My Top 10 Gripes Surrounding ISC West

Las Vegas is just the tip of the iceberg of things SSI Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher Scott Goldfine would like to see changed up at the big show.

Some people love Las Vegas; I am not one of those people. Sure, I suppose if I was going there purely for leisure and had a wad of cash to blow it might be fun. In fact, I lived most of my life in Los Angeles and took many (mostly) road trips to Sin City and typically had quite a time of it. But that was before it became so congested and overpriced, and it was largely before I got into the security industry and began being forced to deal with Vegas as a business venue.

This will be my 17th straight ISC West and for me almost anywhere would be better than Vegas. There are so many obstacles, noise and long distances, among other hindrances, to conducting business. Plus, I don’t smoke and seldom gamble or drink so there isn’t much appeal from that standpoint. Sure, there are entertainment options galore but who has the time during the year’s busiest tradeshow?

So there is my chief gripe about ISC West; I say try moving it around the country some like the ASIS show. In that spirit, as a respite from all the typical hype surrounding ISC West (which don’t get me wrong is a fantastic event for our industry), I get my Andy Rooney on with these top 10 complaints about the big show. 

1. Las Vegas ― Too crowded, too noisy, too smoky, too expensive, too far to go and difficult to navigate in and around casinos, too fake and too depressing.

2. Dates of Show ― With the show later than usual (typically late March), hotel rooms are pricier and harder to come by than usual due to spring breakers.

3. Not Enough Time ― There is in the neighborhood of 1,000 exhibitors and there is 20 hours of exhibit time over three days; if you only take out lunch and bathroom visits you have just 16 hours of time. Do the math; you can’t see all that much, and a lot of it takes place opposite educational sessions.

4. Too Much Crammed Into Day 1 ― Seems almost every vendor gets the bright idea of scheduling their press conference, mixer or party on the opening day of the show creating major conflicts. Hey people, there are two other days to hold your functions!

5. Subpar Educational Opportunities ― ISC has attempted to improve its sessions but, aside from a few exceptions, they remain somewhat perfunctory. The best ones are mostly on the Tuesday before most people arrive in Las Vegas.

6. No True Keynote ― For some reason, this year there is no opening keynote speaker or keynote session and that seems a glaring omission. A show like ISC should always have a marquee opening keynote.

7. Been There Done That ― True innovation and disruptive product or technology introductions have fallen off from pre-recession years. There is a mind-numbing sameness pervading much of the exhibits, especially cameras and recorders.

8. Missing Booth Numbers ― It’s bad enough that some of the aisles can get screwy but when you couple that with often no visible booth numbers one can spend an inordinate amount of time searching for a particular vendor.

9. Vendor Spiels ― World’s first, world’s only, revolutionary, game-changing, superior, yada yada yada. Just give the real-world performance facts and tailor the pitch to the recipient (dealer/integrator, end user, journalist, etc.) and be respectful of time.

10. Lame Freebies ― What happened to the cool and cute giveaway items at booths I used to be able to bring home to my kid? Recession’s over, time to stock up on more complimentary gadgets, tools and toys.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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