Shaking Up the Status Quo: Outside Forces Are Changing the Security Industry

What a year it has been for the physical security industry. In the residential market, new entrants applied competitive pressure greater than ever before. Do-it-­yourself and self-install products hit the market from Best Buy/Vivint, Google, SimpliSafe and Ring’s Protect Security Kit, although a recent injunction halted sales of the latter.

Traditional physical security product manufacturers took nontraditional routes—Honeywell entered the DIY frenzy and rolled out its self-installed, self-monitored Smart Home Security System through Indiegogo, a popular ­crowdfunding website for tech startups. Assa Abloy (HID is a subsidiary) signed an agreement to acquire August Home, a San Francisco-based provider of smart locks, home-access products and services.

Google Home introduced Scout, the wireless, smartphone-controlled, self-installed alarm. Nest Labs brought a DIY home security solution to market called Nest Secure, which includes an alarm system, video doorbell, outdoor security camera and corresponding software and services. MONI Smart Security will provide professional monitoring service for the systems and, so far, is the only major security company to offer Nest Secure with professional monitoring directly to residential security customers.

Amazon entered the fray with its first do-it-yourself home security product. To access the service, customers must purchase the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Cam and compatible smart locks made by Yale and Kwikset. Other market entrants included Bosch’s Smart Home, and in 2018, Best Buy is expected to offer a new DIY security system with a complete Samsung SmartThings home automation hub inside, including ZigBee, Z-Wave and Wi-Fi. The system is made by security manufacturer 2Gig (Nortek) and monitored by ADT.

Face-lift and transformation

What does the typical security industry look like today? That’s anyone’s guess, and its profile continues to change. Now, physical security includes many different disciplines, components and new directions that have arisen as systems have become increasingly network integrated and the internet of things (loT) continues to turn every connected point into a data collection sensor.

Video verification and real-time surveillance through mobile platforms came on strong in 2017. Mass notification/emergency communication and access control is morphing into augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The latest iPhone has popularized the concept of facial identification, also known as facial recognition, using the technology to unlock the smartphone.

According to IHS Markit, London, the popularity of DIY security systems is on the rise due to its low cost, easy installation and ability to control the system with smartphone-enabled applications. While the Americas are the largest market for DIY intrusion alarms, the research firm said professional security installing companies can address this highly competitive newcomer by adopting an open ecosystem approach and offering a greater variety of equipment and more flexible monitoring contracts and solutions.

“The loT is everywhere, and it’s both an opportunity and a challenge,” said Fredrik Nilsson, vice president—Americas, Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass. “By 2025, it will be an $11 trillion market. The loT is in medical devices, vehicles and everything that’s connected. Residential and consumer electronics has become the development platform, and residential products are crashing through to small business. Products are getting simpler, adding value to the security specification and becoming more interactive. This trend will continue, and you’ll also see ongoing consolidation in the industry.”

Out of necessity, and for simplicity’s sake, security solutions are becoming less proprietary. In addition, the cloud is an enabling technology that fosters greater integration and convergence, even with legacy systems. Professional installing companies are learning to provide a comprehensive, integrated solution, and many are incorporating the latest technologies that companies are asking for.

Cybersecurity as a service

Cyber and data protection is integrating as a service from companies providing security. Customers want assurance that whatever system is deployed on the network has safeguards such as authentication and encryption to circumvent what has become a plague of data theft and network compromise, even of recorded video surveillance streams. For security companies, cybersecurity has become the elephant in the room, and providers need to address its presence with proactive measures and targeted tactics.

“Cybersecurity will become a core capability of what we do and can also enhance the value proposition for the security provider,” said Rob Martens, futurist and vice president, strategy and partnerships, Allegion, Carmel, Ind. “Physical and cybersecurity won’t be separated.”

Are you prepared to take your company into the future of security? If you have a plan, get ready to change it, because security isn’t done with its face-lift.

About the Author

Deborah L. O'Mara

Freelance Writer

Deborah L. O’Mara is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at

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