A couple thousand of the industry’s leading installing and monitoring company owners and managers, vendor representatives and other professionals swapped knowledge, stories and good vibes during the 2014 Electronic Security Expo (ESX) June 23-27 in Nashville, Tenn. I have had the pleasure of attending this event since its inception and it has continued to become better organized, better attended, busier on the expo floor and more successful overall. Thus this year’s seventh annual ESX was arguably the best yet. Given this show is co-owned by the industry’s two most prominent dealer-centric organizations, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), this is good news indeed.
Highlights for me were numerous but the biggest news I heard was that CSAA Executive Director Steve Doyle would be retiring effective Oct. 1 of this year. Named to the Security Sales & Integration Hall of Fame in 2011, Doyle will conclude an amazing 22-year run leading that association’s staff and effecting so many important developments and advancements within the alarm monitoring and systems installation businesses. In speaking with him he has mixed feelings about stepping down but looks forward to continuing the countless relationships he has built within the industry as well as responding agencies. Speaking of responding agencies, caught up with Videofied’s Keith Jentoft who shared with me the exciting news of the Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response’s (PPVAR) just released best practices document.
Although it was announced shortly prior to ESX, it should be noted that next year’s incarnation will not only be ending a three-year run in Nashville to move to Baltimore (where the event was held once before) but will also be conducted with new show organizers as ESA and CSAA parted ways with AE Ventures. As a token of their appreciation, the associations presented AE Ventures President John Galante with an award and public expression of gratitude for helping establish ESX. In speaking with ESX Chairman George De Marco and incoming event coordinator Tradeshow Logic, I am confident the show will not miss a beat (I just hope the Orioles are in town this time!). It was also announced that the 2015 ESA Leadership Summit would be shifting from the past two years in Orlando, Fla., to take place at Phoenix’s Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort Feb. 8-11.
SSI again served as the media sponsor for the IceBreaker luncheon, where I had the honor of announcing this year’s CSAA Five Diamond Marketing Marvel and Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) & False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award winners. Hosted by De Marco, who emceed all of the week’s main functions, the luncheon also included announcement of the $10,000 recipient of ESA’s Youth Scholarship Program, and an address from Louisiana State Fire Marshal.
Read more about ESX award presentations for Engineered Protection Systems (EPS) and Monitronics, as well Ron Walters receiving the Bill Moody Award.
H. “Butch” Browning Jr. Browning is a big proponent of monitored fire/life-safety systems and sprinkling in homes, and is pushing that agenda forward in his home state. He said although money is standing in the way the saving of property and lives the expense is worth it. Speaking of speakers, the next day’s keynote by adventurist Tom Avery was as amusing as it was inspiring. The Londoner is one of only 41 people to have reached both the North and South Poles on foot.
The biggest buzz of this year’s ESX was around residential systems and services, with familiar vendors like Honeywell, Napco, DMP, 2Gig and Interlogix showing off their latest home controls, and even newly Google-owned Nest making its debut as an exhibitor. I spoke with Alarm.com’s Matt Zartman about the neck-cracking speed at which this market is presently moving and although he concurred he remains convinced security practitioners are in a highly favorable position to profit in a big way. His colleague, Jay Kenny, participated in one of the top educational sessions that I wrote about here. I personally presented at the well received “Residential Market Trends Super Session,” that also featured Steve Shapiro (ADT), Christopher Baskin (American Two-Way), Jim Corbett (United Alarm), Mike Maniscalco (ihiji) and moderator Jason Knott (CE Pro). I also conducted a podcast with Honeywell Security President Scott Harkins that you can access here.
Speaking of podcasts, one of the most controversial aspects of ESX this year was a press conference held by ADT concerning deceptive sales practices and the company’s recent offer of up to $25,000 for proof of a company training its sales teams to be deceitful. I met privately with David Bleisch, ADT’s chief legal officer, and you can listen to what he had to say here.
ESX concluded, as it always does, with the official welcoming of the incoming ESA president (Marshall Marinace of Marshall Alarm Systems) and saluting the outgoing officer (John Knox of Life & Property Security Systems), as well as naming the new executive committee members. Marinance expressed to me his desire to make a difference and we discussed him soon delivering a state of the industry address through SSI. Meanwhile, past ESA President Charles “Dom” D’Ascoli of Smoky Mountain Systems was given the 2013 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award.