ISC West — was it really all that, or are we just hoping for good times?
The numbers from show organizers indicate there was better foot traffic with a five per cent increase in attendance to 23,323 people. Some large players, such as Johnson Controls, were conspicuous by their absence, choosing to take meetings off the show floor instead of supporting the show with a booth.
There was some interesting new technology to see, especially with the push this time towards thermal — but for the education market? Really?
Some other highlights:
Most confusing conversation: IBM with its sparsely outfitted booth. When asked what was happening with physical security in Canada the person I spoke with told me it was not yet rolled out to Canada. Then when corrected they quickly grabbed Steve Russo of IBM Global Services who after some head scratching recalled that yes, there once was a division within IBM Canada that was actively selling security. (For more on IBM, stay tuned for an upcoming Q&A with Russo, conducted after the show.)
Best case of ominous foreshadowing: Reed Exhibitions and the Security Industry Association (SIA) pull back the curtain on their combined re-branding effort for ISC East which will now be known as ISC Solutions, held Nov. 3-4 2010 in New York City. But the dramatic glass breaking of the old logo fails to happen and a technician must be brought in to hammer away the façade — kind of like when the Olympic torch malfunctioned in Vancouver. The show will focus more on end-users and integrators with vertical market focus for areas such as education, health care, government, campus and retail. Dealers are still a big part of the show, however, and education sessions will be provided for them.
Self-regulated code of ethics? The Electronic Security Association issued a code of conduct for the alarm industry, answering the call from consumers south of the border who have complained about aggressive sales tactics, in some cases from the “summer program” door-to-door alarm dealers based in Utah. Of the approximately 3,900 industries tracked by the Better Business Bureau in the U.S., security ranks No. 70, said ESA’s executive director, Merlin Guilbeau. The number of complaints is up, Guilbeau said, although it is a “small number of companies giving us a bad name.” Requirements include better refund policies, enhanced identification and improved written materials outlining terms and conditions. Will the code have any teeth in Canada? Alarm companies are said to be self-policing.
Most engaging install: Companies will try just about anything to convince dealers/installers and the media that their product is fast and easy to install. Witness the efforts by Axis Communications director of sales Larry Newman who installed an Axis network camera while sitting on a unicycle and James Marcella who did so wearing a blindfold, both in less than three minutes. We know, they’ve probably had a little practice…
One to Watch: Next Level Security Systems. CEO Pete Jankowski is also the founder of Loronix and SyPixx Networks which he sold to Cisco six years ago. He then worked for Cisco for three years. Next Level’s flagship product integrates traditionally separate subsystems into a unified networked system from the ground up. The company’s IP-based technologies are built on open standards, including PSIA and ONVIF and are designed to be easy-to-configure.
What’s new here? Perhaps it was the 2008 copyright on the PowerPoint but the HID press conference felt a little bit familiar in several places including some of the panelists who, I believe, were part of the ASIS Anaheim presser…
Most uncomfortable moment: HID president Denis Hebert correcting his new communications person for mispronouncing his name at the press conference, then referencing it a few more times. We’d never make that mistake this side of the border, Denis!
Best conversation with a CEO: John Dyall of Keyscan. How often do you walk up to a booth and get to talk directly with the CEO about new customer stories without an appointment? Best of all, for a reporter, the fact John can talk about all the application stories Keyscan has is refreshing.
Most energizing conversation: Director of Marketing for Genetec, Patrice Belmonte. The Montreal-based company has a lot coming together in 2010 and is working hard to bring new opportunities to its channel partners.
Best booth swag: The Axis Communications lip balm, of course, with SPF 15 and Vitamin E, followed closely by the Monitronics mini-Sharpie and Northern Video/Tri-Ed stress ball…something tells me in a year in which we may see many more mergers like this one, we’re all going to need a stress ball or two.