For audio compression technology major Dolby, APIs are the next frontier for growth

For audio compression technology major Dolby, APIs are the next frontier for growth
22 Sep, 2020

When the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down business for audio compression technology provider Dolby Laboratories, one of the things that the San Francisco, California headquartered firm went to work on was a self-service application programming interface (API) platform to ease developer access. 

Dubbed Dolby.io, the platform gives enterprises and developers the option of integrating Dolby features into their applications. 

While it is currently unclear when the platform will be launched in India, Dolby.io, launched in the US in May, marks a new phase for the company. Developers can now interact directly with the company and test software components before integration. Users also get the benefit of per-usage billing.

The move also comes at an opportune time. The Covid-19 pandemic caused a dent in the company’s earnings. It closed the third quarter of the financial year 2020 with revenues at $247 million, against $352 million in the second quarter and $302 million in the corresponding quarter last year. 

APIs and microservices, the current rage among enterprises, form critical components of any company’s digitization journey. Among other things, APIs remove the need to reinvent the wheel. Developers can deploy different predefined software components into a single architecture as required for the application being built.  

Read: With microservices, SaaS firms are giving large vendors a run for their money

Additionally, APIs provide for rapid innovation by allowing developers to access standardized interfaces and let go of the need for the developer to be an expert with the data exchange models they work with, hence allowing for a wider audience to build applications.

With Dolby.io, the company is leveraging APIs to target clients outside of the music and entertainment industries, who often lack the resources or knowledge to integrate Dolby technologies into their applications. The platform looks to solve this issue through a collection of scalable, easy-to-use media processing APIs. The new platform is expected to help the company foray into non-traditional markets such as distance learning, healthcare, digital collaboration, online training, podcasting and social media.

“With Dolby.io, developers can now take the magic Dolby has instilled into billions of devices, thousands of films, billions of conference call minutes, and use it to fuel nearly any real-time interaction or piece of content,” Aaron Liao, vice president, developer relations, Dolby, had said at the time of the launch of the platform.

Initially, Dolby will have two APIs which will be available for developers, with more being added over the years. While one API will help in quick analysis of audio files and make it better, another API will be used to add interactive experiences and new audio capabilities onto applications. The API can also help to embed multi-party audio and video communications into any application. 

Other companies that are heavy on API in India are ICICI bank which has a portal of 250 APIs for developers, and credit ratings agency CRISIL, which has bet heavily on microservices and APIs to propel its growth. Most information technology companies, such as IBM, Oracle, provide their own iterations of API development tools, while startups are also close on the heels in terms of API based innovation. 

The launch of Dolby.io in India may still be some time off, but the company has also been busy making inroads into this market during and despite the pandemic. 

Earlier this year, India saw the launch of Dolby On, a professional music recording platform aimed at content creators to develop and create studio quality music recordings. “Dolby ON is an application for android and iOS users which provides content creators with features such as noise reduction, stereo widening and allows for live streaming of videos on social media platforms,  ” Ashim Mathur, senior regional director, emerging markets, Dolby Laboratories told TechCircle in a recent interview.

The application works by analysing music and automatically applying EQ, compression, noise reduction, stereo widening and other features. Dolby On also allows artists to live stream on other social media platforms with the app, hence aiding with live concerts. 

Earlier this month, the company announced an educational programme for members of the music licensing organisation India Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) to focus on technology and workflows, tutorials, masterclasses and free trials to the Dolby Atmos production suite.

Apart from Atmos, the company also has a large market in India for Dolby Vision, a customised high definition video quality platform.

While the pandemic hit many of its traditional revenue streams, Mathur said that the OTT market has seen growth with several players releasing titles with Dolby embedded technologies. “More than 800 titles have been released with Dolby atmos technology,” he said.

Additionally, the number of hardware devices such as televisions and sound bars embedded with Dolby technology have been able to help the company even as theaters around India continue to remain non operational on account of the pandemic.