Goshawk Communications: technology for the hearing impaired
Firm joined the first Social Venture Weekend at Cambridge Judge
Hearing issues vary greatly, and that's why Goshawk Communications is developing a software platform that allows hearing-impaired people to receive a personalised audio signal directly to a phone of their choice.
Goshawk took part in the first Social Venture Weekend (SVW) at Cambridge Judge Business School in June 2014, and is now benefiting from support provided by SVW organiser Social Incubator East. The third SVW will be held at Cambridge Judge 27 February - 1 March.
Goshawk believes that its technology can deliver personalised hearing assistance up to 20 times cheaper than privately fitted hearing aids. Following development in the UK, the firm hopes to roll out the technology globally.
Hearing impairment is the third most prevalent public health issue in the world, and a recent report projected that hearing loss will increase to 20% of the UK population by 2031 as the population ages.
Goshawk founder Matthew Turner, a former director of corporate finance with Ernst & Young in Brussels, has been hearing impaired since birth - and, like many hearing-impaired people, has trouble using normal phones due to call and speech-clarity issues.
"The inability of those who have hearing loss to receive a call specifically tailored to their needs is a global and unresolved problem," Turner says.
Goshawk's technology is based on four steps: People with hearing impairment download a hearing test; the software maps and measures their hearing loss; it enhances frequencies the user finds difficult to hear; and it then delivers a phone call over an Internet protocol or telecoms network specifically tailored to that person's hearing issues.
Early tests of Goshawk's technology show an 85%-plus preference for the software's processed sound over an originating phone call, and further trials are now focusing on reinforcing speech intelligibility and call clarity for those identified with addressable or specific hearing loss.
"The evidence so far also suggests that the software platform has applications to deliver improved speech and call quality for those without hearing loss," says Turner. Goshawk is now focusing on migrating the successful Proof of Concept into a real time telecoms / IP network.
The first two Social Venture Weekends attracted more than 120 people, and 25 ventures (including Goshawk) from those events have been invited to join a 12-month Social Incubator East programme that offers further training, work space and access to finance and networks.
Social Venture Weekend is comprised of two-and-a-half days of intensive training provided by faculty and practitioners associated with Cambridge Judge, which is designed to give participants the knowledge, inspiration and practical tips on growing their social ventures - including advice on how to pitch their ventures to potential investors.
"We're really proud to support social ventures like Goshawk Communications, and we look forward to meeting the entrepreneurs behind other promising social ventures at the third Social Venture Weekend," said Belinda Bell, programme director at Social Incubator East.
Social Incubator East supports ventures from across the East of England. It is a partnership between Cambridge Judge Business School, Allia, Foundation East and Keystone Development Trust, and is open to candidates based and operating primarily in England.
Registration for the Social Venture Weekend is £50, which includes meals and refreshments. Numbers for the weekend are limited and deadline for applications is 23 February 2015.
To find out more about Goshawk Communications