Feature Article - March/April 2017

Powerful Motivation

Electronics Incentives to Drive Peak Performance

By Emily Tipping


Connectivity

You might have noticed that virtually every audio component listed so far features some kind of connectivity. That connectivity is not limited to traditional electronics. Look for more and more gadgets and tools that empower consumers to stay connected to their homes, too.

"Consumer electronics has traditionally been entertainment," Anderson said, "but over the past few years you are seeing more and more integration to assist with everyday functionality, be it tablets with the power of PCs or smartphones with apps galore that folks can use to control their furnace to their garage door opener, or even peek in their refrigerator before leaving work to see if they need to stop for milk on the way home. Consumer electronics is making great progress from basic entertainment to supporting our daily lifestyle activities."

Berg agreed. "We're seeing more interactive electronics, like Wi-Fi home security cameras that allow you to monitor your home from your smartphone, tablet or PC from anywhere, and even let you talk two-way into your home."

"Products featuring Alexa technology are extremely hot right now, and it will be exciting to see how different manufacturers incorporate the technology into various items, which will make great strides in expanding the Smart Connected home category."

Similar to Amazon's Echo, you can look for more devices like this soon, Berg said. "Google is now licensing Alexa, which is its technology similar to Amazon's Echo, which lets you ask questions, which the device then looks up on the web and speaks back to you," he explained. "So lots of companies, including us, are coming out with Alexa speakers."

And when things go awry and your home becomes disconnected? There's a market for that too, with emergency power stations and charging devices like the Kaito Voyager XL Digital Emergency Power Station, Weather Radio, Light & More. It's the ultimate portable communications and emergency tool. With multiple power sources, the Kaito Voyager XL keeps you connected to your world during emergencies, in the great outdoors, at home, in the office or on the road. Power sources include a hand-crank motor, rechargeable battery, built-in revolving solar panel, USB or AC (with optional adapter). It packs digital AM/FM, 24/7 NOAA National Weather Service with 'Weather Alert,' MP3 music player, micro SD card slot, built-in Bluetooth, digital radio recorder, digital voice recorder, 3-LED flashlight, 5-LED reading lamp, clock/alarm, backlit LCD display, and a portable USB charging station for cellphones and other devices. Also features a large dynamic speaker and a water-resistant, shockproof rubberized protective case.

What's In a Name?

As it turns out, quite a bit.

"When in doubt, go brand name over a tier 3 brand," Anderson said. "It will add credibility to your programs and cut down on headaches involved with cheaper-produced goods."

While there are some categories of merchandise where you might not focus as heavily on brand names, in consumer electronics, the right brand is crucial.

"Consumers want name brand products that look great and help to improve their quality of life, either by keeping them connected or simplifying everyday tasks," Fishman said. "Millennials are the most technologically engaged generation compared to generation X or boomers, and they are also the most loyal generation to their favorite brands. It may seem strange, living in a world of limitless options sitting right there at the consumer's fingertips, but it's true. With social media expanding, millennials are not influenced by advertising, but by the tremendous information they can view online of personal opinions of others and their take on a product."

He added, "Electronics appeal to a broad scope of demographics since they are so ingrained in our way of life. With a majority of individuals owning cellphones, laptops and desktop computers, it comes as no surprise that electronics will continue to be the focal point in the market."