Increasing Optimism About Access Control
An exclusive article on page 93 in this issue, “Wireless Access Abounds,” features more than a dozen wireless access control products, many of which will be exhibited at ISC West. With their wireless functionality, these products can help you solve customer problems or improve your installation efficiency. Many of the products described also have corresponding videos that you can watch at www.SDMmag.com/videos.In this second article in the four-part series of SDM’s State of the Market Reports, we delve into the viability of the access control market. Senior Editor Karyn Hodgson writes, “Sometime around the middle of last year many access control industry insiders noticed a welcome phenomenon: People were smiling more. At trade shows, around industry roundtables and across boardrooms, a collective weight seemed to have lifted. As the economy finally shrugged off the doldrums and businesses started loosening the purse strings, those manufacturing, selling and installing access control saw momentum — whether for the first time since the recession or as a continuation of a recovery begun a year or two earlier — that led to a positive 2014 for most and a rosy outlook for 2015.”
The availability of innovative technology always helps to spur sales. Two technologies to watch in 2015 are the use of the smartphone as a credential and wireless readers. But technologies can only help convert customers’ interests into actual sales if budgets are readily available. If businesses don’t have the money to fund security projects — whether as a capital expense or a recurring expense — then projects don’t get sold. However, systems integrators lately are seeing those budgets becoming more available.
“We fared better than we budgeted for or expected in 2014,” said security integrator Skip Sampson, CPP, president, KST Security, Indianapolis. Sampson, who is featured on this month’s cover, attributes this growth in large part to the general economic recovery.
“It all hinges on budgets. We would engineer a lot of projects in previous years, but they might sit for a year or two before the funding would come through. This year a lot of those projects were finally funded, and other projects we consulted on and engineered got funded right away. In the summertime, everyone said to themselves, ‘This is going to continue to be good.’ We saw projects in the summer that took us right through fall and winter and proved to us that corporate America was releasing funds.”
According to Kiplinger’s Economic Outlooks, “a return to the days of double-digit jumps in annual business spending (before the 2007 to 2009 recession) is years away, if it happens at all. The best bet now for capital spending in 2015 is to match 2014’s 5 percent gain.” Kiplinger’s reports that business sentiment is relatively strong, particularly among smaller companies where the planning to expand is at the highest level since 2007.
Here at SDMwe are hearing similar optimism among the industry’s largest systems integrators and security dealers. As they report in for the SDM 100 and Top Systems Integrators Reports, dealers and integrators weighed in on our question, “Do you think funding for security projects was generally better, worse, or about the same in 2014 as it was in 2013?”
“We believe the perception that the economy is better has loosened the purse strings of large companies. We also believe that projects that were on hold are now being released,” reported ACT (Access Control Technologies Inc.), Clifton, N.J.
Sonitrol Security Systems of the Triangle, based in Raleigh, N.C., noted that the building and expansion climate continues to improve along with the economy. “Security continues to grow in importance; customers are focused as much on their employees/visitors/customers during the day as they are on illegal activity at night or while closed.”
In addition to new builds, there is business in upgrades. “We see a large opportunity out there for upgrades to systems that have been in place for years. They are now getting the funding to upgrade both the hardware and software side of things for those systems,” Sampson said. State of the Market: Access Control begins on page 50. We hope you are seeing some of the same trends, and smiling too.
Sidebar: Check Out These Videos
An exclusive article on page 93 in this issue, “Wireless Access Abounds,” features more than a dozen wireless access control products, many of which will be exhibited at ISC West. With their wireless functionality, these products can help you solve customer problems or improve your installation efficiency. Many of the products described also have corresponding videos that you can watch at www.SDMmag.com/videos.