Electronic Security & The Post-COVID Future
AFTER the challenges and uncertainties of 2020, the new year is likely to offer considerably more stability for the ANZ electronic security industry.
For a start, we know what COVID-19 quarantine measures are in place and operational strategies around its control are tried and tested. Something else we can be sure of is that the layers of government in this corner of the world, which have their roots in the geographical isolation of ANZ’s European colonies, offer a level of local decisiveness in crisis that other countries have struggled to match. State government has shown it will do whatever it takes to keep the virus under control – this caused considerable pain last year, but that pain is likely to pay off in 2021.
With COVID-19 in ANZ more or less under control and with circumspect vaccine rollouts being planned, starting with Australia next month, it’s likely that growing immunity and careful social strategies are going to put a floor under consumer and business confidence over the next 6 months. The economic rebound of the last 2 quarters in ANZ was profound – around 15 per cent in Q4 – and this recovery is not aberrant. The global nature of economic recovery and growth suggests underlaying fundamentals remain strong. It’s not only being seen on balance sheets – share market recovery and growth in home prices suggests long term confidence in the future, all of which are likely to drive up a flagging birth rate.
On the domestic front, there are other elements to the 2021 equation – a tendency for homeowners to trade up to larger homes, a tendency for homeowners to renovate existing homes, a continued push towards automation in homes and a hunger for big band internet services. There’s also a continuing drive towards renewable energy, which in Australia is powered by a domestic market that simply can’t get enough of affordable rooftop solar – the connection here is adjacent energy management solutions.
Similar drivers apply to the commercial market, which thanks to the epidemic has spent the last 10 months taking a good look at itself. For businesses which have retained turnover, there’s appetite to invest in new strategies – including moving to new premises, or renovating existing ones. When you throw in the opportunities offered by environmental monitoring, which are made more pressing by the impact of climate change across ANZ, there’s plenty to chew on for installation and integration businesses.
Running alongside these observations is a state of flux in the alarm monitoring market, which is both empowered and disempowered by digital communications. Wireless sensors of all kinds can now feed information from anywhere, to anywhere, but the digital substrate they drive on threatens to break the traditional alarm installation and alarm monitoring model. Coming on the back of the loss of rebates and exacerbated by the fact installers spend more time on the tools than on strategic planning, it’s no surprise that many installation businesses see alarms as a shrinking business unit. But with great change comes great opportunity for businesses which can seize it.
For larger integration businesses something else we are going to see in 2021 is fiscal turbocharging delivered by the availability of low-cost capital across all layers of the user market. There’s also going to be serious government granting of precedence to large infrastructure projects. Major projects that have been creeping towards ground-break are going to find their skids well and truly greased. Those projects will be road infrastructure, rail, renewable energy, medical cannabis and sea farms, mining, biotech, rare earth processing, upgrades to existing sites and much, much more. This isn’t just going to take place at a national level – in Australia state governments have made their intentions to spend their way out of COVID very clear.
Alongside all this will be the momentum of automation and remote management solutions, the ongoing push to digital transformation, a hunger for greater efficiency delivered by technology and paid for by cheap capital and government incentive, as well as a hunger in the end user market to leverage its newly minted infrastructure to deliver greater returns on investment.
As 2021 unfurls its opportunities, it’s important to take an holistic view, to ask what clients really need, to uncover their cost pain points and most importantly, to discover and offer bespoke solutions empowered by new technology partners. Perhaps the most inspiring thing about 2021 for security people is that it’s not cast in stone – 2020 broke the old ways of doing things. Exactly what a security system is and how it should support end users has never been more up to you than it is today.