It’s Different In Germany

by msecadm4921

Author: MSI (Marketing Research for Industry)


Review date: 03/12/2023

No of pages: 0


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Year of publication:


The German market for electronic security systems, researched by MSI Marketing Research for Industry.

The German market for electronic security systems, researched by MSI Marketing Research for Industry, has much in common with the UK – but significant differences, too. Whereas the UK security industry has had to battle against the cries of ‘Big Brother’, security managers might at least consider that Big Brother was a fictional figure. In Germany, there is indeed a strong wish for the security systems that bring the order that many ordinary Germans, and German big business, craves; however, besides the terrible memory of the Third Reich, the eastern part of Germany until 1990 was living in a police state that used surveillance in the name of socialism. In Western Germany, the 1949 Grundgesetz (Basic Law) was careful to set out the citizens’ liberties, to turn away from a too-strong state. The German data protection act (Bundes-datenschutzgesetz) places strict rules on storage and use of data, which restricts the development of CCTV to an unknown extent. Just to make it more complicated, each Land (region) has its own criteria. Germany then is more like the USA than the UK in the slow take-up of public space CCTV. As MSI report: ‘The use of CCTV equipment in public places, such as city centres, is still a relatively small sector in Germany.’ The total of public space CCTV systems in 1999 was estimated at 30,000, including petrol stations and supermarkets. Mobile surveillance is used against football hooligans (just as great a problem in Germany as the UK) and at major trade fairs. However, Dresden and Leipzig – ironically, cities in the former Communist East Germany – are the only cities to have even tested video surveillance of their city centres. The Social Democrat Schroder administration may change this reluctance to have public sector CCTV.
High crime
Germany however does suffer from the same high reported crime, and what is more violent crime (and higher unreported crime) as the UK, though as in the UK the statistics suggest crime is flattening out. Between 1996 and 2000, the German market for electronic security systems rose by 221 per cent, with CCTV the strongest growth sector (though from a small base, as we have seen). MSI expect the German market to grow at a somewhat slower rate, by some 17 per cent between 2001 and 2005. A decline in the construction market is expected, especially in the already depressed former East Germany, which could hit sales of intruder alarms, central monitoring stations and access control systems. A few large manufacturers – such as Siemens, Bosch and plettac – distributing their own products rule the market. Also to be considered is the Verband der Sachversicherer (VdS, the association of major German insurance firms) that have much power in the high-value residential market, and the commercial sector. The VdS tests security equipment, publishes guidelines and issues certificates to those firms and for those products that meet the VdS’s standards. MSI says: ‘The vast majority of electronic security systems sold in Germany are VdS approved.’
False alarms
Germany like the UK suffered from false alarms in the alarm sector. As in the UK, improved technology, more use of a combination of systems (such as intruder alarms and CCTV), and better control procedures by the central monitoring stations, are helping to drive down false alarm rates. CCTV was the fastest growing sector in the later 1990s, growing by a high of 18 per cent in 1998, and eight per cent in 2000, with a split 70-30 of colour and monochrome cameras. The commercial sector (such as retailers) is described as the largest user of CCTV, followed by the government. As for access control, proximity cards are becoming more popular, as are biometric systems, in the UK as in Germany used for the highest security requirements, such as banks and pharmaceutical industries. The VdS sets out guidelines to cover access control systems, and the Federal Office for IT Security also sets out requirements. Because of the VdS restrictions, most intruder alarms, for instance, are sold and installed by installers; so are a majority of CCTV systems. Most access control systems, however, are sold directly from manufacturer to end user.
Sector forecasts
MSI forecast the following growths in the electronic security markets from 2001 to 2005 – by three per cent in 2001, four per cent in 2002, five per cent in 2003, and four per cent in 2004 and 2005. The forecast is that CCTV will remain the strongest growth sector, growing 45 per cent over the five years to 2005, while the intruder alarms market will be ‘subdued’, rising only by six per cent in the five years to 2005, because of the ‘mature’ state of the market – sales of software will be an exception. The access control market will increase, it is forecast, by 13 per cent in the five years to 2005. MSI suggest less need for time management systems – given the possibility of employees inputting their time management data over the company intranet or even the internet – or, more German companies are not strictly controlling working hours but relying on employer-employee trust.<br><br>
– Electronic Security Systems: Germany, a February 2001 report by MSI Marketing Research for Industry. For details of price ring MSI on 01244 681457, write to Viscount House, River Lane, Saltney, Chester CH4 8RH.


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