Asian Physical Security Market Booms with Heightened Security Concerns, Says Frost & Sullivan

The need to address proliferating security issues has revved up prospects for the Asia Pacific physical security market. The residential sector will fuel growth in the long term as perimeter and intrusion detection systems gain significant traction. Both big and small corporate are ramping up investments in security by deploying various types of keys such as proximity cards, contactless smart cards, biometrics and integrated keys for access control and identification; enterprise-wide employee identification systems are being implemented.

The safe city construction covering more than 1,000 cities will further enhance development. Security systems are likely to become vital connectors with surveillance monitoring city centers, ring roads and public transport.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, entitled "CEO 360 Degree Perspective of Asia Pacific Physical Security Market," finds the electronic access control systems (EACS) earned revenues of approximately US$0.9 billion in 2008 and estimates this to reach $4.6 billion in 2015.

"In the present scenario, interoperability provides leeway for market participants to experiment, integrating different systems in accordance with changing times and threats," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Parul Oswal. "Interoperability ensures that the present or older system technologies are not cannibalized by the new systems; the new systems are then expected to complement the present technologies."

The security industry was highly fragmented a decade ago and was also primarily family run. Phase 1 consolidation was driven by market entry and market share to achieve economies of scale. The industry has evolved a great deal and multibillion dollar industrial process companies have joined the fray. New niche firms with technologies including biometrics and IP video surveillance have established their presence in the market.

The next stage of mergers and acquisitions will reflect the needs of converged technologies, rather than traditional security technologies. Larger vendors are striving to bring technology and capabilities under their control and ownership to ensure better integrated solutions and profitability. The challenge is to strike the right chord between the need to contain costs, deploy new technologies and provide gap-bridging strategies to offer real value for money and understand the different "weights" for each element in the different verticals.

Expensive biometric technologies such as iris and palm vein were heavily affected by the economic recession. Small form factor and low-cost, silicon-based fingerprint are expected to find more use in consumer handheld electronics such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and notebooks due to their robust nature. Going forward, e-passports, driving licenses, health care/welfare cards and so on are expected to provide steam for the biometrics market.

Opportunities abound in each sector and vendors need to address their priorities efficiently. In the government sector, the cost efficiency strategies are high priority while the high-technology strategy is vital for transportation and mass transit. No matter how effective the security system is, unless the cost of the system is affordable, market participants are always likely to move toward other alternatives or wait until there is a reduction in cost.

"Asset tracking, IP video surveillance, and integrated ID management will witness an upsurge, triggered by increasing demand for integrated security," Oswal said. "Growth in these segments will offset the lower growth of more mature segments, such as keypads and analog-based surveillance."

Market leaders are building their competitive edge by moving from a product-centric approach to a solution-driven one. Security and system integrators as well as manufacturers need to narrow the gap between the security and the IT world, adopt open standards, and steer away from propriety solutions and focus on best-of-breed solutions.

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