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Green and sustainable practices: How much does the security industry know?

Green and sustainable practices: How much does the security industry know?
Their understanding of green practices and technology, significance in their business and whether there is client demand for such initiatives.
This is the first article in a 2-part discussion of the results of the survey on “Sustainability and the Security Industry” aimed at understanding the market sentiment when it comes to green and sustainability practices.  
The first article assesses what channel players know:
  • To determine market awareness about green sustainability practices and technology
  • ​To determine green trends and technologies trending in the market
The second article assesses how this influences their purchasing behavior:
  • To gain insight into the significance of green technology and practices in influencing the purchasing decisions of channel players
  • To identify the key factors or features that hold greater importance
  • To determine trajectory of green and low carbon initiatives within the security industry in the near future
The survey also aimed to investigate potential disparities in market sentiment across regions. To streamline the analysis, respondents were categorized into two general groups: Western (US, Europe and the Middle East) and Asian (Asia and Oceania).

Click here to have a quick view of the result summary and read on for a full analysis of the survey results.

Key findings from the reader survey

1. How familiar are channel players with green and low carbon initiatives for the security industry?

The majority of Western and Asian security channel players are familiar with green and sustainability principles on a basic level. However, the survey shows the need (and the opportunity) for more market education and information.
According to survey results, the majority of respondents (88%) from both regions stated familiarity with the topic, indicating a strong awareness of the importance of the topic in the security industry. This familiarity can be attributed to the growing global emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility in recent years. The past few years have seen security device manufacturers increasingly incorporating sustainability principles and energy efficiency into their products, with a focus on reducing the environmental footprint of manufacturing processes and supply chains.
There is, however, a difference in the level of understanding and implementation. 61% of our Western group indicated they understood or have implemented green practices in their businesses, compared to 55% of Asian respondents. On the other hand, 39% of Western and 45% of Asian respondents indicated some to no familiarity. This shows a significant number of channel players who may be in the early stages of adopting sustainability measures or may be facing challenges in implementation.   

2. How important are green and low carbon initiatives for security channel players?

Overall, majority of respondents ranked green initiatives of high importance and displayed high interest in purchasing energy-saving products for their businesses.
In terms of green and low carbon initiatives, 47% overall said it was very important, while 18% said it was somewhat important. Interestingly enough, 30% (the next largest group) indicated that it was fairly unimportant.
This could perhaps be attributed to several factors. One, cost considerations – upfront investments in technology and processes may deter (smaller) businesses as these initiatives may not show immediate financial returns. Secondly, business objectives – sustainability initiatives would take a backseat to more pressing concerns such as budgets or operational challenges. (Read part 2 for a more detailed discussion on this).
When asked whether it was important for them to buy energy saving/low-power consumption products to contribute to greener and low carbon practices, a high number of respondents answered in the affirmative: 50% of Asian respondents said that this feature was very important versus 44% of Western responses. Overall, only 3-4% said that it was not important to them.
This finding isn’t very surprising. Energy-saving products are readily available and easily adopted. The benefits of which are more tangible and immediate in the form of reduced electricity bills.
The findings in this section ties with the results from question 1 which highlighted the need (and opportunity) for manufacturers/brands and local government to inform the intermediaries (channel players) about the long-term benefits of adopting green technology in terms of energy efficiency, lower operating costs and cost of ownership as well as future-proofing their security solutions.   

3. Is there market demand for green security products and solutions?

Yes, there is demand for green security products and solutions in both Western and Asian markets. However, there is more consistent demand seen among Western respondents and potential growth opportunities in Asia.
The survey results indicate that Western respondents see a stronger demand for eco-friendly products and solutions, with 11% reporting consistent and 33% reporting frequent requests from clients, with the rest rarely or never getting orders for such. The numbers were lower for Asian respondents (10% and 12% respectively). However, a notable 39% of Asian channel players noted occasional requests which can suggest a growing interest in sustainable solutions.

4. What are the major green technologies in the market?

As majority of our respondents possess a certain level of familiarity with the topic, they were asked to identify green technologies and products in the market. This inquiry serves a dual purpose: firstly, to affirm their comprehension of the topic and secondly, to identify current trends.
Based on the responses, there are four different green technology trends:
Solar power cited as main green technology in the security market (27% of total comments)
- The majority of survey participants cited solar power as an alternate power source, such as solar-powered cameras, security products or surveillance systems.
  • “I really haven’t seen a lot other than solar and greener packaging of products.”
  • “Solar-powered PTZ cameras”
  • “High efficiency solar charger, mobile power for security equipment”
  • “Increasing use of solar panels to power external cameras.”
  • “Use solar to power security equipment and systems, reducing reliance on traditional power grids and reducing carbon emissions.”
  • “Hybrid Solar System”
When specifically inquired whether respondents had prior experience using solar-powered security products before, most answered positively. There was a difference between the two groups though: 81% of Western vs. 52% of Asian survey participants. This corresponds with the earlier findings of more projects and overall awareness in the Western survey group.
Smart energy management (15% of total comments)
- Respondents made reference to IoT energy management solutions capable of integrating sensors, lighting and security devices/systems. These integrated solutions enable dynamic adjustments in response to changing conditions, such as the need for supplementary lighting, recording and remote management.
The responses can be furthered categorized into three subgroups:
Smart lighting system (38%)
- Within these group, nearly half (43%) of respondents cited LED lighting technology, with one remarking “High performance LED lighting systems.” But the majority (57%) focused on how efficient lighting control can optimize energy use.
  • “Smart lighting systems can automatically adjust brightness according to environmental conditions, and the presence of people can be detected by sensors to improve energy efficiency. This helps reduce the brightness of the lighting system.”
  • “The use of intelligent lighting that reducing energy consumption that will reduce environmental impact.”
IoT-enabled energy management for monitoring and optimizing energy consumption (27%)
  • “Solar-powered cameras and sensors, IoT-enabled energy management.”
  • “Intelligent energy management system for monitoring and optimizing energy use of security equipment.”
Low power sensors (24%)
- Sensors that can help reduce video power and storage requirements by triggering lighting or video recording when motion is detected or relevant activities occur. 
  • “Wireless sensor networks for monitoring environmental parameters and security risks.”
  • “Low power sensors and detectors for automated control of security equipment.”
  • “DAS fiber-based detection, low voltage products, LED lighting systems, Solar Systems.”
It would be relevant to mention at this point that 4% of the total comments did talk about artificial intelligence as a tool, with only 2 respondents specifically mentioning video analytics for this function.
Energy-efficient equipment (13% of total comments)
-  Respondents cited security devices that can help keep energy consumption and costs down, either by design or power saving modes.
Low power or low energy consumption devices that can reduce overall energy consumption (70%)
  • “Low energy consumption security devices”
  • “The only thing that matters to my clients is how much power as well as heat their equipment will generate.”
  • “Low power consumption device”
  • “Manufacturers' effort in getting their products more power efficiency.”
Energy saving modes that would put the devices/system to sleep (24%)
  • “Auto power off”
  • “The new generation of surveillance cameras and sensor devices are often designed to be more energy efficient, using advanced image processing technology and sleep modes to reduce energy consumption.”
  • “Energy-saving modes or technology”
  • “Power-saving cameras which will be waked up after detection.”
Sustainable storage - data transmission and storage (7%)
- Technology to optimize data transmission and indirectly reduce power consumption in transporting, processing and storing data.
Wireless connection/less cabling for better power allocation and management (41%)
  • “PoE access control/CCTV, solar CCTV technology”
  • “Low-power wireless communication technology for data transmission between security devices.”
  • “The green technologies are not only energy saving, but also saving on space and resources (i.e. less materials). IP-based security products using a distributed architecture saves a lot of space and cabling and also have a lower power footprint.”
Virtualized computing via Cloud to help consolidate servers and reduce IT power and administration costs (29%)
  • “Migration to cloud, remote programming/maintenance”
  • “Solar-powered cameras and cloud storage”
  • “Cloud video surveillance, solar energy related low power”
Video compression to reduce hardware, space and power requirements (18%)
  • “smartcodecs that lower amount of storage.”
  •  “New codec compression technology”
Storage – onboard or stored on edge to minimize centralized storage (12%)
  • “Energy-saving hard disk”
  • “Flash storage like SSD and memory card”
  • “Decentralized system, multi-sensors, energy efficient cameras, PoE”

Sustainable manufacturing (16% of total comments)

While the focus of our inquiry centered on green technology, it is noteworthy that a significant portion (16%) revolved around the concept of sustainable manufacturing. This shows that this is a predominant aspect they associate with the broader topic of green and sustainability practices in the security industry.
The responses can be broadly classified into two categories:
Manufacturers follow policies for environment protection/pollution prevention (59%)
Regarding standards, ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) came up the most, followed by the RoHS Directive (European Union restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment). Comments covered pollutants, energy efficiency and green factory operations.
  • “Green production and green operation process”
  • “RoHS, Halogen free, restriction of hazardous substances directive – EU”
  • “Paying more attention to making manufacturing processes as sustainable as possible in terms of energy consumption and materials used.”
  • “Must be environmentally friendly when using security products as well as manufacturing these.”
Use of environmentally friendly materials during production with emphasis on sustainability and durability (23%)
  • “Security equipment manufacturers are increasingly concerned about the use of environmentally friendly materials to reduce the use of harmful substances. This helps to reduce the environmental impact during the manufacturing and disposal of products.”
  • “Recyclable materials and sustainably designed security products.”
  • “Develop products that are more sustainable – made of more durable materials, minimizing the need for replacement or repair and more energy efficient.”
  • "Security manufacturers are manufacturing products with 5 and even life time warranties, with recyclable, reusable material for both products and packaging.”
Click here to go to part 2 of the survey results or learn more about Hikvision's ongoing sustainable business solution and product innovation efforts here
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