Increasing Number of Homes in Europe Seek Protection

Increasing Number of Homes in Europe Seek Protection
What makes markets in Europe different from those across the Atlantic, and from one another? Experts concur that despite differences, all markets mirror each other in terms of current penetration rates and growth potential.

The residential market in 2007 in EMEA in terms of intruder alarms was worth US$635 million, said Miroslav Tallo, Business Development Manager for Intrusion and Residential Security, ADI-GARDINER EMEA. For 2008, it is believed to be $671 million. The CAGR between 2007 and 2012 will be 4.9 percent. These figures represent factory selling prices to distribution.

In the U.K., independent local installers of traditional alarms are far more successful that even the major alarm companies like ADT, who are the biggest single operator in traditional residential alarms in the U.K., said Christopher Berry, Chairman of British company Initsys; whereas the largest single installer in Continental Europe is Securitas Direct. The most notable residential vertical players, according to IMS Research, are Bosch, Cooper Menvier, Daitem Atral, GE Security, Honeywell, Risco Group, Siemens, Telenot and Visonic. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) said intruder IP is usually reserved for signaling applications and manufacturers include Web-Way One and Cooper Security.

When it comes to threats, in the minds of home owners, these apparently increase during periods of recession, Berry explained. ¨For example, from 1987 to 1990, many alarm systems were installed across Europe as perception of increased crime was heightened. As we head into another recession now, people are more worried about violent crime than they have ever been. Because information travels faster nowadays, and partly because of sensationalism, a rise in reported crime corresponds to a rise in awareness of threats.〃

In Europe, less than 3 percent of homes have any form of electronic security, Berry continued. This makes it a large potential residential market. Europe experienced an explosion of electronic security in the early 1980s and mid-1990s, during which false alarms were endemic. This has partly affected the number of residence owners willing to invest in security solutions. However, like many markets, the growing prominence of home automation systems built into new homes is helping to make residential electronic security more prevalent.

¨As disposable income increases in Europe and houses increase in size, more perimeter (outdoor) protection is seen, ranging from buried cables and fencing cables to microwave invisible barriers and outdoor detectors with volumetric covering. The aim is to catch the intruder as soon as the person crosses the property boundaries.〃

U.K. Versus Continental Europe

¨One difference between the U.K. and Continental Europe is that house burglars in the U.K. are more aggressive and much more likely to enter a house when occupants are present,〃 said Tallo, ¨thereby endangering not only property and possessions but also peopleˇs lives  even though instances of break-ins many be higher in Eastern Europe, for example.〃

¨In the U.K., Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands, intruder alarm systems dominate in residential security,〃 Berry said. However, this is different in southern Europe. This is due to its urban areasˇ less ¨flat〃 landscape when compared to the U.K., where small, one- to two-storey houses are the norm. Apartment buildings in Spain and surrounding countries as well as in Italy are more conducive to the use of access control systems. Moreover, these nationsˇ comparatively larger residences are more difficult to secure and thus have better physical perimeter protection. Another difference between northern European markets and southern Europe is that the former is one driven by home ownership rather than rentals; urban dwellers tend to spend a higher percentage of their income on housing; and users can thereby be more concerned and proactive about what gets installed into their homes.

As for significant projects, U.K. council properties are becoming big surveillance users, especially in main cities and towns, Berry revealed. These properties are run by either housing associations or local authorities for low- to middleincome households, and typically are located in high-crime areas. They can present sizable contracts because one council building can accommodate up to 1,000 dwelling units; and as an apartment block gets refurbished, councils often decide to install security systems at the same time. This large scale implementation means significantly lower cost and more effective security.

Technologies and Penetration

In Europe, IP-based alarm intruder panels are gradually being deployed but they are far from being the best way to protect property. Berryˇs view is that this is a case of simply changing the transmission system rather than exploiting the advantages that IP brings. ¨Adding an IP module to an intruder alarm panel does not offer any significant advantage other than better signaling.〃 GE is currently the only manufacturer with an approved EN50136 signaling system built into the panel. ¨Manufacturers need to look closely at the advantages that true IP networking can bring to detectors and hold-up alarms and systems  for example, the direct integration of surveillance cameras.〃

A similar situation is facing the current IP-based access control systems market. The situation is largely due to the industryˇs traditional mindset, whereby many vendors prefer to stick to systems they are already familiar with. ¨There is an inherent mistrust of the Internet. Customers must be assured that they are not being exposed to the insidious creatures that can be found lurking deep within the Internet's depths. That is why owning and running your own network, used solely for alarm transmission purposes, offers a big advantage. Once customers are connected, they can rest assured they will not be exposed to viruses, spam or chat.〃

As for surveillance, the penetration rate in the U.K. is negligible, even though surveillance offers users options not available with other systems  for example, the avoidance of false alarms through ability to remotely view what is causing the alarm; and faster response from the police. Berry therefore sees a huge potential market across the E.U.

Only a handful of surveillance product vendors have tapped into the IP-based residential market, agreed Dominic Tee, Business Development Director for Access Control and Integrated Systems, ADI-GARDINER; this has not happened to the same extent in access control or intrusion alarms panels. The residential market has always been an intruder alarms one, and this has not changed much since the advent of IP. ¨IP-enabled panels are offered by product vendors like Honeywell and Visonic, with the latter providing an integration with IP-based wireless cameras. However, with regard to the penetration of such systems in the residential market, no released market figures are available to my knowledge."

An intrusion detection alarm has traditionally been the first kind of electronic security system a new house owner installs. As for access control, other than the widespread use of automated gates, this has not seen major uptake in the residential market yet  card readers have almost negligible penetration. ¨The need is not there  a typical house only has a few key holders.〃

IPˇs general use in security and building management is not yet in its advanced stages, said Berry. IP-based products perform the same tasks basic legacy systems do but in an innovative and more reliable way. Forward-thinking intrusion and surveillance vendors have not simply taken the existing legacy equipment and redesigned it. Rather, they have implemented significant ease-of-use improvements in the way security equipment works and its interaction with end users and alarm receiving stations. ¨The key to IP in security is to have reliable and efficient data transfers which enable faster and smarter alarms. Also, IP lends itself to the complete management of your building  a big advantage over analog systems.〃

Some IP cameras can be controlled via a simple mobile telephone, making them ide a l for home deployment without the necessity for traditional alarm panel or detectors. ¨We call this technique SetBySMS, which allows you to perform many tasks on such cameras. For example, it enables you to arm and disarm the cameras' sensors and inputs, to set privacy, and to operate the outputs. The same tasks can be undertaken through the Internet, and other home automation tasks can be integrated into the system. Furthermore, using the cameraˇs own sensing systems means that in some cases it is not necessary to have any on site recording as the systemˇs network servers can do that. Nearly one Petabyte of storage on the network is now offered regularly, along with polling of the cameras to check that all is well with the system.〃

One significant advantage of such systems is their ability to offer complete privacy for the home owner. Cameras can be set into private mode and images not captured. It is also impossible for the alarm receiving station to connect to the cameras unless there is an alarm, as they are never given direct access to camera connection information. Two of the biggest markets for these solutions are the Netherlands and Belgium, whose privacy laws are more strongly enforced than those in the U.K.: both countries scored the highest possible marks in the 2007 International Privacy Ranking study in the categories of statutory protection, privacy enforcement, and democratic safeguards, despite new E.U. laws which came into force in January 2008 mandating same level of privacy for all E.U. member countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are also economically more stable than most other European countries, making their citizens bigger consumers of innovative electronic products. ¨Color-coded cameras with covers which match the color of a roomˇs walls are very popular, continued Berry, ¨as are the lensesˇ ability to hide when there is someone present in the room. Design and aesthetics are very important  often design is more important to users than the quality of the captured image. Another reason why the E.U. offers potential is because of the new trend of phones which convert into Wi-Fi devices as one nears oneˇs property. Currently, home automation enabled by mobile telephones has many users in developed countries like Japan.〃

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