Every year the State of the Market Reports offer an in-depth review of the five major segments of the security industry: Video Surveillance, Alarm Systems & Monitoring, Access Control, Fire Alarm and Connected Home.
It’s amazing how much can change in a year. Last year’s state of the market report on access control was released at the beginning of April, just as the coronavirus started to spread throughout the U.S., and much of the research that went into the report was done before COVID-19 was a real concern.
The typically steady fire and life safety industry saw growth in 2019, with overall global revenues surpassing $7.5 billion, according to David Gonzalez, research analyst, physical security and critical communications, Omdia, London.
Evaluating the state of any market is a tricky thing during a pandemic — things are changing daily; new technologies are being explored; the future is unknown; and it’s difficult to look back at the past clearly.
The access control market in 2019 and 2020 can best be described as strong, but in flux — with changing architectures, changing customer expectations and demands, and changing security integrator roles.
A continuing strong economy, end user desires to do more with their access control systems and increasing interest in new technologies, integrations and models all led to a positive outlook in 2019 and a general feeling of optimism for 2020, with a few notes of caution.
Is the smart home market maturing and stabilizing, showing a clear path forward for security dealers wanting to capitalize on the new desires of homeowners to interact with many areas of their home life, including security? Not exactly. But there are definitely signs that it has moved to another level of adoption and interest, making the time ripe for action on the part of those who want to adjust their business model to capture opportunities and revenue in this fast-growing space.
Security integrators and manufacturers see renewed interest from end users in the features, benefits and use cases access control can provide, and are starting to see an uptick in retrofits and upgrades.
For decades the dominant story in access control has been that it was a victim of its own success: that is, customers were reluctant to change out what was still working — even 15 or 20 years on — and didn’t see the benefit in spending the money to upgrade, even for significantly new or different features.
Security dealers are increasingly taking advantage of the plethora of new technologies, business models and opportunities in the security alarm space, and seem to have found their footing in a rapidly changing landscape.
Doomsday didn’t happen. For all the concern many security dealers have shown in recent years — particularly about the rapidly changing residential market — all indicators seem to finally point to what was always the hope in the midst of the fear: that all the new entrants, technologies and business models would start to grow the pie for all.