Ready to Serve Your Country?

Hard to believe an entire year has passed since the last ISC West, but kind of glad it has considering the mostly lackluster and hostile business climate. Despite people coming away from last year’s marquee security event more optimistic than they went in, most found the economic recovery not to be as swift or sweeping as hoped. But hope springs eternal and so here’s hoping ISC West 2010 not only renews that optimism but also proves justifiable.

A lot of it is relative, though. As compared to the business community at large, installing security contractors more than held their own in 2009 with an estimated 3-percent gain in revenues. While that is a far cry from the double digits most had grown accustomed to, it is three times what 2008 reaped and many industries would kill for that 3 percent right now. Where double-figure increases were realized and likely to continue was in IP-based video surveillance product sales and projects.

In a chicken or the egg-type scenario, a great deal of those IP systems were sold to and deployed in the government marketplace — with schools and hospitals being especially hot. Is that because IP technology is so compelling (and being pushed by manufacturers) that it inspired those end users to buy it, or is it that those are the principal clients with both the existing infrastructures and financial wherewithal to support those solutions right now? It’s probably a bit of both; likely more of the latter.

With government currently such an important niche for our industry, I wanted to share a new study I came across called “The Next Economy: Government Market Outlook Report,” released by Onvia in conjunction with REMI. Onvia, which covers government purchasing activity and commercial/residential projects, is a partner in ’s LeadTracker project bidding opportunities portal (www.ssileadtracker.com). REMI is an authority on the effects of government actions and policy changes.

The report, which surveyed thousands of government officials, explains what to expect throughout 2010 and beyond as initiatives such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus program begin to pay dividends. At $15 billion per day, government spending makes up nearly half the total gross domestic product (GDP), the report says.

“Companies that ignore the government sector will be significantly disadvantaged. Businesses that are not doing business in the government marketplace are guaranteed to have one or more competitors who are,” says the report. “An increase in subcontracting opportunities with large general contractors will emerge as the large players are extended across multiple infrastructure projects.”

If you’re not yet feeling too excited, this tidy tidbit may turn the trick: In order, 2010 spending priorities as defined by surveyed officials were public safety, infrastructure, energy, IT and education. Translation: Security and fire/life-safety systems design-build expertise will be in high demand.

According to the report, 2010 will be a strong year for government contractors specializing in infrastructure. This category includes transit, which specifically cites CCTV and security services as investment areas.

Energy is another category representing big opportunities. Security technology is named explicitly, including identity management and access control, threat defense, data center security, utility compliance, security monitoring and management, physical safety and security, and professional services.

Whatever ISC West 2010 portends, it ought to be reassuring to know there is so much business to be had in the government space. You can find the full report referenced in this column for free at www.onvia.com. See you at the big show!

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About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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