Better Safe than Sorry! Better Safe than Sorry!
Better Safe than Sorry!

There was a time when security was considered the rich man's prerogative in India. The masses, in general, felt that since it's the rich who are subjected to burglaries and thefts, electronic security systems and devices are their takeaways. However, few would disagree that this perception is fast changing in these times, reports S D Khan.

A safe and secure building is the bare essential today. And there are reasons that buttress this contention. If we look closely, the average incomes of Indian households have risen considerably over the past decade or so. The burgeoning middle-class, which comprises a substantial chunk of the population, is thinking beyond the necessities. Take tier-I and tier-II cities for example, where a considerable lot of homes of even the salaried are adorned with luxury items. Protection and safety is undoubtedly on the occupants' minds all the time.

Another factor which has contributed to the growing insecurity is the emergence of nuclear families, which typically comprise husband, wife and children. Earlier, it was the husband who used to be the sole bread earner and, by virtue of that, used to spend most of the daylight hours at the workplace. But now, the erstwhile housewife is also actively involved in sustenance. And given the modern day professional commitments, which require extended working hours, both the husband and wife are away from home well beyond sun-down thereby leaving the children at the mercy of any ‘visitor'. Moreover, family outings on weekends and seasonal holidays render a dwelling unoccupied for sometime thus inviting unscrupulous elements into the premises.

Sample these statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau! During 2010, more than 90,000 burglaries were committed across various metropolitans such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkakta and Hyderabad. These figures are quite telling and further strengthen the age-old belief that industrialisation and crime go hand-in-hand! And while India is on the verge of economical boom, crimes are also likely to shoot up.

Better Safe than Sorry!
Mr. Rajnish Aggarwal, Managing-Director of Adept Designs, observes "There is an ever growing need of electronic security systems considering the rise in crime rates and the socio-economic scenario where the rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer." Adept, a Delhi-based concern with a pan-India presence, is a leading name in electronic security and provides CCTV Surveillance Systems, Fire-Alarms, Access Controls, Intrusion Detection Systems, Automation, Light Controls and Building Management Systems.

Better Safe than Sorry!
Echoing a similar sentiment, Mr. Pramoud Rao, Managing Director of Zicom Electronic Systems, states, "The escalating rate of crime in the country, along with the awareness about the importance of advanced electronic security solutions is one of the primary reasons of the growth of the sector. The consumers are now open to adapting newer and more reliable measures of security in order to enjoy a secure lifestyle."

Better Safe than Sorry!
Zicom is a name synonymous with Electronic Security in India. Renowned for having pioneered the concept of affordable security solutions in the country, the brand has undertaken numerous initiatives aimed towards creating awareness for security products and services in the domestic market.

The company's product offerings encompass the full spectrum of the market segment; Intrusion Detection Systems, Video Door Phones, Finger Print Locks, CCTVs, DVRs, Fire Detection Systems and Access Control Systems. With respect to services, Zicom offers Central Monitoring Services with India's first and only centralised CMS facility and is also the first security solutions provider in the country to introduce the SaaS (Security as a Service) model, a service intended primarily for large corporate customers who opt for having security as an opex as opposed to a capex.

Better Safe than Sorry!
Strangely, there is a preconceived notion that Indians have traditionally been concerned about the security at the door and probably not beyond that. But, with the growing awareness and necessity, this notion has changed considerably. Mr. Aggarwal points out, "Earlier, people over here used to take security as a medicine and not as a precaution. But now, they are educated enough to acknowledge the need of a secured building."

And according to Mr. Rao, "The Indian consumer mindset is changing. Today, customers are very vigilant and sensitive to the happenings in their surroundings. With the increasing thefts, robberies and larger security led issues like terror attacks the awareness about the vitality of advanced security solutions has certainly increased."

Nevertheless, he feels that despite the rising acceptance of electronic security systems, these devices are yet to find more takers in the home segment. "The contribution from this segment is still below 10% of the overall market. Conversely, all new apartments in the country are equipped with advanced security solutions like the Alarm Systems and Video Door Phones."

Well, these are encouraging signs! Agreed that electronic security systems are mostly visible in new apartments at the moment, the scenario is likely to change. The reason is not hard to fathom. When a builder or a developer plans a new residential condominium, he tries to ensure that his deliverables are epitomes of modern day lifestyle. No wonder, every new apartment nowadays is a trendsetter which many in the ‘trend-savvy' bracket want to emulate. And since security is now an integral part of lifestyle, it would be sooner rather than later that electronic security systems will find more places in pre-existing houses as well! "In homes, lifestyle value plays a very important role as opposed to the business segment, where it's more about functionality and focuses on returns on investments," opines Mr. Rao.

But there are some deterrents like high taxes which are becoming a thorn in the flesh of manufacturers. Mr. Aggarwal informs, "The biggest challenge facing companies in this industry is the cumbersome taxation structure which has a decisive impact on the prices. The Value Added Tax (VAT) on electronic security items is 12.5% which is worryingly high. And India, being a vast country needs uniformity in VAT. Till date, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have taken encouraging steps in this regard. While Gujarat has brought down the VAT on security systems to 4%, Andhra and Maharshtra are also likely to do the same. Safety is paramount but ironically taxation on security products is the highest vis-à-vis entertainment/IT products. Add to this the custom duty and installation costs and customers start feeling the pinch. But we are hopeful that the situation will improve soon."

How can security be improved? What more is required to spread the knowledge about this necessity? How prepared are we to meet a crisis? Well, these are some issues which are brainstormed at these associations:

ASIS International: ASIS International is an apex body for security professionals. Since 1955, ASIS has been training security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests. The association also has Indian chapter.

FSAI: The Fire & Safety Association of India is a trade body that promotes the growth of the Fire Protection, Safety and Security Engineering services industry in India. With chapters all over the country, FSAI acts as a catalyst in implementing global fire safety norms in the country.

APSA: The Asian Professional Security Association (India Chapter) includes safety professionals, companies and organisations and promotes ethical standards in security and spreads knowledge about the same.

Training and education are playing a major role in boosting the fortunes of players in this arena. While Adept imparts technical and functional knowhow to system integrators, Zicom, on the other hand, provides interactive after-sales support to end users. Education is an inevitable off-shoot!

According to industry experts, the market for security products in India stands above Rs.2,000 crore and is growing at an annual 25-30%. What bears ample testimony to this is the fact that these devices are becoming increasingly visible in offices, housing societies, hotels, shopping complexes, malls and airports. And it wouldn't take an analyst to predict that the coming years would witness an upsurge in market growth! After all, it's wiser to be safe now than repent later?

It's a Secure World

Whomsoever felt that security is a Herculean Task, here are some myth-busters!

Better Safe than Sorry!

Wireless Home Alarm System: Ideal for residences, a wireless home alarm detects any unauthorised entry and alerts the homeowner instantly. Fitted with sensors, a wireless home alarm works on radio frequencies and transmits signals in a vast distance range. Another added bonus is that these devices are ‘green' since there is no usage of wire.

Better Safe than Sorry!

CCTV Surveillance System: The closed-circuit television (CCTV) is a method of surveillance wherein video cameras are fitted at particular places and the live pictures are then transmitted to a set of monitors. Although CCTV has been in vogue in shopping malls, airports, banks and convenience stores, even housing societies and offices can benefit a lot from this surveillance technique.

Better Safe than Sorry!
Fingerprint Lock: Keyless entry is another way of keeping unwanted visitors away from your residence. These biometric locks are designed to detect a person by reading the fingerprints. And if the identity of a person is not pre-registered with the system, then access is denied.

Video Door Phone: Sitting inside a building, an occupant can not only see who's at the door but also interact with him. The remarkable feature of this gadget is that more than one indoor camera can be attached with the outdoor camera. So, you can peep outside your house while relaxing in the living room, unwinding in the bedroom or cooking in the kitchen.

Better Safe than Sorry!

Multi-Apartment Video Door Phone: This is an upgraded version of the video door phone and provides protection by enabling interaction with the visitor at the building entrance and just outside the apartment. What's more, there is an intercom feature for inter apartment communication within the building or even between buildings in a complex.

Better Safe than Sorry!

Fire Alarm System: Modern day fire alarms are equipped not only with fire detection technologies but also enable hassle-free evacuation. Moreover, these alarms are designed to summon emergency services.

Better Safe than Sorry!

Better Safe than Sorry!

Access Controls: Meant primarily for offices, access controls comprise finger print readers, face detectors, card readers, proximity access control readers and biometric card readers.
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