With a mix of established and young companies in this year's ranking, some focused on existing markets and looked into emerging ones. Newer providers looked to overseas partners and opened branches to find opportunities worldwide.
Honeywell reported great potential in emerging markets. "We see opportunity in every region, but our fastest growing markets include India, China and the Middle East," Roth said.
Bosch's target regions for the coming year paralleled Honeywell's growth zones as well. "We are continually increasing our presence in countries with emerging markets, including Russia, the Gulf States and China," van Iperen said.
Axis — a comparatively new security provider — aimed for a larger footprint, including in emerging markets with the infrastructure for network video. "We are, through our partners, present worldwide," Mauritsson said. "There's more uptake in emerging markets." New Axis offices opened in Moscow, Beijing and SaoPaolo in 2008.
Europe remained a key region for Electronics Line 3000 and Geutebrück.
Belgium-based Zenitel plans to continue its European business as well. "France and Germany are the two biggest contributors to Zenitel's business," Dàstol said.
Northern America will continue to be a major market in 2009. "The United States is driving the security market and Zenitel is seeing growth in the United States again," Dàstol said.
Government and infrastructure projects requiring security are key market segments manufacturers are watching for 2009. As the financial downturn squeezes private spending, public installations hold promise.
Large installations are Axis' targets. "Transportation and public surveillance are where we see great opportunities going forward," Mauritsson said. "Retail is an opportunity. However, based on the financial situation, we've seen retailers hold back."
Honeywell focused on both the public and private sector. "The specific segments we watch varies by region, but the top three in general are critical infrastructure, public safety and retail," Roth said.
Zenitel's prestigious portfolio includes the U.S. Navy and Microsoft, which is mirrored in its target verticals. Dàstol said it would focus on building security, transport and infrastructure, and marine applications.
The industry's top manufacturers encountered some challenges, ranging from information sharing to service. "One of the major challenges is the education of installers and end users," Geutebrück said.
Understanding customer needs is a continual challenge Honeywell anticipates. "To he lp ensure we focus on the right products, Honeywell uses a robust voice of the customer process to help us answer customer needs and help solve their problems," Roth said.
Industry Weaknesses and Threats
Identifying weaknesses and threats in the industry, rather than for each company, revealed how security providers saw the market. Some are specific to technology and product categories. Others are factors that cannot be controlled, with nearly all vendors voicing concern about the economic downturn.
A lack of standardization makes true convergence difficult. "Zenitel is concerned about a lack of agreement on what technology standards should be used for integrated solutions," Dàst0l said. "There are many competing standards such as OPC, CIA, BacNet, XML which can be used for integration. IP has not yet delivered the promise of ‘plug and play' integration."
For Axis, its network video solutions face resistance from an industry fixed in its ways. "The conservatism is a weakness or challenge in our industry," Mauritsson said.
Axis summed up how the manufacturers saw the credit crunch — a cautious optimism. "One threat is the general market situation," Mauritsson said. "With the financial crisis, a recession type economy, that will slow down the technology shift (from analog to network video) as well."
However, the company's strengths are expected to pull through. "A slow market will affect our growth rate, but we're quite well prepared for some tough times," Mauritsson said.
As security providers hunker down for lean times, they depend on their strengths to seek new opportunities. Innovative technology, responsive customer service and trend awareness are strengths security players must possess to be competitive.
The ability to apply these strengths in a range of installations will be necessary for survival, as larger projects — such as public surveillance — are targets for the near future. A willingness to expand internationally and develop new networks is required, as emerging markets heat up. With these traits, industry's leaders will be prepared for threats and challenges ahead.
For the whole picture on the report, please visit here.