A recent visit to New York gave us a startling perspective on the security industry in the United States. Industry trends, technological advances and the sheer sophistication of the American market were real eye-openers for us local guys.
Security industry trends in the US have progressed in a completely different direction to those in South Africa. In the US the emphasis is on technology and on coverage - that is, ensuring that sufficient sensors have been installed to 'cover' the building. In South Africa many installers try to get by with as few sensors as possible.
Integrated systems, interactive control and networked systems are also big in the US, as is home automation. One of the most popular home automation systems used over there is Ademco's Symphony, a system with lots of hi-tech features, including touchpads, e-mail and SMS links.
Here, in South Africa, we tend to focus on link-ups and response and badly neglect technology and comprehensive coverage. If our security industry is to start emulating our American counterparts, we will have to cut back this emphasis on the link-up and eliminate the habit of cutting of corners on the system itself.
This approach short-changes the end-user - especially entry level customers who may be particularly vulnerable to believing they are adequately covered in terms of their system's detection capabilities, when they are not.
The coverage issue is by no means an issue of affluence in the US, suggesting that this market is wealthy enough to go for the ultimate in systems. In South Africa the short-change scenario described above is rife even in regard to servicing more affluent end-users.
As long as hi-tech is a bulk market in the US and only a niche market in South Africa, our industry will forever be a poor relation.
For more information: Dave Fraser, Honeywell-TeqTrader, 011 805 1201.
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