Even the biggest naysayer, buzzkill or Debbie Downer herself (if unfamiliar, Google for Rachel Dratch’s hilariously negative “Saturday Night Live” character) would be hard-pressed to see the typical security systems integrator’s glass as being half-empty in 2014. In fact, even the more optimistic half-full scarcely begins to describe an industry zipping out of the recessionary bummer to sip from a glass literally brimming with opportunities and growth. By their very nature, skeptics and nitpickers can always find something to groan about, but as Security Sales & Integration’s 10th annual 2014 Systems Integration Study abundantly indicates, by and large business is bullish, teetering on booming.
Integrators report that not only are revenues up but, for the first time in more than a half-decade, sales and installation gross margins for both access control and video surveillance systems have risen. Overall, just 14% of respondents indicated revenues are down and 20% that margins are off. And hardships that had escalated during the economic downturn, particularly difficulties closing deals with budget-strapped clients and coping with customers defaulting, are waning. It’s little wonder that 80% feel optimistic and outstanding about their present business prospects.
Conducted in cooperation with PSA Security Network, the International Security Conference (ISC), Security-Net and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA), SSI’s 2014 Systems Integration Study was distributed to thousands of security integrators nationwide. To be included, completed surveys had to meet the systems integrator criteria of installing primarily integrated video surveillance and/or access control systems, and the majority of accounts not being monitored burglary/fire alarm systems.
Digging deeper, the study results show that video — the one area that refused to cool below a simmer even at the height of the recession — is once again sparking into a red-hot blaze of opportunity. Every video-related area addressed in the survey indicates an acceleration of growth. These include hardware such as IP and megapixel cameras and encoders, as well as software such as video analytics, video management systems (VMS) and physical security information management (PSIM) platforms. Less incendiary but still toasty is access control, with outdoor applications being an area demonstrating especially higher activity. One head-scratcher is the faltering momentum seen for managed/hosted services.
Read on for the full report, rose-colored glassed not required.