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N. America: Who are the top spenders on security?

N. America: Who are the top spenders on security?
For North America, government and the military have been cited as a major sector that spent heavily on security over the past year, amid security concerns and the need to protect lives and assets.
The year 2018 will soon be over, and sadly it left us with several incidents including the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the May knife attack in Paris. These tragedies serve as reminders that end users are still in need of security, which is expected to grow in the years to come. This is true for major markets across the globe.
For North America, government and the military have been cited as a major sector that spent heavily on security over the past year, amid security concerns and the need to protect lives and assets.
“These government facilities and institutions are getting money under our administration, and they are using that money to make security improvements. It could be to minimize the potential for threats, such as drones, or what have you,” said Sean Ahrens, Security Market Group Leaders at Affiliated Engineers.
Sean Ahrens, Security Market
Group Leaders,
Affiliated Engineers

Due to the need for perimeter protection, users in this sector are demanding advanced security solutions. “The military segment is very interested in long-range thermal and visual cameras with laser illuminators,” said Dennis Gallen, VP of Kintronics.
Another vertical market that spent much on security is mission critical, which includes data centers and utility infrastructure. “For utility infrastructure a breach would impact regional as well as local areas. It could be disruptions in water, gas and electricity. Those impacts could be significant because they could affect a number of people,” Ahrens said.
Meanwhile, more and more end user organizations are harmed by intellectual property theft – the stealing of trade secrets or R&D documents which would give competitors an advantage. Among companies that are hurt most by IP theft are biotech companies that develop cutting-edge medicines.
“We see a significant amount of IP theft occurring. There’s been some recent cases which have significantly impacted organizations because of the loss of trade secret information and/or proprietary, protective information. So organizations are starting to realize this is kind of a hidden danger, and they're starting to put money towards it to minimize access to this information,” Ahrens said.

Dennis Gallen, VP, Kintronics
Amid these challenges, end users turn to security technologies to address their problems and needs. “Government and healthcare … are interested in more integration of systems that provide enhanced features. These larger agencies have an increased need for intelligent and integrated systems. They have become more interest in advanced analytic solutions such as ‘if-then’ logic, detection of active shooters, biometric access control, facial recognition and LPR requests have gone up in these sectors,” said Gallen. “Biometrics or Bluetooth access control are used in conjunction with LPR, facial recognition and gunshot detection, among others, to create unique responses based on specific ‘events.’ For instance, if a gunshot is detected, an automated ‘lock down’ can be initiated with a pre-recorded message providing instructions.”
Visitor management has also been widely adopted to prevent intrusion or unauthorized entry. “The visitor management systems that I’m seeing are supporting a feedback kind of interface. For instance, if an unregistered visitor attempts to tailgate through a protected area, the detection system would communicate the intrusion and alert other visitors and staff in the immediate area via their phones. We can actually send a message via the phone saying someone’s tailgating,” Ahrens said. “We can issue mobile credentials, we can track visitors when they come in and come out, we're leveraging things such as Bluetooth beacons to recognize where individuals are going, as well as to ensure they don't go to restricted areas. You're going to see a little bit stronger emphasis on visitor management in the future.”

Growth prospects

North America remains a growth market especially amid strong economic performance from the United States, which is expected to register growth of 2.3 and 2.7 percent for this year and next, respectively, according to forecasts by the World Bank. This, in turn, has a positive effect on security.
“Under the current administration, we see GDP growing, and that spawns all sorts of things. You see the unemployment rate drop. That's all positive things for the growth of the economy. This allows organizations to have more revenue, and more revenue means more budgets across the entire spectrum of the organization, inclusive of security,” Ahrens said.
“Kintronics has experienced an increase of roughly 20 to 25 percent from 2017 to 2018,” Gallen said, adding this has largely to do with their focus on advanced technologies. “We do not sell commodities, but rather complex solutions. By moving to more complicated applications, with advanced functionality, the projects tend to be more enterprise and larger overall,” he said.
As for next year, growth is expected as well given the current economic momentum seen in the US market is unlikely to wane anytime soon. “I do see growth as long as we have a similar administration with similar views on economic growth,” Ahrens said.
As for technology trends to be seen in the North American market in the years to come, Ahrens cited robotics, which will include more intelligence and become a viable replacement for human patrols. “There would be a huge ROI. Security staff for sites is extremely expensive; you’re paying US$12 to $16 an hour for someone just to walk around the facility. They are usually contractors. There’s no loyalty. We can eliminate that need for those staff patrolling inside a building for areas that are critical,” he said. “These robotics would be tied to a system where you’d have staff on site to respond more directly. But the Initial observing report would be by the robot.”

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