Safety, Security Trends from ISC West

Most of us in the residential and commercial building industry have attended the big industry trade shows such as the International Builders Show or the National Hardware Show. But a growing number of building industry manufacturers are placing more attention on specialty trade shows.  Some brands are placing an increased focus on the CEDIA, STAFDA or one of many specialty trade shows.  This past month The Farnsworth Group attended ISC West, the largest security industry trade show, to meet with many of our current clients in the security industry and identify some of the new trends that are emerging in the category.

This show brought to life the emergence and heightened focus of smart home products to address growing safety concerns.  In a study conducted by The Farnsworth Group on the Future of Remodeling, we asked architects what neighborhood or community design issue will be important in the future. Remarkably, safety/security/less crime ranked the highest.  This indicates that architects will be designing neighborhoods to address this "security" concern going forward.

The Farnsworth Group - 2017 Building and Remodeling Trends Study

The Farnsworth Group - 2017 Building and Remodeling Trends Study

It is important to note that we conducted this same study five years ago and safety/security/less crime was hardly mentioned.  When we see this type of shift over a short period of time it raises some eyebrows. Subsequently, we have performed an increased amount of work over the past five years in security and smart home technology. 



Smart Home and Security product manufacturers want to know the size their category, profile of the customer, how integrators and builders are selecting products, and what fears homeowners have with incorporating these products into their home.  Their home is often the most intimate and private space they own or spend time. Identifying these concerns so they can be addressed through marketing strategies is imperative. 

Walking the show floor highlighted several trends.  Below are the top three trends that stood out as companies invest in innovative products.

ISC West - face recognition.png

With data storage sizes increasing, prices of storage decreasing, and advances in technology, the face recognition software in this segment is evolving quickly.  Every time I turned around at the show I saw my face on a screen in a company’s booth that was pulled from a video they took of me.  We see this face recognition feature being added to several residential security systems and the quality for commercial and government products is at an extremely high-quality level.

ISC West - Smart Home.png

Where will this category grow next?  Energy efficiency, lifestyle convenience, and security products have led the way in this segment.  It is interesting to think about what created this heightened awareness around security and safety and how smart home products either created this concern or are addressing it.  In this situation the power of marketing can create an environment where people think they need a product to address a concern they didn't know they had, and in this case the concern is safety.

Did the marketing of these products highlight the crime we see?  For example, when I click on Nextdoor or any other social media website that shows a package being stolen from my neighbor am I now more fearful than if I never saw the video?  The snowball has been formed and it is rolling bigger and bigger through our society with smart home security products growing in popularity and interest. I feel obligated to point out the classic chicken vs egg analogy here...

I saw several mentions of brands releasing products and marketing campaigns to address the horrible trend of increased school shootings.  The intent of this article is not to debate the best path forward in eliminating school shootings, but I think we can all universally agree that we do not want any more of them.  From auto lock doors, doors that are bulletproof to bulletproof vests that are available to children in schools, it was very clear that brands are using their area of expertise to keep the public safe when shootings occur.

The security and smart home category has some solid secondary research available. It is very clear that the knowledge within many of these companies’ sales, marketing and leadership teams can guide them forward has a very rich history.  Is that enough to make a decision?  In some situations that answer is “yes” but primary research is a great way to fill any gaps or validate what secondary research and internal tribal knowledge is seeing in the industry.

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Written by: Jay Fenik,