Top Interview (4/7)
CORE COMPETENCE: “AUDIO NOTIFICATION CAPABILITIES”
- “Audio notification capabilities” is noted as one of TOA’s most important core competencies. Can you talk a little more specifically about the meaning of “audio” in this case? Also, please tell us something about our use of video in security equipment and other applications.
“Audio” in this case means being able to convey the same information to large numbers of people at the same time. Since our founding we’ve been delivering the sound people need in various situations, originally in the form of public address equipment and sound systems. This “audio notification capabilities” will remain a core competence for us, but we have to keep refining and polishing it to meet the changing needs and environments of the times.
The role of sound is actually quite complex, and thinking the real roles that sound can play offers hints that will guide our future product development.
For example, at production sites there are many cases in which skilled workers rely on the sounds they can hear to detect abnormalities of various kinds; but if we can develop an AI-based technology to analyze sounds in a similar manner, then we can possibly integrate such “skills” into new TOA products. The world of sound goes very deep, so we can’t just wait around for needs to come to us. We have to be more proactive and keep a constant watch on the movements of the world, including actually visiting our customers’ facilities to see if we, with our distinct TOA viewpoint, can identify any real issues and offer solution proposals accordingly.
For cameras and other security equipment, we can merge video technology with audio notification capabilities to offer even more value in the form of “remote viewing service,” which is something I think TOA is well suited to do. Already there is one application in which cameras are used as sensors and coupled with an AI that can identify when someone has fallen down on the factory floor and automatically sound an alarm. Another example of the utilization of such sensing technologies is reading meter indication values from remote locations, and I think we’ll probably be seeing a great many more applications of such sensing technologies in the future. From now on, we’ll be very active in efforts to develop products in the field of video.