Access Control Industry Forecast

March 1, 2009
Trends include software-based access control systems, IP video, the continuing integration of CCTV and card access and more wireless products.

Forecasts are easy to do. If you keep them vague enough, you are always right. What will you the reader do in reaction to forecasts? Take along your raincoat when you leave for work?

Many are saying that our troubled economy is largely due to negative forecasts which flooded the media during the presidential election. Like Global Warming, the economy goes through organic cycles which are difficult to forecast and but not difficult to predict. We know what will happen but we don’t know exactly when.

Perhaps the economy is suffering from attacks to bankrupt it by terrorists in our midst? Are the problems the aftermath of 911? The country seemingly weathered that disaster, but did the measures taken in reaction at that time bring on the problems we are having now?

It seems like the economic crisis is world-wide and not just us. Is the influence of the American economy so powerful that the rest of the World crests and ebbs as we do or is this a move towards a New World Order and the demise of the U.S. dollar?

For an industry forecast, there are several perspectives. How do we brace ourselves for the worst? How do we plan to survive during hard times? Will the security industry as a whole be spared and not suffer?

It is clear that new technology directs what products are available for us to offer our customers. It is also clear that for many locksmiths, several market segments such as residential and automotive which were once their bread and butter have deteriorated. This didn’t happen New Years Day, but many locksmiths are acting surprised and are looking for reasons.

The good news is that the industry will prevail as new markets develop; the bad news for many is that the rules have changed and some of you reading this will need to adapt in a hurry in order for your business to survive.

We asked some industry insiders for their forecasts, and their answers indicate there are definitely different perspectives on the same topic, and it remains to be seen what will be the right answer. The following interviews were with Gary D’Aries, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies vice president, and Pete Peek, Pelco regional rep.
All forecasts are subject to revision. The one constant is that the financial future of the security industry does not look bumpy, but changes in products and technologies will be happening at a rapid pace. Success will go to those locksmiths who recognize and embrace each new technology, learn their applications, and do the best job of marketing their new skills and products to customers. 

In your opinion what does the future hold for access control?
GD: Selling software-based access control has always been tricky both for dealers and manufacturers. Coming from a world of locking hardware, software demonstrations have not been locksmiths' sweet spot. However, with more and more users demanding software-based systems, it has become increasingly important that security professionals learn how to demonstrate access control software effectively.

As a dealer, you need make a major investment in having your people gear up to sell an IT-based or web-enabled access control system. If they aren’t prepared, they will have difficulty throughout the sales cycle, which can cost you time, money and blemish your reputation among your customers.

Your manufacturer should be willing to help you. When reviewing a potential new product, confirm that the proper training tools will be provided to you. Are you being provided an easy-to-use, easy-to-set up demo kit that provides your people with simple, yet in-depth presentations? Are you being provided with training tutorials and materials via the Internet for quick and easy reference? Are there “help guides” built into the software itself? Does the manufacturer provide in-person training to you? Are similar tools available for your customer as well?

With the right tools, your employees can learn a system quickly, demonstrate it properly and efficiently, and compete effectively in the marketplace. This will result in a satisfied customer and greater revenue for your business.

What do you forecast will be the major trends in Security, Access Control and Video Surveillance in the coming year(s)?
PP: I don’t know that I am Carnac. There have been enough of the talking heads saying where this industry is going. I do agree that IP video will be our future. The integrators that get IP savvy will be the ones that will lead the pack. Don’t get me wrong. Analog video will be here for some time to come. The installed base is very large and some customers are hesitant to make a change.

The continuing integration of CCTV and Card Access is becoming more important. We have seen how important that can be with more and more unmanned sites that require the viewing of access transaction information with video.

More people are asking for wireless without knowing that it is not WiFi. Only dedicated Video and data wireless platforms really work properly. I think we will see more and more in that arena.