Economic recovery as a precondition for the growth of the security market was stressed by the regional representatives of the world's major security equipment manufacturers whom we spoke with. Most of them agree that the demand is higher compared to the first pandemic year.
Economic recovery as a precondition for the growth of the security market was stressed by the regional representatives of the world's major security equipment manufacturers whom we spoke with. Most of them agree that the demand is higher compared to the first pandemic year. "Global and regional investments have strengthened the self-confidence and faith of all of us in the industry. The situation was even better than we expected, although we are still forced to live with the pandemic. We felt moderate but tangible optimism throughout the Adriatic region which, fortunately, has transformed into everyday life," said John Chen, Hikvision's General Manager for the Adriatic Region. At Hikvision as the first-ranked company in the world, there is a general feeling of content with what happened in 2021. All of their partners have recorded healthy business growth, and the number of end customers who purchase and use Hikvision’s products is constantly growing.
The world’s fourth-largest video surveillance company has also faced major challenges since COVID-19 hit the world in 2020. They prevented the crisis through technological innovations and a stronger local presence, which is also being felt in the Adriatic region. “We have a strong R&D team with more than 2,000 employees. With their hard work, we upgraded and expanded our product line smoothly, ensuring our product supply stability. In 2020, when the entire market demand was shrinking, we still managed an over 15% growth,” said Tsing Tang, Director of Eastern Europe, Uniview Technologies. Then, in 2021, they further adjusted to the “new normal”, and the epidemic was quickly suppressed in China so that they could continue their operations without hindrance. Uniview's Eastern Europe division, which covers 30 countries, has achieved, they say, a growth rate of over 60% compared to 2020, and the Adriatic region has recorded a similar result.
One of the record years
Restrictions on travel, protective measures introduced because of COVID and everything else that resulted from the anti-epidemic efforts have greatly affected the normal functioning and operation of the market. The pandemic disrupted and changed the normal flow of business in various ways. In order to meet the needs of their partners and end-users, Avigilon decided to adapt and change the way they work. “For Avigilon, as part of Motorola Solutions' Video Security & Access Control segment, last year in the region for which I am responsible has been extremely successful. We have achieved exponential growth so I can say that 2021 was one of Avigilon's record years in the region. This is the result of smart adaptation and hard work of the local team in synergy with our partners and end-users ", said Andrej Čuraković, Avigilon’s Regional Sales Director for Video Surveillance and Access Control in the Balkans and Central Europe.
New business models, services, and products have also become a way of dealing with the crisis for large video surveillance companies such as Bosch and Dahua. After 2020 was spent in adapting and developing new business models, Bosch Security Systems is ready for 2021. “Last year's business results were within the scope of our plans. We successfully provided support in all strategic projects that we intended to complete by the end of 2021. At the same time, we have excellent potential for 2022 which we are already facing,” said Danijel Jerković, Bosch's Business Development and Project Sales Manager for the Adriatic Region. Dahua, on the other hand, has kept pace with trends and entered the market with thermographic solutions for measuring human body temperature. They have proven effective in preventing the spread of infection, as we have reported on several occasions over the past two years.
Uneven investments in the public and private sectors
The other half of our interviewees did not specify which countries were recovering faster and which were slower. The reason is the lack of ability to determine clear rules according to which it would be possible to assess which segment the market developed or failed to develop in, to what extent, and which types of projects are more or less represented. "It would be impractical to single out certain countries in the region in terms of the manner in which they dealt with the consequences of the pandemic. Since the pandemic knows no borders, we can say that some countries introduced certain measures a little earlier and others a bit later, which indirectly reflected on the continuity of operations in construction, while the security market only followed general trends in the construction industry," said Jerković from Bosch.
“During the pandemic, each country in the region faced its own problems while trying to overcome them in the most painless way possible. This greatly affected life and business in general in those countries" added Čuraković of Avigilon. “Some countries are coming out of the crisis faster, while the others are still struggling with the consequences. Globally, I would not make exceptions and divisions because it is difficult to establish stricter rules, whether the countries are part of the European Union or outside of it."
In some countries, he believes, there has been a noticeable decline in private sector investment, but this has been offset by public sector investment and multinational companies with branch offices in the region. In that context, a major role was played by a continuously growing trend involving the need for enhanced surveillance and security control of critical infrastructure. The same level of disparity between the private and public investments was observed at Hikvision. "Countries in this part of Southeast Europe have experienced different pace and speed of recovery and it is difficult to say which among them are the fastest and which might be the slowest in this process. In some countries, we have witnessed more public investments, while others have had more private investment in various sectors," said John Chen, noting that "the great news is that all countries in the Adriatic region are on their way to full recovery."
For Dahua, on the other hand, all the countries in the region covered by their team (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary) were recovering at about the same speed. As far as the projects are concerned, mostly those dating back to previous years have been implemented i.e. those that were initially left to wait for better days or until the situation is stabilized. "Of course, in 2021 we started working on many new projects and our partners showed great interest in new investments, which was not the case in 2020," said Ognjen Ristić, Dahua's representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
No one can say for sure how much longer it will take to get things back to normal, that is to normalize the way of doing business and living. However, "although the virus and its mutations are unpredictable, we should remain positive, focus on the essentials in order to overcome this challenging period and return to a life in which business will no longer depend on the epidemic situation," said Andrej Čuraković. In financial terms, Avigilon's business in the region did not suffer a major blow. Yet, in every other sense concerning the organization, planning, communication, and movement of goods, it was complex and dynamic. “Personally, I think the light is at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but we just need to persevere,” he adds. “2022 is the year that should represent the end and a new beginning”. Lichtenecker, on the other hand, predicts that this situation will last for another 12 months, after which the market should return to normal. Although the pandemic has delayed many projects, the demand is piling up, which is now starting to turn into orders. "We're also seeing companies with aging systems start to invest in upgrading their systems - this is a trend we're seeing in healthcare, partly driven by government responses to COVID-19, and across strategic transport infrastructure," said the Honeywell’s spokesman, adding that building strong relationships with new customers will help the sector grow during 2022.
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