Top 10 Gripes About This Year’s ASIS Show

SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine offers his tongue-in-cheek critiques of the event.

I wrote a somewhat controversial piece for ISC West last spring in which I got my Andy Rooney on (or for a more contemporary reference, Seth Meyers’ recurring “Ya Burnt” routine) and complained about 10 aspects of that show. It got a lot of attention, mostly positive from those who shared some of those laments or just enjoyed me getting in there and stirring the pot a bit. There were some who did not fully appreciate those perspectives, and to those I say, lighten up! Sure, we’re in security and security is a serious business, but we can let our hair down once in a while can’t we? Besides, some balance is in order considering the dozens of stories we run before, during and after ASIS in support of the event, its participants and companies.

By my estimation, I have been to 12-and-a-half ASIS Seminars and Exhibits. Although I have been in the industry 17 years I did not attend the event the first couple of years as it was still very much an end-user show at that point, and in 2001 I missed it because I was laid out with complications from lower back surgery. Oh, and that half? In 2004, I traveled to Dallas for that year’s event but on the morning of Day 1 I had to urgently fly back to Los Angeles to get my wife to the hospital for the birth of our one and only child. I had to miss 40 scheduled meetings, receiving affectionate ribbings from dozens of colleagues about having misplaced priorities, with all of them demanding baby photos. The incident became something of industry lore and resulted in my son being more famous than I ever intended.

Those would not be the last instances in which the timing of ASIS proved less than ideal for me personally, which leads off my top 10 gripes. Wait, top 10, a case could be made that’s more of a David Letterman than Rooney or Meyers thing, but I digress. OK, let’s get down and dirty as ASIS touches down in Anaheim, Calif. 

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1. Don’t Remember September ― Sometimes, ASIS is in early October, which is just fine with me. Heck, anytime in October is good with me, or even August. September is the issue. There were years when it was held in mid-September causing me to miss my wedding anniversary, but the past two years I am missing my son’s birthday late in the month (turns 11 on 9/29). I realize it unrealistic to expect the event to conform to my needs, but I’m venting nonetheless as no other industry event has caused me such grief.

2. It’s a Hall World After All ― Past ASIS locations like Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, I get all those. Those cities have personality, adequate facilities and are relatively easy to travel in and out of. Anaheim, not so much. As a Southern California native, I can tell you that the area is devoid of personality unless you are a Disneyhead, of which I am not and doubt most security professional are either. Even the similarly Disneyfied Orlando, which ASIS also visits, is more interesting. There are better western destination options, and how about returning to the Big Easy post-Katrina?

Genetec at ASIS 2014.

3. A-S-I-S? As If! – Compared to other security industry trade associations, ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) tends to be a wee more rigid in how it operates. The organization now favors the acronym not just because it is simpler but because its reach has extended globally. And somewhere along the way its powers that be decided pronouncing it A-S-I-S rather than AS-IS, as every industry professional I know had been forever, was mandatory. I say keep it as it was.

4. Booths Barrage ― There are 600 exhibitors and there are 21.5 hours of exhibit time over three days; if you only take out lunch and bathroom breaks you have just 16-18 hours of time. Also competing for those hours are educational sessions and other presentations and activities. It does not take a math genius to realize you need to either opt for a relative handful of meaningful booth meetings or rush by like shoppers when store doors open on Black Friday.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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