Down Economy Can’t Put a Damper on ISC West
No matter the pared down exhibits or noticeable drop in attendance, the 2009 ISC West delivered on its core promise to provide a crucial setting on which to examine new technologies and industry trends, allowing security contractors and end users to make better informed security purchase decisions.
Held April 1-3 in Las Vegas, the conference attracted an international mix of attendees and exhibitors, all of which commingled on one show floor at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. In prior years, the conference consumed a smaller, secondary exhibit floor; however, SSI spoke with many attendees and vendors who expressed a great deal of satisfaction despite the uncertainty surrounding the conference in the down economy.
“The show is smaller, but the quality is still here,” said Sandra Jones, founder of the consulting firm Sandra Jones and Co. “We are seeing the quality rather than the quantity, and that is why companies are here. Rather than seeing 10 or even three people from an organization, you are seeing one or two this year. But they are the decision-makers and that is really good.”
While the show floor traffic on the final day was considerably lighter than opening day, Alan Forman, president of Altronix Corp., a provider of power supply solutions, echoed the sentiments of many manufacturers SSI staff members met with throughout the show.
“We are extremely pleased. The turnout and the traffic for this show has been pretty exceptional,” Forman said.
The conference served as a springboard for many vendor companies to announce partnerships and agreements as the industry moves progressively toward offering solutions-based applications opposed to proprietary products. An overview of the partnerships announced during the show can be viewed here.
Despite some verticals and market niches being hammered by the economy, optimism and belief in the industry’s long-term prospects was unequivocally upbeat as voiced by manufacturers and security contractors, large and small. Angelo Keyes said he traveled to ISC West from the Dallas area intent on keeping pace with technological advances as he makes preparations to open his own installation company.
“It is rough out there in some areas, but the security industry is going to thrive,” he said. “It’s important for me to be at ISC West as I continue working toward my goal. There is no where else I am able to view and study the diverse technologies and applications that I want to be able to offer.”
In the ISC West keynote, Lt. Gen. Kenneth A. Minihan, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency, addressed the rising concern over cyber security. Minihan spoke strongly on the need to tie physical and cyber security together in order to ensure safety across the nation.
According to Minihan, the industry at large is unstructured and not integrating physical and cyber realms as it should be. However, he shared tools and insights in helping both government and private sectors accomplish this goal. In accomplishing these cyber goals, Minihan said he believes the industry can enhance economic prosperity and facilitate market leadership. His focus was structured around three key principals: securing, assurance and trust.
Ancillary events abound each year at ISC West, including SSI‘s SAMMY Awards. You can read more about the 14th annual sales and marketing program here. The March 31 event also included SSI‘s Hall of Fame
inductions and the presentation of the 2009 Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award.
Also on the eve of ISC West, Honeywell presented a day-long forum for member companies of its Commercial Security Systems (CSS) dealer program. The day-long agenda was filled with panel discussions, product line updates, dealer presentations, plus and a highbrow cocktail party-dinner engagement.
During his opening remarks at the forum, Honeywell First Alert Professional President Joe Sausa emphasized teamwork and networking as a means to combat a stressed marketplace in the down economy.
“It’s important to tell each other what we like, but it’s more important to tell us what you don’t like,” he said.
Throughout the day Honeywell representatives discussed CSS program tools and services that can help member companies uncover strong leads and close more deals despite dealing with budget-strapped customers.
A dealer panel discussion focused on what companies are doing to maintain success in their individual regions. A wide array of tips and advice were dispensed and debated. For instance, Communication Systems Inc. (CSI), an Allentown, Pa.-based integrator, is successfully partnering with competing companies in its market. In the past few years, CSI has been proactive building in-house IT engineering skill sets it now leverages to win business.
“There are a lot of niches that a lot of security partners would like to have but don’t, so we make our services available to competitors in the marketplace,” said Wayne Becker
vice president of business development, CSI.
Each year the ISC expo is teeming with themes and emerging trends that impact purchasing decisions throughout the rest of the year and beyond. Some of the hot topics discussed on the show floor this year include megapixel cameras outfitted with the H.264 video compression standard; hybrid DVR products that can extend an organization’s existing analog infrastructure; and video analytics.
The show floor was also abuzz with talk about return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TOC) as dealers and manufacturers find themselves entrenched in lengthy sales cycles with resolute end users wanting to justify a security purchase. In his blog “Under Surveillance,” SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine discusses some of the industry trends and guideposts he witnessed at the show as well.
The 2010 ISC West will return to Las Vegas March 24-26.
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