INGATE

From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  CES 2013: Pure brings connected wireless speakers to the U.S.

[January 06, 2013]

CES 2013: Pure brings connected wireless speakers to the U.S.

Jan 06, 2013 (Los Angeles Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Not too long ago, consumers who wanted "whole home audio" -- the ability to play the same music in multiple rooms simultaneously, or to connect all their stereos to a single library -- had to spend thousands of dollars on custom wiring and equipment. Then came Sonos, whose devices could wirelessly connect to music libraries on a home computer or the Internet. It was pricey -- the first-generation starter kit cost $1,200 in 2005 -- but easy to install and a big step forward in functionality.


That approach has slowly filtered through the consumer electronics industry, with a growing number of manufacturers trying their hands at connected music systems offered at lower prices. (Even Sonos has drifted down toward mass-market prices, selling a standalone wireless player for just under $300.) Now Pure, a division of Hertfordshire, England-based Imagination Technologies, is entering the U.S. market offering a whole-home audio system with a difference: its own music services.

The Jongo self-powered wireless speakers, which are due in February for $199, illustrate a pair of digital-era trends in the consumer electronics business: connectivity and integrated content.

On the connectivity front, the speakers can play content streamed from the Internet via Wi-Fi or from a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer via Bluetooth. The Pure Connect app for Apple or Android devices can also synchronize song streams so the same music plays simultaneously on all the Jongo devices in a home.

The dead spots, interference issues and other vagaries of home Wi-Fi networks pose a challenge for multi-room audio systems. With that in mind, Pete Downton, Imagination Technologies' director of connected services, said the company focuses the "vast majority" of its engineering effort on developing products that "can cope with the reality of people's Wi-Fi and routers." The other distinguishing feature of Pure's products is what the company calls "Pure connected services," a mix of free and subscription-only content delivered by the Pure Connect app. The free portion includes about 20,000 radio feeds and about 200,000 recorded programs available on demand, including podcasts and repeats of previous broadcasts. The subscription offering is an unlimited online jukebox akin to what the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody provide, which Pure sells for a similar price: $5 per month for streaming only, $10 for downloadable tracks that can be played offline.

Downton said the company is aiming for the "passive massive" -- consumers who buy few CDs or downloads, relying instead on radio for their musical entertainment. Pure's products have integrated song-recognition technology, Downton said, enabling listeners to tag the songs that catch their fancy during radio broadcasts. They can go back later to buy the songs from Pure's downloadable music store or listen to them on-demand through its subscription service.

In the United Kingdom, where Pure rolled out its music services a year ago, its customers tend to use the tagging feature on weekday mornings and evenings, then revisit the tagged songs on weekends, Downton said. The seamless ability to hear, identify and return to songs leads to more music discovery and more downloadable track sales, he said.

Persuading consumers to pay a monthly fee for music has proven to be an enormous challenge; subscription services have attracted only a few million paying customers around the world so far. Free music services are far more popular, but making a business out of them hasn't been easy either -- witness Pandora's struggles despite its huge audience.

These travails raise the question whether it's smarter for a hardware company to develop its own music services, as Pure is doing (and Apple has done), or take advantage of the services that are already out there, as Sonos and Logitech (maker of another low-cost approach to multi-room audio) have done.

Downton acknowledged that there's not much margin to be found in selling music, but "we also know that if you're delivering a great speaker, great hardware, the likelihood is that consumers will use other services from you." And these days, he said, delivering a great hardware experience means investing in services as well.

The obvious model is Apple, whose combination of iPod hardware and iTunes software helped it to dominate the market for portable music players and 99-cent downloads. But Apple also represents one of Pure's biggest competitive threats. It makes a $99 adapter that can turn a conventional stereo or set of speakers into a component in a multi-room audio system, capable of playing songs or podcasts in the home's iTunes collection. Meanwhile, other consumer-electronics manufacturers are building Apple's AirPlay technology into their audio gear, allowing them to connect to iTunes without an adapter.

Apple's world is a walled garden; its multi-room system isn't designed to play music that's not available through iTunes. (There's at least one third-party workaround.) Pure has a similar limitation, but at least its services include unlimited music on demand from an online jukebox (albeit for a fee) -- something Apple has so far shown no interest in doing.

Jon Healey writes editorials for The Times. Follow him on Twitter @jcahealey ___ (c)2013 the Los Angeles Times Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Loading
Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner


Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.