Polk Command Bar launch

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Distinguished American brand Polk Audio launched its innovative Amazon Alexa-enabled Command Bar at the exquisite Mondrian Hotel on London’s South Bank last week.

 

Voice control is a hugely popular category with both consumers and media at present. And Little Red Rooster is fortunate enough to have a client be the first key player to launch an Alexa-enabled soundbar. This gave us the perfect opportunity to gather the great and the good from the UK’s tech media together to experience the remarkable device first-hand.

 

And rather than a ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentation, Little Red Rooster wanted the journalists to get a true hands-on feel for the future of home cinema.

 

Afterwards an informal supper and drinks reception gave our guests the perfect opportunity to get to know key Polk personnel, with the evening culminating with balcony drinks overlooking the Thames at the Mondrian’s Rumpus Rooms.

 

 

The Presentation

 

 

 

Journalists from titles including Stuff, The Sun, Trusted Reviews, WIRED, What Hi-Fi and The Independent arrived at Mondrian London and were escorted to the Curzon Theatre for a champagne reception.

 

Once seated, Polk Audio executives explained how two men from Baltimore with a passion for music had built a brand on the belief great sound shouldn’t break the bank.

 

Now, 45 years on, the company is collaborating with the world’s largest online retailer and smart home tech pioneer, Amazon, to not only deliver an incredible Alexa-enabled product, but make it available to as many consumers as possible.

 

Believing a ‘surround sound’ experience is critical to consumers, Polk has outperformed its competition selling 10 million speakers in the past decade. In fact, its acoustics and engineering prowess is felt in 10 per cent of American homes, making them the number one speaker brand in the US.

 

Meanwhile, voice assistants have quickly made their way from smartphones to smart speakers and in-car audio, and are now being integrated into devices such as kitchen appliances.

 

It’s predicted that by 2022 over 70 million homes in the US alone will have a voice assistant. Amazon’s Alexa is leading the charge and is already available in 12,000 smart home devices.

 

With an incredible history and track record as market leaders, a Polk Audio and Amazon collaboration is the start of a new chapter in the smart home theatre.

 

 

Demonstration

 

 

 

Following the presentation, journalists were offered an opportunity to get a first look at the Command Bar.

 

Proving very popular was Polk’s attention to detail by including an Alexa action button that briefly lowers the volume, so you don’t have to shout to be heard.

 

The integrated microphones on top of the sound bar can control the master volume, mute, bass, sound mode and source selection with the Polk Connect Skill, which integrates voice commands.

 

The Command bar also supports a variety of Alexa-compatible music services and can even read books from Audible. Additionally, the sound bar supports a full set of home skills to control lights, locks, thermostats and other smart home devices.

 

 

Rumpus Rooms and Sea Containers

 

 

 

Following the demo, guests were escorted to the 12th floor of the Mondrian to the Rumpus Rooms rooftop bar where rare blue skies across London town allowed the riverside views to speak for themselves.

 

After cocktails, guests were taken downstairs to impressive Sea Containers restaurant where they enjoyed a selection of dishes, including Padrón peppers and a rather unique avocado foam. The meal also offered a laid-back setting for journalists to quiz the Polk and Amazon team.

 

After dinner it’s the after party, where guests were able to head back up to the Rumpus Rooms as things continued into the early hours. What else would you expect from a Little Red Rooster soiree?

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