To complement our look at the high points of the past decade, we also asked our straw poll from the IE Residential marketplace what they are most looking forward to this year. Economic growth and 3DTV stand out, but the responses from our cross-section of manufacturers, distributors and integrators are wide-ranging, says Paddy Baker.
"2010 is an exciting year with much more optimism in the market than this time last year," says Stuart Tickle, managing director of AWE Europe.
"People are already looking ahead towards the World Cup and 3DTV is causing a real buzz too. Anything that gets consumers thinking about their home entertainment is good for the industry and these are two huge opportunities for CIs to demonstrate why people should be investing in a high-quality system."
Not surprisingly, Tickle is by no means alone in looking forward to an improved fiscal picture during 2010. LY Chiu, director of Cytech Technology and Cytech Europe, says: "I am hoping for a strong economic recovery in the major economies, as well as looking forward to the introduction of several important new products for the Comfort system which have been under development for the past year."
According to Adrian Ickeringill, Modular sales manager at Armour Home, the recovery will further enhance his company's market position. "We're experiencing a real surge in sales, led by the brilliant Q Acoustics Q-TV2 [2.1 TV speaker system] and we expect this - and a whole bunch of innovative new products to be released during 2010 - to put us in a really strong position as the economy improves."
3DTV, mentioned by AWE's Tickle, is on others' radar as well. "After a tough 2009 we are looking to a return of market confidence in 2010. This will herald the growth of exciting new technologies like 3DTV," comments Kevin Swanton, UK sales manager at Asheridge Communications. "This will be of great benefit to our industry as a whole because it will require the best of cables, switches and components. This will allow the good integrators and installers to show what they do best - a great reward for those who fought through a tough 2009."
His comments are amplified by Smart-e managing director and founder Jon Lane: "With more films being recorded in 3D format there is growing interest in 3D viewing, and as manufacturers roll-out 3D screens, we believe 3D TV will become more popular and accessible for the home entertainment market. At Smart-e we are already working on new distribution methods to transmit 3D signals around the home, and hope to meet this challenge soon."
Alan Roser, MD of SIM2 UK, says that while consumer 3D projection will be an exciting development in 2010, his main thoughts are elsewhere:
"This is the year of LED projectors and SIM2 has an exciting range of products coming to market, starting with the MICO50. This technology removes the need for lamp changes while delivering the biggest picture for the lowest power consumption of any vision technology: ideal for the more eco-conscious customers of today that still want to make the most of high definition with bigger displays."
John Niebel, sales director of residential systems at Lutron, also strikes an eco note: "We look forward to the growing challenge of meeting ever more stringent energy saving targets, having the chance to use exciting products to control new light source technologies as well as the whole new world of opportunities that the new year will bring."
Two manufacturers of home entertainment distribution systems are looking ahead to the launches of new and enhanced products. NuVo's president and COO, David Rodarte, says: "2010 marks the deployment of our whole-home audio system utilising the electrical mains for distribution of music, command and data to our whole-home audio system, Renovia. While launching first quarter of 2010 in the US, we will follow with deployment to the EMEA region."
Simon Hewitt, marketing director of Opus, says: "We're launching the 6 Series later this year which we'll preview at ISE. The Opus 6 Series embodies a raft of improvements but most notably it makes third-party integration and control even simpler and offers the option of HD video distribution."
PMC will be flying the flag for quality audio in 2010 and beyond, says marketing manager Keith Tonge. "2010 is set to be an exciting time for PMC with numerous launches of highly targeted products. Specifically for CI, the launch of the 200W, DS-001 compact ultra low distortion power amp module designed for use solo or in a multiple rackmount format will only assist with the expansion of the wafer series of in and on-wall loudspeaker designs."
Another company expanding its portfolio is DMi Europe, as brand director Bert Kiggen explains: "DMi will expand its range of products and systems enabling full function integration of AV multimedia distribution, management and playback, lighting and other solutions. We will work ever closer with existing and new partners in optimising solutions offered to installers and end users, and gaining a stronger position in the European installation market."
For David Rose, head of design and marketing at Morban, the emphasis is on greater people involvement: "In 2010 we're looking forward to opening our first showroom and training facility in the Midlands, so that we can expand and support our network of Authorised Morban Installers. Also greatly expanding our creative involvement at the initial stages of projects, working with a wider circle of creative craftspeople to provide our customers with unique design solutions in both commercial and residential lighting and intelligent living solutions."
Finally Neil Curry, OmniMount Systems MD in the UK, is describing his company but could be speaking for the industry as a whole when he says his team is "most looking forward to continued growth this year. We're on a solid path with our partners, both seasoned and new, that includes crafting new products, developing efficient solutions and reaching new markets." Let's hope that 2010 fulfils its early promise.