Not many people will have heard of tech company Jacoti, but early next year, millions of people will be hearing better because of them.
Jacoti is based in Wevelgem by Kortrijk in West Flanders, and specialises in audio technology, originally for use in hearing aids. The search for something new and better started nine years ago.
“We wanted to make advanced hearing technology, such as in a hearing aid, available to the general public,” CEO Jacques Kinsbergen told the VRT.
“And we succeeded with Jacoti. Starting next year, around springtime, you will find headphones with our technology in various multimedia stores.”
The big breakthrough onto the consumer goods market came thanks to a deal with Qualcomm, a US company that specialises in semiconductors, software and service based on wireless technology.
“That company name may not immediately ring a bell with most people, but it is a very large and important company,” Kinsbergen said.
“They develop chips with information, which they then process in products from the largest players in the tech market.”
Such a chip will be incorporated in the system Jacoti intends to produce for the growing market for wireless headphones and earbuds.
The technology works like this. You put on the headphones, and are taken through a one-off hearing test. The headphones are then able to adapt themselves to your hearing.
The technology is “medical level,” Kinsbergen said.
“Devices with our technology are very suitable for people with hearing problems.”
The Qualcomm deal is a major breakthrough for the company.
“I’m hugely excited about the partnership. Qualcomm is making it possible for our technology to finally reach consumers worldwide. This is what we’ve been working towards for so long.”
The big-name partner has brought Jacoti’s name to the attention of the tech world. But that has its drawbacks.
“We’ve been inundated with emails and phone calls. Some people read somewhere that we help with hearing problems, and they contact us to ask if we have a solution for them. But you cannot buy products from us. Jacoti is a small company that supplies its expertise to other companies,” Kinsbergen explained.
“In recent days, a member of staff has been doing nothing more than answering questions from private individuals. But it is of course nice to know that so many people are interested. That just goes to show the importance of our hearing technology.”