Although Apple's new smart speaker is called the HomePod, businesses can use the device's intelligence and capabilities, too. Here are three ways businesses can deploy HomePods to benefit office environments.
SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)
1: Enable better quality conference calls
Not all offices feature conference room telephones (which can cost $1,000 or more), and even those that do often find attendees holding impromptu conference calls by placing an iPhone on top of the table and enabling the iPhone's speakerphone mode.
For offices without fancy speakerphones, Apple's HomePod offers a convenient method of handing off calls to the speaker's high-quality components. Boasting direct and ambient audio beamforming and a complex microphone array, the HomePod offers quite an upgrade over the standard smartphone speaker.
2: Generate ambient sound
This is a no-brainer. Multiple studies, including one reported by The New York Times, demonstrate that listening to music can enhance focus, improve creativity, and boost productivity. Others prefer subtle white noise or unobtrusive ambient music play in offices to improve their concentration, provide some privacy, and mute varied conversations, HVAC sounds, and other environmental noises that are common in offices.
Regardless of your preference, the HomePod permits playing such soundtracks. With a well-designed woofer and dynamic processing, the device delivers quality sound and is more than up to such rigors. Consider that multiple HomePods can join together and automatically detect and balance one another, and you have a fairly sophisticated, multifunctional sound system that can generate needed ambient sound, while also offering a host of other features, if desired.
3: Receive industry information and perform hands-free tasks
If the HomePod is used within an office where speaking to the speaker and listening to responses isn't disruptive to others, the device makes a great addition. The HomePod becomes a natural Siri extension you can tap to provide all kinds of information.
The device's thoughtful engineering helps ensure Siri accurately hears and responds to commands. Whether you need a current stock price, seek the result of a calculation, wish to set a reminder or record a task, or must send a message, the HomePod can help you perform all those tasks hands-free.
SEE: HomePod can wait: Three reasons we depend on Alexa (ZDNet)
Say a business trip requires you travel to the Glass Capital of the world. You can ask Siri "what's the weather tomorrow in Toledo, Ohio?" The ability to ask natural questions to frequently needed information can save office workers time, which we all know equates to money.
Here's another example: Do you need to send a colleague an instant message? Alert Siri and let the HomePod do the work.
The hands-free options the HomePod offers are wide ranging; in the right office environment, the device can add convenience, save time, and improve productivity, not to mention morale.
- Apple HomePod review: Great sound, but it's trapped in Apple's world (CNET)
- Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home (CNET)
- Apple HomePod finally coming to stores: Can it win the smart speaker privacy war? (TechRepublic)
- What will advertising on smart speakers look like? (TechRepublic)
- Apple's Siri: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.