Cambridge, UK-born technology designed to help mobile phone users suffering from hearing loss is being rolled out globally after Manx Telecom subsidiary Vannin Ventures bought a majority shareholding in Goshawk Communications to underpin international expansion.
The technology is the brainchild of Goshawk co-founder Matthew Turner who is relocating from the UK to the low taxed centre of the Isle of Man to help steer global commercialisation.
Goshawk chairman and co-founder Charles Henshaw said the business will continue to have a presence in Cambridge – it is currently based at Allia’s Future Business Centre – adding: “Our association with Cambridge has always been paramount to our success.”
Goshawk focuses on innovative software solutions to improve speech clarity and intelligibility over modern telecoms networks, in particular for those with addressable hearing needs.
Matthew Turner said: “We are really proud to see our technology become part of something that has all the ingredients and potential to improve the lives of millions of global users. As a hearing impaired person myself, I am passionate about the benefits this technology can bring.”
Turner has been hard of hearing since a childhood illness and has assembled a strong team to deliver enhanced audio/voice services to the hearing impaired as well as those with normal hearing looking for better voice/ speech signal requirements.
Boasting a strong entrepreneurial CV, Turner has been involved in an advisory capacity and or lead financial role in over £6 billion worth of international deals and transactions either as CEO, private equity player or employee.
Nine million people in the UK alone experience varying degrees of hearing loss, affecting their ability to use voice services on mobile phones.
Using personalised auditory profiles that are created for each user, the new company combines intellectual property originally developed by the Goshawk team, with the commercial and technological capability of Vannin Ventures.
Turner said: “Hearing loss is a subjective sense whose impact varies across individuals and cultures. Today, with modern communications critical to our way of life, the need to talk, to speak, to communicate is essential for a person to integrate with our global society.
“Poor product design, lack of inclusive technology and questionable call signal and quality service has resulted in many with hearing loss feeling isolated, embarrassed, weary, nervous and alone – just some of the responses to our survey about the difficulties people with hearing loss face when using the phone.
“Goshawk seeks to address these issues of poor speech clarity and quality using our software platform that is currently under development in two ways. Firstly, as a service delivered over the telecoms or IP network by providing a call quality specific to a person’s hearing loss when using a phone without the need for hearing aids or expensive accessories.
“And secondly, by incorporating the software as part of the product design to facilitate a new, simpler and more cost effective way for those with hearing loss to communicate with more confidence.”
Tom Meageen, managing director of Vannin Ventures, added: “Through clinical trials conducted in the Isle of Man over the last 18 months we have shown that this technology can have a transformative effect in improving communication for those suffering from hearing loss. There is also a significant global market into which this technology can be extended.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: (Left to right) Tom Meageen, managing director of Vannin Ventures; Charles Henshaw, chairman and co-founder of Goshawk Communications; Matthew Turner, CEO of Goshawk and Gary Lamb, CEO of Manx Telecom.