iLuv winning awards

iLuv’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing Jim Browning talks to Dave Robinson about what he believes sets aside his award wining products for the consumer space from all the others.
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It is now possible to get an iPhone case of any design, an iPad cover in any colour imaginable and an iPod dock in shapes that range from aliens to farmyard animals. In an age where not even young children are without mobile phones, thousands upon thousands of companies, shops, market stalls and even petrol garages try to produce, stock and actively push as many accessories for Apple products and smartphones as humanly possible – creating, unsurprisingly, an incredibly competitive market. One company that has kept the delicate balance between innovative design, affordable price and audio quality to create its products is iLuv Creative Technology. Based in New York just outside of Manhattan, the company has picked up an impressive 16 CES Innovations awards since its inception just five years ago. Who is iLuv? “To put it simply, iLuv is the brand leader of the most comprehensive accessories product portfolio for the world’s mobile lifestyle. We specialise in accessories and docks for many of the gadgets consumers use on a daily basis and we pride ourselves on aiming to be the first to the market with our products. For Christmas 2010 we were the first brand to bring an affordable iPad 2 speaker to the UK market - in fact there were only two iPad docks available at the time! We have recently developed a back for the Smart Cover, again one of the very few in the marketplace.” You are based near Manhattan, do you think this gives you an edge for style? “We really do think so. Manhattan is legendary for being the epicentre of design innovation, fashion, and style and also for setting a fast pace of life - that’s why it is chosen as the launch pad for so many new products. We’ve had our Headquarters here now for a number of years with everything we need in-house and under one roof. We have design teams covering product, GUI and R & D which work closely with both QA and QC. This gives us a real edge that we ensure is translated into the look and feel and especially the functionality of our products. Let me stress that we are very conscious that to succeed, iLuv products have to appeal to both the home and worldwide markets. To cover the West coast of the USA we also have a distribution centre in Los Angeles, whilst our international distribution operations are managed from Shenzhen, close to where iLuv products are manufactured.” What are the key factors for competing in the crowded market place of iPod/MP3 player accessories? “iLuv looks ahead at the new mainline products coming along and also at the fashions and trends of our users lifestyles at work and at play. This allows us to predict the accessories that users are going to require to enhance the functionality and enjoyment of their products. In the marketplace, iLuv’s support for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod players is well known, but iLuv now also supports products from Samsung and in fact all devices with a 3.5mm jack. This is perhaps a point that we still have to work on to get across.” Tell us about your product development facility/R&D capabilities. “Our speed to market is a real plus for iLuv. We keep our ears close to the ground and as soon as we learn that a new product is being developed through the special relationships we have built up, we work closely with the manufacturer to ensure that iLuv has a matching range of accessories and other essentials on the market at time of launch - we have been known to be just ahead! When the iPad 2 launched we were one of few brands to have cases and covers ready for sale on the launch date. Our designs had moved on from the first iPad as we had taken the time to listen to our customers, hear their feedback and develop our products with their thoughts in mind. “This places great demands on our R & D function that has to keep up with the pace of the development of main products. Happily these close industry relationships, or partnerships if you prefer, allow us to do this, but we are never complacent and spend a lot of time developing these links.” Sennheiser, Shure and AKG are brands familiar to PSNE readers – but they have their consumer arms too. Could you see iLuv encroaching on some of their territory in terms of pro products? “The world is constantly changing and the marketplace is becoming even more competitive. Our current focus continues to be on the mobile lifestyle accessory market in which we have invested a lot of time and money. It’s a market we know well and with the new products coming along it’s one that still offers real potential for further development. Having said this, it would be a mistake to rule anything out. The iLuv brand is now established, and, with the worldwide distribution of iLuv products through our network of international partners, it is becoming even better known. The iLuv brand has also been recognised for what it stands for, after all 16 CES Innovation Awards for five years running has to mean something. So in close collaboration with our partners who feed back to us the dynamics and the opportunities of their own markets, we are keeping ourselves alert to the possibilities and our options open.” What’s your best audio product?  “You would expect me to say that it’s a difficult choice! Just two examples are the IEP 322 Super Bass In-Ear Earphones and the iMM514 Stereo Speaker Dock. “The iEP322 Earphones are ultra compact, lightweight and of a fashionable design. They’re built with high-performance speakers for high power handling and deliver an extended frequency range, but with low distortion. Designed for digital devices such as iPhone and iPod, the iEP322s are ideal for any Player with a 3.5mm socket and have an adjustable slider for maximum comfort. What’s more, the iEP322 model is available in a range of colours. “The Award Winning iMM514 Stereo Speaker Dock is designed for iPad, iPhone and iPod and has a rotational stand for vertical or horizontal viewing. Highly versatile, the iMM514 allows you to enjoy additional features such as clock display options, creative alarm sounds, searchable weather forecasts, Internet radio and more with the free iLuv App that’s available from the App Store. For enhanced sound quality, this model has jAura Echo Soundcell Technology with dynamic acoustic speaker chambers. We were absolutely delighted that the iMM514 was awarded Design & Engineering Showcase Honors at the 2011 Innovation International CES at Las Vegas in January.”

www.i-luv-uk.co.uk
twitter@uk_iluv

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