Latin America's Control Room Market Heats Up
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | Comments

Law enforcement command-and-control room investment is experiencing major growth in Latin America, says Jennifer Shortland, market analyst for critical communications with IHS. Shortland shared several key takeaways from an IHS report she authored on Latin America’s command-and-control room market.

Investment in fire service and EMS is strong, but law enforcement represents a more significant proportion of the market, she says. One contributing factor for this is that law enforcement is the predominant public-safety agency in many countries.

“In countries with high crime and drug rates, it was law enforcement that really was receiving a lot of the investment, the updates to the emergency calling numbers and the more sophisticated technology,” she says.

Across Latin America, the maturity of countries’ emergency number services plays a key part in how each country is investing. Many countries have more than one emergency number, with a separate number for police, fire and EMS. Brazil has three numbers, but is rolling out a new single emergency number to consolidate.

“In some ways, the emergency medical number services were kind of in infancy, while a lot of the technology for law enforcement was much more advanced,” she says.

Consolidation is another major trend for many law-enforcement agencies. “There was a marked effort to consolidate control rooms and consolidate functionality,” Shortland says. “We were seeing a lot of countries with smaller, more rural control rooms showing some kind of indication to consolidate their infrastructure and to improve the technology.”

In Ecuador, a new national emergency number is rolling out for all emergency response, and the country is consolidating to 15 national control rooms to align with the new number service.

However, even with all these new opportunities, the install base for the region appears balanced because there are other countries with little emergency infrastructure.

“The conclusion from the install base aspect of the research was that the two kind of cancelled each other out,” she says. “It looked stagnant, but when you looked at it country by country, there were many differences.”

Brazil represents more than 50 percent of the region’s control room revenue for public safety as well as transportation and utilities. “Brazil is the predominant one, not only because it makes up such a big proportion of Latin America, but also because of the investment due to the World Cup and things like that,” she says. “There’s a lot going on there in terms of improving transportation infrastructure as well.”

Mexico is the second-largest market, and the country is seeing growth with a variety of technologies, including recording software and closed circuit television (CCTV) integration. IHS predicts about 20 percent growth for both technologies in Mexico.

Across the region, there seems to be an effort to improve evidence management during emergency response processes, Shortland says. In fact, CCTV integration is believed to decrease crime rates by 70 percent, she says.

The research also analyzed the transportation and utilities control room market. Brazil and Mexico continue to make up a large proportion of the market, because of the rapid growth in infrastructure investment.

Shortland says there were several transportation system upgrades that included LMR upgrades as well. “The voice dispatch transportation market is growing quite rapidly, and that is due to a large uptake in the transport sector,” she says.

“I think Mexico has the third-highest number of airports for a country, so transportation control rooms make up a huge amount of that market,” she says.

Peru and Colombia are recognized as small markets with fairly basic technologies now, but both are expected to accelerate and become major markets in the next five to 10 years, she says.

New power plants and oil and gas pipelines are encouraging growth throughout the region. And the potential for fracking in the next 10 to 15 years in Argentina is also seen as a new opportunity, Shortland says.

One other opportunity seen in all countries is for services. “If you look at the European and American market, over half the revenue is from services — things like installation, ongoing support, costs and change management,” she says. “In Latin America, comparatively, it makes up barely one-fifth of the market. Obviously it’s not going to change quite to that degree, but we did see that service proportion market creeping.”

In large urban areas, there is a trend for whole system solutions providers, but local resellers and vendors are also having success. And there’s been success for external suppliers, typically specializing in one aspect of the control room, such as CAD or voice dispatch. These external suppliers are typically selling those features on the one off, rather than an entire solution-based system, she says.

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