Well, it seems that Mark Spates has made a lasting impact on the Azione Unlimited members since his last visit to their fall conference as Google will be joining the buying group as their newest vendor member.
During their biannual Fall conference in Austin, Spates, who holds the otherwise equivocal title of Product at Google, addressed the group to offer a bit of clarity for the future of smart homes and digital assistants. Spates acknowledged that integrators knew the current line of smart speakers were not even close to being a HiFi option. However, thanks to software advancements, Google is able to bridge the gap with room to grow.
"Hardware is no longer the most important aspect of taking a picture, that's why we don't talk about megapixels any more," Spates said. "It's all about the software to make it better. We want to do the same thing with music, using software to produce sound in a different way."
"It's a fundamentally different experience," he noted.
In that time, Google, Amazon, and Apple have all launched HiFi speakers that have had various levels of success. Google was able to paint a different picture by offering up a bigger ecosystem for integrators to play, although Amazon had a pretty dominant run at CEDIA just a few months prior. That being said, Google had its time in the sun during CES.
Whichever way you want to cut it, voice control is still in its infant phases and ready to blow up.
The opportunity is rife with opportunity. Largely, having a major player like Google at the disposal of a buying group is a massive benefit for both parties. It is right now that we are seeing the highest levels of consumer adoption for voice assistants and that trend will grow exponentially over the next few years. That means that Google is on the ground floor with some of the best-in-class integrators and acknowledges that they need the CI industry to continue to win in this field. As of now, Google works with nearly 1,500 smart home devices across 225 brands. It's 1 million actions span across the entire Google ecosystem of phones, Chromebooks, and smart speakers.
This news comes after learning that James Loudspeaker and Sonos have also joined the Azione Unlimited roster, filling out a broad variety of custom, high-end, and smart speakers. Sonos brings another interesting aspect to the table, as their Sonos One is an agnostic voice assistant smart speaker.
At the end of the day, this gives Azione Unlimited members a chance to get one-on-one time with Google Home vendors for training and support, a benefit that will surely shape our industry.