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CEDIA Checks Out Global Technology Trends

While the buzz over 3D, tablets and other hot technologies has been a global phenomenon, CEDIA, the leading authority on residential electronic solutions, recently compared home technology trends in different parts of the world, using its global network of more than 3,500 member companies’ experience.

“In today’s connected world, people are finding they can get more than they ever imagined out of technology in and around the home,” said Utz Baldwin, CEO, CEDIA America.

 “These trends show that homeowners are seeking technology applications that are tailored to their unique needs and lifestyles rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.”

While certain technologies may be equally popular around the globe, homeowners’ motivation for installing these systems varies.

For example, in the United States, eco-conscious homeowners may opt for energy monitors out of a sense of personal responsibility for the environment, while in the UK the motivation for the same technologies are often mandated by the government.

CEDIA experts claim the electronic systems categories that show most promise for 2011 and beyond are ones that provide ease of access, can improve quality of life, reduce economic and environmental impact and are easy to use.

CEDIA noted the following trends around the world. In the Asia Pacific Region, CEDIA members reported the following:

1. Safety is Important
With the advent of integrated technology, homes can be set up to communicate safety warnings and protect against disasters such as UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) systems and smoke alarms. 

2. Sports Fanatics
Sport crazy nations, such as Australia and New Zealand are more likely to opt for 3D and high-definition screens, immersive surround sound and fully integrated media rooms to enjoy sports events in the comfort of their homes.

3. TV: The New Date Night
TV sales have increased as homeowners save money by staying at home on a Friday night. Home theaters have gained in popularity and are improving people’s entertainment spend and quality of life by delivering the full cinema experience in the comfort of their own homes.  In 2009, the Australian government gave all households a $900 bonus to help stave off a recession during the global financial crisis, which was jokingly referred to as the ‘plasma bonus’, leading many retailers to drop the price of their best-selling flat panel TVs to around $900.

 

In the US, CEDIA’s senior director of technology, Dave Pedigo, noted the following trends:

1. TV of the Future
TVs are becoming more like computers, being more compatible with cameras for video conferencing, social-media-enabled widgets and media receivers. According to a July 2010 survey by DisplaySearch, by 2014 nearly all TVs 42 inch and above will be 3D-ready. DisplaySearch also projects that 42.9 million 3D-ready TVs will be sold by 2014.

2. App-Driven Technologies
The adoption rate for applications will continue to grow rapidly, allowing third-party developers to offer a vast array of products, games and interfaces that allow consumers to customise their viewing habits.

3. Home Theaters, Gaming and Media Rooms
A Parks Associates survey indicates U.S. revenues for home theaters and multi-room audio systems will continue to grow, from $6 billion in 2007 to $11 billion+ by 2012. Homeowners are increasingly seeking an all-immersive entertainment environment with such technologies as motion chairs, 3D surround sound and giant 3D screen, offering the ultimate movie-watching experience.

 

Rufus Greenway, marketing chair, CEDIA and director of Sound Environment noted these trends in the UK.

1. Control Applications for Smart Phones and Tablets
Applications for smart phones and tablets allow homeowners to control the home’s lighting, HVAC, entertainment, and other systems. While apps for mobile devices do not yet offer a singular solution for home control, the app market has emerged as a complement to dedicated remote controls and touchpanels.

2. TV On-Demand
The UK is experiencing a growing number of clients interested in on-demand TV content. BBC i-player and similar services are in high demand as clients with busy lives find it difficult to be at home to watch a particular program at the same time every week.

3. 3D and Blu-ray Content
3D technologies will improve as more content is released and screen prices drop. Picture quality of 3D screens in standard-definition and high-definition channels is also improved, since the increased processing speed required for 3D makes screens better by default. Additionally, standard DVD players are fading out, being replaced by Blu-ray HD players, which have become more affordable.

4. MP3  vs. CDs vs. Vinyl
The MP3 has become the new standard in audio enjoyment in the home, replacing older CD players, but there will be always a market for those who wish to listen to uncompressed music. The high-end audiophile will always search for quality over convenience, as proven by the stabilisation of vinyl sales.