The South African security industry has been described as cutting-edge, comprising a number of segments from physical- to cybersecurity.
The sector boasts a current growth rate of around 15% per annum, and is estimated (in its entirety, including commercial, industry and domestic security) to be worth an annual turnover of $6-billion. In fact, the percentage of security income turnover to gross domestic product (GDP) is touted to be one of the highest in the world.

Despite these positive development figures, the market still has some room for growth, says Mike Austen, national sales manager at Securex South Africa 2018 exhibitor Powell Tronics.
The Securex security and fire protection focused trade exhibition will take place from 22 to 24 May at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Securex is also strongly supported by the Electronic Security Distributors’ Association (ESDA), which is chaired by Powell Tronics senior key account and business development manager, Leonie Mangold.

“While there’s no doubt that the security industry is one of the country’s leading sectors in terms of growth, we’re still finding that the local market is playing catch-up on a global level,” Austen explains.

One of the trends holding the South African sector back, says Austen, is the influx of low-cost international products coming into the market over the past few years. “As with many other markets, security is very driven by price. And while these cheaper options look attractive from a pricing point of view, the big problem is that there is no local support when an issue arises. This is particularly prevalent currently within the biometrics and access control space.

“Companies end up spending even more than planned on these products, as they have to reinvest in more locally supported products – over and above their initial investment.”

According to Austen, this highlights the dire need for education within the market. “We’re seeing a trend in the South African marketplace towards more established brands increasing spend on end user education and training, in order to build a better understanding of the importance of quality (backed by local support) versus lower cost.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to South African security. Austen reports that the sector has seen a boost from increased security interest within the residential estate sector as well as in the educational space.

“As an expert within the security solutions segment, Powell Tronics has seen a serious upswing from educational institutes. A growing number of local tertiary establishments are implementing the Powell Tronics PT-Rollcall solution, a biometric student identification and roll call system that is fully integrated with the university’s biometric access control and student management systems.”

The PT-Rollcall solution allows for the easy management of classroom, exam and field trip attendance, while the Idemia V2 biometric android tablet verifies student identification using their biometric fingerprints – critical for examinations – providing a live summary of attendance variances.

PT-Rollcall offers educational institutes the ability to effectively record student presence using biometric technology as a means to deter fraudulent attendance, eliminating the need for paper-based attendance roll call registers.

“In line with the growing need for greater mobility from a commercial application point of view, this type of technology is ideal for use in the business space too, where biometric profiles can be used especially in cases of emergency evacuation, with our Mobile PT-Mustering application. It provides management with a tool that indicates who has entered the premises and whether anyone is missing at mustering points.”

According to Austen, the local sector is also geared to see development in areas including mobile connections, cloud access control, wireless access control via a mobile phone or credential, and smart locks, which are designed to perform locking and unlocking operations when instructions are received from an authorised device using a wireless protocol and a cryptographic key.

“And while access control and biometrics are two fast developing areas in the marketplace, technologies like facial recognition are fast gaining traction, as well as cybersecurity and data protection, driven by the looming Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA).”