ASIS: Down in Attendance, But Not Down and Out

The 55th annual ASIS Int’l Seminar and Exhibits, held Sept. 21-24 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 — large and small — grudgingly accepted that booth traffic would remain sluggish throughout the event, 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.

The reduced attendance did provide manufacturers with a more clear idea, if not validation of their assumptions, of which verticals and market segments remain active in the down economy, according to Kristen Bylan-Rydel, manager of marketing communications, electronic access control, for ASSA ABLOY’s Sargent division.

“About 70 to 80 percent of our booth traffic has been from government agencies such as the U.S. Navy, FBI and others. They already have done their research and are now asking specific questions about the products and technologies they need,” she says.

Reinforcing ASIS Int’l Seminar and Exhibits importance 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.

According to ASIS organizers, about 850 exhibiting suppliers showcased their latest technologies, products and services. Among the scores of announcements emanating from the show floor, Pelco and Cisco grabbed considerable attention for their new partnership. Pelco will OEM its Sarix cameras for Cisco, although the models will be built with Cisco’s network communication protocols.

Attendees in the market for video surveillance systems had myriad products and solutions to consider. H.264, video management system (VMS) solutions, HD and megapixel technologies, thermal imaging, PSIA and ONVIF interoperability standards-compliant network cameras, and more were displayed and peddled in near-dizzying quantity.

Joining Pelco and Cisco in the camera space, Arecont Vision, FLIR, Hikvision Digital Technology, Intransa, Samsung Techwin America, Sony, Tamron and so many others had compelling messages to convey to potential customers. And in an example of the industry’s (albeit sometimes stumbling) momentum for openness, four vendors were linked on the show floor to demonstrate what is possible in the practical application of IP technologies. Using wireless mesh technology by Firetide, a rapid deployment IP video surveillance system joined technologies by VMS provider Exacq, megapixel cameras by IQinVision and HD storage by Pivot3.

Other companies used the ASIS stage to pronounce a renewed focus and commitment to ensure customer and channel partner loyalty. For instance, HID Global officially unveiled its “Genuine HID” program, which offers customers a broad set of value-added benefits associated with HID solutions. Among its attributes company reps touted the program’s guaranteed card-to-reader compatibility, seamless proximity to smart card migration, a lifetime warranty on Genuine HID trademarked products and global certifications.

Elsewhere, off the show floor, keynote speaker 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 much more post ASIS coverage, as well as a product and technologies roundup, be sure to check out the November issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION and .

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