Market dynamics underway in the security wiring industry are opening up this $16 billion industry to new players, including manufacturers, distributors, re ps, and contractors in the electrical business.

Security dealers and other companies in the security business are more likely than ever to subcontract the wiring in a system installation to electrical contractors because of rampant consolidation in their market. While the software programming and troubleshooting end of the security game may be a bit much for electrical contractors to tackle, pulling cable for security-wiring systems on a job is a natural extension of the contractor's core business.

Technological product advancements are reshaping the market, too. For example, multi-conductor composite cables with fiber optic cable, twisted-pair, coaxial, and other low-voltage "spaghetti wire" simplifies wiring, and the integration of security features into home automation and building automation systems makes the market a natural extension for electrical contractors already installing these systems.

The security market has four distinct areas: access control; burglar alarms; fire and smoke alarm (life-safety) systems; and closed-circuit television. In 1999, security dealers/distributors sold $7.36 billion in burglar alarm systems alone, according to Security Distributing and Marketing magazine. Security dealers expect the high-end residential market to provide the most growth this year, followed by large commercial, small commercial, low-end residential and home system, according to the magazine.