2013 — Never a dull moment
Editor / Provider: Submitted by Johnson Controls | Updated: 11/26/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics
Security has become a rapidly evolving and highly complex industry. The cables connecting card readers have been cut in favor of wireless networks. Surveillance video no longer exists on film or tape, but is stored as a string of digital data. And marketers and human resource specialists have found uses for equipment once intended to solely secure people and property. As we complete another year, it is a good time to review some of the industry's changes, challenges and successes. Also, it is a time to reflect on what the new year may bring to the industry's manufacturers, solution providers, integrators and end users.
First, a quick caveat is in order. Any predictions are based on today's economic, social and political conditions. In our volatile, interconnected world, changes in one region of the globe can significantly impact others. That aside, here is Johnson Controls' look at the security industry as we enter 2013.
Despite an uncertain global economy, the industry held its ground over the last year. With slow construction growth forecast in Europe, North America and most of Asia, global industry sales are likely to remain fairly flat throughout 2013. While there certainly will be some major new projects, much of the business in these regions will focus on upgrades and retrofits of existing security systems.
Fortunately, there are some brighter spots. Demand for security products and services will grow in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, where a construction boom is underway in advance of the 2014 World Cup tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. That growth will mean more sales of surveillance cameras, card readers and turnstiles (to accommodate many new stadiums and arenas being built).
Also in Latin America, security directors now expect physical security information management (PSIM) software to be a part of each new project. They value the software solution's ability to collect and combine information from existing disparate security — and even building automation — systems into one integrated, intelligent system offering a single point of control.
The Middle East is another bright spot, as development is continuing at a strong pace with not only some of the world's tallest buildings, but in effect entirely new cities.
Growth in many vertical markets was slow throughout 2012. More of the same will likely take place in 2013, as most budgets are expected to remain tight. But, there are still exciting markets to follow.
Around the world, more children and young adults need to be kept secure on school and college campuses. As a result, the education market will continue its growth in 2013. Health care should be another growth area, particularly in the U.S., where government programs are pushing hospitals to provide better care for more people within the same facilities. The need to increase throughput while maintaining patient satisfaction will help drive increased sales of security products and services.
Securing utility sites can be vital to a region's or even a nation's economic health. As a result, they will require more cameras and card readers and also visitor management systems. The latter will allow security personnel to run Internet-based criminal and terrorist watch background checks on visitors before allowing them to enter a facility.
Retail is another interesting vertical. Probably more than any other market, retailers have found innovative ways to use security data, particularly video. For example, retailers review video to help determine staffing needs, product placement and customers' traffic patterns and shopping habits.
In video surveillance, DVRs will continue to give way to intuitively controlled video management systems and mass storage devices. Rather than review hours of video, a security team can now use software to provide a synopsis of user-defined important or critical events. Using retail as an example, the end user may want to review only the shopping habits of families of three or more people entering a store. Synopsis software can find and present only that video.
Access control will continue to grow closer to the door with smart, edge-based devices. Many will be wireless and operate from an existing or newly built Wi-Fi networks. There will be less hardware but the same or greater capacities. Wireless units will expand access control to remote sites that might have previously been impossible to protect.
Mass notification is primed for growth. It provides real-time information to all building occupants and those in the immediate vicinity during an emergency. Using a combination of interior and exterior speakers and strobe lights, many top mass notification systems will integrate with a building's fire alarm system.
And expect a continued proliferation of mobile phones and tablets apps, allowing security personnel to review live or recorded video, obtain access audit trails and receive alarms while in the field.
Don't anticipate many revolutionary breakthroughs in 2013, but instead expect small, incremental upgrades to existing products and solutions. There are still many inventive people working on the next great development, but until the global economy improves, manufacturers are not likely looking to add them along with the required sales and marketing efforts needed to grow a new product.
That, however, does not rule out some relatively new products and services continuing to gain traction. Remote storage of video and data will head for the clouds. Cloud-based services still face some bandwidth issues, especially for video, as well as skepticism among some security directors that want total control of their data. But that is changing as the cloud environment has proven to be a secure and cost-effective means of storing and accessing data. As the acceptance of the cloud concept grows, there will be greater demand for managed services. Integrators monitor and store an end user's security data and handle alarm situations. This provides monthly recurring revenue for the integrator and allows the end user to realign or eliminate manpower dedicated to security and focus more on an organization's core competencies.
Also expect to see more end users move toward converging the security function with building automation, linking security with environment, lighting and other systems into a single point of control. This adds convenience, reduces manpower needs and enhances the value of an end user's facility.
Finding ways to do more with less will be a challenge for end users. Security directors, faced with tight budgets, must be more selective in their choices of integrators and product manufacturers. They will look for innovation, features and service, while being very aware of price.
In many organizations, the security department is seen as a loss center. Showing ROI helps pave the way for a larger security budget. That requires security directors, integrators and manufacturers working together to prove security reduces the threat level, increases operational efficiencies and offers broad assistance to nonsecurity areas of a business.
And end users will continue to push for open standards as they seek to protect their legacy systems. As equipment fails, a security director wants the option of replacing it with units offering the feature sets and price they want — knowing it will integrate with existing systems.
Manufacturers face the challenge of making the products that end users want and need badly enough they will buy them. That requires closer communication with customers and integrators to be sure the cameras, card readers and other equipment meet the security needs of today and into the future.
For integrators, the new IT-centric world is changing the profile of a typical technician or even a salesperson. That means integrators will have to cast a broader net — searching telephony, IT, software development and other related industries — to find qualified employees.
And to shore up geographical areas where they lack a presence, larger integrators will continue to buy their smaller competitors. Manufacturers will continue to acquire small niche companies that can bring already marketed offerings at an attractive price.
2013 and Beyond
End users will no longer accept stand-alone technology. Even the standard definition of integration as linking access control, video surveillance and alarm points no longer applies.
Integration today means making security work with existing business applications, different databases and operating systems. This more complex integration means more available data, moving bidirectional between systems to create new opportunities and ways to solve end-user problems and concerns. The challenge for all industry segments will be to stay level or ahead of technology changes. The winners will be those that understand what to build and add value to their products, services and operations.
One thing that the new year will not be is dull.