SecurityWorldMarket

08/01/2022

Many challenges ahead for the security industry

Stockholm, Sweden

Lennart Alexandrie, Publisher, and CEO AR Media International, comments on the challenges ahead for the security industry.

Here, Lennart Alexandrie, Editor and Publisher of Detektor International Magazine, and CEO and founder of AR Media International, takes a look at what is left behind in the wake of a tumultuous 2021, and the challenges that it, and other important factors, represent for the security industry in 2022.

Pandemic effects, cyber security threats and the shutdown of old telecom networks are examples of the challenges that the security industry has to deal with in the coming years.

In many countries the pandemic has subsided, as a result of the increasing number of people being vaccinated. However, there are still new infections that are worrying and even if it calms, the effects of the pandemic will be there for a long time.

Supply chain challenges

The lack of components and containers to ship goods are good examples of a pandemic effect that will persist. The imbalance in the supply and demand situation is dramatically driving the component prices and creating higher costs for the manufacturers of electronic security products, which will make their products more expensive. And on top of that a lack of supply will continue to result in delivery delays.

Projects postponed

Another effect is of course caused by the lockdowns in many countries. Installation projects and even service commitments have not been possible to fullfill because customers have not allowed suppliers to enter their facilities due to their infection control policy. Furthermore, many installation projects have been delayed and postponed to the future. It has simply been more difficult to fill the order book during the pandemic.

WFH here to stay

Now, the biggest challenge lies in the fact that the home has for a long time become an office for many people and digital meetings have received a real boost. In many businesses, fears of declining productivity have not materialised. This has led to more and more employers seeing the opportunities to allow employees to work from home to a great extent, also in the future. With fewer staff in the office and increasingly more digital customer meetings, employers can reduce fixed costs by reducing their office space, which also means a reduced need for security products, such as locks, readers, cameras and sensors of various kinds. How extensive the home office will be as a trend remains to be seen, but for sure it will affect both the real estate industry and everyone who is a supplier of materials for offices and properties.

Prioritising cyber security

Cyber security is another major and growing challenge. Requirements for providers of network-based electronic systems for physical security purposes must be raised. Knowledge of material selection and how to install technology for physical security in a cyber-secure way must be able to be verified if the industry wants to maintain its credibility. Customers should not have to worry that the installed security system opens doors for cybercrime attacks against their networks. The security industry needs standards and norms, which competent and serious system suppliers can be certified to. Customers must be given the chance to choose a supplier who can document their expertise in the cyber security area. Cyber security must simply be given a higher priority by the norm-setters.

Communication network upgrades

Finally, the security industry in all European countries must be aware of the ongoing phase-out of 2G and 3G networks and what it means for the functions of the millions of existing security systems installed. Updates should be addressed by security industry players right now.

In Sweden, where I am based, 3G will be switched off on 31 December 2025 (and the 2G networks slightly or a few years, later), according to existing telecom operators. But of course, not everything will be upgraded at once, it happens gradually. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the security industry's trade organisations and security companies inform their customers and begin the update as soon as possible. Otherwise, there is a risk that security systems’ communications will stop working.

Taking responsibility for the future

If we start late, there is also the risk of a lack of installation capacity. That so many countries are late in kicking off this upgrade activity perhaps seems a little strange, especially as there is also money to be made for the security industry from updating old facilities, whilst at the same time taking some social responsibility in preparing the customers for the future.


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