Security Industry’s Troops Rally at ISC West

There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending. – Abraham Lincoln

The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.– Robert Lynd

At the time of this writing, the situation looks promising for America and the allied forces in the war against Iraq. But it is still too early to tell what the ultimate impact of this conflict – including potential postwar fallout – will be on the electronic security industry. However, after participating in this year’s International Security Conference and (ISC) Exposition West, I believe there is reason for optimism.

That’s saying something considering ISC took place March 26-28 – less than a week after the fighting began. Initially, the situation conjured up the frail emotions and foreboding specter evident at last year’s American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) show, which was held during the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedies. Fortunately, there were no incidents in either Philly or Vegas, and ISC West matched ASIS as a tremendous success.

Any qualms I had about my descent into the desert and the ISC were quickly allayed the evening preceding the show. That’s when Security Sales & Integration hosted its 8th Annual Sales and Marketing (SAMMY) Awards gala and the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) put on its Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) banquet and awards presentation.

Both events were extremely well attended and imbued with a joyous spirit of purpose and camaraderie. It was especially gratifying because the SAMMY and AIREF galas are celebrations of our industry and the special people who make it so much more than just control panels and cameras. The evening set the pace for the entire ISC.

Once the show began, the only conspicuously visible manifestations of the war were a military-themed keynote speech by Admiral Stansfield Turner and the decision by one of the industry’s largest manufacturers not to send any executives to the ISC. Yet I wondered if the war was weighing as heavily on attendees’ minds as the wear and tear of pounding the exhibition hall’s aisles was on their feet.

To find out, I drafted a short questionnaire and distributed it to show attendees. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents were dealers/integrators.

As you can see below, although most industry professionals do not expect to see much federal funding directed their way, the majority believe the war will lead to increased sales of electronic security systems. Hopefully, this will help mitigate terrorist activities, which, unfortunately, the majority also expects to intensify as a consequence of the war.

SSI‘s ISC West 2003 Quick Poll

1. As a result of the war with Iraq, do you expect terrorist activity to …
A) Increase substantially: 17%
B) Increase somewhat: 61%
C) Stay the same: 17%
D) Decrease: 5%
2. What impact do you think the war will have on the electronic security industry?
A) Worsen the overall economy: 6%
B) Divert interest/money from electronic
systems toward manpower: 6%
C) Cause a drop in sales, but only in the short term: 10%
D) Make people more eager to purchase electronic security solutions: 72%
E) No effect: 6%
3. Where do you believe most Homeland Security money will go?
A) Almost entirely to military and other federal government agencies: 39%
B) Subsidize state and local government – police, fire, HAZMAT equipment: 39%
C) Directly to private corporations to spend on electronic security systems: 11%
D) As a tax incentive to rebate private businesses that purchase security upgrades: 0%
E) We’ll be lucky if we see any of it!: 11%

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