2014 was the year touted by business analysts as The Great Tipping Point – the year IP cameras would finally start to dominate the video surveillance market. 

The analysts were right but not in the way I expected them to be. IP is suddenly in the ascendency but not in an incremental way. By all accounts, IP is obliterating analogue in much of the Australian market and once IP proliferates it will lead to sweeping changes. 

To check if the analysts were right about The Great Tipping Point, we spoke with 3 major local distributors of video surveillance equipment and 1 manufacturer of both IP and analogue cameras. The results speak for themselves. The numbers most people would expect come from Bosch Security Systems. Currently, Bosch is sitting at 50/50 analogue and IP and the company says IP is growing at 8 per cent annually, with analogue shrinking at 2 per cent. 

But at Video Security Products, things are far more pronounced. IP camera sales are 70 per cent of VSP’s business, with another 20 per cent being HD-SDI and analogue a paltry 10 per cent. What’s more, VSP’s IP sales are growing at 20 per cent annually. Meanwhile, Q Security Systems is also growing its IP business at 20 per cent annually, with IP currently making up 60 per cent of cameras sales compared to 40 per cent for analogue. 

Perhaps the most telling figures of all come from Central Security Distribution, which in 2012 was doing 70 per cent analogue and 30 per cent IP. Two years later CSD’s figures are 90 per cent IP and 10 per cent analogue. 

These numbers represent a massive change taking place at an accelerating rate. It’s impossible to ignore the fact IP is a substrate, a facilitator for lateral and vertical applications and integrations. The more electronic security devices drive across networks, the more expansive, the more powerful and the more pervasive our security solutions will be.  

In a very real sense, analogue technology has constrained the potential of electronic security solutions – the future will be different. It will be powerful, competitive and changeful, with more opportunity and more challenges than ever before. End users will benefit the most. The expansion of digital technology has had most impact in the areas of device performance, ease of operation, remote accessibility, price and competition, . 

One of the key signs of the maturity of IP security solutions is IT distribution giant Ingram Micro’s decision to launch a physical security division in the Australian market. Given Ingram Micro’s strength is logistics, it will be interesting to see how the company fares. To me the key to Ingram Micro is access to IT integrators which collectively have the ability to grow and further tighten the market.

By John Adams