Welcome back to the second part of our newsletter, in which we update you with a few thoughts on the current state-of-play in the AV market. We hope January has treated you kindly!
Over the last twelve months, the area of most widespread change has been control systems. We have found that clients are either fully committed to the advantages of a central control system, such as Control4 or Savant, or prefer to use individual apps and remotes for different systems. Previously, the app-based approach was fiddly and frustrating to operate but with the increasing predominance of apps in our daily lives, the process and our acceptance of it have become much easier; switching between your Sonos app to see who is coming up the driveway on your CCTV, then over to your door entry app to allow access feels as simple as checking your inbox, a quick Snapchat and then catching up on your newsfeed. While a place will always remain for a central control system on many projects, this change is introducing greater flexibility and is certainly noteworthy for some clients.
The predominance of apps, and the associated increase in use of our smartphones and tablets, has also impacted the mix of products that we now typically specify. A few years ago, a common project would have been based around mid-range TVs and speakers, with networking and control added in usually after the client had been persuaded of their necessity. Now, we find that people's desire for convenience and accessibility of the media we are using on a daily basis sees us specifying entry-level products, such as Sonos, with mid-range speakers and TVs in most rooms, alongside a dedicated space for higher quality audio and video products, such as a Home Cinema or Media Room. Control is often a client-driven question and a robust networking infrastructure is no longer a question at all. So we see that, more and more, clients are understanding the value of a connected, intelligent home and, simultaneously, the value of a dedicated space to spend with family and friends enjoying the film everyone is talking about, that must-watch Netflix series or even exploring a new universe together with VR! As passionate AV advocates, we have always believed that this is the true magic of AV and foresaw that it would become increasingly interwoven with our day-to-day lives.
Another emerging trend that we believe will skyrocket is virtual reality. While many of you may feel that VR will only interest fans of the shoot-'em-up style games prevalent in the market, we believe that this couldn't be further from the truth. Far from being a solitary activity, VR is going to take party games to a whole new level. For example, the game where you must diffuse a ticking bomb as a team, with one player wearing the headset to the see the bomb and the other players asking questions from the accompanying manual to defuse the bomb before the time is up and you are all blown to smithereens in a spectacular explosion brings Crystal Maze-style play to your very own home! With our help, any room can be transformed into a truly immersive and cutting edge Games Room which will engage not only the active VR player, but also their audience who can be entertained by your antics via a TV or projector screen. If you're still unconvinced, head over to our News page and have a read about our Philharmonic AV VR Party Night.
Finally, another dramatic change set to shake up the AV scene, and the way we live, is Voice Control. Having experienced this first hand over the last few months, it has already become a seamless part of my routine. The key is 'Far Field Communication' which allows you to interact with your voice control unit from anywhere in your home. While chopping some vegetables in the Kitchen, you can ask for a playlist to be recalled, tracks to be skipped, music paused or even more tomatoes to be added to your shopping list, as though you were chatting with your Personal Assistant. Although several manufacturers in our industry have been experimenting with this for some time, the recent introduction and success of Amazon Echo and associated products has shifted the focus from creation to integration, enabling seamless interaction with key control platforms. "Turn Sky Sports on in the Kitchen, lower the blinds in the Master Bedroom and lock the Garage door" - All of this can and will be done with your voice. It is just a matter of time.
We hope you have found this brief round up to be interesting and perhaps given you some food for thought. If you were intrigued by any of the topics discussed here, or would like to explore the possibilities of them in your own home, we would love to hear from you so please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support. Our company has always believed in doing an exceptional job with honesty, fairness and integrity as our core values. We believe that has served us well and we look forward to continuing the journey with you in the future.