ISC East, Orlando: Aug. 14-16

This year’s ISC East show had hoped to gain attendance by moving the event from its long-standing New York venue. However, although the time of this writing piece, the numbers for attendees and exhibitors were not available, visibly this show had much lighter foot traffic than in previous years. Walking into the Orange County Convention Center after being doused in 88-percent Orlando humidity probably didn’t help. Especially on the second day of the show when the hall’s air conditioning went out.

At its membership luncheon, Allen Fritts, president of the Security Industry Association (SIA), said attendance on the first day of the show had “peaks and valleys,” but the second day to him seemed like there had been a jump in attendance. Remaining optimistic, many exhibitors said they were pleased with the inquiries and leads they received during the three-day show.

The biggest surprise on the first day of the show was the announcement of ISC East’s move to Washington, D.C., in 2003 instead of returning to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. Many exhibitors said they didn’t know about the location change until word spread throughout the show, and some said they had already reserved booth space for the Javits Center. Fritts said at SIA’s membership luncheon that ISC’s organizer, Reed Exhibitions, approached the association about the dwindling attendance in New York and asked SIA to look for another location.

Whether it was the announcement of show’s move or the light attendance, or both, some exhibitors were contemplating whether to return to ISC East and, instead, save their efforts for ISC West. If you asked anyone at the show, the consensus was, “Choose one ISC East venue location and stick with it, period!” (Others suggested having one ISC show somewhere in the central United States. But for most, who will want to be denied traveling to Las Vegas?)

This year’s show was coupled with a lighter schedule of educational sessions and association meetings than usual. With the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) holding its meetings at a separate event to be held in late August, many of the sessions were put on by the Alarm Association of Florida (AAF), which allowed members to gain credits for their licenses.

If false alarms and verified or non-response isn’t a flagship issue within the industry already, a couple of events made it crystal clear that beating this issue to the ground is necessary until action is seen by all security professionals; especially security dealers at the grassroots level.

At SIA’s False Alarm Reduction Committee meeting (now called Alarm Response Management Committee), NBFAA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau proposed a family tree-like alliance among all organizations and associations involved with the false alarm issue, called the Coordinated Alarm Reduction Effort (CARE) Council. Although the CARE Council presentation is only a proposal, the concept may carry a lot of leverage since it holds each organization and association accountable and responsible to help each other.

And, more than 50 people attended a false alarm symposium held by the AAF that targeted the who, when, why and how on false alarms, non-response, and how to strengthen relationships with law enforcement. Indeed, many of the topics and points raised during this symposium have been heard before. However, the fact that a state association put on this event demonstrates how action at the grassroots level can be constructed. Considering that the symposium took place before 10 a.m., when the show floor opens, the event was deemed as successful. The goal moving forward is to have the 50-plus attendees spread the call to action.

In all, ISC East may not have hit its mark as far as attracting a larger turnout and drawing as many exhibitors as with ISC West, but one thing is for sure: Orlando in August is best enjoyed when visiting the grand amusement parks or even playing golf. If the show ever returns to Orlando, keep that air conditioner inside the convention center running!

For full coverage of ISC East, be sure to check out Security Sales & Integration’s October issue.

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