BROOMFIELD, CO—Soundwall co-founders David Hose and Sven Coppom know sound and forward-thinking technology. As the former CEO of Rhapsody, which was rebranded as Napster in 2016, Hose has had multiple successful startups on the software front, one of which was SignalSoft, a pioneer in the development of location-based services for mobile phones. Coppom is an audio and industrial engineer equipped with the skills needed to create innovative technologies. Together they created Soundwall, an art-covered, IoT-enabled, flat-panel speaker designed to cater to hoteliers and hyper-connected guests for the ultimate in-room sound experience.
“For the first two years, Soundwall was in pure research and development mode. Then, with the final product ready, we scaled a team and started working to bring a whole new type of product to market,” said Adam Goodman, president of Soundwall, based here. “At this time, the Soundwall team is primarily focused on working with hotel groups, designers and owners to provide a beautiful technology solution in-room for hotel guests that aligns with growing expectations around how technology should simplify our lives.”
Soundwall uses a powerful processor allowing for WiFi connectivity and has the potential to integrate with existing hotel systems, noted Goodman. In additional to streaming audio wirelessly via WiFi or Bluetooth from any device in-room, the company offers touch, motion and lighting technologies that can all be customized via its proprietary software-based controls.
“We produce flat-panel smart speakers made of interchangeable art that seamlessly integrate with the aesthetics and technology inside hotel rooms, producing a multi-sensory experience for guests,” he said. “The name Soundwall is intended to convey the message that our innovative product allows for rich, natural sound to emanate from a beautiful work of art hanging on your wall. The reality is that Soundwall is so much more than that. To find a name that encapsulates all of the Soundwall features has proven to be daunting…so Soundwall it is.”
Originally geared the business-to-consumer market, Soundwall has shifted its focus to business-to-business with hospitality in its sights. Goodman noted that the hotel space was always a place the company wanted to go. It was just a matter of timing.
“As often happens in life, one might have every intention to do something a certain way, but the outcome is often dictated by others. In this case, upon launch of the redesigned site, we received as many inquiries from those representing large-scale projects in the hotel space as those individuals looking to install a single Soundwall in their home. When you are looking to be efficient with your time and resources, your defined focus becomes clear very quickly,” he said. “We started aligning the product engineering roadmap with the key technology needs of hotels today and those needs we see down the road. It became clear from conversations with leaders in the space that a single Soundwall in-room with all of our hidden technology checks a lot of boxes for hotel owners from both a systems integration standpoint and a guest feature standpoint as well.”
With a new direction and scope, the company also redesigned its website after findings from focus groups and behavior analysis revealed that people did not fully understand how to incorporate Soundwall.
“We took a very focused approach to explain the product in a very literal sense. We tackled and explained each feature in plain English and took visitors through this quick education prior to even allowing them to make a purchase. We saw an engaged visitor who could make an informed purchase decision as a result of this,” he said. “The interesting twist is that we saw most positive feedback stemming from those with ties to the hotel world—both in design and technology. This is what solidified our pivot toward an enterprise sales focus in the hotel space.”
Since redesigning the site, Soundwall has seen a 200% increase in time on site and a 50% reduction in bounce rate. Goodman also noted that the website’s ability to help shoppers understand a unique product earned Soundwall a BigCommerce Design Award for best category or product page.
While a relatively new product in the hotel space, Soundwall is getting specified into a number of upcoming new-build projects and renovations. According to Goodman, some of the bigger brands like the ability to customize Soundwall art in-room for VIP guests during conventions using its Nova Magnetic replaceable art feature.
“Though we have a few installations planned in-suite with big brand hotels later this year and early next, our first installation will be at an innovative new property in Austin, TX, called The Native. The Native is an upscale experiential hostel that is a kinetic collision of music, arts, warm beds, sleepless nights, food and spirits,” he said. “With Austin as the intersection point of the arts, music and technology, The Native chose Soundwall to complement its innovative space and deliver a unique experience to its guests.”
In addition, Soundwall has inked a deal with American Hotel Register to join the brand’s curated collection of luxury products called The Gallery, which kicks off in the third quarter. “I believe this to truly be a testament to our product alignment in this space,” he said.
Soundwall’s next venture? To add interactive voice features.
“We have spent a great deal of time developing the hardware and software tools to allow for direct integration with cloud-based voice technology services. We expect to have some exciting announcements very soon in this regard,” Goodman said. “The great news about putting in this work is that we can also develop custom solutions with hotel brands to integrate their own key voice commands. Picture speaking the word ‘concierge’ and being immediately connected to the concierge desk. When a voice-enabled Soundwall is integrated with hotel systems, who needs a phone in-room anymore?”
According to Goodman, the company is looking for the right partner to implement this. Additional smart rooms features for Soundwall are coming soon.
“We see Soundwall as a beautiful, ever-evolving, future-proof technology that speaks to the needs of hotel guests who expect seamless integration of technology in their everyday lives,” he concluded.