When the President of the United States gives his state of the union address, most folks tune in. Whether they support the current administration or not, whether they believe America is on the right track or not, whether they spend all evening talking back to the president through their TVs or not — they watch it because they need to stay informed.

Obviously, there is no commander-in-chief of the security industry to tell us how we are doing. But through SDM’s State of the Market article series, our readers can gain the knowledge of the health of the industry and its near-term potential in major markets, through the collective voices of security professionals. The State of the Market article series covers Alarm Systems (published in February 2010), Video Surveillance (published in this issue on page 58), Access Control (to be published in April), and Fire Protection Systems (to be published in May).

This year marks the fourth annual presentation of this important series. It is researched and written by SDM’s associate editor, Heather Klotz, and it is sponsored by Honeywell. What makes this series so unique is the wealth of information provided in each article — from research among our readers asking them to rate the state of the market for their own businesses, to external influences on the industry such as crime, to extensive interviews with distributors, integrators, manufacturers, dealers, consultants and others. Sometimes it’s a help to be able to compare the performance of your business with others like yours. Other times it’s reassuring to hear the industry’s larger businesses summarize what they’re seeing from a national perspective.

For example, in this issue’s “State of the Market: Video Surveillance” the CEO of North American Video, Jason Oakley, adeptly points out that the economy is looking better, but not so much that installers should lose sight of how customers are thinking.

“The economy is looking up, but not dramatically so, and capital budgets will remain under extreme pressure. Given the continued uncertainties, customers will continue to be very careful about spending money, which makes it even more important that we present a strong economic case for the benefits of video surveillance,” Oakley says.

The author points out that making a strong economic case for buying video surveillance is made easier with all of the technology that’s available to help customers be more efficient and budget-conscious. “Analytics are helping end users streamline business processes. Hybrid products are allowing end users to selectively upgrade their systems as budgets allow, and new IP advancements are opening up affordable surveillance options for small- to mid-sized companies,” Klotz writes. “Combine that with exciting developments in HD and megapixel cameras, managed video as a service, video verification, and more — and video surveillance offers a strong case regarding its value.”

We invite you to read more of the insights collected here, and let us know how you see the market performing. We’d like to interview you for a future article in this series. Contact Associate Editor, Heather Klotz, at klotzh@bnpmedia.com, to share your opinion.