HEOS by Denon, is ‘True Blue’
StereoNET called HEOS a 'game-changer' back in June when we first heard reports about Denon's new venture. Since then, the market has certainly taken notice, and when a Japanese giant such as Denon (D+M Holdings) throws their weight behind a product it's really no surpise.
We were fortunate enough to attend the official press party and information day in North Sydney this week, hosted by Denon's Australian contingent, and powerhouse distributor, Qualifi.
After a brief welcome, introduction and history of Denon delivered by CEO of Qualifi, Michael Henriksen (below, left), it's abundantly clear that there is much excitement and expectation for HEOS by Denon, and that this project has perhaps been a long time in the making. More on that later.
Joe Salamanca (below, right), Brand Manager for Qualifi, gave attendees a comprehensive look at the HEOS range of products that will be available at launch (AU - September 2014), along with highlighting the simple yet powerful heart of HEOS, the user interface.
There is no doubt Sonos has been the undisputed king in the multi-room audio arena for some years, and for good reason. There's nothing like a little competition to drive brands to work harder and smarter however, and unlike Sonos who were an IT-based company delving into the audio world, this time the shoe is on the other foot. Denon are innovators and pioneers in the audio world, for more than 100 years. So how did HEOS come about? Well it's an interesting story, and closer to home than you can possibly imagine.
It could be a case of planets aligning, fate, smart decisions, or more likely, a combination of all of these attributes. After a short stroll from the HEOS launch venue in North Sydney, unbeknown to most is the D+M Innovations Centre, and it's no small operation with at least 15 full time staff.
Nearly ten years ago, a small team founded a new company that would be known as Avega, developing wireless speaker systems. Not so coincidentally, the founders, we're told, met regularly for brainstorming sessions over a few ales, and meetings at the very same venue we had spent the morning in. The founders included brothers Peter and Tom Celinski, Max Ramsay and Stuart Bryce. Enjoying great success as a start-up, capital funding was provided by investors and Avega were well on their way.
Licensing their Wi-Fi audio technology to companies such as CISCO, Dell and other audio brands, Avega was acquired by Altec Lansing in 2010. Avega knew their expertise was in Wi-Fi and audio streaming technology, but not in acoustics, speaker and cabinet design. 18 months later, D+M Holdings, in what was obviously a move to future-proof their business, subsequently acquired Avega. There's nothing better than when a plan comes together, and this acquisition marries the best Wi-Fi audio technology, with one of the leaders in audio, Denon. A marriage made in heaven perhaps?
HEOS continues to be developed for the worldwide market right here in the Sydney based D+M Innovations Centre, and works closely with a second R&D centre based in California, and Denon Japan.
While the press fielded questions about future features and potential product applications, one thing is sure, the possibilities are endless and the roadmap for HEOS is growing every day. While the U.S. makes it very attractive for tech start-up companies to base themselves there, it's fantastic to see a product developed right here in Australia, employing Aussies, and with no plans to shift the Innovations Centre. That's True-Blue!
For more information on HEOS by Denon, visit Denon Australia.
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