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INSIGHTS

What has the pandemic done to the Indian home security market?

What has the pandemic done to the Indian home security market?
Here's a look at how the Indian home security market has changed with COVID-19.
As with almost every other sector, India’s residential customers are also increasingly adopting physical security solutions. Over the last decade, threat awareness has increased, especially in urban areas, and more customers realize that physical security solutions like surveillance cameras are necessary for protecting people and assets.
 
But the last two years have raised concerns in another area. COVID-19 forced people to stay at home. It also created a stronger need to monitor people who entered residential complexes. For this, customers required more cameras and security solutions. But unfortunately, since the pandemic restricted movement, the demand has remained slow.

Recovering residential security market

The market has inevitably remained weak over the last two years as the pandemic limited business opportunities. However, some integrators pointed out that over the last few months, there has been an uptick in demand.
 
“During the last two years, there was a slowdown in the residential market due to pandemic,” explained MR Krishnan, Executive Director of ADTECH SYSTEMS. “Construction activities were not that fast and many projects got delayed.  The last four months have seen the residential construction activity picking up and many inquiries getting generated.”
 
Jacob Koottummel, ELV Consultant at Techwise added that the low requirement was also because most people were at home and the need for security was more only when they began to go out.
 
“Over the last two years because of COVID-19, the demand has reduced,” Koottummel said. “This is because people are working from home. Security is required mostly when people are not at home.”

Increased awareness and more cameras

The low demand during the pandemic was expected but some integrators also found that it created better awareness about security and the need to have more cameras.
 
Antony Kavin Bosco, Founder of the systems integration company Gabo Enterprises, said that the market has indeed remained dull due to the pandemic. New projects have decreased by about 5-6 percent. But while the demand from new clients dwindled, the existing customers wanted more cameras.
 
“The number of clients has reduced drastically but those that come in are asking for more number of cameras,” Bosco explained. “Before COVID, customers would just ask us to install a couple of cameras facing the street and inside the premises. But now they are thinking of complete coverage, especially in the fencing area or wherever entry is feasible because they want to make sure there is no unauthorized entry.”

Also read: here's what it takes to become a security systems integrator in India 

The demand for smarter homes

The concept of smart homes is becoming more and more popular worldwide. In India, premium residential complexes are the primary customers for home automation systems. According to Krishnan, smart home solutions are generally in demand in villas and apartments that cost more than 2 Crore Rupees (About $270,000).
 
“Very few builders are giving smart home solutions as part of the project cost,” Krishnan explained. “Even if they do, it looks limited to lighting and curtain controls. These solutions may not be linked to surveillance cameras, intruder alarms, air-conditioning systems, pumps/motors, etc.”
 
But Bosco added that smart home solutions have seen a drastic reduction during the pandemic as people saw it as a non-essential expense.
 
“I have seen about a 50 percent reduction in demand for smart home solutions,” Bosco said.  “I used to offer the entire smart home package that included automated control of lights, air conditioning, etc. But the demand has come down so much after the second COVID wave that I had to reduce the sales staff in the smart home segment.”

More awareness of cybersecurity  

Over the last two years, customers have become more aware of cybersecurity threats. A major reason for this has been the work-from-home culture. As companies let employees work from home, they also had to ensure that the home networks were secure.
 
“I think people read a lot of security stuff now,” Bosco said. “So now we get constant requests for different password setups and other measures. In fact, it’s becoming a good area for our business because we offer it as a service for a fee.”
 
This may be the case in the traditional security sector. Speaking of home automation, Krishnan suggested that more awareness would come in only as the adoption increases.
 
“The market for automation has still a long way to go as an accepted product to the residential sector,” Krishnan said. “Once the market is matured, then customers will look at issues like cybersecurity. With most of the smart home segment getting integrated with cloud networks, it is important for customers to protect their network using industry-standard practices. Customers are still very hesitant to store home automation data in the cloud, whereas they have no hesitation to use the cloud to store their computer data.”

Final word

The pandemic has definitely reduced the number of residential security projects in India. However, it has increased the awareness of security and brought clarity of thought among the customers. The pick-up in demand that’s currently being seen should continue if there are no more major pandemic waves or lockdowns.
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