Now that another year has come around, it’s time to ask what’s ahead for electrical contractors that work in the security marketplace.

Market outlook
Market-Research.com indicated in its research report, “Global IT Security Market Forecast to 2013,” that, even amid the global economic slowdown, concerns about information technology (IT) security among all sized organizations helped the sector grow positively in the past couple of years. In addition, the report estimates projected growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12 percent during the 2012– 2015 timeframe.

In two recent surveys of its regular members, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) uncovered other expected growth markets that could be of interest to electrical contractors. The “Electronic Security Megatrends” survey revealed that more than 66 percent of respondents expect the use of alternative alarm signal transmission to grow more than 10 percent, followed by mobile device control at 49 percent, and integration on IT/networks and Internet protocol-based (IP)security, each at 46 percent. Then, an online ESA survey found that residential security providers will increasingly draw revenues from nonalarm products. This trend, respondents indicated, is driven by a clientele that is interacting with cutting-edge technologies in new ways and that nontraditional security providers, such as electrical contractors, are trusted by homeowners with both their security and nonsecurity installation needs.

The main growth segment in the security market, according to Willem Ryan, senior project manger for Bosch Security Systems, Fairport, N.Y., is video surveillance.

“According to a recent report issued by IMS Market Research on the Americas market for network security cameras, megapixel resolution network cameras show the most promising growth opportunity through 2015 with a CAGR of 47.9 percent,” he said.

Trends outlook
Based on interest from Honeywell Security Group customers, the first physical security trend in which the company sees growth is mobile applications.

“Everyone, both commercial and residential end-users, wants an app,” said Dan Rinehart, director of strategic marketing for Honeywell, who added that people are now living by and with their mobile devices, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or other device, and security needs to be part of that equation. “One of the more in-demand services being offered by companies that electrical contractors should know about is remote-control monitoring.”

The rise in digital technologies and remote applications also is driving a greater interest in hosted applications.

“For example, hosted services like web-based access control is gaining popularity because it takes monitoring burdens off of organizations, and that enables installers to offer to manage access control systems from their own offices,” Rinehart said.

This notion of hosting services in the “cloud” also is gaining traction in the video market, where end-users can access footage through Internet-enabled devices and benefit from advancements, such as analytics and central station integration.

“All of these new services have the added benefit of producing recurring revenue for the installer,” Rinehart said.

In addition to remote access to video surveillance systems, end-users are increasingly demanding that these systems include high-definition (HD) and megapixel cameras, which is improving the performance of video content analysis software through the higher pixel densities captured by HD cameras, Ryan said.

The integration of security systems with building automation and IT networks continues to draw more end-user interest, Rinehart said, because of the efficiencies that can be gained. For example, a fully integrated system could allow the central console to patch into the video surveillance system when an alarm is triggered. The video feed could immediately show the fire or environmental issue to security personnel, allowing them to instantly assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.

“When determining the level of integration, it’s critical to make sure all the stakeholders involved have input at the beginning of the project and to view the company’s IT department as an ally,” Rinehart said.

As the industry moves toward the open standards of the IT world, the leveraging of commercial off-the-shelf IT technology becomes more enabled, according to Ryan.

“This will continue to drive down pricing at an accelerated rate. We can see this in particular with technology such as storage, servers, workstations and associated software,” he said.

To work successfully in the advancing digital security environment, contractors will need to have IT networking certifications and be trained in IP video.

“They should also understand the nuances of lighting, video camera placement and the resolution requirements for usable surveillance video,” Ryan said.

In addition, it may be helpful for electrical contractors to develop relationships with manufacturers that provide technical training on their security products and solutions.


BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 and darbremer@comcast.net.