One side of the security system industry is embracing the idea of partnerships and a professional ecosystem, whilst the other side is fighting tooth and nail to cling on to proprietary systems. Whilst there will be room in the sector for both approaches, only one will become established as the de facto standard for advanced solutions. It doesn’t require the intelligence of a coach party from Mensa to work out which it will be! This raises the question why some credible parties are investing in limiting technologies.
If you take a snapshot of the security industry at present, there are two very well defined camps. In the past few years, one of those camps has grown, both in terms of size and stature. It’s healthy, developing at a rapid pace and it offers a better solution in terms of both performance and return on investment. It delivers innovation, flexibility and scalability, and the customer will pay more for the solutions it offers because they bring real everyday benefits.
During the same period of time, the second camp has shown signs of decline. Any advances it has made have been minor in comparison to what is being achieved elsewhere, and its developments typically come with an unhealthy dose of compromise. Many of the advances aren’t as significant as they at first seem, and the customer is demanding what is on offer at an increasingly reduced price. Everything about this second camp indicates that it’s being pushed from its position by the alternative.
It’s easy to look at these differences and put the sentiments expressed down to personal choice, but that’s actually not the case. The way in which the two camps are moving is following well established and proven economical models. The behaviours have been seen across a wide range of commercial and industrial sectors in the past, and no doubt will be seen many times in the future.
Disruptive innovation is very real, it has been well documented, and its cyclical nature means that there are untold examples of the various phases business sectors go through. Additionally, experience teaches that there is only one inevitable outcome. It might take years or even decades, but the disruptive innovation always succeeds.
In the security industry the first camp, the healthy and growing one, is made up of companies that embrace integration and flexibility. These companies are happy to concentrate on their strengths, and then form partnerships with other companies allowing them to add their expertise to enhance the systems on offer. These manufacturers don’t try to be all things to all men. They see the market-place evolving, and can spot how to create a stronger and more beneficial product offering.
The second camp, the one facing inevitable decline, has an unhealthy fascination with proprietary systems. That fascination seems to ignore the fact that typically, single-source solutions lack flexibility and scalability. They deprive the customer of choice and create an artificial dependency which, once created, can be exploited for as long as possible.
The big problem is that despite what some will tell you, the security sector is not ‘different’. The basic laws of economics apply to us just as much as they apply to other industries. More importantly, they apply to the customers too. End users will not accept limited proprietary systems because they’re cheap, or because they make life easier for the installer or the supplier. They will demand an effective solution, and those who trade on price alone will find business opportunities dwindling.
Disruptive innovation is a reality, and 2015 will see significant industry change!