Connect with us

Featured

Listen Up: The Audio Trends of 2019

This year has seen some big technological tipping points in the audio landscape, and the needs and wants of consumers are evolving quickly.

Published

on

The consumer audio landscape is evolving quickly. Four years ago, the shift toward streaming media changed audio forever. Now, consumers are quick to embrace new technologies as they seek high quality, wire-free audio experiences in 2019. Longer playback times, truly wireless earbud adoption, and Voice UI are all playing major roles in shaping the way people access and enjoy their audio. Throughout this shift toward wireless, demand for ever-better sound quality continues to be the number one desire among audio consumers globally. 

Qualcomm commissioned its 2019 State of Play Report, the fourth annual study, to dig deep into global consumers’ changing attitudes about audio and how breakthrough technologies are transforming how they connect, communicate, and engage with personal audio devices. This year, it surveyed 6,000 smartphone users from the U.S., U.K., China, Japan, India, and Germany for their thoughts on the future of audio.

Here’s a summary of what it found:

Sound quality remains crucial

Since it commissioned the first State of Play report in 2016, one insight has endured: Rich, clear audio quality is the number one feature audio consumers desire. This year is no different — sound quality is the top-ranking purchase driver for 65 percent of those surveyed. When it comes to smart speakers specifically, sound quality is even more important than price for many shoppers.

Truly wireless earbuds are exploding in popularity

In the next 12 months, truly wireless headphones are expected to be the most sought-after device in the headphone category. Thanks to improvements in Bluetooth audio and technologies like Qualcomm aptX, there’s been a shift in the perception of wireless sound quality. So much so, that two-thirds of those surveyed this year believe that wireless audio devices deliver equal or better quality sound than wired products. The 2019 report highlights the consumer purchase drivers for truly wireless earbuds, and takes a look at the exciting features for the future in this space.

There’s high demand for more playback time

Consumers want to enjoy their wireless headphones and speakers for longer periods between charges and it’s easy to understand why: With the wireless freedom to listen to tunes on-the-go, people want to add a soundtrack to their whole day. According to its report, more than 70 percent of all respondents rated extended battery life as an important purchase driver. This was also the first year in State of Play history that battery life expectations have nearly equaled those of sound quality. 

Listener preferences are changing

One of the insights Qualcomm uncovered is how many consumers around the world use their wireless audio devices for on-device gaming. Thirty percent of smart speaker owners said they use their speakers for gaming, and 34 percent of smartphone owners said they use wireless headphones while they play. This preference of content consumption has implications for the next generation of wireless audio.

It also saw changes in how people are interacting with their smart speakers. In 2018, consumers mostly used them to stream music. In 2019, music streaming became the second most popular use case by 1 percent, while requesting general information was named the top use for smart speakers. This suggests that both use cases are almost equally important to today’s consumers and that they are growing more comfortable interacting with their voice assistants. 

This year’s State of Play report identifies not only how consumers around the world want to experience audio, but also the factors at play when they’re looking to purchase their next wireless headphones or smart speakers — valuable information for manufacturers looking to design their next audio products. Download the full State of Play Report: 2019

*All percentages, consumer behaviors and attitudes stated in this report are based only on the responses of the individuals who participated in the Qualcomm survey.


Original article posted here.

Featured

Security issues grow with transition to smart TVs

Published

on

You can’t picture a modern home without smart equipment. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, robot vacuums, and smart TVs won’t surprise anyone these days. For example, around 70% of the TVs being sold worldwide are smart TVs. Although they bring more entertainment, these devices also carry new digital threats. 

Sometimes people forget that smart TVs are as vulnerable to cybercrime as their smartphones and computers. Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that “although smart TVs are connected to the internet and have similar functions to computers, they aren’t equipped with the same security tools, which makes them easy prey for hackers.” 

What’s so scary about your TV getting hacked? As smart TVs gain more features, the amount of your private information they handle increases too. TVs aren’t just for watching movies and shows anymore. Now you can use them for web browsing, streaming video content, gaming, and even shopping online. 

To enjoy your smart TV to the fullest, you need to download various apps and games. These cost money, so you need your credit card details filled in. Putting your financial information, logins, and passwords on your TV makes it an appealing target for hacking. 

According to Daniel Markuson, a smart TV can be used to spy on its users. Hackers can access its camera and microphone through malware, which they can slip into your TV when it is connected to Wi-Fi. They can use footage from your bedroom or living room to blackmail you and your family. By watching your home and listening to your conversations, hackers know what goods you have, where you keep them when you’re away, and what your plans are. 

If you use your smart TV for web browsing, you can infect it with various viruses too, says the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don’t have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once your TV gets infected, your browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers. And they won’t miss the opportunity to use this information in ransomware attacks. 

Even though smart TVs are vulnerable to cyber threats, Daniel Markuson says there is no need to panic yet. The expert names a few simple principles every smart TV owner should follow to protect their device.

Always update your TV’s software whenever a new version becomes available. The expert says that software updates are crucial for cybersecurity as manufacturers do their best to patch vulnerabilities. Updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Some TVs install updates automatically by default. With others, you may need to check for updates periodically to make sure your device runs on the latest version. 

Use available security measures such as a VPN. The best practice for any internet-connected device is to install a firewall and use a VPN such as NordVPN. It secures your device and lets you enjoy fast internet access with encryption-powered privacy.

Connect your smart TV to the internet only when needed. It isn’t necessary to have your TV connected to Wi-Fi all the time. To make it less vulnerable to hacker attacks, turn on the Wi-Fi connection only when you are using it.

Download apps from official stores only. Do not install any programs and games from unofficial sources on your smart TV. Make sure that both the app and its provider are reliable. Moreover, if an application asks for access to your data, camera, or microphone that isn’t necessary for its operation, never accept it.

Be careful with personal files and financial data. Shopping online on a big smart TV screen might be fun, but be careful providing your credit card details and other sensitive information this way. Although some manufacturers equip their TV sets with security features, they cannot guarantee safety online. “People who synchronize their smart TVs with their computers to access compatible media content should be especially cautious,” warns Daniel Markuson. The connection between your smart TV and your computer can be a weak link and lead to a data breach.

Use strong Wi-Fi passwords. This practice is the most obvious and the easiest to follow. Create a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi connection at home and don’t share it with any outsiders.

Turn off your TV camera when not in use. Whether it’s a built-in camera or the one connected to a TV via Wi-Fi, turn it off when not using it. If you can’t turn off your camera, use a piece of tape or a sticker over the camera lens to cover it. 

Continue Reading

Featured

Tech too complex? It stresses out even the tech-savvy

Published

on

Picture by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

Even the savviest members of the tech industry get stressed by common devices that power their everyday lives, according to a recent poll conducted at CES 2020 by Asurion, the global leader in helping people connect, protect and enjoy their tech.

Survey screen by Asurion at CES 2020.

Asurion surveyed nearly 1,400 attendees of CES 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech industry event, about their relationship with personal tech and their role as tech expert for family and friends. What the tech care company found is that even the tech-savvy, tech DIY’ers and early adopters stress out over some of the most ordinary devices in our hands and homes.

So, what tech tops the list of devices that stress out some of the consumer electronics industry’s tech enthusiasts?

  • Mesh routers and Wi-Fi networks (33%)
  • Phones (26%)
  • Smart home security systems (23%)

And, the tech-related activities that even the tech-savvy dread the most?

  • Troubleshooting a device that worked perfectly yesterday (39%)
  • Device security (27%)
  • Setting up devices (nearly 27%)

Asurion helps nearly 300 million customers worldwide unlock the potential of their tech with a team of over 10,000 Experts who are just a call, click or tap away. The company’s Experts provide ongoing tech support, same-day device repair, and same-day delivery and setup services. They’ll meet customers virtually, in-home, at select partner stores, and in more than 540 uBreakiFix stores across the country or wherever it’s convenient.

“The tech industry just spent four amazing days experiencing and celebrating the latest innovations in the future of tech,” said Teresa May, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Asurion. “What we heard is that even common tech tasks and devices can be challenging. Every day, our Experts help people across the country with their devices – everything from setting up a new phone to troubleshooting streaming issues on their smart TVs. Our CES poll reveals that the industry’s top tech innovators share the same pain points affecting millions of Americans.”

Asurion’s Experts received more than 18.5 million calls and chats from customers seeking tech help last year. And while the No. 1 question this holiday was a strong “How do I activate my new phone?” Asurion Experts also received many questions ranging from “How do I connect to Wi-Fi?” to “Can I sync my smart speakers to play them in tandem?”

And while the tech industry may have tech challenges of their own, they also get tapped by family and friends for help. Eight out of 10 attendees surveyed said their family and friends rely on them to help set up and troubleshoot their tech. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they hesitate to gift tech to their loved ones because the recipient won’t know how to use it, and nearly half (46%) gave pause to gifting tech to family and friends because they didn’t want to be the one to help set it up.

Asurion CES Tech Poll

Consumer Tech Devices That Stress CES Attendees Out the Most

1. Mesh Routers and Wi-Fi Networks (33%)
2. Phones (26%)
3. Smart Home Security Systems (23%)
4. Smart Home Assistants/Hubs (20%)
5. Bluetooth Printers (19%)
6. Smart Home Automation (19%)
7. Laptops/Tablets (18%)
8. Smart TVs (17%)
9. Smart Appliances (14%)
10. Home Energy, Lighting and Switches (13%)

Tech Activities That Stress Out CES Attendees the Most

1. Troubleshooting Tech That Worked Perfectly Yesterday (39%)
2. Security (27%)
3. Setting up a Device (27%)
4. Privacy (23%)
5. Helping Others With Their Tech (20%)
6. Managing or Connecting Multiple Devices (19%)
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity (19%)
8. Paying for Personal Data Storage (18%)
9. Learning a New Operating System (17%)
10. Choosing Which Brand To Purchase (17%)

To learn more about where you can get tech support and protection, visit Asurion.com.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 World Wide Worx