Greg Miller, Director of Portfolio Business Management & Personal Solutions at Poly, speaks to PCR about the latest advancements in audio technology and why there is still a strong demand for bricks and mortar stores selling consumers audio products.
What are some of the latest advancements in audio tech and how are they being used in consumer products?
One of the biggest advancements disrupting consumer audio products is the new True Wireless Stereo (TWS) category of headphones. It is now estimated that one in every four headphones sold are TWS. This gives consumers the freedom to roam when taking calls, listening to music or watching the latest Netflix show at anytime, anywhere.
These wireless advances are enhanced with smart sensors that enable users to benefit from a number of features including automatically saving battery life when the device is not in use and one-touch or voice-enabled answering and ending of calls.
As well as ease of raising and lowering sound, playing and pausing of music, and the ability to access useful biometric data that supports a user’s health and wellbeing, multi-microphone technology enables clear voice communication when taking calls on the go or adding a reminder. Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) mean users can experience an immersive oasis of personal calm, blocking out background distractions when they need to focus on their gym workout or a huge video game battle.
How is the audio product market evolving and why should tech retailers consider stocking more audio products?
Headphones are now an indispensable companion for many consumers, fast becoming as important as not forgetting your keys or wallet. A lot of the information we consume on a daily basis is through headphones, whether that be news, media, audio books, podcasts or music.
We’re also starting to see headphones become a status symbol, with consumers caring how devices look as well as how they function. There are so many options available that technology retailers will miss out on revenue if they don’t stock a variety of solutions (over ear, true wireless, sweat-proof etc.).
Online purchases are a common way for consumers to shop for new headphones, but there is still a strong market for those wanting to see and test devices in-person in a bricks and mortar store before they buy, so an assortment is required.
What can we expect to see in 2020 and beyond in the audio product sector?
In the past, audio products have been typically used to communicate between one human to another, but now consumers are also using them to communicate with machines. Whether it be through Alexa, Siri or Google assistant etc., consumers are talking to voice assistants multiple times a day, creating lists and reminders, gaining knowledge, accessing directions or controlling other devices. We expect to see more advancements in voice assistants in 2020 and this reinforces the need for best-of-breed microphone and audio technology so that the accuracy of information is never compromised and an important life event never missed.
Smarter products with further advancements in 3D audio and head tracking for the likes of FaceTime and WhatsApp video calls will also improve as we see our work and consumer lives further colliding – bringing meeting room audio expertise to handheld consumer devices.
We also expect to see more competition from large tier one and entry level headphone players with new True Wireless Stereo (TWS) products – everyone wants a piece of the 200% YoY growth that’s expected.
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