As Sennheiser launches its new speakerphone range, we chat to UK distribution sales manager Michael Waterworth to find out about 'pro-sumer’ devices and the changing trends in the audio market.
Tell us about the new speakerphone range…
It’s basically a speakerphone aimed at consumers and businesses. It’s extremely lightweight and portable and comes in two variants SP 10 and SP 20.
SP 10 connects to anything with a USB port. SP 20 has a USB port and Universal jack meaning it works with any tablet, smartphone or device with a 3.5mm jack.
How is it different from other speakerphones on the market?
We’re different because we’ve built our musical heritage into it. It doubles has a high-grade speaker, making it ideal for listening to music or watching movies.
One of the features of the SP 20 is that it can merge calls – I’m not aware of any of our competitors being able to do this.
We’re seeing a lot of businesses that want what we call ‘pro-sumer’ devices. So something that will meet business needs and personal needs. This speakerphone is what fits perfectly into that space.
Is this a new area for Sennheiser?
Yes. We had a gap in our portfolio of Bluetooth, mobile products and the only thing that we were missing was a speakerphone. We took a lot of time to make sure we got it right.
Is it exclusive to anyone or can any retailer stock it?
It is available through all our distribution partners. All of our resellers will get access as long as they are SDA approved.
SDA is a programme we put together which is an authorised dealer network. We want to ensure that anyone who uses a Sennheiser product can get help with any technical queries from the people they bought the product from.
So, the SDA is an agreement between us and the reseller that says they’ve got solid technical sales people that are able to talk through any technical queries and they will sell our products in the ethical manner that we wish. It’s been going for about eight months and it’s really starting to take shape now.
We’ve heard wireless audio products are booming at the moment…
In Bluetooth form, yes. But our speakerphone is a wired variant. We’ve got a Bluetooth chip in there, but one of the things about listening to music is that you get better sound quality from a wired connection.
If you take into account the time you spend linking the Bluetooth up to your laptop or mobile phone, it’s much easier to just plug it in. If you’re watching a film or listening to music on the go, you’ve never going to be more than a metre away from where your device is.
Are you seeing an increase in demand for higher-end products?
Yes, especially devices that fit more than one applications. You don’t want to be carry around a bag of products with you everywhere you go. People want one item that can do as many things as possible.
Is this a trend that we’ll continue to see evolve over the next few years?
Certainly. And not just on speakerphones. A lot of consumer headphones were originally designed just for music but now have an integrated microphone.
Sennheiser’s SP 10 and SP 20 speakerphones are available now. For more information visit www.sennheiser.co.uk.