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UAE businesses and families splurge on video surveillance

Spot the camera: the UAE's market for home and business security systems is growing Pixabay/StockSnap
Spot the camera: the UAE's market for home and business security systems is growing
  • Mall giant to adopt AI system
  • Video surveillance market growing
  • Wealthy residents drive demand

Dubai retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim has signed a deal to use artificial intelligence to boost security systems at its malls across the region. 

The company has signed an AED3.5 million ($950,000), three-year deal with Australia-based Icetana to upgrade camera streams at 16 of its sites. Icetana’s AI software can identify and report unusual or potentially dangerous events in real time.

The deal reflects a trend for people and businesses in the UAE to invest more in security, despite a Numbeo survey finding that three of its cities are among the safest in the world.

Abu Dhabi took the No 1 spot in Numbeo’s mid-year 2023 index, which is based on survey respondents’ perceptions about crime levels and personal safety. Ajman was in second spot and Dubai was fifth.

“Cities like Dubai are experiencing rapid urbanisation and population growth and this has increased demand for both personal and business surveillance through the need for enhanced security measures,” said Tertius Wolfaardt, architecture and engineering manager at surveillance equipment specialist Axis Communication.

The Middle East and Africa video surveillance market was estimated to be worth $3.93 billion in 2022. It is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 11.61 percent to reach $8.35 billion by 2029, according to market intelligence consultant Blueweave.

Dubai launched the Oyoon security system in 2018, which uses AI cameras across the city to analyse data and detect suspects, in collaboration with the public and private sectors.

“Security is the base to develop the community… Our citizens sleep in peace and investors come here confident that the law is applicable to everyone,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said during an inspection of the system in 2021.

At the time he said Dubai was monitored by more than 300,000 cameras around the clock.

In neighbouring Abu Dhabi there is a similar amount of cameras spread over 7,000 areas.

“As technology continues to evolve, we can expect CCTV systems to become even more sophisticated and integral to our daily lives,” said Craig Dorrington, CEO of Sabre Risk, a risk management company in Dubai.

Technologies being employed include AI analytics and facial recognition, as well as devices such as smart locks, indoor and outdoor cameras and video doorbells, according to Wolfaardt.

The market for security services is being boosted by the growing number of wealthy UAE residents. The Emirates is home to 45 billionaires worth a total of around $200 billion, up 10.8 percent on 2021, according to the Billionaire Census 2023 from Wealth-X.

Last year 5,200 more high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) relocated to the UAE than left, according to Henley’s Private Wealth Migration Report.

Henley is forecasting a net inflow of 4,500 HNWIs – people with wealth of more than $1 million – in the UAE by the end of 2023.

Adam Gerber, senior manager, systems integration, at Transguard Group, said this influx had led to increased demand for specialist security solutions such as saferooms and vaults.

“We have definitely experienced an uplift in demand for increased security measures, especially for individual villas in suburban gated communities,” he said.

“While demand is growing for individuals and families, our systems integration team has seen the biggest increase from businesses, with smart technology leading the way for many UAE companies.”