Bowers & Wilkins Pushes Networking Company Not Sure About Brexit Impact
Convoy who are the distributor of Bowers & Wilkins gear in Australia, are not saying whether there will be price cuts across their UK designed Bowers + Wilkins range following the collapse of the British Pound following the Brexit fall out.
Bowers & Wilkins claim that they are yet to determine how the exit might affect the company’s fortunes.
One positive impact, however, is the British pound’s dramatic decline in recent days as a result of the Brexit vote could see price cuts around the world.
The declining value of the pound will reduce the export costs of speakers made in the company’s U.K. factory, though the costs of imported parts could rise, said Company officials.
U.K.-made speakers account for 30 percent of the brand’s revenues. The rest of the brand’s speakers are made in owned-and-operated factories in China, whose export costs aren’t affected by the pound’s decline.
Shortly Bowers & Wilkins will launch a new $40,000/pair flagship speaker to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Recently the high-performance speaker maker said that they have begun developing products that incorporate wireless technology developed by Silicon Valley start-up Eva Automation, which bought Bowers & Wilkins in May.
Eva was founded in 2014 to develop high-quality multiroom-A/V products that would be easy to use and set up and could be controlled from a single integrated interface. Eva’s three co-founders include Gideon Yu, a former Facebook and YouTube executive. Many of Eva’s roughly 40 employees are former Apple employees.
The first Bowers & Wilkins products incorporating Eva technology will be available in 2017, though they won’t be ready to show at CES 2017, Doug Henderson, president of Bowers & Wilkins Group said. Although the products will be multiroom-audio products, global CEO Joe Atkins said Eva’s technology could be applied to video as well as to wireless home control. The technology could also be used to create wireless surround-sound systems, he added.
The company must embrace wireless and the new ways that people access audio and video content, including phone- and computer-stored content and streaming services, Atkins said, but “we were struggling” before Eva approached the company. The challenge was “finding the right technology partner” who could deliver an experience “commensurate with the Bowers & Wilkins price points and story,” Atkins said.
But Eva had “developed exactly what we needed.”
The fit was perfect, Atkins said. “They [Eva] obviously do not have a brand or the global delivery system, or the experience in consumer electronics, that we have,” he explained. And “we did not have the [wireless and user-interface] technology to match our credibility in hardware.”
Eva’s “energy, ambition and enthusiasm” will take Bowers & Wilkins, Classe and Rotel “to the next level,” Atkins added.
With Eva, Henderson said, “we can combine performance with a really powerful UI” that in turn “opens the door to a much wider cross section of society.” The high-end audio industry, he said, “has burdened people with a lot of complexity” that “pushes away 90 percent of the population.”