The security week that was: 1/02/09

A look back upon the top 10 trends and issues of 2008


6. A major new event for the industry: The summer of 2008 probably wasn’t the best time to launch a new tradeshow/event for the security industry, but the members of the NBFAA and the CSAA pooled together and did exactly that. Called ESX – the Electronic Security Expo – it was a tradeshow for the security alarm and monitoring industries, a part of the industry that some said had become less represented at the existing industry tradeshows. Hosted in Nashville, Tenn., this past June, it wasn’t the most attended (fuel and travel prices were high), but it did quite well for a first-year show and, above all, the level of education and networking at the show was superb. Our page with news and editorial content from ESX is still up on the site.

5. AMPS Sunset: Analog cellular technology was turned off in February 2008, and if you listen to the consumer media, the hardest hit were the people with older GM vehicles who used OnStar. But it was a big deal to the security industry, which saw the loss of support for older “AMPS” cellular alarm back-up systems. The industry had been proactive in 2007 to tell customers of this coming “sunset”, but despite that, some customers still didn’t get it.

4. Surveillance market entrances: The security industry, especially in the area of video surveillance, still is a good place to be. That’s the summary we can ascertain from continued entrances into the market by companies like Basler (which entered the IP video market this year), Samsung Techwin (which entered the U.S. video surveillance market), iSentry (video analytics), BRS Labs (video analytics), TimeSight Systems (DVR technology) and a number of others who are looking to advance our industry video surveillance technology acumen.

3. Mergers and acquisitions: Last year saw a pile of mergers and acquisitions as business bought others which had obvious synergies inside their own operations. On the integration side of the house, we saw ADT buy FirstService Security, Stanley purchase Sonitrol, and Siemens buy MAC Systems. In the world of product manufacturers, there was March Networks’ acquisition of Cieffe, the plan to merge Hirsch and SCM, Tyco’s purchase of Intellivid, Bosch’s acquisition of Extreme CCTV, NAPCO’s purchase of Marks USA, ASSA ABLOY’s buy of SimonsVoss, HID Global’s merger with the ASSA ABLOY ITG, L-1’s purchase of Bioscrypt, Kentec’s buy of Viking’s fire panel business, Sagem’s purchase of Motorla’s biometric business, and, finally, the formation of a plan for a merger-type alliance between Panasonic and Sanyo at a corporate level well above the security business units. On the flipside, it was also the year that Brink’s Home Security became independent of the company’s cash transport business.

2. IP video standards: 2008 was absolutely defined by IP video, and nothing defined the trend toward networked video surveillance solutions than the cross-competitive pushes to create standards. On the one hand, we saw the work that PSIA did (and their release of an API) and the launch of the ONVIF standards forum that was spearheaded by Axis, Bosch and Sony. All of the companies, consultants and developers involved in these forums should be applauded for trying to reign in this technology trend so that it will not be cumbersome and proprietary. There may be competition between the two groups, but at SIW, we feel that two is far better than none.

1. The economy: In the throes of the summer gas shortage, I paid $5 per gallon, and I also had to wait almost two weeks before the gas station near my home had fuel in its tanks. That shortage and spike in gas prices affected our industry, since security service installation companies and guard patrol companies live on the road 24/7. Perhaps affected by this spike and also by major problems in other sectors like the lending market, the U.S. and the world felt the hits of recession. That recession in turn affected companies in our industry, who were forced to lay off workers. Others saw the flow of security projects through the business pipeline slow down. Through it all, the CCTV market was predicted to continue to grow, despite a slow-down and reforecasts in the IP video submarket. In terms of THE STORIES of 2008, the recession’s on the U.S. and world economies was unequivocably the biggest story of the year. Which is why, before I walk away from 2008, I’d like to propose at toast to 2009. May this year be brighter, busier, safer and more secure!