Does DIY security pose a threat to the professional market?

London, UK

The popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) security systems is on the rise owing to their low cost, easy installation and smartphone-enabled operation. The Americas is the largest market for DIY intruder alarms and, according to IHS Markit, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20 percent over the next five years

In 2016, IHS finds that the global market for DIY security equipment reached $60 million, with the great majority of gear — 85 percent — sold in the Americas. The American market for DIY intruder alarms is forecast to grow at a CAGR of more than 20 percent over the next five years.

In recent years, the residential security market has seen an influx of DIY intruder alarm system providers from internet service providers such as Deutsche Telekom and consumer electronics companies including Ring and Nest — the latest such providers to offer DIY security systems. The popularity of DIY systems is on the rise for several reasons.  Self-install systems have no installation costs and can be set up fairly quickly, equipment is often pre-configured, alarms can be monitored through a dedicated smartphone app. In addition, very often, equipment is interoperable with a wide range of commercially available video cameras, voice speakers or video doorbells, and allows for virtually unlimited expansion and customisation. 

IHS analysts believe that professional solution providers are under pressure because new players have entered the security marketplace from other industries, resulting in increased competition and pricing pressures.

The flexibility of DIY systems has allowed non-traditional security equipment providers to increase the overall penetration rate of homes with alarm systems — something professional equipment providers have long struggled to achieve. But the rise of the DIY market poses the biggest challenge to suppliers of professional security equipment.

One of the positives is that DIY systems have helped lower the barriers to acquiring security systems and increased the public knowledge of the same.

However, the need for professional installers will not disappear completely anytime soon. Professionally installed systems provide added peace of mind that when equipment malfunctions, any issues can be addressed immediately by a qualified engineer. And, the quality of the equipment is usually higher in professionally installed systems, and professional configuration and setup greatly reduces the potential for connection instability and false alarms.

Multisystem operators such as Comcast and AT&T have accumulated market share with their home security offerings in a relatively short space of time — demonstrating that there is plenty of demand left in the market for affordable professionally installed alarm solutions.

In order to mitigating the DIY threat professional security installers could look at working more closely with remote monitoring companies to provide flexible monitoring contracts and solutions to their customers. Service providers could also add more equipment types to their security platforms to help make them more versatile and a more open ecosystem approach could also be beneficial as it would allow for the addition of a wider variety of equipment types. 

Some professional security companies have already released their own DIY systems that come with the quality assurance of a leading provider and security grading while offering similar benefits as DIY systems currently available in the market. These include Honeywell with its DIY Smart Home (to launch on the Indiegogo digital marketplace) and Le Sucre intruder alarm system, Bosch’s Smart Home and Nortek’s partnership with Samsung and ADT.


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