So the consensus from this year’s ASIS show in Atlanta was that exhibit floor traffic was down noticeably from recent years (about 21,000 according to that organization). However, those who did attend were very serious about their security.
It seems the recent hurricanes, gas prices and shortages, and overall economic strife weeded out the fringe element. That was the sentiment expressed to me from among the many exhibitors I met with, including Honeywell; Dedicated Micros; Bosch; Optelecom; HID; NVT; Lenel; Canon; Pivot3; VideoIQ; Verint; Tyco; Stanley; Axis; Digital ID Solutions; Cernium; ADT; DMP; Panasonic; Intransa; AES-IntelliNet; Ingersoll-Rand; Samsung/GVI; DVTel; and Pixim.
Unfortunately, due to my super-tight schedule I was unable to do much more than exchange pleasantries with many colleagues and industry professionals who I would have liked to engage in more meaningful dialog with. In fact, since the exhibit floor was so elongated and populated with more than 850 booths, most people who saw me as I raced from one end to the other throughout the three-day event may have assumed I was having bladder issues or suffering from a bout of the stomach flu! In actuality, things like bathroom and food breaks are a luxury for editors at ASIS and ISC shows. There is just far too much to cover and not enough time, especially if you factor in the many educational seminars, keynotes (which included Tom Brokaw and James Carville) and social evening functions.
Still, it’s always exciting and enriching to get out of the office for face-to-face visits with readers (security integrators and dealers) and advertisers (manufacturers, distributors, third-party central stations). It’s also a blast to see all the latest and greatest technology and products in person. Those who have been in the industry a while know that the ASIS show has transformed the past several years from being primarily for end users to attracting and serving a much broader range of attendees. Conversely and in a similar vein, ISC West in Las Vegas has changed from being mainly a dealer/integrator-oriented event to encompassing many end users and others involved in the security mission.
Some of the prominent themes or trends evidenced at ASIS 2008 were: further refinement and enhanced features/capabilities of IP cameras; advancements and innovation in analytics and video management software to manage the deluge of data; the IP model being extended to access control and intrusion; open protocols and architecture; serverless and other storage solutions; ever-increasing push of IT companies such as Cisco and Dell into partnerships with traditional security suppliers; not losing sight of analog video’s continuing marketplace dominance and viability; and the expansion and integration of security solutions — particularly video and access — into overall business operations tools that help justify the ROI and TCO propositions.
All in all, it was a successful, productive show. The industry once again demonstrated its relevance and resiliency even in the face of unfavorable climates — whether meteorological or financial. But I have to say, this being my first stay in Atlanta, I was not impressed. Granted I only experienced the downtown and midtown areas, and the drive to and from the airport, but the architecture and general vibe of the city failed to impress or endear this writer. And, speaking of the airport is there any major one more unremarkable and unpleasant than Atlanta International? Just my 2 cents, but from a locale perspective, I anticipate the 2009 event, set for Anaheim, Calif., will prove to be a better overall venue.