Bose has ambitious goals for its SoundTouch Wi-Fi music platform, with plans to expand the system to almost every home audio system that the company offers.
A SoundTouch Stereo JC 2.1 active speaker system with a pair of Jewel Cube satellite speakers and subwoofer, shown here with the IR controller, is some of what’s to come in 2014 with Bose’s wireless music platform.
This was revealed at Bose’s first-ever editor’s event hosted by the Pro Systems Group, but the jam-packed day of demos, tours, and meetings covered the manufacturer’s full spectrum of technology divisions.
Thus far, SoundTouch includes three models, the SoundTouch 30 and 20, which have modest size distinctions, and the SoundTouch Portable. These were introduced in the run up to the 2013 holiday season but are just the beginning as more products in the line are slated to launch this year and in 2014.
The multi-room audio capable SoundTouch platform was positioned not just as a wireless audio system but as more of a connected home experience with three design goals: the ability to be tailored to specific rooms, mobile device control capabilities, and effortless access, the latter of which Bose feels has been missing from most of the wireless audio systems on the market.
A new Bose app for mobile control of SoundTouch offers many popular internet music services, and Bose plans to continue adding more. The app also acts as a centralized controller providing access to all the audio systems in a given home. The intuitive interface allows users to tap and drag favorite stations for six preset buttons. There is also access to these presets on the speakers themselves. Additionally, there is an IR controller included that wall mounts and features a capacitive sensor.
Wireless music is one of the areas Bose president Bob Maresca identified as poised for the most growth in an exclusive Q&A session during the editor’s day. He used the session to run through the company’s guiding principles and reinforced the intention to remain a privately held company in the interest of self-funded research.
Bob Maresca, Bose, President“The company exists to fund research,” Maresca stated, describing the first guiding principle.
He touted the benefits of remaining privately held and not taking loans from people or banks: “I don’t have stockholders breathing down my neck saying, ‘You need to grow, you need to increase shareholder value.’”
The research initiative is extended by Bose’s unique relationship with MIT and its special purpose trust where MIT gets a dividend every year. In 2011, Dr. Bose donated a majority of Bose Corporation's non-voting shares to MIT, meaning the university can't sell its shares and doesn't participate in the management or governance of Bose. The company remains private and independent. “It’s a very synergistic arrangement between MIT and [Bose]. It makes sense,” he said. “Dr. Bose got his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from MIT; many of us were students of his at MIT. He taught at MIT for over 40 years. So he has a deep debt of gratitude for them. Being able to provide them with a yearly contribution to advance their mission along with having the benefit of us remaining privately held, it’s a marriage made in heaven.”
In the interest of R&D, the department Maresca originally started in back in 1986, he reflected that, “If you’re not failing sometimes, you’re not pushing hard enough.”