Howard Samuels: How is Advanced Bionics taking advantage of the changed financial landscape being part of Sonova?
Tracey Kruger: One clear benefit of being part of Sonova is gaining access to the outstanding technologies created by Phonak that today benefit recipients of hearing instruments. As you are aware, many of these technologies are also very likely to bring benefit to recipients of cochlear implants. AB now has the opportunity to bring these products and features to market in a much more timely manner than would have been possible on our own, which will benefit recipients of our technology.
Another obvious benefit is the increased level of investment that Sonova has made in Advanced Bionics, which will allow us to focus on more innovation projects as well as continual improvement to customer service. For example, if you look at the funding that has been provided for expansion of our technical development team, whether it’s our R&D team or our R&T (Research and Technology) team, I would estimate that they have almost doubled in size in the 3 years since the acquisition of AB. That is real evidence of Sonova’s commitment to AB and those choosing our technology.
HS: How can Advanced Bionics take advantage of Phonak’s technology portfolio, and what can Phonak use from AB’s portfolio?
TK: In the beginning, when we were acquired by Sonova, it took some time for us to find ways to take advantage of one another’s technologies. We are now seeing Phonak technology adopted in our new products coming to market. The advantage that we have for products going forward is that we are starting our collaboration in the very early phase of product development for both companies. Many of our technologies are now designed knowing that they will be used, in many cases, for both hearing instrument platforms and cochlear implant platforms.
One of the benefits of this process to AB is that in some cases the development effort for new products and technologies will come from Phonak, enabling us to focus on our core strengths. The other, long-term benefit for both companies is that recipients of our (AB and Phonak) technologies may have the opportunity to use these devices, cochlear implants and hearing instruments, synergistically for improved performance, as well as added convenience with shared accessories and interoperability.