Vedike: On the way to deliver spatial audio experience

Vedike app: On the way to deliver immersive spatial audio experience

Parjanya Creative Solutions, a startup based in Bengaluru is founded by husband-wife duo Krishnaprasad and Raksha Rao. In a very short span, the company garnered lot of praise for their feature-rich apps-- Prayoga (Yoga & fitness) and Abhyasa (music learning) on Apple App Store.

Parjanya, which is home to some of the most creative Indian female app developers, was chosen to attend Apple's special Apple Entrepreneurship Camp for women earlier this year. 
Due to the pandemic, it was an online-only programme and the Ananya Desai-led UI/UX design team of Parjanya got to meet top experts at Apple to improve their skill sets and also learned to refine the user interface of the apps to deliver a better experience to the subscribers.

Besides Abyasa and Prayoga, the company is working on a promising new app Vedike, which aims to deliver to immersive spatial audio experience to users. 

DH got an opportunity to speak with Paranjya's co-founder Raksha Rao on how the experience of attending Apple Entrepreneurship Camp and how far progress they have made with the new app Vedike.

DH: How the idea of the Vedike app was born
Raksha Rao: The idea for Vedike began when Raksha (our co-founder) was attending classes as part of her Master's degree in Music. Before the pandemic, the classes took place in person and would usually comprise an instructor teaching and the students repeating in unison, learning together. But once the pandemic happened, classes were moved online and the teleconferencing tools being used couldn’t transmit voices at the same time.

Students could not sing or play instruments at a time, and communication was one-way. This led to the instructor repeating the lessons over and over again for each student, which was not only tiring for the teacher but not as engaging for the students. As engineers, we started to think about how to recreate the effect of listening to people at the same time and realised that in real life, communication is not one-way, and defining where the sound is coming from in any given space - in other words, spatial audio, makes the experience most realistic. But as they looked around, we also realised that there are no consumer apps that let people create spatial audio even if they have pre-recorded tracks, and that’s how Vedike was born. 

Raksha Rao (Co-founder of Parjanya)

DH: What's the primary objective of the Vedike and how can a user make good use of the app?
Raksha Rao: Vedike is an app that helps users arrange around the listener, pre-recorded tracks with an intuitive visual interface to create and experience spatial audio. We have made it simple for users to import tracks that they have recorded. The app uses machine learning-based sound classification to identify the instruments and intelligently place the instruments like how they would be placed on a stage. The instruments are anchored in space and the users can then move these around in a very visual way to create spatial audio music. With Apple’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, users can just turn their heads to listen to instruments around them - just like in real life.

To make the experience more immersive, the app has an Augmented Reality (AR) mode which brings the music alive. With realistic 3D models, it brings the concert to the user’s living space, and the user can just walk around to experience the music being played all around them!

AR Experience using Vedike app on an iPad

DH: How was the experience of attending the Apple Entrepreneur Camp
Raksha Rao: Apple Entrepreneur Camp was one of the most enriching experiences that one can have as an entrepreneur working in the Apple app development space. The 10-day long camp was completely held online, and covered areas like entrepreneurship, engineering, and design. With panel discussions, one-on-one sessions, engineering support hours, and more, the camp was intense, but 10 days just flew by. One of the biggest wins for us was the fact that our product was brought to light in front of people who are the best in the business, and we were able to get specific, actionable, and transformational insights on how to improve it. The entire team at Apple and fellow founders were extremely supportive of each other and the sense of community that developed during the camp was just incredible.

It helped each and everyone in the group shares their experiences and asks questions without any inhibitions to just grow as companies and as an individual. Just being a part of a cohort of companies founded by women that spanned different continents was inspiring and empowering at the same time. We are really grateful for an opportunity like this one and hope to take it.

DH: How helpful was the interaction with Apple experts to refine and improve your app
Raksha Rao: Vedike is an app that uses several frameworks provided by Apple, some of them introduced during the WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) 21 held this June. With constant support from Apple engineers, we were able to get code-level guidance across these frameworks. It helped us remove roadblocks, and opened up new ways of solving some of the problems.

With spatial audio, Augmented Reality, and other cutting-edge technologies that we are working with, it was very important for us that the app remains simple and intuitive for the user and most of the heavy-lifting is done behind the scenes. The UI and UX design guidance that we got as a part of the camp gave us exceptional insights on keeping the app simple, and yet powerful. With many guided sessions and interactions with our partnership manager at Apple, we were able to create a well-thought-out, user-centric roadmap for our product. 

Ananya Desai (UI/UX designer at Parjanya)

DH: How far your team has progressed in terms of completing the app and make it available on the Apple App Store 
Raksha Rao: Thanks to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp, we could work around some major roadblocks, and with design guidance from the camp, we were able to improve the user experience multifold. We are actively working on several exciting features like collaboration, improved AR experience with animated 3D models, and more. We are also simultaneously working with content creators - indie music composers, bands to help build a library of spatial audio content on the app. The app will be ready for release this coming Fall on the App Store.

DH: Can you offer suggestions to aspiring young women to take up app development as a profession
Raksha Rao: As we met inspiring women from around the globe at the camp and saw the amazing work that they have accomplished, it really drove home the fact that women can shoulder any role or responsibility, and gender is not at all a bar to create something exceptional! The best way to grow as an engineer, as an entrepreneur, and as a professional is to have a learning mindset. Be absorbent to new ideas, newer approaches, keep yourself updated with the latest technologies, and keep learning. App development is a fast-moving landscape, and it is easy to get left behind. But at the same time, it is important to believe in one’s own abilities and not let inhibitions get in your way to speak up for when you think you have the best idea in the room! This space is an exciting one, and we can’t wait to welcome more women who want to be a part of it. 

Must read | Women's Day 2021 special: Meet Indian women who made top-class apps and games

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.