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Indian market: the verticals and the opportunities

Indian market: the verticals and the opportunities
With the security industry in India moving forward at a reasonably rapid rate, a question that is often asked is which verticals are seeing the most demand. Truth be told, as with several other aspects of the Indian market, the answer to this is not so simple.
With the security industry in India moving forward at a reasonably rapid rate, a question that is often asked is which verticals are seeing the most demand. Truth be told, as with several other aspects of the Indian market, the answer to this is not so simple, for two reasons. First, being a fast-growing developing market, almost all verticals are seeing demand. It is difficult to pinpoint a single vertical and say that there is more demand here than the rest.

Second, the Indian market is extremely fragmented and diverse. Demands and characteristics vary from one state to another, making it difficult to get an overall picture. However, from a global solution provider’s perspective, the need for a fairly comprehensive picture is necessary for business decisions. So, we asked some of the major systems integrators (SIs) and manufacturers in the country to get their inputs on the matter.

Beginning with the Government

The Indian central and state governments are slowly implementing security solutions in public places. This is a crucial point as many private establishments in the country are yet to install security systems because the government has not made an effort to enforce them. In fact, recent developments do show changes at the grassroots level.
Yogesh Dutta,

“Banks, educational institutes and government verticals are presenting the highest demand in the demand for security and surveillance technology,” said Yogesh Dutta, COO of CP PLUS. “With the government’s mandate of compulsory installation of video surveillance cameras in banks and financial institutions amid rising vandalism and crimes, more and more banks are considering their premises with video surveillance solutions mostly integrated with access control and fire alarm systems. Education sector has also seen an upsurge in the demand for security solutions keeping in mind the security of children and students and the rise in campus violence. Also, with the government’s emphasis on making cities smart, the demand for city surveillance solutions has risen manifold.”

Nanda Kumar, President of the Electronic Security Association of India (ESAI) who is also an SI, said that surveillance cameras continue to remain the most sought-after security product in the country. Police officials are engaging in awareness campaigns on the need for surveillance systems and encouraging the use of cameras in public places.

Notably, several regional governments had sped up the process of enforcement recently. Early in the month of August, the government of Karnataka, home to India’s technology hub, Bangalore, issued a statement mandating immediate installation of security cameras in places where people gather. This ranged from commercial buildings to religious establishments. The Delhi government, India’s capital city, has also ramped up efforts to boost city surveillance efforts.
Nanda Kumar, President, 
Electronic Security Association of India 

“City surveillance has seen an upsurge in the demand for high-end professional cameras with analytical capabilities that offer a view of the entire city’s premises,” Dutta added.

The government requirements, in themselves, start from the defense sector, where several large manufacturers are already present. According to some SIs, the recent concerns on Chinese manufacturers and data safety in the U.S. has had an impact on India as well. This may lead to government projects avoiding Chinese manufacturers, for reasons that include political, and present an opportunity for other solution providers.

Commercial to Residential

Large-scale retailers, the hospitality sectors and establishments like malls are already making surveillance cameras a standard. According to Vinayak Sane, Principal Consultant and Chief Technical Architect at Elmark Engineers, malls are looking to expand their security coverage. There is also a stronger interest in analytics.

“Previously, malls had security cameras only in the lobbies,” Sane said. “Now, they are trying to install cameras that would cover multiple stores, pooling shops into one feed. They are trying to utilize this feed for people counting, customer analytics, to understand people’s interest in specific brands and products.”
Vinayak Sane,
Principal Consultant and
Chief Technical Architect,
Elmark Engineers

While cameras can be termed essential to many verticals, the use of access control and fire systems is more limited and hence easier to point out. Again, banks and educational institutions are the leading verticals, according to Dutta.

Moving on from the commercial sector, the residential vertical is increasingly seeing demand for surveillance, access control and fire alarm systems. According to Kumar, there is even a rising demand for smart home solutions integrated with the likes of Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Where Lies the Opportunity?

That the Indian market offers a number of opportunities for global security solution providers is obvious. However, a number of large players, who reached here early have an advantage. According to industry professionals like Kumar, there is space for new players to enter, but they have to understand that providing support across the length and breadth of the country is crucial.

For reasons ranging from distance to infrastructure limitations and language barriers, travel and communication from one part of India to another is not easy. Hence, solution providers need to have representatives in every major city, providing support.

They also need to invest in marketing and should not depend on importers to market for them. Importers often have limited resources and cannot market the products as well as the manufacturers. Competitive pricing is also important. The point here is to realize that there are several manufacturers who are offering products of various price ranges. While earlier the quality of such products was a concern, SIs are now convinced that such companies too can provide good quality.

However, the support these companies provide to end users is less than desirable, according to some SIs who compared the situation with those in developed markets. At times, customers have to try contacting the customer care for days on end, with calls going unanswered and promises of a call back never being met.

All said and done, taking on a market with such a competition requires a deep understanding of price sensitivity and customer requirements. For international manufacturers, finding partners, intense marketing, and top-quality support should be a priority in ensuring success in India.
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