Don’t equate outdoor audio and smart speakers with pet rocks and Cabbage Patch dolls. They are not passing fads.
“Smart speaker platforms are not like 3D TV… they are not a passing trend. They are here to stay,” says Alex Zaliauskas, director of audio at Nortek Security & Control. “Integrators need to understand that this is an opportunity for them to leverage platforms that are already out there, and then add the value that they bring to the customer by taking a platform and proliferating it throughout the house.”
Zaliauskas says integrators should integrate smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, even with their limited form factor and limited audio quality, into multiple rooms of a home. Then use that smart speaker technology as an opportunity to upsell architectural speakers, subwoofers and other attached devices.
In addition to smart speakers, Zaliauskas is bullish on outdoor audio as an extension of a home’s multiroom system.
“It is very clear that outdoor audio in general is blowing up. The trend we are seeing is huge growth,” he says, citing improved audio quality as the primary reason for the growth in outdoor audio.
“Up until fairly recently, you could not get the same audio quality outdoors that you could achieve indoors. The types of speakers, the form factors and where they could be mounted were very limited. Integrators would have to be very creative to install an outdoor audio or video system.
“Now, with the different form factors from landscape speakers to burial subwoofers to rock speakers and under-eave speakers, the integrator now has a Swiss Army Knife at their disposal that often rivals the quality of what they offer inside the house,” says Zaliauskas.
The outdoor audio trend has been a focus for both SpeakerCraft and Niles Audio in 2018, with the company releasing various 70V models and burial subwoofers as companion speakers.