ISC Las Vegas, March 26-28

Despite the war with Iraq having begun only a few days earlier, attendance at this year’s International Security Conference (ISC) and Exhibition West in Las Vegas was the largest ever. Exhibitors and attendees – whether they were dealers, integrators or end-users – were intent on conducting business, enjoying the pleasant weather and networking with their peers and customers, regardless of what was happening halfway around the world.

According to ISC show organizers, total attendance was up 7 percent, from 11,280 in 2002 to 12,008 this year. Additionally, almost 700 manufacturers and service providers exhibited at the show.

That said, it was evident that Homeland Security and the war with Iraq were on everyone’s minds. An informal survey done by Security Sales & Integration magazine of security systems contractors at the show indicated that the majority believe most Homeland Security funds will go to the military, federal government, state and local governments. Of the integrators and dealers polled, 72 percent believe the war in Iraq will make people more eager to purchase electronic security solutions.

To prepare integrators and dealers entering the government market, several ISC seminars specifically covered Homeland Security and its effects on the electronic security industry. The experts who spoke at the GSA federal supply schedules program seminar speculated that federal funds most likely would not be spent on traditional electronic security products. Instead, they believe money will be allocated to force protection and perimeter security. They recommended that dealers and integrators wanting to meet the demands of government clients be open-minded and willing to provide expanded offerings.

Homeland Security, however, wasn’t the only important topic covered at ISC. The verified (nonresponse) response policy proposed by the Los Angeles Police Commission was of huge interest to many attendees and exhibitors. Probably the most interesting development was an announcement by the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association (GLASAA) that it filed suit against the city to stop implementation of the new policy.

The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) also devoted much of its meeting time to verified response. Approximately 30 security professionals attended “Understanding Alarm Response Management.” This meeting featured a mock city police commission and council, which was considering nonresponse. The meeting helped those in attendance see how dealers/integrators can deal with this issue in their own communities. According to Dave Johnson, NBFAA’s government affairs director, feedback from the attendees of this meeting was tremendous.

Besides all of these serious meetings and seminars,  there were plenty of activities for the fun-loving. Kicking off ISC on March 25 was the 8th annual Sales and Marketing (SAMMY) Awards presentation. Approximately 150 industry professionals attended this event and watched Mike Zawinski, publisher of SSI, along with the SAMMY sponsors, honor dealers and integrators that had the best marketing and installation programs. (Complete SAMMYs coverage will be featured in the June and July issues of SSI.)

Not to be outdone, however, was the NBFAA’s Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) banquet and awards presentation, which immediately followed the SAMMYs. Former California Alarm Association (CAA) President Tony Smith of Security Finance Associates in Pasadena, Calif., was honored with the Sara E. Jackson Award. NBFAA’s immediate past president, Bart Didden, president of USA Central Station Alarm in Port Chester, N.Y., won the Morris F. Weinstock Award.

Of all of the parties held in conjunction with ISC, ADI‘s customer reception, which was took place March 27 at Rain in the Palms hotel, was probably the liveliest. According to the distributor, more than 1,900 customers and 80 manufacturers were on hand to see Grammy Award-winning Kool & the Gang perform some of its greatest hits.

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