Foyles launches smart home controller with 'clap-activated ordering'

Foyles launches smart home controller with 'clap-activated ordering'

Foyles has launched its new smart home controller range: the ColonTM and SemicolonTM. Developed in-house at the company’s R&D wing, F-LAB, the new products use a unique, clap-activated control system and an on-board content database, and Foyles says they will "revolutionise" the world of home entertainment for customers.

The system is fully integrated with the Foyles website, and allows users to order any book in print simply by clapping the ISBN. The devices are also programmed to recite articles from the Foyles blog, with a selection of pre-programmed celebrity voices.

The ColonTM is the flagship model, with a full range of features including stereo sound and a library of royalty-free music. The more affordable SemicolonTM mirrors the ColonTM’s sleek, spherical design in a smaller, less expensive body, with a shorter USB cable.

Since the move of its flagship store to 107 Charing Cross Road in 2014, the independent bookseller says it has worked to integrate the classic physical environment of bookshops with the utility and convenience of new digital technologies. With the introduction of the ColonTM and SemicolonTM, the company now aims to expand this philosophy beyond the bookshop and into readers’ homes.

Jeff Clark, head of design at F-LAB, said: “A lot of companies are doing the smart home controller thing, but we like to think we’ve added a new, Foyles-ish twist to the concept. The devices learn to recognise the user’s unique clap sound, making it almost as secure as a fingerprint. We’ve learnt a lot since our experience with the self-replicating 3D printer, and we’re confident that our ColonTM and SemicolonTM will transform customers’ homes and lives (in a good way).”

Simon Heafield, head of marketing, added: “We’re hearing a lot about the internet of things, and as a company that has been selling things (i.e. books) for over a hundred years, we felt we should be at the forefront of that technology, whatever it is.”

A video introducing the new range was released today (1st April) and can be found on YouTube page here.

The range is the latest move from Foyles towards integrating digital technologies with traditional bookselling. It follows the successful launch of its holographic bookseller service on the same date last year.