Signs Indicate Challenging Road Ahead for Electronic Security Industry

SSI‘s 2012 Industry Forecast queries more than two dozen security authorities from all corners of the industry to tell you what to expect and how to target success. While customers expect more and competition is intensifying, security integrators and dealers are uniquely qualified and positioned to come out on top.

Contending with increasing competition and a merciless business climate while transitioning to newer technology and meeting more stringent customer demands. Sound familiar? 2011, meet 2012. Electronic security professionals nursing wounds from the hardships and challenges of the past 12 months are unlikely to find much respite in the New Year. The good news is those still standing are now fully battle-tested, and the opportunities exist for shrewd operators.

Surmise what the year holds in store for your business and the industry with the many insights offered in SSI‘s annual Industry Forecast. More than 25 of the industry’s most prominent research firms, trade associations, business and finance specialists, systems integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and alarm companies render a deep and sweeping portrait of the impending security landscape.

Excerpts appear in this article from the full interviews that can be found at The participants address 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.

Security Technology

Tammee Thompson, V.P. & G.M., Global Security & Fire, Johnson Controls — 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 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.

Kevin Engelhardt, V.P., Security Operations, Diebold Inc. — A key driver of technology today is the end user’s need and demand for serviceability. Developing technology is no longer just about creating a device or a piece of equipment. It’s about enabling that solution to be hosted or putting that solution into the cloud. It’s about designing applications that help facilitate service. By creating technology with an eye toward services, we have the opportunity to add value to the enterprise, as well as build deeper, more lasting relationships with customers.

This new services-oriented paradigm will present challenges to equipment manufacturers. End users will seek more flexible solutions that enable unprecedented interoperability between systems. This will not only require manufacturers to approach development differently, it will also compel them to focus on open architecture systems. Manufacturers that have been driven solely by building a widget will have to consider that widget in association with services-based applications. And those manufacturers will also need to shift their business model to maintain profitability as product margins continue to erode.

Fredrik Nilsson, G.M., Axis Communications Inc. — We’re moving to an all-IP, all-digital surveillance world and technology development is happening very quickly. Specifically, improving light sensitivity of IP cameras has recently seen some great strides. We’re seeing more and more thermal network cameras that can detect in complete darkness being integrated into professional installations.

IP cameras are also giving users the ability to see color and detail even in dark conditions. We’ve seen a shift from CCD sensors to CMOS sensors for better light sensitivity. Also, thanks to the continuation of Moore’s Law, the camera has much more capacity for processing power, which can be used to digitally sharpen and filter the image — producing a color image in extremely low light conditions instead of switching to black and white like traditional day/night cameras.

In a second trend, innovations in storage will not only cause a technology shift for surveillance users but also presents a tremendous opportunity for integrators to bring IP to smaller installations. Today, network video is the de facto choice for systems with more than 32 cameras because of its scalability, image quality and total cost of ownership. But with the rise of hosted video combined with advancements in edge storage, we expect to see IP become a realistic and affordable solution for nearly every installation, large or small.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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