Which Market Is Bigger? Access Control Or Video Surveillance?

Counting manufacturer revenue worldwide. Does anyone (or everyone) know?


I don't have absolute numbers to offer, but the surveillance market appears significantly larger.

While it doesn't take much to convince someone that cameras are a help, access control is a little more obtuse, a lot more complex, and overall still expensive to install/operate.

We've had several updates over the years that illustrate this:

Profitability: Access vs Video - Statistics: (Survey Result) While access may be more lucrative/profitable than video on a per-job basis, the overall market opportunities are a fraction of video. This is a consensus observation, regardless of country or market vertical.

Lifespan of Electronic Access Control Systems: While video systems turn over fairly regularly especially when new tech hits (ie: HD video), access is kept running for as long as possible and replacing it is often a 'grudge spend'. Even those with access really dislike spending money on it. This attitude also keeps the market smaller compared to video.

It's video, generally by 3x or 4x, depending on who's estimating market size. You are an expert at Google, Undisclosed A, I'll leave that to you :)

The reason for video being much larger than access is primarily because a lot more cameras are deployed than electronic access controlled doors.

You can see it across different market segments:

  • Schools have lots and lots of cameras (inside and out), but electronic access control doors are typically limited to entrances and higher security areas.
  • Retail has cameras up and down every aisle and at every checkout, but may only have a few EAC doors for the entire store.
  • Cities and transport deploy lots of cameras outdoors and very few EAC doors.

There's a lot to Google, that's for sure, but it doesn't add up for me. Take this IMS blurb,

The access control industry is doing well and the market continues to present opportunities. In line with the above perspective, IMS Research, an IHS company, forecasted that the global access control market will reach US$2.3 billion by the end of 2013, from $2.1 billion in 2011.

But then looking at the audited 2013 financials from just two vendors, for just access control sales, puts us over that estimate.

Safron: 1.6 Billion + Assa Abloy: 954 Million

And we still have Honeywell, Bosch, Siemens etc to count. So what am I doing wrong?

It's a segmentation issue. A lot of what they sell does not fall under electronic access control.

The simplest example is all the doors at your home, or at least my home, have mechanical locks. They probably cost a few hundred dollars total but that does not go under EAC.

There's an enormous number of mechanical locks and related door hardware that does not count in this segment.

Here's one segmentation from Assa themselves:

In particular Assa says electronic access control only accounts for a fraction of their total revenue:

Thanks, that helps.

Yeah, Assa is a huge conglomerate that sells everything from doors, frames, hinges, toilet partitions, and closers too. Stuff that most integrators never/seldom need to mess with, but still need to be furnished during new building construction.

That business is called 'contract hardware' (door hardware), and in contrast with security integration is a true commodity business. Pennies not only matter, but fractions of a penny on the cost of a hinge or leverset can result in millions gained or lost.

Same with Honeywell?

Claimed sales of 2.7 billion in 2013 (Security products or systems) in asmag. Are they likely the biggest EAC vendor? Or is a good part of their revenue also dumbknobs and dumbbolts?

In Honeywell's 10K, here is what they include in their 'security and life safety' business units:

Security products and home control systems Fire products and systems Connected home solutions Access controls and closed circuit television Home health monitoring and nurse contractor, retail and utility call systems Gas and radiation detection products and systems Emergency lighting Distribution Personal protection equipment

Honeywell does not break down security alone, lumping it into 'energy, safety and security' which they said did $8.7 illion USD in 2013.

How much is actually video, access and intrusion is hard to tell since they do not provide verified numbers. That said $2.7 billion for just those 3 product categories sounds too high to me.

That said $2.7 billion for just those 3 product categories sounds too high to me.

Me too, that's why I bookended the figure with "Claimed... in asrag".

FWIW, I just noticed that you already covered similar inscrutable scenarios here.

It depend on what one lumps into the term "Access Control". But for the most part, I would point to Video Surveillance as the larger market albeit, more often than not, both market are more interdepended on each other

Yes, 'access control', in general, is probably bigger than 'video surveillance'. It's 'electronic access control' which is the typical domain of integrators and technology manufacturers that is less than 'video surveillance'.

So then if 'mechanical access control', MAC, is most of AC, then those people buying and installing MAC are locksmiths/carpenters etc?

Are IPVMU's Access Control enrollees more often people moving from MAC to EAC, than expanding from Video to EAC? Talk about two groups with opposite incoming skill sets!

For clarity, I've never heard 'MAC' used to mean 'mechanical access control'. Especially since MAC is a crowded abbreviation, I'd avoid using it and just say 'access control'.

Electronic Access Control is abbreviated a number of ways: 'EAC', or 'PAC (physical access)', or 'DAC (door access)'... the list is pretty lengthy. At IPVM, I try to remain consistent with 'EAC', but in general access control for us is the electronic type, not metal keys and locks.

Installation of 'dirty hardware' (another industry colloquial term, not mine) typically depends on the type and timing of a job.

For retrofit service, locksmiths/integrators/physical plant trades people are common. And we do see all three types enrolled in our Access Fundamentals classes.

However, for new construction projects, locks and door hardware are typically installed by carpenters, trim subs, and even day-laborers. I've seen countless projects where the guy installing exit bars today was pushing a broom and doing touchup paint yesterday.

...I'd avoid using it and just say 'access control'.

Except that I was trying to describe that part of Access Control which was not EAC ('electronic'), so just 'access control' was too broad. Non-electronic Access Control seemed a mouthful.

How about D&D, Doorknobs and Deadbolts, or?

I wouldn't suggest the term "D&D". For the most part, a Doorknob is just a component of a lock and a Deadbolt is just one of many types of locks. I do agree that the term "access control" is too broad, but we may be stuck with it. During my 30 years in this business, my observation (which is far from scientific) is that the term "Access Control" has become fairly synonymous with electronic access control -- i.e. where access is controlled via electronic means (card readers, biometrics, keypads, etc) as opposed to mechanical means. When referring to "mechanical access control" in this context, I usually just revert to the term "locks" or "mechanical locks". It's simple, and most people know what that means and it avoids the having to make the distinction about types of mechanical locks. Of course, all this gets blurred when you consider that even the most sophisticated electronic access control systems wil rely on mechanical locks in one fashion or another.

I don't pretend to know how companies such as Assa divvy up their share of the market, but I wouldn't be surprised if mechanical locks were at least a part of that formula -- assuming they could figure it out of course.

Another thing that muddies the issue of market size is the how much re-selling factors in to the calculations. I.e. if a camera manufacturer sells a camera for $200 direct to a dealer who in turn sells it to an end-user for $300, I wonder if that somehow makes the "total" sales $500. I suspect it does. In the video market, there seem to be roughly 3 or 4 tiers of re-selling -- manufacturer to distributor, distributor to dealer, and dealer to end-user. When a manufacturer bypasses the distributor to sell directly to the dealer, one of those is omitted, making the "total" sales smaller. Companies such as Assa, Schlage, etc have sold through multi-tiered channels (distributors, master-dealers, dealers, contract hardware companies, etc) way before electronic access control became as pervasive as it is now. Depending on how the industry revenue is counted, this could make its sales higher simply by selling through an additional tier.

Frankly, I think it’s pretty tough to come up with industry figures that can be reasonably compared.

Howard, thanks for the feedback.

On this:

"Another thing that muddies the issue of market size is the how much re-selling factors in to the calculations. I.e. if a camera manufacturer sells a camera for $200 direct to a dealer who in turn sells it to an end-user for $300, I wonder if that somehow makes the "total" sales $500."

Most industry analysts use the price the manufacturer charges. So, in your example, it would be $200. The reason is that it's usually manufacturers who buy those $5,000 reports :)

$500 is definitely wrong :) but if you are doing an analysis of the total end-user market size, then $300 would be applicable.

Btw, I think Undisclosed A's "D&D" was his attempt at humor :(