New safety practices, a sluggish commercial sector and an influx of business due to pent-up demand are a few of the impacts security leaders say to expect.
The world was unprepared for the impact of a global pandemic in early 2020. With a year of experience under its belt, the security industry is now better prepared to serve its customers during COVID-19, as well as run its own businesses more effectively.
As part of SSI‘s 2021 security industry forecast, 12 security leaders were asked to share the anticipated impacts caused by the pandemic in the coming year. Here’s what they had to say:
▶ “We see the pandemic continuing to impact all industries and markets in early 2021. That said, funds will still be spent on security-related projects and 2021 budgets are already set for those companies that operate on a fiscal calendar year. As the calendar year advances, sales activity and project activity will pick up and could begin to approach pre-COVID levels.” – Ric McCullough, PSA
▶ “We expect the first half of 2021 to reflect the rebound trend of latter 2020. There will be a jump during 2021’s second half, assuming no new major setbacks or lockdowns occur. With businesses and consumers managing through the pandemic, adopting new safety practices and better ways of doing business, even a worst-case situation for the security industry should be modest.” – George Brody, Telguard
▶ “In a worst-case scenario where the virus continues throughout 2021, we see stay-at-home and work-from-home becoming longer-term trends that would benefit the smart home security industry. That industry is best positioned to lead as homeowners realize the convenience and benefits technology brings.” – Brad LaRock, Alula
▶ “While we all hope things get back to a more normal state in 2021, there’s no doubt that we will continue to discover many more ways the security industry can help manage through the pandemic and beyond with new innovations.” – Fredrik Nilsson, Axis
▶ “In a best-case scenario, businesses will use this time, when every dollar matters, to be creative about how they use, update and redeploy their security systems across their organizations. This will allow them to think more broadly about what physical security can do beyond traditional applications to deliver more value.” – Andrew Elvish, Genetec
▶ “The portions of the security industry that were positioned to address the pandemic-related surge in demand have done extraordinarily well and will continue to do so. An enterprise-only focus and segments of commercial verticals have struggled and may not return to pre-COVID levels for some time as we have a global rethink of how we work and live in the future.” – Clint Choate, SnapAV
▶ “Although the market will recover, the worst-case scenario is it may happen much slower than everyone would like in the first half of the year. That stress could see desperate attempts to win contracts, resulting in lower margins for everyone and end users not getting the solution they should.” – Kichul Kim, Hanwha
▶ “The best-case scenario is that the pandemic eases by midyear and commercial industrial pent-up demand, coupled with demand readiness in the channel, drives up revenues, margins and cash flows, while residential continues to grow.” – Jeff Kessler, Imperial Capital
▶ “The disruptive effects of the pandemic are settling down. COVID has forced companies to reengineer their businesses to adapt to the new situation, setting them up to be more successful in 2021. And perhaps contrary to expectations, security demand has risen in some cases, with dealers growing for the first time in a long while.” – Celia Besore, TMA
▶ “Eventually for those that can persevere, I strongly believe lost or delayed projects will start to come back, and new client types will arise creating growth in subscriber base work and services. Some of the other companies that are growing through the pandemic and will continue to do so are those involved in telehealth monitoring and services.” – Peter Giacalone, Giacalone Associates
▶ “Even when the health threat of COVID-19 is completely erased, I do not see commercial real estate returning to the boom of the 2016-2019 until at least 2023. Too many companies and employees have adjusted to remote employment to have that immediately, if ever, fully rebound. That said, adapting to a reduced and/or repurposed commercial real estate market should be more than offset by increased spending on infrastructure projects.” – Jim Henry, Consultant
▶ “The worst-scenario is once we get a handle on this pandemic we become complacent and return to pre-pandemic “bliss,” forgetting or not retaining the lessons of how we became more efficient, hired correctly, worked with suppliers to have appropriate levels of inventory, etc. Sometimes it is easier to return to what we did in the past rather than continue to innovate our companies.” – Kirk MacDowell, MacGuard