A Capital One survey found that new technologies are transforming the way that executives view the security industry—from their market outlook, to competition, to future capital needs. The survey, conducted during the recent 2017 Honeywell CONNECT conference, found a high level of industry optimism, with 86 percent of respondents expecting better financial performance, balanced by concerns over decreasing margins and the furious pace of technological change.

Along those lines, 38 percent of those surveyed cited interconnected devices as next year’s most impactful technology, compared to 28 percent last year, demonstrating the growing influence the ‘Internet of Things’ is having across the industry. As residential market penetration continues to tick up, the growth of ‘do-it-yourself’ technology that allows individuals to set up and monitor their own security at home is beginning to build. One in five security professionals (19 percent) surveyed selected those technologies as potentially having the largest impact—a significant increase from just seven percent who said the same last year.

Transformation of security industry

We are seeing rapid change across many segments of the security industry,” said John Robuck, Capital One’s Managing Director of Security Finance. “This transformation is primarily being driven by the growth of new technologies that are revolutionising the implementation and monitoring of security systems.

In evaluating challenges for 2018, 43 percent of executives cited decreasing margins as their chief concern for the year ahead, reflecting expectations of tighter competition in an evolving marketplace. More than a quarter of respondents (26 percent) said keeping up with the pace of technology will present the biggest challenge for their business over the next 12 months.

DIY not considered a major competition

Approximately half of those surveyed (51 percent) said local or regional providers are their primary competitor, compared to 35 percent who said the same last year. Only 12 percent see DIY and self-monitored systems as their top competition.

While there is clearly growing interest in this technology, DIY is not necessarily being viewed as major competition at this point,” said Robuck. “Established industry dealers view these products as additive and not comparable with professionally-monitored systems.”

Leveraged buyouts reflecting in increased M&A activity

New lines of credit are projected to remain the most important type of financing for the industry in the next 12 months (as cited by 43 percent of respondents), but notably, 15 percent said leveraged buyouts (an acquisition funded in part by borrowed money) will be the most important type of financing to their business—a 50 percent increase over the previous year.

Although new lines of credit continue to be the funding vehicle of choice for security professionals, the growth of leveraged buyouts may reflect an increase in M&A activity, with more executives looking to retire or sell to other companies,” said Robuck. “Our team is well-positioned to work with companies and investors to navigate the changing industry, and to provide advice around the best type of financing for their business.”

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