How do you see the ISE market (professional AV and electronic systems integration) market faring in the EMEA region in 2010?
Our expectations for the market in 2010 are high. While the economic downturn continues to exert pressure on developing markets, we have come to market with new, lower cost solutions to accommodate the new reality. Commercial business will be higher in the UK, Germany, Russia and Middle East as a whole. The Residential business will be under pressure in the most developed markets, such as UK and Dubai. Africa is finally realizing some of the potential we have always suspected. Key markets continue to be South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria.
Overall, the professional systems market will continue to benefit from the confusion in the market over media formats and the transition to digital media delivery systems. Crestron’s dealers are benefitting from the recently introduced Digital Media product line as a result of this transition and EMEA dealers are leading the charge.
What do you think will be the key external factors affecting the market this year?
The Green movement has become part of our social fabric. Littering became part of the public consciousness 20-30 years ago and now the same thing is happening with Green behaviour. Companies, governments and individuals will demand that our technologies are contributing to the savings or at least not making things worse. It is not a business strategy; it is just part of our lives. If we, as an industry, can show that we are making a positive impact in this area, we will continue to benefit from it, both by selling more products and services and by actually contributing to the initiative.
Businesses cannot realistically compete in today’s world without making use of the professional audio/video/information industry, and they know it. While I don’t believe we can go back to 2007, economically speaking, there will still be a demand for our high end expertise.
Outside your company's offering, what do you think will be the 'star' technologies of 2010?
It’s difficult to say which technologies will have the strongest impact. Amara’s Law states that we tend to overestimate the short term impact and underestimate the long term impact of new technologies. That being said, some of the most exciting technologies that I am aware of are advances in gesture recognition, intelligent searching, wireless power, and 3D.
The driving force will continue to be consumers, more than professional users. As more and more processing power shows up in tablets, PDAs and smart phones, it will challenge us to keep pace, add value, and justify our costs as a profession.
What do you think is the best thing about the ISE show?
I think the best thing about ISE is the excitement in generates in our industry. I have been to many trade shows, all over the world, and rarely do you get the feeling that everyone is excited to be there. At ISE, there is a palpable feeling that this show matters and everyone can feel it.
The other great thing about ISE is that manufacturers are starting to use ISE to launch new products. It used to be that everyone would wait to launch products at Infocomm, but there is a growing recognition that ISE is a perfect place and time to introduce the latest products.
ISE also has the benefit of being in the beginning of the calendar year, so everyone gets to renew friendships, and catch up after the December holidays.
Personally, it’s my favourite show.