The fact that South Africa’s crime rate is one of the worst in the world is a well-known fact. Not only do we lose hundreds of millions of Rand in possessions every year due to theft, we also have one of the highest rates of gun-related crime (such as armed robberies) in the world. This has made us a nation that prioritises security – in and around our homes, cars and places of work.

By Simon Campbell-Young, CEO in Intact Software Distribution

This situation has created a massive and growing security industry in the country.

As of 2017, South Africa had 490 000 active armed response officer, outnumbering the police force and SANDF combined. It should come as no surprise that it is also a very lucrative industry. Worldwide, the sector is worth $6-billion, with 15% year-on-year growth. South Africa makes up a large piece of this pie, being the fourth-largest private security industry in the world.

And technology is only increasing the opportunities in the industry.

We are seeing more sophisticated home security technology change how people approach securing their homes, with new products putting more control in the hands of the home and business owner.

Gone are the days when you would get a call from your neighbour that your alarm is going off; today, technology such as IoT makes it easier to monitor incidents and react to them.

In fact, security is being “Uberised”. In a world where there’s an app for everything, it’s surprising that it has taken security companies this long to create apps that allow users to control and monitor their security systems from their phones.

Security-as-a-service is a growth market, and it will drive down the costs of armed response services, as the entire model becomes more “Uberised”.

Only around 5% of homes owned in South Africa currently have armed response services, primarily due to the expense. Having access to an app that connects the user to a network of security providers will not only make this more affordable, but ensure more effective security.

Clever players are now buying-up the latent capacity available from the armed response companies, and making that capacity available via an app at R199 per month as opposed to R399 upward for the armed response service.

This disruption is as a result of new technology security companies entering the market. Ring, for example, changed the face of home security in the US, and has already disrupted the local market within a month of launching in South Africa. Smart, affordable, and easy-to-use connected security products are the future of the industry, and look likely to add even further to its growth prospects.

This not only bodes well for the security channel, but for the ICT channel too. Thanks to innovations such as cameras that can stream live video as an incident is taking place, the entire security ecosystem becomes a new market for providers of connectivity, software, and of course, hardware.