ASIS Delivers Despite 9% Dip

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The 55th annual ASIS Int’l Seminar and Exhibits at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland will be remembered by some for its noticeably lower attendance — particularly on the opening and closing days of the exhibition.

But conference turnout numbers aren’t necessarily the deciding factor that makes or breaks an event’s success. While many vendors grudgingly accepted that booth traffic would remain sluggish throughout the convention, held Sept. 21-23, others were upbeat about the focused, motivated security buyers they courted.

“It was a very productive event. The folks that did invest in the show had a very specific agenda in mind,” Dave Tynan, vice president of global sales and marketing for high def video surveillance solutions provider Avigilon, tells SSI. “It was ‘How do I find better productivity tools?’ It was far less of an entertainment event, and far more of a productivity event.”

Similar to other vendor sentiments SSI heard on the show floor, Tynan says from his company’s perspective, ASIS validated the market’s motivation and migration toward the need to invest in tools for electronic security and surveillance that help boost efficiency. For example: “The financial community is very keen on preserving cash, and surveillance capital is being scrutinized carefully. Our experience is that organizations are still investing, but investing considering ROI, preservation and leverage of existing assets, and long-term future-proofing the investment,” Tynan says.

According to initial ASIS Int’l tabulations, roughly 19,300 security professionals attended the event. Those numbers marked about a 9-percent decrease compared to the 2008 event in Atlanta (which itself was down about 10 percent from the prior year) and is attributed partly to many companies and organizations reporting dramatic cuts in travel and training budgets, says ASIS President Michael Cummings.

“In these difficult economic times we are pleased that so many security practitioners were able to attend this important professional-development event,” Cummings says.

Underlining ASIS Int’l Seminar and Exhibits significance on the global stage, security professionals from many different countries were counted in droves among those attending educational sessions and perusing technologies on the show floor.

SSI caught up with Eduardo Zarete, CCP, proprietor of security services provider Grupo Bocar of Mexico City, as he exited the “Creating a Proper Return on Investment (ROI) for Security Budgets” session on the last day of the event.

“Many of us have traveled here from abroad because [ASIS] provides us the best chance to keep pace not only with products and technologies but to interact and learn from so many other experienced professionals in this worldwide industry,” he says.

Elsewhere, off the show floor, Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state and national security advisor to President George W. Bush, packed the convention center’s auditorium for her keynote speech.

Rice spoke for about 30 minutes before answering questions that had been previously submitted by a group of attendees. Along with discussing serious themes such as the 9/11 attacks and the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rice drew chuckles from the 2,500-member audience when she shared that she’s enjoying her time away from the international political stage.

“Not only can I sleep, but I can get up and read the newspaper and not need to do anything about what’s in it,” she quipped.

For more post-ASIS coverage, see pages 16, 20 and 22, plus a product and technologies roundup on page 56.

The 2010 ASIS Seminar and Exhibits will be held in Dallas, Oct. 12-15.

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