Tune in

04 Jul, 13

Britta O’Boyle finds out how brushing up on your knowledge of AV products and technology could help increase your profit margins

Gadgets are everywhere these days from smart phones, to smart TVs, run-tracking watches, to cameras with smile recognition. The majority of rooms in the home will have some form of technology in them, and kitchens and bathrooms are no exception. Both Aquavision and ProofVision suggest bathrooms currently hold the biggest sales in audio visual out of the two rooms, but kitchens are growing fast. According to Mark Walker, UK sales director of Bagno Design: “Audio visual for the bathroom is certainly growing at pace, offering retailers the perfect opportunity to extend their profit margins with the latest must-have gadgets, which no luxury bathroom should be without.”

And William Uttley, director of ProofVision, agrees but also points out the growth in kitchens: “The kitchen is where a lot of house owners are spending their time, most likely down to the popularity of celeb chefs that have encouraged a surge of new chefs in the household. It makes sense to install AV in an area where you’re spending the most time as it is seen as a luxury for most people.”


Array of AV

Sponsored Video

The kitchen is commonly referred to as the “hub of the home” where socialising and entertaining takes place, while the bathroom is known for relaxation and wellness. So it’s no surprise manufacturers are bringing products to the market to meet these needs. TVs can be built-in to cabinets, but also into splashbacks, mirrors, pop-up boxes in worktops, and as part of a bank of appliances. Mark Walker of Bagno Design, says: “What customers particularly like about the BagnoVision mirror TVs is the integration of audio-visual, mirror and lighting elements. When the TV is switched off, the mirror can be used as normal, including the integrated illumination. Then, when it is in use, the TV offers a brilliant HD resolution picture.”

When it comes to sound systems, there is a host of options available from mirror cabinets to baths, through to showers. Key products featuring integrated sound systems, FM radio and capabilities for Bluetooth connectivity – with smart phones and tablet computers – are now widely available in the market. Angela Ortmann-Tobett, sales director of West Europe for Kaldewei, says: “Combining a bath with a sound system is a worthy advancement and the next technological step in bathroom design. A refreshing bath requires more than just water and bubbles. Music and sound define our life and affect our mood. Combining the two with an innovative and practical device, adds a new dimension to bathing. It indulges the senses and enhances wellbeing, whilst providing an outstanding sound experience.”

An easier life

In fact, the array of products available with integrated AV, has almost negated the need for a separate sound system in the kitchen and bathroom. With just one product to fit, not only does the electrician have a simpler installation, but the designer’s life is made easier too. Steve Kaye, marketing manager of HiB, says: “There is likely to be a shift away from standalone sound systems. These multi-tasking products make sound and vision in the bathroom so much more accessible. A consumer might dismiss a separate sound system in their bathroom without a second thought. However, tell them they can have a mirror with Bluetooth connectivity and listening to their favourite play list in the bathroom is as simple as pointing their iPhone at the mirror. Suddenly, things look and sound very different indeed.”


All about connectivity

It seems connectivity is key when it comes to AV, with new technologies and features helping to drive sales. Many industry experts expect smart TVs to become the next big thing, bringing the technology from living rooms into the kitchen and bathroom. Ian Biles, sales director of Futurehome, supplier of AV for Pedini, comments: “Internet TV or smart TV is certainly a relatively new concept for most homes, but there are so many new ways of using the internet for different tasks around the home, that smart TV in the kitchen has arrived. Although still most definitely a luxury product.”

William Uttley of ProofVision says: “There will be growth in the AV market for kitchens and bathrooms in the next three years, mainly due to consumers hunger for technology. With new technology coming to market, offering the end user more options and capabilities, the market has no reason not to expect good, steady growth.” And Gary Dart, managing director of Duravit, concludes that audio visual equipment is only going to become more important in home design: “AV has become an integrated part of our lives – at work and in-home entertainment. It therefore follows that, eventually, all parts of our lives will be touched by AV.”