Event Preview: Here’s What to Expect When ISC West Goes Virtual

The pandemic forced ISC West to reschedule multiple times before settling on a virtual show. Find out how the show plans to bring you exhibitors, sessions, networking and more virtually.

Event Preview: Here’s What to Expect When ISC West Goes Virtual

Ask anyone in the security industry and they will likely tell you that trade shows are vital to their business. Whether its acting as a platform for manufacturers to show off their latest solutions, or providing a networking space for integrators, these events play a major part in a company’s yearly strategy.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic completely derailed the 2020 trade show season, as nearly every major convention around the world was forced to cancel its in-person event, including the security industry’s two largest shows, ISC West and ASIS Int’l’s Global Security Exchange (GSX).

ISC West was forced to move its show from March 17-20 to July 20-22 due to rising concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. As the summer approached, the pandemic failed to fade and people were apprehensive about traveling, forcing the show to once again be postponed, this time until October.

After cases began to surge again, the show’s producer, Reed Exhibitions, announced the in-person event would be canceled and a virtual experience would take place Oct. 5-7 instead.

For decades, security professionals have been accustomed to strolling trade-show floors, sitting in educational sessions, getting up-close looks at new products and having one-on-one conversations with exhibitors, not to mention catching up with colleagues at post-show get-togethers.

Though these experiences can’t be replicated online to a T, ISC West has a full slate of programming ready to inform and educate online attendees. Here’s an overview of what you can expect from the virtual show.

Meeting With Exhibitors

Though ISC West attendees will not be able to convene in person, Reed Exhibitions Group Vice President Will Wise says the virtual platform will provide some distinct opportunities. “For example, sessions will be available on-demand for access and review after the event. And, in appreciation of the resilience of the security and public safety industry and everyone’s challenges this year, all sessions and content will be free of charge. We also expect that security and public safety professionals who have not been able to attend the show in the past or not recently will be engaging with the virtual event, including a greater range of international attendees.”

An “Exhibitor Tech Center” will feature listings from exhibitors/sponsors that attendees can browse and use to set up one-on-one appointments with company representatives. “The Exhibitor Tech Center will showcase sponsors’ products and technologies, webinars, videos, white papers, articles, case studies and more,” adds Wise.

ISC West has set up a virtual engagement hub to make it easy to register for the event and help attendees create a show agenda.


Sitting in front of a computer all day while trying to stay focused is no easy task. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help you get the most out of virtual events, conferences, webinars, etc.

1. Act as if you are attending an in-person event. That means be prepared, create a schedule, and engage with speakers and other attendees.

2. Familiarize yourself with the platform. Everyone is using different solutions, whether it’s Zoom, Teams or something you’ve never heard of. You don’t want to sign on first thing in the morning and miss a session you were looking forward to because you have no idea how to navigate the platform.

3. Minimize distractions. Find a quiet place to settle down but also make sure you have everything you need (water, laptop charger, notebook and pen).

4. Soak in the information. Most likely the slides or presentation you are viewing will be available afterwards. Instead of scrambling to write down every bullet point, make sure you are really taking in what is being said.

5. Don’t forget to stretch. The beauty of attending an event virtually is no one can see you. You’ll likely be sitting for a while, so keep your limbs loose.

Education & Keynotes

Virtual attendees can expect a number of live and on-demand conference sessions, including 25+ SIA Education@ISC West breakout sessions, several “Vendor Solution Sessions” and high-profile keynote speakers. There will also be an opportunity to connect with the session speakers via Q&A, and sessions will be archived for future on-demand utilization. “SIA Education@ISC West also qualifies for CE hours with many relevant industry accreditation bodies, and certificates of attendance will be distributed to all conferees post-event to self-report,” says Wise.

The following keynotes are scheduled to take place:

  • Day 1 — On the Edge of Transformation: Securing a Connected Future with IoT
    • GM, IoT Connectivity & Control Services for Amazon Web Services IoT Michael MacKenzie will discuss how to safeguard your customers, devices and organizations in the rapidly evolving world of IoT.
  • Day 2 — How Uber is Scaling Enterprise Risk Management at the Speed of Global Transportation
    • Uber Head of Global Security Engagement Charles Burns will talk about how Uber navigates a challenging security landscape by utilizing technology and other means to enable the business, secure company assets, foster diversity and ensure the safety of riders and drivers across the world, and more.
  • Day 3 — Leading From Any Seat: Stories from the Cockpit & Lessons from the Grit Project
    • Shannon Huffman Polson, author, Apache helicopter pilot and founder of The Grit Institute, will talk about her experience combining her passion for creativity with firsthand experience in and study of leadership and grit to deliver world-class training to companies and organizations.


Industry peers will be able to virtually come together during networking events/ happy hour socials taking place at the end of each day.

Also taking place each day, ISC West will offer attendees the chance to connect online with other security and public safety industry professionals in between education sessions via integrated chat functionalities.

These pre-selected discussion group topics will be moderated by a member of the ISC West team and include topics such as IoT security, COVID-19 response and recovery, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and more.

ISC West’s Mission 500 charity partner will also be implementing a Virtual 5K Run/2K Walk competition and fundraiser. “Industry professionals around the world will have the opportunity to walk/run at their leisure, at home in the days leading up to the event. This will culminate in the Mission 500 Awards Ceremony and Virtual Event Wrap-Up Happy Hour on Wednesday Oct 7,” adds Wise.

ISC West will continue to announce show features in the lead-up to the event so stay tuned here for the updates. You can learn more about ISC West Virtual here.

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About the Author


Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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