You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Until CES, we could have said the same thing about the radio. Classic, reliable, perfect in its straightforward functionality, surely the radio needn’t change? Unless there’s a way to make the radio more accessible to listeners, while keeping it, essentially, the same.
VOIZ did just that. The tech startup added artificial intelligence to the mix, launching three smart radios: AiRadio Poco, AiRadio Uno and the AiRadio Duo. The first thing you’ll notice when looking at them are the retro exteriors, with cases made from bamboo and removable cloth grills.
AiRadio Poco (VR-60) and horizontally-oriented AiRadio Uno (VR-70) are single-speaker mono units, while the Duo comes equipped with two 3” speakers and a two-channel amplifier.
Turn them on and you’ll see the difference made by AI. Instead of playing with the knob until you find the radio station required or the song you’re just dying to listen to, you can use your voice.
Thanks to Alexa voice control, it’s amazingly easy to ask the VOIZ radio to play your preferred song, genre or mood. Similarly, you can choose to connect to streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora and look for a song after lyrics or album.
VOIZ has been paying attention to the sound, too. The startup used high-performance speakers with oversized neodymium magnets, a high-performance omnidirectional microphone and a custom-tuned Digital Signal Pro.
The sound should be crisp and clear, coming from retro speakers playing your favorite radio station.
Now, you might ask yourself: how relevant is an artificially intelligent radio for users nowadays? It’s one thing to bring cars and phones to the 5G and AI era, given the mass demand, but is a sophisticated radio something we really need?
It seems so. Despite next-gen TV sets and video on demand services, the majority of US consumers use radio the most. “93 percent of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week — more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV connected device, tablet or PC,” a Nielsen reports shows.
VOIZ’ decision to make the radio smarter seems only logical in this context. Will other brands follow in its footsteps? It remains to be seen.