Welcome to 2020. This year has special significance for me, as my oldest son will graduate high school and prepare to go off to college in the fall. Like many high school seniors, he is uncertain about what he wants to do in life; but he is excited and confident that the next few years will bring great things.
2020 is an interesting year numerically as well. Not only does it begin a whole new decade, but it brings to mind the concept of perfect vision as well as one of reflection — hindsight is, after all, 20/20. In this issue of SDM, both meanings are explored in various ways.
In the cover story beginning on page 36, SDM Editor Laura Stepanek reports on the SDM 2020 Industry Forecast, noting that security integrators expect to repeat the stellar performance of 2019 again this year.
“The start of this decade should be comparably successful for security companies. Two-thirds of integrators anticipate their total annual revenues will increase in 2020 and — among those who foresee expansion — the expected increase is 19 percent, on average,” she writes.
The cover article also features predictions from three prominent dealers and integrators on their 2020 sales, revenue and RMR, as well as some of the factors that will impact their performance in 2020 — including finding/retaining employees, which was identified by integrators as the No. 1 challenge in this year’s Forecast study.
On page 46, author Joan Engebretson looks back at a critical industry event from 2019 — the Monitronics bankruptcy — and talks to experts to explore whether this will have a ripple effect on the industry going forward, or whether it could instead spur positive change.
“As the cost of capital increases, and as some companies are forced to reduce the amount they borrow, some sources foresee a reduction in mergers and acquisitions or a reduction in the amounts paid for companies,” she writes. On the other hand, she continues, “What’s bad news for sellers could be good for buyers.”
And in “A Look Ahead” beginning on page 60, we look both at the previous year and decade in the security door lock and hardware space to see what advancements changed the industry, as well what experts predict we will see in the decade to come.
“Down the path I think you will see major innovations in electronic locks, probably to the point where we won’t even recognize what we have today,” says Nick English, national sales manager, Kwikset, Lake Forest, Calif.
SDM columnists were also in a reflective mood this issue. The Marketing Madmen columnists explore the impact of the Google BERT update and how it can change your marketing for the better; Helen Heneveld says “2020 looks like a great year in the smart home industry,” in her column; and Dave Engebretson shares a personal story about his elderly mom and how he plans to help her “age in place” using a service that can also benefit dealers.
Online this month, it is your turn to reflect. In a newly posted poll, “How Accurate Were These Predictions for 2020?” we revisit a story from 2017, where SDM asked a variety of professionals what significant changes they expected to take place in the security industry by the year 2020. Now that the new decade is here, you can vote for which prediction in each of the nine categories is your favorite. See it at www.SDMmag.com/PredictionsPoll.
When we look back at 2010 and where the security industry was then, it is amazing to think how much has changed: Cyber security wasn’t a big consideration; AI was the stuff of science fiction; and drones and robots were Star Wars characters. Now, much like my son, we look forward to the next decade and wonder what will be the highlights? What new and exciting adventures await? What challenges? At SDM we look forward to experiencing that right along with you and bringing you the latest news and technology advancements that will shape the future.