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SMART HOME & CUSTOM INSTALL Home Entertainment


Smart is everywhere 25 The Filming Studio at Smart Home Sounds


We are currently all spending a lot more time at home. And for retailers to make the most of the boom in smart technology, it’s important to stay ahead of what consumers will want in the future. Jack Cheeseman reports.


T


he consumer electronics market is awash with internet-enabled, connected products that offer hands-


free, remote controlled, voice-activated, generally all-round smart uses. For many people, smart speakers are the entry point into the connected home – once someone has a voice-activated smart speaker, this can act as a catalyst for them to add additional devices and services. These include security (doorbells, cameras and sensors), heating (temperature control), voice assistants, power and lighting Smart tech products that do not require a hub


and operate over Wi-Fi continue to attract consumers with their simplicity and voice assistants will continue to be an enabler and driver of these products in the home. It is important to note that with the current


Coronavirus pandemic and recent UK-wide lockdown, those smart tech products that have enabled people to socialise, be entertained and work from home have been very popular. Exertis reported a significant increase in sales for


Facebook Portal, media streaming devices and consumer mesh Wi-Fi (for home working). “In fact, mesh Wi-Fi has grown by 110 per cent


from January to May this year compared with the same period last year,” explains Rod Slater, Exertis Head of Smart Tech and IoT. “Consumer mesh offers more control to the bill payer, improves home coverage and offers a more consistent experience.”


Play that funky music With all of us spending more time at home, the use of voice-activated smart speakers for music alone grew from 41 to 63 per cent during lockdown, according to a voicebot.ai survey. But this, in turn, means that these people are open to additional electrical devices. Andy Hazell, CEO of Gloucester-based home


audio company, Smart Home Sounds, says that in recent years smart speakers have become the main control gateway to customers’ homes. “A lot of homeowners are also now benefiting


Amazon Echo


from wireless surround sound systems,” he says, “which enable the whole home to work together seamlessly. The ability to ditch big amplifiers and lots of cables for an easy wireless system has really taken off. “The Sonos One, for example, is a compact


smart speaker offering the ability to choose between Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control.”


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