What does 2012 hold in store for your business and the industry? Find out with the many insights offered in SSI‘s annual Industry Forecast, which is featured in our January issue. This year, more than 25 of the industry’s most prominent research firms, trade associations, business and finance specialists, systems integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and alarm companies rendered a deep and sweeping portrait of the impending security landscape. The participants addressed the most significant changes, challenges and opportunities they anticipate taking place during the next 12 months in seven critical areas. They are: security technology; security markets; security industry; business and operations; politics and legislation; risks and threats; and ongoing challenges. With the boundaries of print being too constrained to present all of the fascinating and valuable assessments, each of the respondents’ complete, edited interviews are being offered exclusively online. Happy New Year!
V.P. and G.M., Global Security & Fire
Tammee Thompson: Smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the way we communicate and entertain ourselves. Now the mobility their technology offers is changing the security industry, especially in the area of access control. Near-field communication [NFC] will turn mobile phones into virtual access cards. In seconds, administrators will be able to remotely add or change digital keys for employees and vendors. We will see handheld access card readers that will allow guards to oversee wireless, remote credential verification. And the longtime promise of physical and logical security convergence will become real with the availability of a truly workable one-card solution. A single PIV card will provide an employee with access into a building and then onto the enterprise network. While this will first impact federal government facilities, it will soon work its way into state and local governments and then into corporate environments.
Thompson: While there are still growth opportunities for security products and services in the developed markets of North America and Europe, more of our industry’s future demand will result from the enormous demand coming from emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. That will test the reach of many in our industry as very few U.S.-based integrators have a true global presence.
Security Business and Operations
Thompson: Facility managers are demanding simplicity and convenience. They want to monitor security, fire safety, comfort control, lighting and other building systems from one console. Open-technology platforms collecting and managing data from these disparate building systems will improve both facility security and energy efficiency, making it easier and more affordable for operators to perform their jobs. This represents both a challenge and an opportunity for farsighted integrators.
Thompson: We’ve already seen defense- and IT-related companies enter the security market and that will continue to expand — both in numbers and breadth of offerings in the next year. These firms have tremendous technological expertise along with the financial and marketing clout to have a major impact on our industry. In the long run, that’s probably a good thing, as the added competition will make the rest of us work harder and smarter to meet our customers’ needs.
Thompson: Even though the industry is making progress, we have still not achieved truly open standards across all platforms. IP-based equipment is helping to make progress. But we still have too many manufacturers supporting proprietary technologies. And while we have two industry organizations — ONVIF and PSIA — working to set standards, they are heading down different roads toward that same destination. The IT community has largely solved this problem and I would like to think we will finally do the same in 2012. However, I think we are not there yet. Meanwhile, the lack of standards continues to discourage investment in new technology as end users worry about protecting their investment in legacy systems. Standards-based products lead to future proofing - ensuring there will be compatible products on the market no matter what happens to a manufacturer or a product line.
Thompson: Even in a slow economy the physical security industry has proven itself to be a top performer, posting solid gains in revenue and profits over the past few years. There is no reason to expect that will change in 2012. But over the next five years, we are going to see more of that growth coming from emerging markets such as China, India, Latin America and the Middle East.
Thompson: As is the case in most industries, innovation is what will continue to drive profits in the security sector. Customers have come to expect equipment and services that will deliver more yet cost the same, or even less, than last year’s offerings. They want to see a faster return on their investment. Manufacturers and integrators that can deliver solutions that meet those expectations will thrive.