Good News, Bad News: What’s Better and Worse About the Security Industry in 2021

Looking to move beyond what was an unprecedented year, experts give their takes on the good (new avenues of RMR, improved AI) and the bad (cellular sunset, complacency).

Good News, Bad News: What’s Better and Worse About the Security Industry in 2021

As part of SSI‘s 2021 Security Industry Forecast, we spoke with more than two dozen experts to gain their insights into what 2021 holds for the security industry. A baker’s dozen of them also shared what they believe is better and worse about the industry. Here’s what they had to say…

Per Björkdahl | ONVIF

GOOD: Integrators are likely to be tasked with customizing solutions for end users that can assist in pandemic-related issues. We’re seeing this with the increase in demand for touchless and contactless solutions — including app-based credentials and biometrics.

BAD: Without standards, integrators will find it that much more difficult to offer end users a flexible, cost-effective security solution — as they won’t be able to pick and choose what products fit the client’s needs best.

Brad LaRock | Alula

GOOD: The smart home security industry has proven to be pandemic resistant and thrive and lead in times of crisis. Disruption has created a world of opportunity for security pros to own the network, enabling their customers to effectively and efficiently work from home.

BAD: We are running out of time to solve the cellular sunset. Some customers are going to go dark because we won’t be able to get to them all even if we started today. Also, Google is the 800-pound gorilla who just told you he wants to eat your lunch and dealers need to differentiate themselves. Plus financing is harder to come by.

Clint Choate | SnapAV

GOOD: Dealers are becoming networking savvy and driving better experiences for customers. They’re also using remote platforms to stop service calls and monetizing it. And heavy DIY advertising and deep penetration from video doorbells has increased overall market awareness and demand.

BAD: Dealers’ return to the “sins” of old. Forced to find ways to tackle connectivity and remotely service customers, we become undisciplined with offerings and organization. RMR billings get put on autopilot, forgetting about adding value to services upon the return to normal.

Peter Giacalone | Giacalone Associates

GOOD: SaaS models have created strong, new RMR that allows dealers to maintain cash flow during times where projects are slow or nonexistent.

BAD: Accelerated attrition, ceasing or slowing down of new projects, and tightening and disruption of the capital markets.

Jerry Burhans | ABLOY USA

GOOD: The digital leap in encryption technologies, better operational efficiencies that leverage Cloud solutions, and sustainable solutions for better compliance and energy savings.

BAD: With the increased use of new technologies and new digital product providers in the industry, cybercriminals have taken the opportunity and are now targeting the industry with increasing interest.

Brian Wider | Bosch

GOOD: Video analytics and machine learning has improved and installations involving these technologies are becoming more common. Increased acceptance is helping the industry to advance and provide customers with more customized solutions.

BAD: The adoption of new technologies is often dependent on integrators and end users seeing it in action, so the pandemic’s impact on in-person events could slow acceptance and innovation in our industry.

Kichul Kim | Hanwha

GOOD: Thanks to AI-based tools, false alarms from wind and rain and countless hours looking for specific evidence is gone. Being able to “show all blue trucks” or “find all men wearing red shirts” is a game-changer for the security industry.

BAD: Certain organizations abuse privacy and civil liberties with regard to personal identifying information and proper use. These unscrupulous businesses give everyone in the industry a bad name. It’s more important than ever the industry self-police where possible.

Judy Jones-Shand | Napco

GOOD: Our national, state and regional trade associations have never been under more pressure, but they continue to honorably serve the industry. They rallied, moved expeditiously and created urgency with governmental bodies to understand that what we do matters.

BAD: Some companies will become complacent and return to the same way of doing business. It will not happen overnight but will creep up on the business. It is incumbent for providers and their partners to hold each other accountable to make sure that we all stay focused and nimble.

Jim Henry | Independent consultant

GOOD: Security industry professionals are like goalies on a dart team without pads. Every year brings new challenges, but we always find a way to adapt and thrive. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. There are many easier industries in which to make a living but few as rewarding.

BAD: Breakdown of the rule of law in our society. The past year witnessed an unprecedented breakdown of elected and appointed officials who swore to uphold the law but then chose to violate their oath of office by subjectively choosing which laws to enforce or ignore. Continuation of this will have repercussions on the security industry and society as a whole.

Jeff Kessler | Imperial Capital

GOOD: The ability to take unstructured data from myriad sources and create actionable prevention and response is going parabolic in a few companies. Also, the industry has done a marvelous job adjusting to the realities of the pandemic. Lastly, the controversy over Chinese video manufacturers has slowed the crazy race to the bottom on pricing.

BAD: The fight for the premises among gigantic technology companies is only getting worse as residents remain at home, and it is unclear how the security industry will fare in the middle of this fight. Also, it may take a while to build up true critical mass among the large lenders again, which creates more opportunity for bifurcation between the industry’s “have’s” and “have-nots.”

Sean Foley | Interface

GOOD: Every security solution is an application that runs on a network, and those networks are improving. Fiber to the home/business, improved wireless LTE networks and even 5G are going to make those experiences with remote video and other applications better.

BAD: The reliance on China for equipment and component parts cannot be overstated, and some of that was banned from federal government facilities under the NDAA. If relations with China deteriorate the result could be severe shortages and supply chain disruptions for U.S. security companies.

Paul Boucherle | Matterhorn

GOOD: Change that has been rapidly and ruthlessly delivered as a wakeup call. Change forces process and thinking changes in a hurry. It is good for all of us to shake things up a bit!

BAD: If the industry does not make a conscious shift toward more Cloud-based managed services that can be serviced remotely without a truck roll..

Richard Ginsburg | Alert 360

GOOD: The need for our services is robust as ever. All the recent social unrest proved how important security and video was in recording and notification of threats to people and property. Also, equipment is getting easier to install but also better at preventing false alarms.

BAD: The economy could hit a big roadblock and put more pressure on wages and employment.

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About the Author


Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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