when hackers realize they can exploit that route.
Even more worrisome is the behaviour of companies that totally disregard user privacy and deliberately create "spying" features that are kept unknown to users. See the example of Google Voice assistant that not only records everything a user says when using voice-control and voice-search features, but even keeps those recordings accessible on their servers. The problem was detected in 2015 and, even with all the negative attention generated; nothing has changed. The problem is that, any Voice Personal Assistant, such as Google's, Amazon Alexa, or Microsoft Cortana, that can be activated simply with a voice command, are always listening and companies simply assume the user agrees with that. Why do they record what users say? They use it to improve the service's voice recognition features and usage patterns, among other things.
Apple clearly stated that its own VPA technology - Siri - does not listen or record users and Apple does its best not to collect data about its users. Voice activation in Apple's devices needs dual confirmation, other than a voice command, while no record of searches or usage is kept. The result: Everyone complains that Siri is "lagging behind the others..."
Apple is now doing anything it can to reassure developers about their recent HomeKit implementations, for the same exact reasons. They want to confirm that developers using HomeKit will implement the best security and privacy features. This involves the use of encrypted communication, hardware security, etc. They are spending precious time to check and recheck that their policies are properly implemented and that compatible products go through a certification process - while rival companies increasingly rush to market just to be able to claim they were first.
Security should be a top priority for anyone building a connected device. Especially if you use another company's platform.
See this statement from Anthony Grieco, senior director and trust strategy officer at Cisco about corporate responsibility: "Every day, organizations face new opportunities and risks that technologies such as IoT create. While some leaders see the potential for improved business operations and financial gain, and see security as an enabler of those technologies, others consider security an obstacle. Cisco understands how important it is to build a corporate culture that encourages all employees to take ownership of security so that new technologies can be seamlessly integrated without disruption."
To be continued...

R&D Stories
Artnovion - Acoustic Performance For Unlimited Design Solutions
By Oliver A. Masciarotte
In this article, part of audioXpress' "Acoustics in Focus" August 2016 edition, Oliver Masciarotte explores one of the newest companies in the acoustical treatment domain, which is already making a splash in the global market and specifically being noticed in the US. Artnovion, founded in 2015 by acoustical engineer and visionary entrepreneur, Jorge Castro, is just one of the three ventures he founded in Paços de Ferreira, the furniture capital of Portugal. The article explains how Artnovion was able to make a difference in just a short time, with an extensive catalog of carefully designed, aesthetically pleasing, and eco-conscious acoustical treatment solutions. This article was originally published in audioXpress, August 2016.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Developments
New Transducer Technology from Christensen Audio 
By Vance Dickason
In this article, Vance Dickason highlights a new transducer technology from Christensen Audio, which was recently introduced and has the potential to replace moving-coil driver types in many applications, both in terms of performance and cost. Voice Coil details what's described in the recently granted US Patent 9,124,964 (others pending) and further details of this new technology, which represents a radical improvement of the basic and well-known Air Motion Transformer (AMT) technology, as originally developed by Dr. Oskar Heil and ESS Labs in the 1970s. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, January 2016.  Read the Full Article Online

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