The demand for safety and security systems, devices and services continues to grow in Colombia due to security concerns of government, industry and households. Security systems and devices form an integral part of government, business and consumer budgets. The Colombian government has focused on policies and providing resources to address security risks in the country, and thereby provide for a safer environment for people and industry. The dramatic improvement in Colombia’s security posture since 2002 has had a positive impact on the country’s business climate and been a major factor in attracting more investment, tourism and commercial transactions to Colombia. U.S. exporters will find a good market for safety and security equipment in Colombia.
The total market for safety and security grew steadily during the last three years. In 2009, the market grew to USD 1.9 billion representing five percent growth compared to 2008 despite the global economic crisis. The market is expected to increase again by five percent in 2010 and reach USD 2 billion.
This market is very diverse and includes: alarm systems, access control devices, information security systems, automatic vehicle location systems, ionization detection devices, armoring, personal protection clothing, surveillance and counter-surveillance equipment, and polygraph equipment. It is estimated that 50 percent of equipment imports are U.S.-origin. The remaining 50 percent of the equipment imported is originates in Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan.
Best sales prospects for U.S. exports of safety and security will be driven by the continued growth of the Colombian economy. For example, there are major hotel and housing complexes and road projects that will require security and safety equipment. Currently there are 3,510 companies operating in the sector, according to the Superintendent’s Office of Security. However, the vast majority of these companies are security guard companies whose equipment encompasses uniforms, firearms and communications devices.
There are two important players in the market: the security equipment distributors and the systems integrators. The security equipment distributors are those companies which import and market the security devices to the final user. The systems integrators are those companies responsible for providing the overall solution which includes the installation, operation and maintenance of the security system equipment.
Finally, the approval of the Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) between the U.S. and Colombia will have a significant impact on this sector, reducing import tariffs on equipment to zero percent immediately, thus stimulating US exports to Colombia.
Best prospects for Colombia are:
• CCTV cameras
• Telephones for security
• Reproduction and record devices for security
• Data processing equipment
• Radio transmission U.S. exporters should also consider focusing on the following sub-sectors:
• Transportation of cash and securities
• Security departments within companies
• Armoring companies
• Consultancy Firms
• Biometric equipment
The main surveillance and anti-theft system used in Colombia is Closed Circuit Television (CCTV); however, institutions and households are quick to pick up on new trends and devices. As such, biometrics is increasingly being used as well as silent panic-button systems.
Fire alarm/protection systems also complement perimeter-protection and intrusion-detection systems. The latest trend seeks to integrate systems on common platforms provided by computers and associated operating systems that allow for the centralization and optimization of security administration.
The safety and security market in Colombia is a steadily growing industry sector, requiring state of the art technology and specialized consultancy services. This provides great potential for US suppliers. Also, clients have expressed their preference for U.S. products and services. The best prospective buyers are the PYMES or SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) which have become important players within the safety and security sector as systems integrators. These companies purchase the security equipment and devices from big distributors and offer the services to the following receptors:
• Residential users
• Commercial and Service Companies
• Industrial Companies:
• Financial Companies
• Public Entities
• Energy and Petroleum Companies
• Private Education
• Transport and Communication Companies
The more expensive line of equipment goes towards business use, i.e., the protection of company or government facilities. Also, almost all consulting opportunities are focused on this segment of the market. U.S. companies are encouraged to participate in government procurement programs (for the supply of equipment at ports, airports, public buildings etc.).
As a result of the Internet reaching a larger segment of the population, companies and individuals have also become focused on protecting their information. This sub-sector is a promising one, as there continues to be increasing demand for information security.
Also in the mid-1990s, satellite location technology (GPS - Global Positioning System) emerged as the principal tool for managing and securing vehicle fleets, and is now increasingly being used for personal navigational purposes. U.S. companies with GPS technology have started to offer this line of products and services in the Colombian market.
U.S. companies interested in pursuing opportunities in the safety and security market must take into consideration that Colombian law states that foreign security companies may not participate directly in security or security-related companies or enterprises. Joint venture partnerships with local companies are a requirement.