The next big thing in the technology industry is undeniably the Internet of Things (IoT). The concept of connected devices and the benefits that they bring to users have taken the market by storm. According to the research firm MarketsandMarkets, its market size is estimated to grow from US$ 157.1 billion in 2016 to $661.7 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 33.3 percent during the period. All industry verticals are undergoing a huge transformation in a bid to move toward affordable, accessible and quality services to their customers.
“New applications and use cases, a result of cutting-edge technology innovations, are being developed to address the changing industry needs,” said the research firm in a release accompanying the report. “IoT, in combination with cloud computing and big data, is creating lucrative opportunities for organizations.”
The physical security industry is keenly watching the development of the IoT market while trying to take advantage of the factors that would assist in making its products more efficient. Several security solution providers have already taken steps to ensure their place as the market moves forward. However, several experts warn that unlike other industries, the physical security industry should be cautious when it comes to adopting IoT systems. This is because the very nature of the physical security industry is to protect and while IoT expands possibilities, it also creates more chances for this protection to be weaker. Recent examples of IoT devices being hijacked by hackers are indeed confirming this possibility of security systems becoming weaker with IoT.
Nevertheless, with the right approach, physical security solution providers can reap several benefits from IoT. Traditional security companies who are willing to embrace this new technology have an edge over others, in terms of infrastructure, brand confidence as well as customer base.
The market transition from companies’ perspective
Contrary to other technological developments, IoT is making its presence known among customers. Even end users are becoming aware of the various benefits that the new technologies can bring and expect the solution providers to come up with them. Stressing on the connected home technology in Europe that is expected to reach $19,411 million in Europe by 2021, James Somerville-Smith, Northern Europe Channel Marketing Leader at Honeywell Security & Fire
, said that the segment is witnessing tremendous growth. “As a result of this growing demand, consumers have raised expectations about what their technology can achieve,” said Somerville-Smith. “Many now look to combine various household systems into one solution where systems not only work together, but understand each other. Secur ity systems are increasingly a key part of that.” Stressing further on the demand from consumers, David Ly, CEO of Iveda
, said that the market will dictate the transition and the shift has begun. More and more, customers are demanding ease of use and management and accessibility from their smartphones. This change widens the scope for even non-traditional security companies to pitch in with their offerings.
“They want more interaction and control from security systems,” Ly said. “This trend presents more opportunity for non-traditional security technology providers to now play in the security arena. I think it really is an opportunity for the industry to expand on its product and service offerings. In other words, you don’t need to offer traditional video surveillance/DVR solution or even IP cameras with installation services anymore. The market opportunity is the traditional security alarm or video surveillance system because of high cost and cumbersome installation, they may now want just a doorbell camera or a temperature control system. The new choices bring to the industry more customers.”
He added that the company plans to take advantage of this trend by simply being more flexible with the product lineup that they offer. Leveraging the relationship they have with their telecom customers, Iveda will listen to Jeffrey Wu, President of Starvedia Technology
said that the major reason for the transition from traditional security to smart home and IoT-related systems is due to competition and the lowering costs of devices. In short, it can be noted that the customers are key to driving innovation in the field of IoT. As the end users become more and more aware of the innovations that are taking place in the field, they would demand more solutions that are new and effective.
At this point, it would be important to take a closer look at these customer requests in this context. No doubt, they are unique in terms of technology, but what would be more interesting is the end results they aim to achieve.
Changing customer demands
Customers really want simplicity, according to Thomas Schulz, Director of Marketing and Communications at ASSA ABLOY EMEA
. The spread of technology through our daily lives has made us accustomed to a streamlined user experience.
“Technology has also made us impatient and craving convenience,” Schulz said. “That’s why smart-home IoT devices must be easy to operate and to maintain. They must integrate with technologies we already use — phones, security ecosystems and so on.”
He added that in the commercial market, cost-efficiency is a major driver. For example, the move from wired to wireless solutions means cheaper and less invasive installation, lower energy consumption, and much lower maintenance costs. This encourages companies to explore the advantages of bringing access control much further into their premises. They know with wireless devices it will be cost-efficient, and yet will also offer a significant security upgrade.
Somerville-Smith pointed out that for many customers, having remote control over their smart security systems is a key priority. Mobile phones and other smart devices play a major role in smart security systems, allowing homeowners to control their security systems on the go.
For example, with Honeywell’s system and remote control app, the homeowner is automatically notified on his mobile device if an alarm is triggered, and can set and unset alarms from their phone. When at work, for example, homeowners are notified through the GX Remote Control
when the system has been unset – indicating that their child is home from school. With all these capabilities, it is therefore vital that security smartphone services are designed to be simple and easy to use.
“The second requirement for many customers is additional home automation functionality,” Somerville- Smith continued. “Smart security systems like Honeywell’s Galaxy Flex provide homeowners with basic control over multiple elements, including gates, garages, blinds and heating, all through one interface that can be accessed remotely.”
Ly pointed out that the customers are no longer interested in a passive role in security, they take an active interest in the technology and how it operates.
“Our customers don’t want to just look back and see that something went wrong,” Ly said. “They want to actively see what’s going on to prevent any potential danger from occurring. With the widespread use of smartphones worldwide, people depend on their smartphones to manage their day-to-day activities, including home security, and at a cheap price. With that said, our systems now need to be more affordable with more functions and features. Security systems are expected to do more than just alert you when something is happening. It now has to allow for lights to be turned on, lock and unlock doors, open and close curtains, and adjust temperature, etc. These functions need to be performed remotely using a smartphone or any mobile device. With the awareness shifting to more IoT, there is more business opportunities with the masses.” To Jeffrey, customer requirements revolve mostly around the protocols. Different customers are requesting different protocols. Such things could pose a challenge to companies who would wish to standardize their offerings for seamless integration with other products.