The January edition of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION includes our annual industry forecast as a cornerstone of our special 2013 Industry Forecast Issue. For the piece, I interviewed 20 of the industry’s most knowledgeable market analysts, business experts, systems integrators, manufacturer representatives and trade association directors. Some of their perspectives can be found in the magazine article, with the balance of their assessments appearing in separate Under Surveillance blog posts.
Featured in this installment: Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates.
What do you expect will be the biggest changes, challenges and/or opportunities as they relate to security technology, markets and business for suppliers, integrators and monitoring providers?
Tricia Parks: The biggest changes to technology for security equipment and services is the migration to IP-based monitoring and new features – both professional and self-monitored. This evolution has started, but is nowhere near mainstream yet. The evolution will require six-10 years and then only true laggards will remain analog only. The change is the key to both challenges and opportunity. Analog equipment such as security controllers remains cheaper to buy than IP controllers so dealers will walk the bridge of installing IP vs. analog carefully. In addition, the security channel is leading the early market for home controls. Z-Wave is the dominant protocol used within the security channel; however, many cable operators have chosen to use ZigBee HA devices. In addition, OEMs are adding connectivity to numerous household devices and appliances. Consumers have an expectation that all of their connected devices should work together, providing both a technical and business challenge. Software platforms will need to transition from a walled garden approach, where the service provider tightly controls the user experience, to an open architecture that puts the user in control. New players such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T have or are entering the marketplace to compete with ADT and others. The newcomers are serious about gaining a foothold into the existing security market and about expanding the potential market. Dealers may have the opportunity to contract for them; certainly, there will be stiff competition.
What do you envision as far the industry at large is concerned in 2013?
Parks: All security equipment manufacturers and many, if not most, of the manufacturers in adjacencies such as energy and control have, are or will ink deals that add IP-based features to their capabilities. Prices for these products will often be higher than for their analog counterparts due to scale and learning curves. Sales will remain a mix of product types for the next several years. Whether this will be a “good” year depends, in large part, on the level of recovery or lack thereof for the housing industry, specifically, and the overall economy, generally. Signals from the investment community and manufacturers themselves are mixed, to say the least. Parks Associates anticipates an increase in security sales for 2013, but it is a cautious increase. We forecast monitoring pricing to be quite stable during this year with competitive pressure in mid to late 2014 that lasts for some time.
What are some pressing security issues and surprises we might see in 2013?
Parks: Pressing security issues would include: training for dealers; developing new or solidifying existing partnerships for providers and equipment manufacturers; and engaging the consumer for IP benefits. Some good surprises include: a robust recovery for housing; an A-level marketing campaign from one of the giants offering IP services that engages the broad consumer market, or some play from a company such as Microsoft or Google. Bad surprises might include a market drop-out from one of the big new players; a rejection of new benefits by consumers; or the lack of any market recovery. Surprises that might be good or bad include the acquisition of ADT Security and the broad adoption of IP-based products, security and other, at retail.