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Middle East security market from a service provider’s perspective

Middle East security market from a service provider’s perspective
Solution providers clearly see the Middle East market with a lot of potential despite some concerns.
Solution providers clearly see the Middle East market with a lot of potential despite some concerns.

According to Binson Xu, Regional President of Hikvision MENA, IHS research data shows that the expected market growth in EMEA will be approximately 2 percent from 2017 to 2022 and that the Middle East growth will be about 5 percent for the same period.

“In the first half of this year, the overall growth of the Middle East market was relatively good,” Xu said. “The growth rate in the second half of the year slowed down significantly, and some countries even experienced a decline, such as Turkey. We expect the highest growth rates in the regions will be in the Levant region, Iraq, Northwest Africa, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”

While this can be seen as a general observation of the market, comments from service providers and real estate developers who are involved in the work on the field provide a closer look at the consumer behavior and sentiments.

According to Roshan Punnilath, Head of Operations at Dar Al Arkan, in Saudi Arabia, where his company is based, the market growth remained steady in 2018 but 2019 is expected to be even better.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s revenue has always been totally dependent on the oil industry and in the last couple of years, the low prices have affected the economy,” Punnilath said. “So, at present, the government is very seriously focusing on other sources of revenue. There are some large projects being planned like the US$500 billion megacity Neom, which is likely to lead the way in development with example of such a project is Shams Al Riyadh, where more than 5 million square meters is being developed as a smart and safe city, with smart homes, smart buildings etc., by the real estate company Dar Al Riyadh.”

Such initiatives emerged from Saudi Vision 2030, a plan that seeks to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors. So, the government’s current strategy is to diversify and increase investment in the coming years.

Market demand and utilization

End customers are increasingly interested in buying new technologies and solutions but there are some concerns about the proper use of what is being bought. For instance, Punnilath pointed out that security service providers and border security forces are acquiring the latest devices, but their utilization and operations need improvement in some sectors.

“The quality of video surveillance in most of the big malls and shopping centers need to be improved and they must use AI-based cameras for safer shopping,” Punnilath cited an example. “City security and road surveillance have already improved a lot and authorities are keen to implement safe city projects. In the private sector, most of the major industrial factories are focusing on centralized surveillance system with a security control room for their entire factory areas, remote offices, integrated with their vehicles tracking, fire and safety systems, etc.”

Consumer awareness and other challenges

The quality of products in the market has always been a problem for the security industry. While there are several manufacturers with high-quality products, others try to sell low-quality products at low prices. In Punnilath’s opinion, there are so many cheap and low-quality IoT/AI solutions available in the market which make the customers lose their trust in the technology due to their unreliability. So there needs to better control over the market in terms of monitoring quality.

Another problem that leads to consumers not being smart in the selection of products is the tendency of certain vendors to not provide trained personnel for support. AI-based solutions can be too advanced for an untrained technician to handle and this can lead to improper usage.

Punnilath concluded by saying that major challenges for SIs in the region include ensuring that the products that they are supplying and what the customer asks for are of good quality, cybersecurity and guarantee of support in the long term.
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