Securing New Ground Conference: High Expectations, Higher IQ for Security

At the annual Securing New Ground Conference in New York today, Jeff Kessler, senior vice president, business services research, Lehman Brothers, said, “I'm the most positive I have ever been about this industry.” That's saying a lot, given that Kessler has followed security since the early 1980s.

In Kessler's words, here are the top trends from 2007 that could affect 2008:

  1. The IT IQ of the security industry is going up, and that creates issues in market strategy, storage strategy, and employee hiring/education strategy.
  2. There are many big, slow-to-develop government projects that are creating standards and the need for interoperability and open architecture in order to be successful, even in the commercial world.
  3. The systems integration business is learning the lessons of the above.
  4. As a result of Trends 1, 2, and 3 above, it appears the entire go-to-market channel in the security industry is finally looking a little like the advanced world of IT, and not the scattered, sometimes mixed up world of an industry trying to sell through 12,000 installers, and getting by trying to sell large jobs direct.
  5. Financial report users and analysts following the alarm monitoring industry are finally learning to focus value on the steady state cash flows of the recurring revenue base, and on attrition.
  6. China is getting a lot of attention.
  7. Mobile, hand-held identification and sensor devices were highly sought after in 2007 and could be in even more demand in 2008.

From the vantage point of conference presenters, the outlook for mergers and acquisitions in security appears positive as well. Kessler announced the sale of Securitas Direct the day before and made a further prediction. “We expect the trend of acquiring ‘best in niche' to continue in the security industry without letup over the foreseeable future.”