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Sunday, 6 January 2019

Best wi-fi speakers in the world 2019 - Sonos Australia

Sonos is an American consumer electronics company founded in  by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai, based in Santa Barbara, California. Sonos is widely known for the smart speakers it develops and manufactures.

MacFarlane introduced a prototype at the  Consumer Electronics Show, which was released in  as a bundle called the Digital Music System. The company expanded upon the prototype and product design, adding mesh networking with AES encryption to allow the speakers to play music simultaneously in multiple rooms. Between  and , the company released numerous speakers and added more services. They worked with Bruce Mau Design to incorporate a rebrand of the company, which took effect in . The company has partnered with other companies adding to their catalog of services, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and Amazon Music.
 Sonos Play:1 best price in Australia

They are also partnering with Amazon to enable Alexa to control Sonos speakers, intending to eventually work with every voice assistant on the market. Google Assistant will also be supported by Sonos at some point.

The company opened its own local studio and art museum, the Sonos Studio, in May  as well as an official Sonos Store in SoHo in July.

Sonos was founded in  by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai, with MacFarlane wanting to create a wireless service. In , MacFarlane brought a prototype of the company's soon-to-be first product, the Digital Music System bundle of smart speakers, to CES and the remote at a Wall Street Journal press conference later that year. The bundle won the "Best of Audio" award at the CES Innovations Design and Engineering awards in November and was released in February . In March, the company introduced the ZP amplifier (later replaced by the ZP and rebranded as the CONNECT:AMP) as an add-on to the current Digital Music System bundle. The bundle was also announced to be sold in the United Kingdom later in May. This was joined shortly afterwards by the unamplified ZP (later replaced by the ZP, rebranded as the CONNECT) with analog and digital input and output connections to link a user's Sonos system to their traditional amplifier. In  the ZonePlayer S (later rebranded as the PLAY:1) an amplified smart speaker was released.

In February , Sirius XM was added to Sonos' catalog of music services. In July, the company announced the PLAY:, a second, smaller, amplified speaker in its Play lineup of smart speakers and added Spotify to its catalog. MOG was also added to the catalog of services, with a free -day trial, in May.

In August , Amazon Cloud Player compatibility was added. In May, the company announced the SUB wireless subwoofer and added QQ Music to their catalog with collaboration from Tencent. Within the same month, Sonos announced the Sonos Studio, a studio and art gallery in which art was exhibited along with Sonos' products for free, and featured events with artists like Beck, The Lonely Island, Solange and others, and released a video about its development on July.

In February, Sonos announced the PLAYBAR soundbar speaker. In October, Sonos announced a third, compact, smart speaker, the PLAY:1. In December, the company was estimated to have raised $ million in venture funding, including a $ million round; Its investors included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.

In March , the company announced a refresh of its universal Controller app for its system. In January , Sonos was rebranded by Bruce Mau Design, with a new visual identity and improved logotype that was created over the span of four years. Sonos also announced the limited edition Blue Note PLAY:1 in February, a collaboration with Blue Note Records, which went on sale in March. A new ("nd gen") PLAY:1 speaker was announced in September. In October, Amazon Music support was officially added following  years of Cloud Player support and pre-orders for the PLAY:2 began the same month. In November, a tuning feature called Trueplay was released in a software update. Trueplay tunes the output of Sonos smart speaker units to the acoustics of the room they are in. The initial tuning process requires the use of a suitable Apple smartphone or tablet.

Apple Music became available for streaming in February  and Sonos also released a study entitled Music Makes it Home Study. In March, CEO John MacFarlane announced the company's shift to streaming music services and voice control instead of local playback and laid off some employees. In July, the company opened its first Sonos Store in SoHo. In September, the company announced that its products would become available at the Apple Store.

In January , McFarlane announced via the company's blog that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO, and that he would be succeeded in this position by former COO Patrick Spence.
In December , IKEA and Sonos announced a collaboration to build Sonos' technology into furniture sold by IKEA. The first products resulting from the collaboration will launch in.

The company currently offers eight powered speakers: four smart speakers (ONE, PLAY:2, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5), two soundbars (PLAYBAR and BEAM), a television sound system (PLAYBASE), and a subwoofer (SUB). It also offers the CONNECT:AMP to drive unpowered speaker pairs and the CONNECT to link a Sonos system to conventional audio equipment such as amplifiers and CD players. A key feature of whole house systems starting in  was the adoption of Amazon's Alexa as a third-party voice controller. An updated version of the Sonos Amp was unveiled in August , with a planned limited release in December.

Multiple Sonos devices in a single household are connected to each other wirelessly or through a wired ethernet network or a mixture of the two. The Sonos system creates a proprietary AES-encrypted peer-to-peer mesh network, known as SonosNet. This allows for each unit to play any chosen input and if desired share it as synchronized audio with one or more other chosen zones. A single ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge must be wired to a network for access to LAN and Internet audio sources when using this feature, or when creating a ./. surround setup. SonosNet. integrates MIMO on .n hardware, providing a more robust connection. Sonos does not implement wake-on-wireless technology, instead requiring that every Sonos player or bridge constantly maintains a wireless connection, even when in standby mode or connected by cable. The mesh network maintains signal in digital form throughout transfers, only converting to analog at the speaker endpoint, which was a distinguishing feature versus, for instance, Bose and Squeezebox as of . Sonos devices do not have power buttons, and the company claims that each speaker consumes -Win idle/standby.

Sonos previously offered  dedicated handheld controllers. Sales of the more recent CR controller were discontinued in. Existing CR controllers continue to operate, however there are reports of touchscreen failures which cannot be repaired.. The previous CR ceased being supported in April .

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

4 Consumer Demands That Impact Today’s Global Foodservice Supply Chain


Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at TechnoVolume with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.
The global food industry is trying to keep up with balancing changing consumer preferences, government demands and the realities of the market. And one significant way the industry does this is to look at both the opportunities and challenges in the current supply chain.  
By looking at consumer demands that impact today’s global foodservice supply chain, businesses acquire deeper insights on how to improve their systems.
The following are four consumer demands that merit more detailed study and attention:  

1. Immediacy and Personalization

For the past few years, consumers have learned to expect immediacy in all aspects of their life. And this trend is expected to grow even stronger in the coming years and across industries. Regardless of whether they are buying a denim jacket, getting Indian tea or purchasing not a product but a service, modern-day consumers want a personalized experience whenever they decide to shop.
As online shopping for food continues to grow, firms in the foodservice industry need to be utilizing the appropriate data management and analytics tools. They need to ensure they are capturing and beneficially analyzing data, and making improvements based on their findings.  
However, these technological enhancements are not just for consumers — they also are a means for all members of the supply chain to be digitally connected. As these tools provide access to relevant and real-time data, they can assist firms in thoroughly understanding the information and ensuring a more seamless distribution and fulfillment across channels.
While businesses may initially employ data management technology for customer reasons, they are highly likely also to integrate them into optimizing their supply chains.

2. Diversity and Transparency

Today’s consumers are more diverse eaters than ever before. Whether it is the cuisines they want to eat or their personal preferences for customizing their meals, these consumers want their food in their own particular way.
Organic food sales and farm-to-table restaurants are going through the roof in the U.S. And around the world, more and more consumers are following gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian meal plans.
For this reason, consumers are highly interested in knowing when, where, and by whom their foods were produced and made. Shoppers want to know details about suppliers and production, and the origin and contents of the goods they are purchasing.
More so than ever before, consumers are examining food labels thoroughly and using the information that is provided on the labels to make selective decisions. If these labels don’t offer the specific details of the sources of each ingredient, consumers are increasingly unhappy.
In other words, they don’t want to promote and purchase from retailers who are engaging in what they see as irresponsible practices.
In order to satisfy this increasingly diverse and interested consumer demand, food supply chains will have to focus on becoming more global, cooperative and agile, and concentrate on developing end-to-end visibility.
If they do not, then not only will businesses not be able to answer consumers questions about suppliers and production, but firms also will not be prepared to react to shifting demand (nor will they be able to optimize inventory levels satisfactorily).

3. A Focus on Freshness

Fresh foods are what the majority of consumers want to eat. And while they may be healthier for their bodies, they can certainly pose some serious challenges for the foodservice supply chain.
Generally, fresh foods have shorter shelf lives and quicker turns, as well as necessitate lower inventory levels. As weather plays an essential role, there also are more out-of-your-control elements and potential impacts to the supply when dealing with fresh foods.
Due to a variety of supplier issues, it can be incredibly challenging for those in the fresh food industry to precisely predict supply or perform modifications promptly when unforeseen events occur.
As fresh food “trends” tend to come and go in waves, the customer demand for them often fluctuates, making the market incredibly volatile.
To deal with these issues, food manufacturers and retailers want to work on sourcing from numerous regional suppliers instead of solely depending on one primary supplier.
Network optimization is essential, as is safety and quality assurance (see #4), and accurate demand planning.
Due to the shortened timeframes and intrinsic variability of fresh foods, across the supply chain, clarity, collaboration and communication must be promoted. Otherwise, there is no chance a supply chain and its goods can be successfully managed.

4. A Higher Level of Safety Standards

With so many food recalls and food-borne illnesses around the world, the safety of their food looms large on a consumer’s mind. And, as the food supply chain continues to develop into an even more global network (as a result of another growing consumer demand), the opportunities for contamination along the supply chain increase.
However, it isn’t just bacteria contamination, animal disease, and poor food handling that today’s consumers are concerned about.
More and more questions are being raised about the safety of farming practices, such as the usage of antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides on livestock and crops. There is also the matter of safety within processing practices, such as the increase of food additives and preservatives.
In order to deal with these concerns and demands from consumers, firms must heavily invest in securing their supply chain, form strategies to handle recalls, and improve product labeling and traceability.
Track and trace technologies improve supply chain transparency, while compliance systems are essential in ensuring that supply chains are maintaining any and all rules. Routine verification procedures need to happen to guarantee continuous compliance.
Again, all members of the supply chain need to maintain open communication to ensure that safety failures don’t transpire, and so that a plan can immediately be adopted should they occur.
That being said, when it comes to safety issues, consumers also need to receive further education about keeping their food safe at home. Whether during preparation, cooking or storage, inappropriate food handling at home can make once-safe food, very unsafe. And it is in the interest of the global foodservice supply chain to promote this education.
How have you noticed consumer demands impacting today’s global foodservice supply chain? If you are in the industry, what are you doing to ensure that you are adapting to the market’s changing needs? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Interesting Investment Options for SME Owners

Once an SME has experienced a certain level of growth and success, it can start to focus on expanding with its extra income into other investments. As an SME owner it will be down to you to choose what investment options your business pursues. They could be to improve your workforce and benefits they receive, take the business in a new direction or to build extra profits. These are some interesting investment opportunities that your SME could consider.
Partner firms
Investing in another SME or start-up is one option to potentially grow your current firm. This could be through joining with a competitor or taking on board an SME from another sector to diversify and spread out risk. A lot will depend on how much money is required to arrange a takeover or partnership, along with all the small details of making sure everyone’s best interests are met. There are a range of legal aspects that will need to be adhered to when setting up a business partnership to make the investment a success.
Self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) can be a good investment choice for SME owners, as they hand over control of your retirement investments back to you. This does introduce a bit more risk but can also provide excellent opportunities to boost your pension savings. You could even consider rolling out SIPPs for your entire SME, with providers such as Bestinvest offering these accounts.
Emerging Technologies
Another option is to invest in emerging companies or technologies, as any individual investor might do. Technology continues to evolve, and this is one industry that may be worth pumping any spare funds you have into in the future. Virtual and augmented reality revenues are predicted to reach more than £130 billion by 2020, as the sector grows and offers exciting opportunities. It is essential to seek the advice of investment professionals first, who can help you approach any such opportunity in the best way.
Business Savings Accounts
A sensible choice for any SME is to simply invest any excess profits in a business savings account. This should safeguard the funds in case of any issues with your company, while seeing them grow thanks to interest. The risk/reward ratio may be lower than other options presented here but it can be a much safer choice when it’s your SME’s funds at play.

You could potentially boost your SME and its finances by making its money work with any of these investment options.


If your business uses computers, the internet, digital networks and virtual systems, you’re at risk of cyber threats. ‘Cyber threats’ is a broad term that describes everything from system viruses and malware to hackers stealing your data or bringing down your systems.
Of course, as a business, it’s vital that you’re proactive when it comes to preventing and combatting the risk of these threats from damaging your business, infrastructure, and the reputation you hold with your customers and clients.
To help you protect your business from the dangers of the technological age, here are five cyber threats you need to be aware of, and how to minimize the chance of them becoming a problem.

Cloud Services

If your business is using a cloud-based service to store information and data, this information is always at risk. Of course, it’s important to choose a renowned cloud provider who will protect your information on their end, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re protecting the connection between your systems and the provider.
This means installing anti-virus software on your computer and using an SSL 256-bit encryption service to secure your internet connections.


The biggest and most common threat to your business is the people working in your business itself. No matter whether your staff are using their computers, online services, or any other devices, they need to be aware of what they are doing and how to remain secure.
This means making sure they’re not clicking on risky links, accessing dangerous websites or leaving themselves logged into systems while they’re not using them. To combat this problem, you need to train your staff with proper security preferences using trusted IT training services.

Password Integrity

Another common vulnerability that compromises the integrity of your cybersecurity is the passwords that people are using. Whether it’s your customers, you or your staff, choosing weak passwords makes it easy for hackers to get into your system.
Always use strong passwords to protect everything, using as many characters as possible and a selection of numbers, symbols, and cases to make it difficult for individuals and password-cracking software to breach.

Device Awareness

While you may be focusing all your attention on the computers and connections your business is using, don’t forget about other devices that might have access to your network. If you employees access your data using their phones, personal computers or tablets, this is another point of entry.
To combat this problem, either restrict users from only accessing your network on certified and authorized devices, or ensure they meet your pre-determined security requirements and have ample protection installed.

Social Media

Social media is part of our everyday lives, and it’s a core element to any modern-day business. However, the frequency in which we use social media means it has also become a common place for threats to amass.
While hackers may not be able to access your systems directly, hacking into your social media profiles can cause serious damage to your reputation as a business, and can deem you unsafe and not secure in the eyes of your customers. Consider all the points above to minimize the risk of this being a problem.


When it comes to your business, nothing is more important than keeping yourself safe from cybersecurity threats. Prevention is easy when you’re aware and proactive, whereas leaving it too late can cause irreversible damage.


People have been trading and selling objects for about as long as we’ve had anything resembling civilization, and the practice itself hasn’t changed much, though we now have international shipping. Throughout history, vendors have needed to distinguish themselves so that they could stand out.
Being recognizable to your customers is integral because blending in will just make your store that much more forgettable, and this is a lesson to take to heart, even in an online marketplace. Over the course of today’s article, we’re going to be looking at Shopify theme development.
More specifically, we’ll be taking a look at the ways that a unique and creative Shopify theme can help a business out.


Unlike other premade marketplaces, Shopify allows a rather significant degree of customization. If you want to stand out, a Shopify marketplace will make that much easier, but you’ll have to put in some work to ensure that your theme can stand up to some of the other ones out there.
When it comes to the development of these themes, many wonder whether it’s worth all of the effort to create one that’s unique and will remain in a customer’s memory. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it’s a smart idea to work hard on making your marketplace as recognizable as possible.



The most important thing is to have your customers recognize your site when running an online marketplace. Unlike physical stores, you don’t have a building facade or interior that will stay in the customer’s mind, so your storefront needs to be unique with a design that represents your company.
A design that pops out and engages the customer will be more likely to see returning buyers, as your business will be easier to remember than the hundreds of generic storefronts. While it may take more work to establish a unique Shopify theme, it will be worth it in the end.


While the people working on these Shopify themes know that they have absolutely no bearing over the quality of the product, the customer typically doesn’t. When customers browse your storefront, and they see a tasteful theme, they’re more likely to believe in the quality of your products.
A storefront that has clearly had a lot of work put into it by the team in charge of it will be more likely to inspire confidence in the customer than one that is a default template. Being able to show the buyer that the people in charge care about the business is one of the most important parts of establishing trust with them.


Developing your own Shopify theme may be an arduous process, and it may require the help of a team, but with a bit of creativity, it can easily be done.


There are a lot of people in the business industry, from executives and investors to buyers or even employees, who are doing everything they can to avoid exclusivity agreements. For those unfamiliar with the term, these agreements are in fact documents which parties draft and sign and through which they agree to buy from or collaborate only with the companies that the document mentions. It can also be drafted so that the parties involved can only collaborate with each other therefore shutting down all the external possibilities.
Even if certain companies or buyers choose to not go for exclusivity agreements when they talk business, these documents can also be a huge advantage for both the buyer, for example a startup, and the company that proposes the agreement. By “exclusivity”, many people understand that they become banned from collaborating with other partners or companies over a limited period of time and that this hurts their chances of success greatly. The reality is not quite like this. In fact, it’s a lot more nuanced. In this article we will explore the benefits of opting for exclusivity agreements in your business.


It’s important to know that, in case you are a company looking for certain types of exclusivity agreements for future collaborations, it’s worth taking a look at these exclusivity agreement samples. They may help you when you’re dealing with unprecedented situations, when you’re drafting your first contracts of the type, or simply if you want to know how a professional agreement looks like.
Now, another important factor that you need to consider is that an exclusivity strategy, should you choose to adopt it, is rather difficult to implement. However, this usually depends on how big your business is and the domain you are active in.
Moreover, exclusivity agreements usually help a company take unilateral decisions more easily and only focus on those. It’s always a more efficient strategy to choose only a few things but do them right, than go for many and do a bad job. The same thing applies to your exclusivity strategy with your clients and partners.
Yes, it may sound easy for a large and successful company like Apple to negotiate strict exclusivity agreements with its partners. Such businesses dominate large markets and the buyers will be a lot more receptive. However, if you are a smaller company, you can find a way to dominate a much smaller market.
Let’s see how this theory applies in practice.


Let’s say you have a restaurant and want to arrange exclusivity deals with a nearby farm. That farm will only provide you with its fresh goods in exchange for being featured on the menu. Imagine how beneficial that can be for your business, regardless if it’s a family restaurant or a hip venue waiting to be put on the map. The farm will get more customers, you will get more clients because of the fresh food and transparency, and the competition won’t be able to replicate your menu because they won’t have the exact ingredients.


For a startup, things work the exact same way. A famous example of a legendary exclusivity agreement is the AT&T and Apple deal which happened back in 2007 when the first iPhone was launched. Apple, a small company at the time, agreed to launch its products only through one single carrier. The deal was to not have any carrier software installed on the device itself. It worked out incredibly well, and the rest is history. However, you shouldn’t think that a well-drafted exclusivity agreement will make your business as successful as Apple but it’s a big advantage if you know how to approach your partners and clients.


It’s no secret that behind any good exclusivity deal is a fierce competition and the fear of being replaced or surpassed. As a company, when a partner has something that you absolutely need for your business and which the competition doesn’t, don’t hesitate to propose an exclusivity strategy. Be careful about how you convince your potential partners that this is a win-win situation.
Be careful to not propose exclusivity deal to every partner or client that you have. This will seriously harm your reputation as a company and you might lose a contract or two. Only choose the best opportunities and do this rarely, for the most important deals only. Don’t rush it or you might seem desperate. Your clients will immediately know when you mean business or if you only want to take advantage of them. Tell them what your plan is from the get-go.


Finally, even if many board members, executives or advisors will tell you to avoid exclusivity agreements for your business, design your plan wisely. It’s mandatory to get a good understanding of the logic behind such deals before jumping aboard. They can be a blessing for your company and for the partners that you are working with.
So, always keep some exclusivity agreements with you each time you are going to a business meeting. You never know when an incredible chance might arrive, and you need to be prepared. Also, be creative when it comes to how you structure your deals. Be honest about the advantages and the downsides and always tell the truth! Nothing is more important than that.


In the field of electronics and electric engineering, the significance of designing and PCB software has grown over the years. It has inspired the members of the fields to initiate their own design businesses for a living, and to experiment with software for evolving design needs. If you want to utilize your skills and abilities in PCB designing by starting a business, you can follow the given four ways to get started:


When dealing in a design business, a majority of the electric engineers tend to neglect the inclusion of schematics in their designs and business, which serves as a setback in determining the success of your business. It is no surprise that if the setup of the board is simple and comprehensible, you feel inclined to eliminate schematics from your business portfolio; however, creating a layout for a design using a schematic serves as a reference point for your business, and it ensures that the connection of your layouts is intact and completed.


Similar to any business, your main priority should be inclined towards building sales and marketing skills to ensure the success of your design business. It is no wonder that the majority of the hardware engineers steer clear from developing sales and marketing skills, which could keep their business from becoming successful.
When operating a design business, you should set a sales target, and you should also determine the timespan required to accomplish the total number of sales. You should be familiar with your clients, or your target audience. It includes the people or the clients, which you will eventually serve during the course of your business. You should also create a portfolio for your designs, which you would like to market to your clients.


If you aim to initiate a successful design business, you should consider investing in the best PCB design software that you can find on the market. To begin with the process, you can experiment with the trial version of the software to determine if it would work the best for your business then, you can switch to investing in advanced PCB design software to keep up with the demands and requirements of your clients. You should also hire a staff, which is familiar with using PCB software to create and execute the design of a particular project.


When handling a design business, you are often required to invest in your training and practice sessions to keep up with the demand of your clients. If your services are anything but, advanced—it could provoke the clients to look for a better one. You should look for any webinar online that teaches how to improve your abilities as a PCB designer. You should develop a proactive mindset, and you should be ready to learn anything that comes your way. The more educated and informed you are, the higher are the chances of creating a successful design business.