Striving for the Optimal Sound Experience – 3 Years Konzept-X (Mvoid)
October 7, 2014:
Setting the right tone – research the optimal sound experience: This is the passion from Dr. Alfred J. Svobodník and his team. Almost three years ago Konzept-X (Mvoid) was founded. Konzept-X (Mvoid) is specialized in identifying and resolving acoustical challenges in the virtual domain – from the simulation of complex subsystems to complete digital acoustic mock-ups at system level.
Dr. A. J. Svobodník, Konzept-X (Mvoid) is working in a highly-innovative and technologically sophisticated and challenging segment. Within a short time you have established the multidisciplinary simulation of sound systems in the automotive industry, developed the required infrastructure and created with Mvoid® an industry standard.
Three years ago, when founding Konzept-X (Mvoid), what was your intention, what business idea did you have in mind?
Dr. A. J. Svobodnik: For my business partner and me – we started as a two-man team – it was obvious that the development of virtual acoustics is far advanced in the meantime – the time was ripe – to develop a model that allows to fully simulate the complete acoustics of a vehicle based on present CAD data. Like that we wanted to make a contribution in increasing engineering efficiency to meet the immense cost pressure and shorter life cycles in vehicle development, which affect today’s automotive industry. And of course, as passionate musicians we wanted and we still like – in the future – continually improve the sound profiles of the next generation of vehicles. Creating sound quality which meets the highest standard is our ultimate objective.
How did you proceed? Would you say you have achieved your targets of the first three years?
Dr. A. J. Svobodnik: Well, we were convinced that our idea is working. In previous projects, we solved different problems of most complex subsystems by using simulation applications. A full simulation of all acoustical conditions of a vehicle, starting in the best case in the early design phase, was the logical consequence for us, to get to the bottom of acoustical challenges. In order to develop an appropriate process, we initially had to find suitable components. That means, to choose appropriate hardware and software, which enables to perform most complex calculations and the development of new algorithms.
Furthermore we need a real product, to perform first calculations, and to match our results. Besides, we succeeded in inspiring highly experienced experts from our network for our idea, so that we could manage successfully initial tests as well as hurdles. In doing so, we developed the known process model Mvoid® (Multidisciplinary virtual optimized industrial Design) in a very short time.
Subsequently we had the chance to demonstrate our simulation model in a project of a renowned car manufacturer. The Simulation convinced. Our idea achieved the desired effect. Thus we were able to win over some of the biggest car manufacturers for Mvoid® in a very short time. Today I can confirm with great pleasure: Yes, we have achieved and even exceeded our objectives.
How many people are on the Konzept-X (Mvoid) team? What are your future plans for Konzept-X (Mvoid)?
Dr. A. J. Svobodnik: In the meantime Konzept-X (Mvoid) is working together with an established team of nearly 20 specialists who are located worldwide. Meanwhile our customer base includes some of the most renowned car manufacturers. One of our objectives is to offer our simulation solution also to the OEM’s in Asia and the USA. In recent months orders for the first Mvoid® projects were placed by an Asian OEM together with our strategic partner JJR Acoustics, LLC (USA). We are particularly pleased about that. Consequently Konzept-X (Mvoid) is continuing to grow.
Are there any further developments of Mvoid®? Can we expect some innovations?
Dr. A. J. Svobodnik: Yes. As some of you surely know the Mvoid® simulation process model contains currently five different levels for linear models, which are coupled with each other. Only when all five levels are considered, a complete virtual product development environment can be created, which allows a realistic listening environment of the virtual audio system.
We are continuously improving the different levels of multiphysical calculations. Thus we are currently working to capture non-linear models and their behavior on different levels, to identify other possible disturbing noise within the listening space respectively possible disturbing noise within the loudspeaker enclosure. In our future work, for example, we will analyze possible thermal effects.
For all planned Mvoid® developments we have created a technology roadmap (development of each tier). An overview can be found below. You will receive detailed information on the individual development steps in upcoming insights. The explanations are beyond the scope of this information.
What are you doing in order to ensure that Konzept-X (Mvoid) is always working on technological progress? How do you keep yourself ‘up to date’ when it comes to the latest research results?
Dr. A. J. Svobodnik: On the one hand we have a large network of excellent experts with whom we exchange experiences. Each one is a specialist in his field, so that we complement each other perfectly. On the other hand, we ensure our technological advance by participation in selected conferences as well as our presenting of research results and in discussions in appropriate conference panels and committees. My favorites in the field of acoustics are the AES events and also the NAFEMS conferences. Konzept-X (Mvoid) will participate at this year’s autumn events again.
In addition, I am in touch with universities. For instance, we are currently working with a university in Switzerland on a project to test high-performance computing cluster (HPC clusters). In a test project most complex simulation tasks are calculated. Because: The more extensive the simulation models, the more computing power is required. When simulating the complete acoustics of a vehicle you will receive an extremely high data volume. By using HPC cluster computing tasks can be divided on multiple ‘nodes’ (Computers which are involved in the cluster are called nodes). The tasks are either divided into different working packages and, in parallel executed on multiple nodes or computational tasks are distributed across multiple nodes. To imagine how it works, you can think of it as math problems solved in parallel in a high-performance computer network (= computer cluster, a number of networked computers). The individual computers of the cluster are connected via a fast network and available on “demand”. This way simulation times can be drastically reduced. If a conventional computer requires one day for the simulation, the work packages using HPC clusters can be executed in less than an hour. For the simulation of nonlinear effects, or to simulate multiple versions (for optimization) this is obviously a great benefit.
In recent months I have supervised an interesting master’s thesis with the title “Numerical Study of Visco-Thermal Effects on Sound Waves Propagating through narrow spaces” at the University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil, too (Author: Colin Cianelli, MSc in Engineering):
Speakers in cars are often protected by perforated protection sheets, consisting of plastic or metal. Such protection sheets display an unwanted obstacle as sound waves are bound to propagate through them. Viscous thereby forces cause internal friction, which converts potential energy into heat. This in turn is attenuating the sound pressure level in a previously unknown way. The focus of the work was to investigate the influence of viscous effects of the air on the sound absorption.
As we have seen from the information above, simulation applications generate a huge volume of data. Please allow us a final question: What kind of arrangements did you make in regards to data security? Especially since the NSA affair, this question is always a focal point.
The security of customer information is of the highest priority at Konzept-X (Mvoid). All data is protected according to our customer requirements respectively according to ISO 27001, the highest standard. Konzept-X (Mvoid) has an information security policy that governs, amongst others the use of data. For instance, it also describes how to treat e-mail correspondence. Sensitive data is sent via encrypted e-mail or by courier. Konzept-X (Mvoid) uses for e-mailing the so-called S/MIME method (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). S/MIME is a fast and straightforward method, which enables to communicate securely. It provides evidence of the authorship and protects against tampering. S/MIME grabs the e-mail in a container that adds a digital signature and encrypts this container on request. The signature of the receiver ensures that the e-mail de facto comes from the addressee, in our case from Konzept-X (Mvoid), and that it was not tampered during transit. By encrypting the e-mail the mail content is encrypted before leaving the computer of the addressee and can only be decrypted by the recipient in person at the computer again. The e-mail encryption is based on a method for encrypting with certificates. Each customer and business partner of Konzept-X (Mvoid) has a certificate, so that the exchange of sensitive data is secured. Konzept-X (Mvoid) ensures that the necessary certificates have been made available to the customers and business partners no later than the start of the project and that the key data is exchanged.
Thank you, Dr. Alfred. J. Svobodník, for the brief insight into your business.