Extract from Interview from Audiology online- Starkey’s upcomming wireless technology
We also introduced our wireless system, which is a longer term development that will launch later this year. We’re calling it IRIS Technology and it’s an entirely new wireless technology, featuring direct-to-hearing aid wireless programming and high performance audio streaming. It’s a 900 MHz system, and we demonstrated it at AudiologyNOW in a few different ways – both with wireless programming and with our media streamer.
Our approach to wireless is different from what anyone else has done so far. Right now, the world of wireless is a world of streamers. Streamers are difficult for people to use, and they’re not intuitive. Streamers involve another utility that you have to hang around your neck, pair, learn to use, etc. The average age of our patients is in the late ‘60s, and they do not want to be burdened with these devices. What we’ve developed with our IRIS Technology is a hands-free approach to wireless. The effect, again, is dramatic. If a patient walks in the door to your office for programming, you simply have to find the patient on your computer. You don’t have to deal with cables, you don’t have to put anything around the patient’s neck, and you can even program the patient’s hearing aids from the next room! The benefits of our technology include an extended range and that it’s hands-free. From a convenience standpoint when it comes to programming your patient’s hearing aids, there is no better system.
IRIS Technology also has ear-to-ear capability so we can have ear-to-ear functioning and some shared signal processing that we are working on in the SHRC. This system also features high performance audio streaming. For example, with our television device that we call SurfLink Media, you’ll notice there is no latency, no delay. Normal speaker-to-ear time is about 10 ms, and this technology is near normal, at 17 ms. Other systems have a delay up to 177 ms; listening at 177 ms delay means you’ll see the mouth move first and the words will come later. In addition, we also stream in stereo, while other systems have a monaural signal stream.
The hands-free system means maximum ease of use for patients. With IRIS wireless technology, if a patient walks in to his living room, he will hear the tv wirelessly, without having to use a streamer device. There are no buttons to push or switches to flip - he’ll hear the tv naturally, just like we do with our ears. It’s simply automatic, and we are very excited about that.