Smartphone Explosive Growth Impacting Video Surveillance

By John Honovich, Published Aug 28, 2010, 08:00pm EDT

Smartphone explosive growth will disrupt video surveillance user's expectations and interfaces used. In this note, we examine smartphone's current market share and projected growth rate, concluding with predictions on changes for the video surveillance industry.

Smartphone/PC State of the Market

  • In 2009, according to Gartner [link no longer available], approximately 60 Million smartphones were sold globally , a 50% year over year increase from 2008.
  • In 2009, according to IDC, approximately 300 Million PCs were sold globally with about 130 Million desktops and 170 Million laptops.
  • In 2013, IDC forecasts [link no longer available] 390 Million smartphones will be sold. In the same time period, IDC forecasts approximately 510 Million PCs will be sold with about 140 Million desktops and 370 laptops.

A few conclusions can be drawn:

  • Smartphones adoption is growing very quickly.
  • Smartphone use 3-5 years ago was extremely small.
  • Today smartphone unit sales are closing in on desktop unit sales.
  • In 3 years, smartphone sales are likely to be the same as laptop sales and close to the sales of all PCs.

Video Surveillance Market

Contrasting the smartphone market to video surveillance, the typical enterprise video surveillance system consists of the following applications:

  • A Windows only thick client (50 MB or more) that must be installed on PCs.
  • A simplistic web interface or a web interface that is entirely dependent on ActiveX controls.
  • A Windows Mobile / PDA application that is rudimentary and rarely used.

The video surveillance industry is extremely Windows centric.

Future of Video Surveillance and SmartPhones

While historically a Windows centric approach was logical, the rapid growth and prominence of smartphones is changing this. A few years ago, when smartphone use was negligible and most everyone used a Windows PC, the strategy made perfect sense. However, smartphone use is already significant and will become a crucial element of most video surveillance users in the next few years.

Smartphones will not be Windows dominanted, demanding new applications from video surveillance providers. Whether it's iPhones, iPads, Android, etc., the old model of ActiveX controls will not work.

Already we seeing an explosion in new entrants and established VMS providers introducing iOS apps. We think this will continue, and will need to continue, to meet the evolving expectations of the growing smartphone user base.

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