WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES. As I sit in my home office in Maryland (unlike many of you I already worked from home, so that hasn’t changed), the first daffodils are appearing and the beautiful flowering trees are starting to bud. The vaccine news here and around the country seems to be getting more and more positive by the day, and there is a general feeling of real optimism that things might get back to closer to “normal” soon.

What I have noticed about the security industry over the years — but particularly in the past 12 months — is that it is by nature cautious, but optimistic. Last year, our April issue featured the first State of the Market story conducted during the pandemic, and there was a lot of uncertainty. There was also a lot of hope. Many integrators and manufacturers at that time felt the sudden shift of sands, as their once-predicted great year was anything but predictable.

Now one year later, Managing Editor Courtney Wolfe writes in the State of the Market: Access Control cover story, “Though 2020 certainly brought a lot of uncertainty, it did not have the negative impact on the access control market that many may have expected. Rather, it presented all sorts of new opportunities for those working in the space.”

Even better, most are even more positive about the rest of this year.

“I’m looking for a good rebound,” says Napco’s Scott Schramme in the article. “I think the U.S. economy realizes now we need to open up — even back East we’re starting to see a lot fewer projects being put on hold, and construction sites are going full blown now. And schools are opening back up, which is huge. Those schools that didn’t want anyone in their buildings are realizing they need to put security in. So I’m looking for a good 2021, and it’s starting to gather.”

Things do seem to be getting back on track on several industry fronts. While some events are still planning to be virtual only, Will Wise of ISC Events told those gathered (virtually) for the annual SIA Advance on March 23 that the 2021 ISC West event, pushed back to July 19-21 in Las Vegas, is still on for a hybrid model — something he said will be the new norm for events even post-COVID-19. “There has been a lot more positive momentum in the country in the last six to seven weeks,” he said. “Things are looking quite favorable. Will [it] be the same as 2019? Of course not; but we are expecting a very strong show.”

Who knows whether we will see each other in person this year or next, but it is looking much more promising than just a few short weeks ago!