Sound progress at NXT

Audio technology group NXT said efforts to launch its flat-panel speaker systems into the aerospace sector were making progress, but admitted that the fast-moving world of consumer electronics would be the key to its short-term growth.



NXT claimed a ‘landmark year’ following final results that showed a 26 per cent increase in revenue to £2.6m. Shipments were two-thirds better than 2004 with 5.1m NXT-enabled loudspeakers leaving the factories. NXT said losses were down sharply thanks to a combination of the extra sales and a £1.7m cost-cutting drive since July 2004.



The firm is best known for its flat-panel loudspeaker technology, which uses small transducers (or ‘exciters’) to generate high-quality sound on a variety of surfaces.



Chairman David MacKay said: ‘This has been a landmark year, with innovative product launches in all our target sectors. We are adequately financed, the brand is benefiting from increasing global consumer awareness and retail distribution continues to grow.’



The increased awareness referred to by MacKay mostly stemmed from the adoption of NXT’s technology by a number of big mobile phone companies. In January a handset incorporating NXT’s SoundVU system was launched by Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo, and Vodafone did the same in June. This was followed by the launch of the first NXT-based speakers for the iPod by manufacturers Logitech, Kensington and Exspect.



‘Over the next two years we anticipate that revenue growth will be driven by new product introductions, particularly from the innovative sectors of the consumer electronics field,’ said MacKay. ‘It is evident that some of the opportunities we continue to pursue, for example in the automotive and aerospace sectors, are only likely to see a significant return on investment in the longer term.’



Qinetiq, an NXT licensee, has been working on launching the technology into the aerospace sector, and through its partnership with Lufthansa Technik has pioneered the concept of direct excitation of the interior trim of an aircraft. Two Boeing 737s will use NXT technology to turn the interior trim into flat, zero-footprint loudspeakers as part of the in-flight entertainment and PA system. Qinetiq has also started work on other PA applications in both the private and civil aviation sectors.



In addition, NXT embedded technology has been adopted by a number of high-profile technology firms. Philips and NEC both equipped their LCD TVs with SoundVu, and the UK company expects the market to grow as the efficiencies of advanced fabrication techniques drive down prices.