ASIS 2016 in the Final Analysis

by Rodney Bosch

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While many exhibitors lamented about sporadic foot traffic, the 2016 event showcased current technology trends and served as a platform to unveil new branding for some companies.

How to define the 62nd Annual ASIS Seminar & Exhibits? That would depend on your perspective. If you were among those who wended through the exhibition floor aisles all three days, then there is a good to very good chance that you experienced thusly: The opening day (Sept. 12) mostly lacked zest throughout. Tuesday, you saw a far more bustling and livelier scene. And an abbreviated Day 3, as most shows go, petered out pretty quickly. That summation was supported by numerous vendors and attendees SSI spoke with throughout the event.

Yet, security pros who took part in keynotes, educational seSSIons, among other goings-on, all of which took them off the show floor multiple times during the event, likely witnessed strong participation in these core offerings from ASIS. For instance, SSI attended the maSSIve gathering for an address by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. What keeps him up at night? A home-grown terrorist attack of the “lone wolf” sort. His comments were delivered five days prior to the bombing attacks in New York and New Jersey, suspected to be carried out by Ahmad Khan Rahami.

ASIS Int’l said the event, which was co-located with the (ISC)2 Security Congress and InfraGard 20th Anniversary Congress & Conference, attracted more than 22,000 registrants, representing 10% growth over 2015.

This year the organization made efforts to get more conference attendees onto the show floor, such as erecting the Integrator Theater in the exhibit hall. Among other ancillary activities, it also partnered with the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection to stage the inaugural Security Week, a series of community preparedness and educational events designed to educate small business owners, community leaders and others about the importance of security and risk mitigation.

While the volume of booth visitors may have waned on the exhibition floor, several vendors and service providers SSI spoke with commented on the high quality of leads. For others, the show served as an opportunity to introduce their brands anew. Protection 1 revealed its “The Power to Do More for You” marketing campaign at the show, its first exhibiting appearance with ADT since the announcement of the leading providers’ merging earlier this year. Securitas Electronic Security, formerly the Diebold Security business, introduced its new branding amidst a large, eye-catching booth presence. Another example: identity management and biometrics provider Princeton Identity, formerly a line of business of SRI Int’l marketed under the SRI Identity brand, introduced itself to ASIS-goers as an independent company.

ASIS, however, is confronting larger issues than simply boosting attendance, according to Paul Boucherle, CPP, principal of Matterhorn Consulting and SSI’s Business Fitness columnist.

“While I always hope the best the reality can be disappointing. The new vendors that had great products or services stayed busy at their booths. The traditional tried-and-true suppliers that support this show were pretty light on the booth visitors,” he says. “The show floor was significantly smaller in its footprint and vendor booths. I think if this trend continues for ASIS leadership they will lose relevancy in a changing market. Most of the changes I saw were mere window dreSSIng and reshuffling and not profound.”

Skip Sampson, president of the board of directors of Security-Net, said the integrator network has been exhibiting at ASIS since 1995 and came away with positive sentiments about the show this year.

“We always find this event important as it gives us the opportunity to meet face-to-face with our end-user clients and our technology partners. Our client reception this year exceeded our expectations with more than 400 people in attendance,” said Sampson, who is president of KST Security of Indianapolis. “We don’t measure the success of the event based on the number of badges we scan, but rather we find the client interactions at ASIS to be invaluable, whether we are meeting with clients on the show floor, in private meeting rooms or at our client reception.”

Among the more notable and compelling trends observed on the show floor: the further proliferation and advancement of video management software, biometrics, the continued deepening integration of video surveillance and access control, cybersecurity, video and systems analytics, situational awareness and robotics.

Indeed, for SSI Tech Talk columnist Bob Dolph, the Seminars & Exhibits remains a venue to keep track of current and approaching trends.

“This particular ASIS show I was impressed with the increased activity in and partnering with cybersecurity organizations. I can remember attending an ASIS conference over 10 years ago in which a roundtable of leading security experts stated their biggest overall security concern was cybersecurity,” he says. “It looks like that prediction is becoming more real today.”

The traditional Monday opening to the ASIS exhibition has long confounded many attendees and exhibitors. That will change for the 2017 edition of the Seminar & Exhibits, which will be held Sept. 25-28 in Dallas, and feature Tuesday-Thursday show floor hours.

Read the original article (and much more about ASIS 2016) at Security Sales & Integration.