Dolby launches Dolby.io, its new self-service developer platform

Frederic Lardinois

Dolby Laboratories, the San Francisco-based company best known for its various audio and video processing tools, today announced the launch of Dolby.io, its first self-service platform for software developers who want to bring some of Dolby's capabilities to their own applications. Currently, Dolby.io's lineup includes two sets of APIs, one for quickly analyzing and improving the sound of an existing audio file, and another for bringing new audio capabilities to interactive experiences. Over time, the company plans to add additional capabilities to this service.

Traditionally, hardware and software developers who wanted to work with Dolby had to go through a rather complicated and manual process. This new platform, however, will look and feel like any other API-centric developer service, with free trials and per-usage billing.

"Dolby didn't have a way for developers, in this case, or customers to interact directly with them," said Aaron Liao, Dolby's VP of developer relations who recently joined the company after a stint as AWS's head of worldwide developer marketing. "If you go to a Dolby website right now, you don't see a sign-up page. Traditionally, customers interact with Dolby through a series of licensing discussions and things like that. So we are effectively introducing a new way for developers to interact with Dolby. One where it's self-serve -- one where, if you don't want to talk to a person, you don't have to."

As for the actual APIs, the media files API will allow developers to either analyze or enhance their existing audio files. Through the analysis API, you'll get data about the loudness levels of the track, sibilance, equalization -- all in a standard JSON file. The more interesting service, though, is surely the enhance API, which brings together a lot of Dolby's existing know-how around improving audio and making it accessible to any developer.

"You can give us a media file and we will do our best to clean it up for you and make it sound better for you," said Liao. That means the API can reduce background noise for podcast recordings, for example, or equalize the volume levels of different speakers.

As for the interactivity APIs, Liao noted that it uses WebRTC so you can do multicast and video interactions in your apps, for example.

Dolby started working with a few partners on testing this service in the last few months, including telehealth physical therapy company Physitrack. "It’s never just about technology, it’s how you interact with it,” said Henrik Molin, the CEO & co-founder of Physitrack. “With Dolby.io, our telehealth platform provides healthcare customers the ability to communicate with patients while presenting and overlaying vital treatment tools and materials for physical rehabilitation, all while delivering millions of crystal-clear call minutes each week."

The company is also working with former Disrupt Battlefield contestant SpokenLayer, which is using these new APIs to provide a more consistent audio experience for its customers.