The company also has plans to introduce a new device which can be used to control all smart appliances in an ecosystem
Taiwan based Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has unveiled its first smart speaker at a event held in Delhi last evening. Christened Bora, it is a portable smart speaker powered by Amazon Alexa. The company, apart from retailing it to the end customers, is also open for taking bulk orders from private labels in the country.
Rajshekhar Bhatt, India Country Manager, ECS told Electronics For You, “We are foraying into the smart speaker space for our own, as well as for the benefit for consumers in India. A lot of users now prefer to talk to a single device when it comes to controlling all other appliances in an ecosystem. ECS, with its smart speaker is not going to stick to basic things. Instead we will do as much value addition as possible.”
Smart speaker market
Canalys, in one of its recent reports, forecast that the worldwide smart speaker installed base will grow 82.4 per cent from 114.0 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019. The extended ICT industry, as per the research company, should now take note of the size and speed of smart speaker market growth, as well as the rising use of smart assistants.
Canalys senior analyst Jason Low had pointed out, “The growing installed base of smart speakers is an opportunity to create new business models and to drive profit beyond music and audio content streaming services.”
It is to be noted here that the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple are retailing smart speakers powered by their respective voice assistants. Even Samsung and Huawei are said to be working on smart speakers currently. While Samsung’s smart speaker will come powered by Bixby, Huawei is also working on a smart AI assistant.
Bhatt, on competition from other global brands told EFY, “The competition is bound to happen but we learn with our OEMs and ODMs. We manufacture and ship more than 1,25,000 mini-PCs every year for other brands. We sincerely think that there is opportunity to grow for us and our OEMs and ODMs to grow together in the smart speaker segment as well.”
He added, “Competition is inevitable but in the end all it matters is the value that you give to the customer. Better margins, support and good service is what ECS is known for and we will only concentrate on the same for the Bora smart speaker as well. Be it our partners or the end consumer, what value we add finally is what concerns us.”
The reason behind entry in the consumer electronics market
Though ECS has been retailing Tablets for a long time now, smart speaker is the first consumer electronic that the brand has come up with. While addressing the media, ECS team said that it is working on ways to reach more customers in the market.
ECS’ team said that the company has recently inaugurated a new manufacturing facility in Thailand and one in India may be on the cards soon. Bhatt, after the event, told Electronics For You that the launch of smart speaker will help the company to reach more customers.
It is indeed a simple fact that while ECS may only be reaching IT consumers with its line of mini-PCs, it will definitely be able to generate interest from the non-IT consumer electronics consumers. The company has not revealed the prices of Bora smart speaker yet. ECS, also has plans to introduce a new device which can be used to control all smart appliances inside a ecosystem.
Bhatt said, “We are in the process of finalising the price of Bora smart speaker. The team is working on the policies of the Indian government. We have plans to start retailing the smart speaker after our annual ComputeEx event.”
ECS Bora, as the company expalines through an official statement is “A portable Bluetooth speaker supporting Amazon Alexa voice control via mobile phone APP. For better sound experience, Bora is built in the full range driver to deliver high quality of sounds. With high-efficient battery built-in, ECS Bora Bluetooth Speaker can keep working at least 12 hours without charging. Through this voice integration, the ECS voice smart device can control your smart home, managing compatible lighting systems and other smart devices throughout the home to create an improved way of smart living.”
Bhatt concluded, “With India picking up a rapid pace in transforming itself to a digital economy, the Indian consumers and the government sector are witnessing significant adoption of AI-based solutions. At ECS, we are committed to aid this transformation with our cutting-edge solutions, capable of catering to the demands of consumers.”
ECS Whirlwind and ECS Amazon Alexa built-in Mini PC Introduced
The company also introduced Whilrwind and Amazon Alexa built-in Mini PC during the event. Whilrwind, as per the company, is an AI built-in device combining a portable 10-inch display and a 2.1 channel of sound dock. ECS’s explained Whirlwind as, “The portable 10-inch display of Whirlwind is designed with an intuitive interface for people to easily manage and monitor many home devices such as thermostats, door locks and lights. With a user-friendly interface that simplifies the system operating process, Whirlwind can make monitoring and managing the devices much easier.”
ECS’s official statement continued, “As Artificial Intelligence plays a seemingly important role in today’s life; ECS now brings Amazon Alexa built-in Mini PC integrated with AI technologies to the ubiquitous market. Besides this, the brand aims to produce and design cost-efficient and advanced platforms in the coming times. The LIVA M520 new generation of LIVA PC with Intel AI engine built-in, features low power consumption design, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, RS232 headers extension to provide the powerful live-streaming analytics solution through real-time artificial intelligence. LIVA M520 can help you gain access to the AI platform faster and easier.”