The earbuds of the future will be more than fun and games

This August, Knowles Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of audio technology, mapped its vision of the future of audio technologies, including TWS (true wireless stereo). TWS is a technology that sends different signals to two separate (usually) Bluetooth-connected speakers, in perfect synchronization, creating stereophonic sound. TWS is the technology that will likely dominate most multi-speaker implementations in the future.

Knowles also envisions continuing innovations in AI and audio to enhance active noise cancellation (ANC). ANC will facilitate Conversation Boost – that is, the ability to use products such as AirPods to enhance a quiet conversation between two people sitting in a noisy restaurant or public area.

“These innovations, enabled by AI, will blur the lines between earbuds for entertainment and hearing augmentation, making the hearables category a high growth category,” observed Stuart Sikes, Senior Vice President at Interpret. “When combined with internet access, these new earbuds will bring premium content, conversation recording, vital signs monitoring, and hearing augmentation into a single product category to be used by people of all ages. The Internet of Things has come to our ears.”

According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, there’s been a significant increase in wireless earbuds ownership in the US year-over-year, as over two-thirds of consumers age 13-64 now has a pair plans to purchase one. Personal entertainment in the home and an increase in the number of home workers during the pandemic likely sparked some of these sales, and as more Internet of Things features are integrated into future earbuds, this is a category that isn’t about to slow down any time soon.