One of SDM's most important reports of the year is the 2004 Industry Forecast Study on page 36 of this issue.

Based on a survey conducted in the fall, the study reveals both continuing trends from the recent past and developing patterns for the near future.

For example, the total industry revenue from the sale, lease, installation, service and monitoring of security systems increased to $24.1 billion, a significant nine percent gain from 2002 to 2003. This is evidence of a continuing trend that saw total industry revenue escalate nearly 50 percent over the last decade. It also shows the impact of the continued strong home construction market as well as the strength of systems installation and maintenance into the corporate and commercial field.

Clearly, overall growth is continuing at a steady and satisfying pace, and nothing on the horizon suggests that 2004 will be any less rewarding.

"World events and continued regulatory changes have brought renewed attention to many sectors within the security industry, with growth rates projected in the mid-to high-single digits," said Jeffery Kessler, an analyst for Lehman Brothers, New York.

Details of the 2004 Industry Forecast Study suggest that residential and non-residential security sales and installation as well as monitoring/leasing continue as the industry's core services.

Other findings show that, dating back to 1997, the average home security system has remained just a hair over $1,500. In 2003, this average price remained extremely steady.

Hinting at up-and-coming developments, the average number of residential video surveillance systems nearly doubled over the last year, and non-residential surveillance systems made significant gains as well.

Along with the extended reach of video surveillance, data suggest that systems integration will continue to define the industry in the days to come, both in nonresidential and home sites.

"We are beginning to see more companies operate across lines in the different security sectors as the trend toward greater integration of products and services continues," Kessler said at the recent Securing New Ground Conference.

Findings in the 2004 Industry Forecast Study stretch far beyond what is contained in this month's coverage. Additional findings will appear in future issues of SDM, and the comprehensive report can be ordered online at the SDM web site:

Also in this issue: "The Changing Front of Central Station Response," page 55, shows how alarm dealers' central station operations have changed in the effort to reduce false alarms and avoid police non-response.