Security trends 2009

January 2009 News

Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked some of the ­security players to gaze into their crystal balls and provide a brief insight into the state of the market in 2009.

1. What do you expect to see happening in the security industry in 2009? A slowdown? A migration to IP? Improved training? More remote monitoring?

Andrew Stead, regional general manager, ADI International: I believe there will be a significant slowdown due simply to the worldwide economic situation. However, there will be a definite niche market for those companies that are involved with the ramp up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. IP is definitely on the up and believe there will be a continuous and significant growth in this industry.

Piet du Preez, chairman of SmartX: We believe there will be a shift to IP and a big development in remote monitoring. We also expect to see an increase in security breaches as the economical times get tougher.

Anthony Rosenbaum, MD of CMT Trading: I see a migration to IP and more remote monitoring in the industry. As a result of this I believe that more and improved training will start to occur because of the new and latest technology being released into the market.

Danna Strydom, MD of ADT Security: We anticipate a significant slowdown in the economy in 2009 and believe consumers and businesses will be under greater pressure to cut back on their spending. We still feel however that security will continue to be an important area for families and commercial customers whilst crime levels remain unacceptably high in the country. Large security service providers like ADT will be better placed to manage their costs and we see the trend towards more technology-based security solutions continuing.

2. What one aspect of the security industry will dominate among users in 2009?

Stead: IP.

Du Preez: It is difficult to isolate one aspect in the industry.

Rosenbaum: I think that it would be difficult to highlight one particular aspect as being the dominant issue in 2009 because I believe that a couple of critical aspects will in fact dominate the industry in 2009. However, I think that the current worldwide financial crisis will definitely have an influence. The rapid and excessive depreciation of the SA rand has already had a negative effect on the pricing of imported products which make up a very large percentage of the products sold in our market and will continue to be an issue until the situation changes.

Strydom: The increased cost of manpower which may have an impact on the overall spending by businesses.

3. What will be the primary issue among the industry members (vendors, distributors, consultants, installers etc.)?

Stead: Consolidation and stock holding.

Du Preez: The primary activity in our opinion will be access control with biometrics. CCTV will run a close second. There are so many companies being infiltrated by criminal syndicates that corrupt staff and obtain confidential information.

Rosenbaum: Once again I believe that pricing will be a issue.

Strydom: Addressing the skills shortage by sourcing appropriate talent and continuing our customer service focus so that we can find the best ways to add value to customers in these difficult times to ensure their security.

4. Will we see a greater influx of foreign security companies and goods? Why?

Stead: No, market is pretty saturated and as such no room for new foreign investment.

Du Preez: Not necessarily as the market is partly flooded already. If there are new players from abroad I foresee that they will be larger organisations buying into some local companies to break into the market with existing client base. There may be more products from China coming in but they will mainly be based on pricing and probably by not so stable small businesses.

Rosenbaum: I cannot speak for foreign security companies (with guards as their main focus) looking to expand I think that many overseas manufacturers still see South Africa as a high target market to sell their products and systems in. Perhaps the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup opportunity is still regarded as a draw-card for these manufacturers and with the financial crisis having a major effect on their existing foreign markets, South Africa remains a target.

Strydom: No, we do not anticipate an influx due to unfavourable exchange rates and an economic climate which is not attractive for investment.

5. Will the security industry eventually get its act together in 2009 and come together in support of one overall body representing the whole industry or will politics and a cowboy mentality keep the industry fractured and bickering?

Stead: Hopefully we will see the industry getting its act together. However, I would not hold my breath as there are indeed too many renegades ruling the roost!

Du Preez: Unfortunately we cannot see harmony amongst the industry players as many have personal egos and feel they may lose competitive advantage.

Rosenbaum: Will the security industry get its act together. I have been in the industry for a long time and I have seen how long it has taken to get where we are today. On a positive note I believe that perhaps the electronic security industry sector may start to see some changes and the creation of one umbrella body representing the full spectrum of the electronic security industry under the SIA banner could become a reality. Unfortunately change is always hard but I think from the feedback I have received from the industry over the past few months, this new body certainly looks like getting off the ground, sooner rather than later.

Strydom: The industry has already come together and through the Security Industry Alliance (SIA) the industry is now engaged in regular meaningful dialogue with the Ministry of Safety and Security, the SAPS and the regulator. Much work still needs to be done, but progress is being made in defining protocol for co-operation with the SAPS and making input into legislation affecting the industry as well as getting the SABS involved in setting standards for the industry.

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