Ian Geiss, president of Vox Accessories, led the audience through a wealth of new portable audio and cord-cutting products expected to ship this year, as well as additions to the Project Nursey brand it launched one year ago. Perhaps most notable was the Smartband, a wearable designed specifically for parents. In addition to tracking traditional fitness details for the wearer, the Smartband also enables parents to track fetal kicks, diaper changes, feedings and baby weight by tapping on the band. It features a whopping 30-day battery life and will ship for a $149 suggested retail in February.
Paul Jacobs, CEO of Klipsch, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Voxx International, used the press conference to review the progress the audio manufacturer made in 2016 as part of its 70th anniversary. The company underwent a fact-finding missions last year as part of a transformation, with a commitment to get back to what premium audio was about, and “what we should stand for,” said Jacobs.
He added: “We got so caught up I what the new technologies are and what the price points are, we forgot that a great sound system or piece of music can be someone’s time machine. … We were too busy trying to jam new technologies in, and in the end, the research said consumers don’t care about that. They care how it made them feel.”
That said, Jacobs cautioned, “we’re not silly enough to believe we can ignore technology.” He noted that Klipsch tripled its R&D investment last year.
For 2017, the audio manufacturer has a partnership with Capitol Records on tap, as well as plans to strengthen its Jamo brand. It will introduce its first all-in-one soundbar and intends to bring Jamo into the Dolby Atmos world, said Jacobs.
Tom Malone, president of Voxx Advanced Solutions, rounded out the presser with updates on its EyeLock, Wavz and 360fly brands. EyeLock, of which Voxx is a majority shareholder, will introduce three new reference designs of its iris-authentication products.
Wavz will introduce a wireless over-the-ear headset featuring a pulse oximeter and features that are standard to a fitness tracker — “People don’t just want steps anymore,” as Malone noted.
360fly, meanwhile, will launch a new 360-degree camera with a form factor that is unlike any other 360-cam currently on the market. In addition to the athletic market that most action cams target, the 360-LPw wearable body camera will be positioned toward law enforcement and automotive environments. It will also be able to live-stream content. Shipping is slated for the spring.