UK radio manufacturer banks on AI to remain competitive

Posted on 1 Feb 2018 by Jonny Williamson

UK manufacturer of consumer electronics, Pure International, has announced that pushing tech innovation such as AI forward is a chance to compete with tech giants like Amazon and Google. 

The UK radio manufacturer has announced that pushing tech innovation is a chance to compete with tech giants - image courtesy of Pure.
The UK radio manufacturer has announced that pushing tech innovation is a chance to compete with tech giants – image courtesy of Pure.

Pure International is a British consumer electronics company based Hertfordshire, which is best known for designing and manufacturing Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and DAB+ radios.

The company first fully embraced the digital technology in 1999, and has become one of the world’s leading digital radio manufacturer, with over 5 million devices sold worldwide.

The company designs and engineers its radios in its state-of-the art engineering facilities just outside of London.

The Manufacturer recently spoke with Pure’s CEO, Paul Smith, about his view on innovation in the UK against the backdrop of a rising number of low-cost manufacturing competitors around the world.

Smith said both product and business model innovation were hugely important for his company, since in the audio industry retailers across the board continue to buy cheap, low-end products from China.

Smith explained: “While the tech giants like Amazon and Google develop great new products, buy in huge volumes and then sell at cost or below, without innovation and differentiation, we wouldn’t survive.”

Investing in new technologies can clearly help companies to identify weaknesses and bottleneck in the production chain or pre-test new ideas before implementing them; these are effective ways to save time and money.

As well initiatives like e-sourcing, automatic stock replenishment, KPI monitoring and predictive disruption analytics make the way of working smoother and slicker.

But, when it comes to pushing the digital transformation forward, every industry has to face its own specific challenges – be it the automotive, aerospace or electronic manufacturing sector.

Smith said: “The biggest opportunity Pure and the UK electronic industries have to face in the nearest future is the transition of technology within audio products to voice control and general AI. With this transition come manufacturing challenges, but it also points of difference and therefore huge opportunities.”

AI redefines products

Smith mentioned that in the context of products, AI plays an important role, when it comes to equipping the digital radios with the following features:

  • Track recognitions from radio (using complex fingerprinting algorithms to match tracks to song and then to sync of song track databases
  • Voice control (huge offline processing of commands)
  • Gesture control and proximity detection
  • Monitoring user profiles to tailor product interfaces to specific customers (custom pre-sets, content usage depending on time of day)
  • Light monitoring environments to set display level brightness

AI challenges the manufacturing process

Pure’s CEO Smith added that the major manufacturing challenges of the future are due to more complex connectivity chips and sensors within products, which means they require more sophisticated testing, QC and more complex calibration of production lines and equipment.

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