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April 2021 ertonline.co.uk


LG's TONE Free earbuds HBS-FN7


The voice of the market


through LG TV’s ThinQ AI connected platform, which has a deep learning feature, meaning the more the consumer uses it, the better it gets at catering to their needs. “Seeing is believing,” says James Thomas,


2021 is predicted to be the year that voice control technology starts to go fully mainstream, with sources predicting that the voice and speech recognition market will grow by up to 20 per cent. As the market sees a shift to connected devices which can be controlled via voice, brands are making a number of inroads in this area to surpass consumer expectations. The products that benefit most from voice


control and are most vital to the smart home, are the ones that can act as a central control hub for the entire ecosystem around the home. LG has a range of products that feature


voice control – from its smart TVs to soundbars, speakers and earbuds. The brand’s newly-launched TONE Free earbuds, the LG HBS-FN7, feature voice command for convenient voice access to Google Assistant or Siri on a connected smartphone. In addition, select models in LG’s 2020 soundbar range also have Google Assistant built-in, and lastly, there’s also portable voice command across its XBOOM Go Bluetooth speaker range. By simply pressing the ‘play’ button for two seconds, the user is able to access Google Assistant or Siri on a connected smartphone and play music, podcasts and more with a simple voice command. Elsewhere, some of LG’s TVs feature built-


in Alexa hands-free control; on top of this, consumers can control anything in the home, including LG’s home appliances,


LG’s Product Manager of Home Entertainment. “Retailer demonstrations will always be a key technique to grab a customer’s attention. Retailers should ensure their staff are trained on selling the products to a high standard. “Often, putting the solutions into a story-


telling scenario allows the customer to build an emotional attachment to the product. This triggers consideration that the product will improve their life, pushing a positive purchase decision. “LG is committed to supporting its


retailers, for example via LG Lounge – an award-winning proprietary platform for retailers to help empower and develop their staff – and our Product Ambassador team members who offer hands-on training to bring products to life.” However, LG isn’t only focusing on voice


in home entertainment; the brand also features voice command across a range of its home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and fridge freezers, which all feature Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Mr Thomas says the manufacturer is


looking to further expand this in 2021, through the unveiling of new InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerators at CES, with upgraded voice recognition said to take hands-free convenience to “a whole new level” in the kitchen.


Voices in your head Over at Sony, and back to audio entertainment, the award-winning WH- 1000XM4 headphones with noise cancellation integrates voice control technology through the Speak-to-Chat function. Based on Precise Voice Pickup Technology, this smart feature uses five microphones built into the headphones and advanced audio signal processing to recognise and react to the consumer’s voice. As soon as the user speaks to someone, this feature automatically stops the music and lets in the ambient sound so they can


conduct a conversation. And once the chat is over, the music starts playing again automatically, ensuring minimal interruption. These headphones are also compatible


with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. These voice assistants feature on the true


wireless WF-1000XM3 headphones as well, while the WF-SP800N allows fitness fanatics to use their voice assistant for hands-free control so their workout isn’t interrupted. Sony’s Video and Sound Product


Communications Manager (UK & Ireland), Lucy Gaby, agrees on the point about in- store demonstrations. “It’s a unique way of getting customers


engaged and interacting with products,” she comments. “For example, staff can showcase using their voice to lower the volume on a speaker, set of headphones or a TV in store, clearly illustrating the benefits this feature brings to customers. Staff can then encourage the customers to test out the feature for themselves and experience voice control first-hand.”


Sony's WH-1000XM4. Middle: WF-XB700 earbuds. Bottom: LG's XBOOM Go Bluetooth speaker


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