Mining the Nigeria Electronic Security Market
Global electronic security systems market has witnessed an astonishing growth over the last decade, due to the wave of terrorism by the Islamic extremists from the Middle East and the western Asia. In addition to the promotion of safety and security, the comfort and accuracy the use of these systems often provide made it a worthwhile adventure for many government and private institutions the world over. World electronic security systems market today stands at over $200 billion from about $150 billion in 2009.
Back home here in Nigeria, many factors have contributed to the sudden growth of adoption of electronic security systems in our polity especially by the government in recent times. Most of these factors are also responsible for its adoption by private establishments and individuals including places of worship.
Electronic Security has taken up to about 30% of the Security industry globally and we are fast diving into this trend in Nigeria.
Earlier this year, according to IFSEC organizers, the Nigeria’s electronic security market was estimated to worth $3.5 billion with its prospect rising to $6billion by 2015. Like never before, more and more organizations are rallying to have one electronic security system or the other to complement their entire security systems. For example companies are gradually employing biometric and card access systems to control access internally instead of security guards.
January 2009, Lagos State government launched the first phase of 10,000 Public Cameras CCTV project that covered major streets on the island of Lagos with a promise to follow it up immediately with other phases of the project. I have been to Abuja severally this year and I can tell you the same story. What these developments mean is that more hands will be gainfully engaged in the industry thereby alleviating unemployment in a way. Because of these developments, fresh opportunities are springing up every day in the industry. From equipment vendors to installation technicians, from safety consultants to security data centre attendants, more and more hands are gradually getting engaged in this boom.
As you might expect, the number one test this budding industry is facing in our domain is lack of adequate infrastructure. Although, advancement in technology is fast helping us to surmount this factor but just like its effect in every other sector of the economy, it’s still a great inhibitor to the adoption of Security systems in our settings. The new technologies we are using to defy this menace usually double the costs of acquisition on the long run. For example, in order to ensure constant power supply to the public CCTV, government had to use the solar power system for them, this has two different implications in the entire system; one, it doubles the cost of the system and its installation and it also makes the system more vulnerable to vandalism.
The second big challenge the industry is facing is lack of skilled hands. The wave of technological advancements swept away the old few hands in the industry as most of the security systems devices now use IP (internet protocol) that enables remote monitoring and control. The demand for skilled technicians for security systems’ design and installation far outweighs what is available around us. That is why shabby installations have become the order of the day. I have been invited to correct several erroneous and dangerous low-voltage installations done by quacks in the recent times, all in the name of surveillance. For example some electricians believe that security systems are just another electronic devices, therefore they can always install them. A computer techie believes that since he can programme an IP device, he is already a security systems technician. Many people in the related industry believe it’s just a matter of reading manuals and connecting cables, so they failed to get trained in a proper way and since people need them, they always have their way. Imagine, how will you install security systems without a proper system design and expect it to function to its fullest? Also, this can be said to be as a result of scarcity of comprehensive training programmes for intending technicians and the techies from relevant industries.
The lack of local skilled techies in this business is causing our nation capital flight, as many mega security system projects are usually awarded to firms abroad at the expense of the local firms.
Substandard products infiltrating the market is another serious challenge the industry is facing and as it is in almost every other industry across the land. This is eating deep into sustainability of those embracing standard practice in the industry. More and more people and businesses are falling victim of these sub-standard products which works fine for some time then go awry or don’t even give you your desired result. I wish Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) could beam its searchlight in this direction very soon.
Lanre Adeboye is the CEO of Horrizona Consults, one of the leading Electronic Security Systems firms in Nigeria. He writes, teaches & consults on the subject. You can reach him on 08187235009 or www.HorrizonaConsults.com