Audio systems that will blow your mind
Audio equipment is a very big business. Music collections are now vaster than ever before thanks to the advent of legal downloading along with smartphones and MP3 players to store thousands upon thousands of tracks on. Investing in a first class system and speakers is worthwhile for any music lover.
British audio company Naim Audio prides itself on being able to “resolutely avoid blindly following fashion”. In a world where many businesses pride themselves on being leaders in their industries this may sound odd, however Naim’s products sell themselves.
“The company does not look upon its equipment as mere products but rather as conduits through which individuals can connect with their music collections,” Naim says. “As such the components need to ‘step aside’ and allow the music freedom to communicate with the listener’s soul.
“Every piece of equipment Naim sells undergoes intensive and stringent testing to ensure that it meets all of the company’s criteria for safety, consistency, reliability, and, above all, class-leading performance that will convey all the music’s passion and emotional content.”
So what does Naim Audio have to offer?
Naim Audio’s UnitiSystem
The UnitiSystem represents a new approach to enjoying high fidelity music around the home. The wireless multi-room concept is based upon delivering high quality musical performance around the home along with simplicity of installation and ease of control. The system comprises four systems: the UnitiQute, SuperUniti, and NaimUniti 2 all-in-one audio players along with the UnitiServe music server. The UnitiServe acts as the hub of the UnitiSystem, storing the user’s music library which is then streamed to the installed audio players.
The only wiring required is the loudspeaker cables between the Uniti devices and their local loudspeakers, and one Ethernet cable for the entire system - to connect the UnitiServe to the home network wireless router. The result is a sleek home audio system to enjoy music as it is meant to be heard.
The all-in-one audio players can be used individually, with the addition of speakers, if a multi-room system is not desired.
All products are available to purchase from one of Naim’s premium independent retailers (represented in Cape Town, South Africa). The NaimUniti 2 will be available to purchase from June.
NaimUniti 2 all-in-one audio player
The NaimUniti 2 is the new and improved version of Naim Audio’s original, multi-award winning all-in-one system, the NaimUniti. It houses a CD player, DAB/FM tuner, internet radio, UPnP streaming, and iPod/iPhone/iPad dock in one sleek enclosure. Below is a summary of the key features:
High resolution UPnP Streaming
- Stream files stored anywhere on the network including iTunes libraries from your PC/Mac through a wired or wireless connection over UPnP at up to 24bit/192kHz resolution
- CD player
- Naim’s custom designed swing draw CD mechanism and CD clamp puck get the best sound quality from your CDs.
- Multi-format tuner (DAB/FM/Internet)
- Access to tens of thousands of available internet radio stations via internet connection or DAB/FM stations.
- USB for iPod / MP3 / memory stick
- Apple authenticated for charging and playback of iPod. Can also playback audio stored on USB sticks and MP3 players.
- 5 analogue and 5 digital inputs
- Add a turntable or headphones, or connect digital sources such as set-top TV boxes, DVD players and games consoles.
Bespoke control app n-Stream
Enjoy browsing your music collection & building playlists via your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Access extended information such as biographies, discography and album reviews and to find out even more about your favourite artists.
UnitiQute all-in-one audio player
Everything about the UnitiQute, is cute. It couldn’t have been given any other name. It’s compact, stylish, multi-source and a high performance all-in-one system. All you need are speakers!
- UPnP-enabled for playback of network-stored audio/ internet broadcasts from PC, Mac or NAS drives
- Multi-format radio (FM, DAB, Internet)
- Front-panel USB for iPod/MP3 player and USB memory stick playback
- Apple authenticated enabling digital output from iPod/iPhone for ultimate quality
- iPod/iPhone control, charging and front-panel content display when connected to front-panel USB port via standard Apple connector
SuperUniti 2 all-in-one audio player
SuperUniti might well contain all the audio versatility you'll ever need, but audio versatility is nothing without musical ability, and that's where four decades of Naim Audio expertise comes in. Not only does the SuperUniti do everything, it does it all with brilliant clarity and heart-stopping emotion. Every musical source, from internet radio via analogue inputs through to digital streams, is played with genuine musical quality. Every drop of music is squeezed from every stream of data - whatever its provenance.
- UPnP™ -enabled to stream audio files from any hard disk server, such as UnitiServe, HDX, network attached storage (NAS) or laptop/computer via a home network
- Multi-format tuner for FM/DAB/Internet radio
- vTuner 5* full service internet radio
- Naim's Choice allowing access to higher quality iRadio streams selected by Naim
- Front panel USB port for replay of MP3 player/iPod and USB-stored audio
- Apple authenticated enabling digital output from iPod/iPhone for ultimate sound quality, charging and front panel content display, when connected to front panel USB
- Multiple intuitive control interfaces: front panel, remote control handset and n-Stream app - enabled for system automation, useful for those wishing to use a CD player alongside SuperUniti
- Naim custom-designed digitally operated analogue volume control for excellent sound quality and precise channel matching
UnitiServe Hard Disk Player/Server
The UnitiServe is a compact, slot-loading, CD ripping, hard disk music player and server.
- Slot-loading drive for ease of use
- Two variants: UnitiServe or UnitiServe-SSD
- UnitiServe - 2TB Hard Drive
- UnitiServe-SSD - 16GB Single Level Cell (SLC) Enterprise Drive
- Naim bit-for-bit secure CD ripping to either internal storage (UnitiServe only) or external network attached storage (NAS) drive (both UnitiServe and UnitiServe-SSD)
- Save downloads or pre-ripped music to the hard drive for easy access to entire music library
Testament to how high the firm is regarded, it has enjoyed an exclusive partnership with Bentley Motors since 2008, with the launch of the Naim for Bentley Premium Audio System, which is available across all Bentley models. The system delivers an “as-live” audio experience.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”