Companies today are pushing the boundaries on what it means to live a truly connected lifestyle. While there are many activities that still involve zero levels of connectivity, products and services are inching toward becoming more “smart.”
As Gartner predicts there will be approximately 21 billion connected devices by the year 2020 (just three years away), consumers’ appetite for streamlined products and services is also likely to tangentially increase. Given this notion, companies are moving to develop offerings that will allow people to live a more convenient and simplified lifestyle.
Enhancing the entertainment experience for consumers has been a hot topic over the past few years, and companies are starting to take notice. As more people stay home to watch movies or binge-watch television shows with friends and family, there’s likely a need to up the connectivity game in an innovative way. Following internet-enabled devices like Apple TV or Amazon Firestick, there haven’t been many other ways for consumers to stay connected during their couch time.
One company that’s helping lead the charge for providing the ultimate entertainment experience is startup tech company, Sobro Design. With its out-of-the-box thought process, the company’s big idea was to make furniture connected. Its first product is Sobro, a smart coffee table.
We sat down with the company’s CEO Evan Dash to get a better understanding of the smart coffee table’s back story and the company’s plans for the future.
The Sobro coffee table is a multi-use product for consumers that acts as a miniature refrigerator to store drinks and food with various power ports and bluetooth speakers. With this coffee table, the activity of binge-watching shows like “Game of Thrones” or “House of Cards” likely just got taken to a new level of relaxation.
Dash highlights the ways in which connectivity has impacted consumers’ daily lives but points out that there hasn’t been a major push to redesign furniture with smart devices in mind. “While so many products around us have evolved and changed to make our lives more convenient, we found that nothing has really been done with furniture,” he said. “So we decided to step up and re-invent the coffee table for our connected lifestyle.”
While Sobro has been on IndieGogo for quite some time and has only been developed in a prototype for promotional purposes, Dash has plans to move the ball in 2017: “We are aiming to [finalize] the design and specifications to manufacture and deliver the Sobro to all our IndieGogo backers by our estimated delivery date in September.”
Places like Best Buy and Home Depot could likely see the Sobro pop up in their brick-and-mortar stores within the next few years. As such, this may spur other technology design companies to move swiftly on executing other connected pieces of furniture.
On the probability of Sobro hitting the shelves in retail? “100 percent,” Dash said, “and since our reveal at the 2017 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, we have had several retailers interested in retailing the Sobro.”
The partner of Sobro Designs, product innovation company StoreBound, works to ensure the Sobro and its other offerings succeed. After the Sobro is off the ground, Dash and StoreBound have plans to continue expansion. “StoreBound has several other brands under the head company,” Dash explained. “However, we are already looking at other complimentary items to add to the Sobro, and, in fact, we are creating a Sobro line of products.”
In the long run, it sounds as though Sobro Designs may have plans to expand beyond the coffee table to make other household pieces connected. Dash agreed, saying, “We are working to expand the line of Sobro products and really create furniture that makes life more convenient.”
Moving forward, the furniture industry has the opportunity to turn itself into a power player among other technology companies like Apple and Microsoft. As society becomes more advanced in its use of tech and company offerings continue to sync with others, it may not be too long before we see the most mundane of home furnishings becoming “smart.”