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Why the demand for IP-based speakers is growing in the security market

Why the demand for IP-based speakers is growing in the security market
Growth hasn’t been as fast as other solutions but is certainly picking up.

Growth hasn’t been as fast as other solutions, but it is certainly picking up but capturing video alone is not enough to solve today’s security issues. To protect sites against various kinds of security concerns that are seen today, recording audio is also necessary. Conventional analog systems have limited flexibility in this regard, prompting the rise of IP-based speaker solutions. 

“The demand for IP speakers has been increasing over the last few years,” said Bob Mesnik, President of Kintronics. “We see the increase in education, religious, commercial, and government organizations rather than consumer markets. The sales to the education market have grown the most. The increase in school safety and security has been one of the driving forces in expanding this market. The integration of other IP security devices such as IP camera systems, door access control, with IP intercoms has been significant for increasing security in schools.”  

Steady growth despite costs 

Ian Bridgewater, Director at TOA UK, added that although the adoption of IP speakers has been slower than other security solutions, there is a growing interest because customers would prefer to have all their devices integrated into a single system. The costs of installing IP speakers are still a concern for many customers but the benefits clearly appear to outweigh the disadvantages. 
Ian Bridgewater,
Director, TOA UK

“Currently IP speakers are way behind where other technologies are, if you look at IP cameras, for instance, which have been around for years,” Bridgewater said.  “IP speakers are slowly catching up and maybe in the last four years we have seen developments mainly for the security markets. But now everybody wants all the systems on the same network. The cost of the product is still very expensive compared to standard 100V speakers, plus the cost of individual CAT5 cabling to each speaker and the associated network switches required, [but] customers are still looking for an IP solution.”

Verticals seeing growth 

Although audio can be considered an important aspect of security across most verticals, certain sectors have more need of it than others. For instance, in the retail segment, IP speakers can be integrated with the public announcement system to let customers know about offers and information such as store closing time. 

Mesnik listed several other verticals as well. The increased need for security in religious organizations has raised the need for emergency paging systems, according to him. Many of these systems are triggered by emergency buttons placed around the organization or using mobile panic buttons.

But the most important vertical in which IP-based speakers appears to be beneficial is education. Given the alarmingly high rate of active shooter incidents that happen in schools, there is a dire need for effective audio solutions to be in place. 

“Active shooter situations have become a significant security issue,” Mesnik said. “Many articles have been written about this. Solutions range from increased technology, active shooter drills in schools, and of course, gun control.  IP paging systems are one of the technologies that can be used to prevent and manage active shooter situations.”

Challenges to overcome 

Cost is definitely one factor that needs to be dealt with. Apart from this, some security professionals point out that the output of IP-based speakers is yet to match those of traditional speakers. The power of IP-based speakers is limited to what is offered on POE and POE++, whereas in conventional systems, the power of the amplifier decides the output. 

This limitation could prompt customers to use IP speakers only in smaller projects where the number of devices required is low. This is one area that solution providers will have to work on, in order to encourage growth in this segment. 
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