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True to Form, Bang & Olufsen Leads the Way with Its WiSA-Certified Speakers

Lou Schreurs
Senior Vice President Product Creation

Bang & Olufsen is world renowned for its exquisite televisions, music systems and high-performance loudspeakers – all of which combine technological expertise with stunning design and emotional appeal. Ever since its founding in 1925, the Danish company has broken barriers and redefined standards, pioneering innovative engineering and manufacturing processes to create home entertainment components that have consistently dazzled both consumers and the audio-visual industry.

It makes perfect sense, then, that Bang & Olufsen is at the forefront once again, this time leading the way for wireless audio technology. Why the focus on wireless? Because consumers ¬are clamoring for wireless systems – and that trend shows no signs of stopping.

"For the past several years, the number one question we've been asked by our customers is this: ‘What about wireless?'" Lou Schreurs, Senior Vice President, Product Creation, Bang & Olufsen, explained. "Combine that kind of demand with a little consumer research, and it's clear that the future of the audio industry is centered on wireless technology."

From early on, Bang & Olufsen recognized the enormous business opportunity associated with a wireless audio platform. But there was one significant challenge standing in the company's way: finding high resolution wireless audio technology that could meet Bang & Olufsen's extremely high standards. Was that kind of high-end wireless audio solution even possible?

Fortunately, a chance encounter at the 2012 European Integrated Systems tradeshow proved pivotal to the company's quest. At the show, Bang & Olufsen engineers met representatives from the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association. They learned about WiSA-compliant technology and how it could deliver the high-resolution multi- channel wireless audio the company needed, but the engineers remained predictably skeptical. In the end, it took months of rigorous testing to convince them that WiSA-compliant technology delivered on its promise for interference-free, robust high-resolution audio.

"Our strategy involves looking for technology partnerships in relevant areas, and the WiSA Association proved to be a great fit," Schreurs said. "They offered the right technology for wireless and audio coding, and then Bang & Olufsen enhanced the performance by adding our great system knowledge. By collaborating, we've been able to achieve stunning results."

Ultimately, the Bang & Olufsen team was so impressed with WiSA-compliant technology that they decided to go "all in." They developed an entirely new product line the company now markets as "Immaculate Wireless Sound." Each new Bang & Olufsen TV comes standard with built-in Summit Semiconductor transmitter and AV receiver functionality so customers can easily and conveniently add as many Bang & Olufsen speakers as they like to their home theater and audio set ups.

"We are proud to be the first WiSA-compliant manufacturer to incorporate this ground-breaking platform," Schreurs said. "It's no secret that the WiSA Association's robust performance and exceptional audio quality lie at the heart of what we're calling the ‘Immaculate Wireless Sound' experience, capturing the true passion and soul of the artist."

According to Schreurs, the benefits of adopting WiSA-compliant technology have been extraordinary – in two notable ways. First, customers are thrilled with the audio quality, interoperability and scalability of Immaculate Wireless Sound. Second, the company is reaping considerable competitive advantage.

"Sales of WiSA-compliant products have performed even better than we expected," Schreurs explained. "We launched ‘Immaculate Wireless Sound' with three new products: BeoLab 17, BeoLab 18 and BeoLab 19. The consumer response was so great that seven months later, we introduced another new wireless speaker, the BeoLab 20."

Because of the company's charter with the WiSA Association, Bang & Olufsen's speakers have a broader market range. The WiSA logo ensures interoperability and will allow Bang & Olufsen to expand its market share.

"More and more consumers are learning that WiSA-compliance guarantees the user experience," Schreurs said. "Then, they're even more delighted when they realize their WiSA-compliant speakers will work any other WiSA-compliant TV or receiver."

For Schreurs, it's only natural for Bang & Olufsen to be where it is, out in front, helping to create high resolution wireless audio standards and leading the way for other companies to adopt WiSA-compliant technology. This high resolution, multi-channel audio technology is on an entirely different level, raising the bar far beyond the two-channel Wi-Fi wireless audio that's most common today.

"Until now, wireless transmission quality simply hasn't been ready to reproduce sound the way the artist intended," Schreurs concluded. "With WiSA-compliant wireless audio technology, Bang & Olufsen is able to achieve two crucial goals. We're able to offer our customers a truly exceptional end user experience and at the same time grow the Bang & Olufsen brand."

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