Like any business sector the security industry has not missed out on the impact of the economic crises of the last few years. In the early days of the recession there were two schools of thought; firstly that some major jobs would be moth-balled until a time when cash-flow was at more of a premium and secondly, as is usual for a recession, crime would rise so more security measures would be required.
Looking back there is a case for both of these scenarios having happened to some extent. The major crimes of the early downturn appeared to be the theft of items such as diesel and metal machinery and oddities (manhole covers, cable and statues) for scrap value. These thefts did lead to an increase in surveillance and monitoring applications and the theft of fuel (as prices remain high) is still a major problem for the police.
Indeed the CCTV market in the UK did not slow down during the recession as a recent report from Key Note shows a value growth of 3.1% in 2012 and a 5.8% growth in 2013. People did not stop buying cameras in general, but the major contracts were held back.
In terms of shelved projects this was a problem for installers as there was an increasing reliance upon existing customers and maintenance contracts to get through the tough times. Furthermore the much publicised encroachment of IT integrators moving into the security sphere along with the introduction of cheap DIY network security products on the high street added further pressures to the bottom line.
But changes are apparently afoot. The green shoots of recovery are now beginning to blossom and many of the people we have spoken to over the last few months have said that they are definitely seeing a change in the market. Indeed all the signs from the economic commentators give the impression that the UK market is doing rather well these days. Industrial output is up, the service sector is still growing, unemployment is down, house prices are rising and house building is also on the up and other similar factors are all contributing to the fact that the UK is currently showing signs of having the best growth of all the G7 countries. Most experts (apart from those with political agendas) agree that the economic tide had turned.
On the crest of this wave the moth-balled projects are beginning to come to fruition and this is good news for the security installer as larger contracts are now on the table. The aforementioned market report from Key Note predicts a CCTV value growth of 3.8% for 2014 yet there are people that we have spoken to that believe this will be higher, especially once the summer holidays are over and companies begin looking to freeing up budgets that had been tightened in previous years.
Whatever the final figures prove to be, the times are beginning to look financially rosier for the security installer. Obviously there is not going to be a sudden pot of gold waiting for all of you in the office one morning, but all predictions are looking positive – which is much welcome news.