With his Juice app, Rafi Khalajian, the father of connected objects, wants to launch Radio 3.0.

With his Juice app, Rafi Khalajian, the father of connected objects, wants to launch Radio 3.0.

One app, 21 virtual hosts, news, articles, podcasts and streaming music: With the Juice app, the world of audio is transformed. By “pushing” content into our headphones or headsets, which everyone can dose according to different topics, Juice offers a unique experience. Founded by Rafi Khalajian, the father of connected objects to whom we owe the Nabaztag rabbit, along with Stefan Dadian and Arie Selinger (two young techno enthusiasts), Juice includes Radio 3.0, a radio that every listener can make unique. 20 minutes met Rafi Khalajyan and Stefan Dadian.

What can be done with juice?

Stéphane Dadian: The first thing to do with the app is to hit the play button or say “Come on juice.” From now on, Juice unwraps the audio stream individually. Or all your favorite audio content: news, music, but also weather, time… If you don’t like it, you can skip it, delete a certain topic or change it. Everything written, such as a news article, is read in a synthetic voice.

Rafi Khalajian: The principle behind Juice is that it is a proactive app. The algorithm builds everything to make the process enjoyable. But we can still interact with it, since it’s a dynamic flow, skip a topic, move forward… On the other hand, we can ask to develop a topic, pin it to listen to later…

How does juice work?

SD: Like a mixing console. There are 11 subject families. This is only free and public content from serious media, including 20 minutes. When podcast, they last less than 10 minutes.

RH: When we listen to the radio, we always listen to the same stations and programs. There we will really discover something new for ourselves. The idea is not to do player from podcast Furthermore. For music only, we don’t detect anything as Juice only plays what you like from your playlists.

How did the idea for Juice come about?

RH: One evening in May 2017, I was having dinner with a friend who told me he was wearing hearing aids. It was mine hara moment “, a revelation! This almost invisible device allowed him to hear both ambient noises and amplified sounds, and the battery life was approximately 16 hours. The idea was born to make something that was originally called Jiminy Cricket. Or the fact of wearing something on the “shoulder” -something that constantly whispers in my ear what I need to know, contextual information.

Do you like augmented reality in audio?

RH: At that time we were still talking about Google Glass, this idea of ​​having information that I superimpose on my experience. I told myself that we were on the wrong track with these glasses and that with sound audio technology, with social acceptability, we could imagine something else.

The advent of Apple’s AirPods has reinforced this feeling. Since then, this concept of Jiminy Cricket has been consistent with what I did with Nabaztag, which transmitted information not through a screen.

What is your business model?

SD: We will advertise, but not in the same way as on the radio. We have synthetic voices that we can make everything read dynamically. As long as they present such and such a topic, we will be able to get them to read the ad, but rather as an influencer who places a product.

RH: We are aiming for 35,000 downloads in France within 6 months. This is the limit after which we can start charging for certain things. The base model will remain free with ads.

There will be subscriptions premium without ads and thinking about accounts” premium premium » where we can choose very “niche” topics on which we will monitor.

But you will be paid for content you didn’t produce…

RH: We use content that exists for free. BUT podcast which is free on Apple Music or Spotify, there is no reason to pay to use it with us. Especially since we give it to you to discover, whereas with others you have to search.

Your synthesized voices are especially convincing, almost natural…

RH: In order for a synthesized voice to become pleasant, it must be improved, taught to speak, so that it does not make mistakes in pronunciation, so that it does not scratch names. And then there’s the vocal design around that. We realized that when we applied background sound to a synthetic voice, such as noise in a train station hall, we had less of the impression that it was a synthetic voice. This creates flesh around the voice.

SD: So we have 21 speakers, a virtual influencer, but with a full job of demystifying what is technological. These “people” have names, personalities, characters, and we live with them, otherwise we would not support them. There is also a way of writing that comes into play. Humor is important. We have the craziest weatherman in the world, he’s not sure what he’s talking about!

No connection, therefore, with personal assistants on connected speakers?

RH: We just wanted to create the opposite of personal assistants who wait all day for us to ask them when we don’t know what to ask them. All the technologies and know-how developed since the days of web 2.0, that is, since 2003, are not available in audio. Why these 15 years of difference?

So the idea behind Juice is to reinvent the sound. We felt like it was still in the age of the Walkman: pre-recorded content is packaged in a box, I put it in my player and listen. It is no different from a cassette, except that it is dematerialized. Even the podcast remains cold meat.