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April 2021 ertonline.co.uk


Market trends are a critical indicator, but we also


aim to innovate in our field, looking at ways to make experiences with Polk Audio products better. Sadly I can’t talk about any upcoming products,


Above: Polk’s Command bar. Below: New React sound bar


but we are making serious investments in R&D to continue building on the traction we’ve made so far. I can also share that we have several new


product launches this year that are going to really excite our customers and neophytes alike.


Q: And what’s next in this area of consumer electronics? FS: I think we’re going to continue seeing a greater harmony between device manufacturers and the way in which people access content. Given the smart home market is only growing (a 2019 survey from SmartHomeWeek showed 57 per cent of homes in Britain now have a smart product in it), we expect people will seek products that seamlessly sync with those smart devices. They’ll need to be easy to use, compatible with voice control systems and offer more value, like great audio. In addition, it’s critical that companies protect


their core value proposition. For example, Polk Audio will always be about audio performance first, whether it’s a £200 sound bar or a £2,000 component speaker.


Q&A


Q: What other benefits are there of Alexa features on Polk products? FS: Adding an Alexa device to a living room or home theatre environment is an interesting proposition from a consumer’s point of view. One could simply add an Echo Dot and call it a day, but that doesn’t add any real value given its small size and mediocre audio playback capabilities. When you are in your living room or


entertainment space, you need something that’s going to really improve that entertainment experience. Putting the power of Alexa into a product that can provide an awesome listening experience automatically gives customers more bang for their buck.


Q: So how are you developing this portfolio of Polk products? FS: We pay very close attention to how people are using and accessing technology. We saw a huge boom in the home theatre market last year and thus, we have plans for several exciting products that are going to give home theatre builders/customers a lot of value.


Q: How do you see voice connected technology developing in the next year or two? FS: Consumers are only accelerating their use of voice-enabled products. Even before the pandemic, it was certainly going that way, but now with health as a consideration, touching things is now even less desirable. In my opinion, we’re still in the very early days


of voice technology. At this juncture, you can really only ask your products to do simple-ish tasks. I believe in the future simple phrases, like “play the Jurassic Park theme tune”, will kick off a series of AI-triggered functions that can manipulate a whole host of devices in the home automatically and simultaneously. That’s where the real magic of automation and voice control come into play. But even further than that, I think voice


control technologies make our products more “human”. Before this, the only interface in which we connected with technology was a keyboard, a mouse or a finger click; voice control is inherently more


human and it certainly gives our products and our devices a certain character. People will


continue interacting with their voice- enabled devices in a more natural way, which will take us further into a robotics-first world.


The new Reserve Series speaker line-up


Q: What are your plans for the year ahead? FS: With the success seen in the UK on Amazon, the plan is to now partner with key independents to take this success to a platform that allows us to better explain the benefits of the range to consumers. Polk continues to innovate; the Reserve range


is being very positively received, continuing in Polk’s direction of great quality speakers at sensible prices. What with the Sound bar Polk React range also, we look forward to the year ahead and the opportunity to add real value to our retail partners and consumers alike. You can also expect to see more connected


speakers – beyond just sound bars – from Polk within the next few years.


15


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