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The 5 Forces Of Audio Disruption

Wireless has been disrupting the audio marketplace by providing consumers with incredible access to products that improve the home theater experience and promote high-quality sound while also assuring interoperability. 

Its revolution has never been louder as it continues its climb with many catalysts helping position it at the frontline of the audio industry. 

With the wireless audio marketplace expected to be worth $54 billion by 2022, many key factors are contributing to the burgeoning appetite of consumers who demand more convenient, high-performance home theater without the wires. 

Growth in multimedia streaming. Consumers’ interest in streaming services has created a paramount shift that will soon revolutionize the way modern film is consumed, generating a greater desire to bring the immersive movie theater experience to the household. As high-quality content continues to become more readily available at lower prices through the rise of innovation and new platforms, movie theaters will aim to evolve alongside their target audiences to avoid long-term adversity.

Fortunately, these changes unveil new contingencies for substantial growth and profitability in home theater as the investment in high-quality wireless audio becomes more desirable. Through natural progression, retailers and manufacturers will continue to capitalize on this trend by introducing additional wireless audio products into the marketplace. 

Simplicity. In previous years, bringing home the same powerful score from iconic films like “Star Wars” and “Jurassic Park” typically included a colossal A/V receiver, myriad wires and difficult setup process. Thanks to wireless, audio leaders have simplified the process of installing an aesthetically-pleasing surround-sound system without the mess of wires or compromised performance. 

By incorporating this module to the installation process, the audio industry now has the power to break down a critical barrier of entry, which will play a pivotal role in mass adoption given the ability to reinvent the home theater category through the convenience of wireless audio. 

Affordability. As the home audio industry continues its steady marketplace growth through its adoption of new and groundbreaking technology, wireless has opened new doors for complex home theater systems to generate further momentum and make it extremely affordable. This momentum will only make it easier for consumer electronics retailers to sell sources and speakers that provide consumers with a wireless and interoperable home theater system that offers the right components for an assortment of budgets and needs. 

Early market adoption. With the increase in consumer power in the audio industry, numerous brands have already integrated wireless technology into an assortment of products. Early adopters such as Bang & Olufsen, Klipsch, Enclave and Axiim have brought high-performance systems to market that have been well received, prompting several key retailers to allocate floor space to wireless home theater solutions as these differentiators continue to resonate lucratively with consumers. 

As more industry leaders play a pivotal role in the rise of wireless, the marketplace will continue to show positive advancements as retailers and manufacturers look to reinvent home theater by accelerating the implementation process and effectively communicating its benefits. 

The rise in home automation. With the smart-home sector on the rise, showing an annual growth of 17 percent, wireless home theater will be an important contributor to the growth in multimedia technology. In the coming years the wireless audio market will have the ability to transform the smart home of the future by integrating a seamless multimedia experience involving both high-definition video and audio. 

As companies continue to improve the designs of today’s most cutting-edge technologies, multimedia devices will have the power to broadcast high-definition, multichannel audio to multiple speakers throughout the home. Wireless speakers will also have control in the smart home to change identities on the fly and adapt to multiple uses, therefore enhancing lifestyles with added convenience, safety and comfort.

Looking ahead, these factors driving the growth of wireless will only further promote the development of new groundbreaking audio technologies as well as the return to true home theater. Together, speaker manufacturers, retailers and industry leaders will ignite further growth in wireless audio by implementing its solutions in future products to create a truly simple yet exceptional home theater experience that is uncompromising in performance.

Tony Ostrom is president of theWireless Speaker & Audio (WiSA) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing the industry’s only fully interoperable, high-resolution, multi-channel wireless audio capability to consumer and professional products. His 25-year career in the consumer electronics industry has been focused on product planning and development, consumer research, go-to-market planning, technology integration, marketing and training.