China Is Not A Security Megatrend, Says SIA

By John Honovich, Published on Oct 19, 2018

The US Security Industry Association has released its 10 "Security Megatrends" for 2019. SIA declares that these megatrends, such as "Advanced Digital Identities" and "Security Integrated in Smart Environments":

are expected to have sweeping impact on almost all businesses within the industry

What is not a megatrend and will evidently not have a 'sweeping impact' is neither China nor the US government ban of Dahua nor Hikvision nor the trade war that includes 25% US tariffs on China made goods starting on January 1, 2019.

sia elephant

China's impact is not new but is evidently news to SIA. SIA also missed it last year as their 2018 'security megatrends' had no mention of China whatsoever. And they missed it the year before that as their 2017 'security megatrends' too had no mention of China.

'Thought Leaders'

While SIA is effectively the trade federation for manufacturers, the organizations and its leaders bill themselves as 'thought leaders' 'representing' the industry. In action, though, SIA hides from contentious issues like China, such a recently playing dumb on the Hikvision and Dahua OEM ban, kowtowing to the large manufacturers that control the organization.

Though the 'security megatrends' list is not influential, how they came to omit China is an interesting look inside how the industry 'thought leaders' conduct business.

SIA Explains to IPVM - Led With Prior Trends

SIA explains to IPVM that they used trends from last year as the basis for this year's (September 2018) survey:

This listing of the 2019 Security Megatrends was based on a survey including SIA volunteer leadership, previous and current SNG speakers, previous SNG attendees, and executives from SIA member companies. Participants were asked to review and rank previously identified trends and were encouraged to identify new trends affecting the global security industry. Respondents to the survey were very thoughtful in their approach. They provided feedback on the trends, drew connections between different trends and documented other technical, political and business factors at play in the industry.

The political environment of today was not identified as a Security Megatrend, but was one of the additional trends that respondents noted, and as such, will be recognized in the complete report, which will be available to SIA members and Securing New Ground attendees. [emphasis added]

SIA elaborated that:

The trends listed in the survey were from last year’s report, which was released in November 2017 – before the 2019 NDAA and the new Section 301 tariff rules were developed. Respondents were asked to identify which of those trends were worth retaining as 2019 Security Megatrends and which were no longer relevant enough to include. [emphasis added]

Since the survey was sent in September 2018, after the tariffs were announced and the ban was passed into law, SIA certainly knew about it and could have easily chosen to include it in the list. Indeed, China has been a major rising factor for the global security industry for at least the past 4 years.  While SIA encouraged respondents to write in others, their predefined list obviously skewed responses.

Not Cybersecurity, The Issue is China Cyper Espionage, IP Theft and Now Trade War

The #1 megatrend in their list was 'cybersecurity', with SIA emphasizing:

We saw a resounding response that cybersecurity was the number one trend.

And given that neither China nor the ban nor the trade war was on the list, respondents understandably chose 'cybersecurity' as the closest item to these issues.

But the industry is not simply facing 'cybersecurity' issues. The contention with the Chinese government on 'cybersecurity' is grounded in deeper issues of cyber espionage, IP theft as well as systematically unfair trade prices. As an industry, we do ourselves a disservice to simply conflate or hide this within 'cybersecurity'.

And the issue with China is one that the head of the FBI and the head of US counterintelligence has made clear, and now the US Vice President has defined a shift in competition with China.

Like China or not, this is an issue the industry cannot hide from. And while SIA's 'megatrends' continue to do so, the 25% tariffs and the ban going into force in 2019 makes this the clear industry megatrend.

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