If the past five years have taught us anything in the security industry, it’s that the words “security” and “recession” mix about as well as oil and water. Once again, across every conceivable technology and market segment, the security industry is thriving — outdoing sales and spending figures from corporate facilities down to single-family homes.
As we turn the page on 2013 and head into another year of projected success, one thing is clear: the state of the security industry is strong; and security dealers and integrators — as long as they continue to embrace cutting-edge technologies and sales tactics — will ride the wave of overall success to increased profits.
PSA Security president and CEO Bill Bozeman describes the state of the industry as “good to very good as compared to other non-security related businesses.”
Adds Security Industry Association (SIA) CEO Don Erickson: “If the ISC East Expo and education conference sessions were any indication, then the state of the security industry is very strong as we head into 2014.”
Here’s a look at a few of the major technology and market-related trends you should be watching as we move through 2014 and beyond.
Both Erickson and John Knox, president of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), say that the continued advancement in home automation will have the greatest impact on the security industry in 2014 — more than any other market.
“The biggest changes will be in the home, where consumers will continue to push for high-end functionality for security systems and for other lifestyle functions,” Knox says. “Home automation definitely offers the greatest opportunity for growth, and it also gives us a chance to expand the market for home security.”
In fact, according to Berg Insight’s Smart Homes & Automation report, the number of new smart home installations in North America was on track to reach 2.3 million in 2013 — an increase of 66 percent year-on-year. The strong growth is expected to last throughout 2014 and for years to come, driving the number of new installations each year to 12.8 million by 2017. As a result, penetration of smart home systems in North American households will increase from just 3.2 percent at the end of 2013 to 16.6 percent in 2017.
These home automation and security technologies give homeowners the power to control their residential systems at the touch of a button, from anywhere in the world thanks to mobile functionality (for more on the innovations in home automation, please read the December 2013 special cover section of SD&I).
The exponential increase in residential security and technology options, however, has been like blood in the water for many large service providers, who, like hungry sharks, are now infiltrating the residential security space — an area once claimed by mostly smaller players. “The entrance of larger, non-traditional companies like Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T into home automation and security is challenging traditional integrators to keep up,” Knox acknowledges.
It may be a familiar refrain, but the continued rise of network-based systems — from video surveillance to access control and beyond — is having a profound impact on the commercial security industry. Not only are these technologies making security departments more efficient and powerful, they are also changing the way systems are being integrated together and how organizations use the information that is produced.
At some point in the last couple years, the term “Big Data” went from being a buzzword to something that can tangibly change the way integrators capitalize on the commercial market. “All the metadata being created (by IP-based systems), is a valuable way to look at what’s going on in the enterprise and start finding valuable little nuggets of information that will help managers improve their business,” explains Jay Hauhn, CTO and vice president of industry relations for Tyco Integrated Security. “That’s where the market is going.