Last year, more than 25,000 security industry professionals (not all pictured here, surprisingly) descended on Las Vegas for the spectacle that is ISC West — the most jam-packed (in a good way) three days for those in the security industry. PHOTO BY TERRI HEDDEN

It’s hard to believe this, but ISC West begins in less than a week. After weeks and months of planning, scheduling, coordination and other details — some minor, some very, very major — the security industry will gather in Las Vegas for three days that will leave heads pumped full of so much information that you may start to understand how an IT network responds when it’s overloaded with uncompressed video data.

As the editor of the ISC West Show Daily, it is my job to take the massive amounts of information coming in from exhibitors, attendees, organizers and others and condense it into bite-sized pieces that will be most interesting, informative, educational and relevant to attendees. When I took the job in 2011, I had been in the industry on either the editorial or marketing side for eight years, so I expected that task to get easier each year. I was so naïve. This may be my fourth Show Daily, but it is just as challenging as it was back then.

Several times over the last three-plus months, I’ve given myself mental indigestion from sorting and evaluating everything I’ve seen, heard and read about ISC West 2014. But now, with all of the necessary pieces in place, I’m taking a step back to consider what some of the highlights of the show will be, and share those with you. It would not be possible to mention everything happening next week, but here are just a few:

For starters, Wednesday morning’s State of the Industry presentation (open to all ISC badgeholders — begins at 8:45 a.m.) always provides great insight into important topics; this year’s, titled “The Great Debate 2014: Use it or Lose it!” should be no exception. Fredrik Nilsson from Axis Communications, Jay Hauhn from Tyco Integrated Security, Steve Van Till from Brivo Systems, and Donald Zoufal from SDI (System Development Integration) will debate several of the greatest trends and technologies impacting the industry today and down the road. The biggest challenge may be to wrap up the event in time for the show floor grand opening.

By the way, there are two grand openings this year — one on Wednesday and another on Thursday. That’s how mammoth this show has gotten.

Whether you’re a real techie or you’re just curious about the latest and greatest the security industry has to offer, then you’ll want to check out the SIA New Product Showcase (NPS). In addition to competing for awards (which will be presented Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., lobby stage), including the coveted Best New Product Award, all of the technologies entered in the NPS are on display in the NPS Showcase in the main lobby. So not only do you get to see what all the buzz is about, you can do it all in one stop.

Thursday afternoon/evening’s Video Verification Roundtable and the Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response (PPVAR) reception should be interesting. Way back when I first dove into security, monitoring was one of the topics I was responsible for covering, and at that time, verified response (and the related topic of false alarm fines) was a big issue — mainly because of the cool reception it was getting from the industry. Years later, that sentiment has changed, thanks in large part to a more open dialog between law enforcement and the industry. This free session is the perfect example of that. Two separate panels — one made up of representatives from law enforcement and the insurance industry, the other drawn from the security industry — will provide their views on the value of verified alarms. Following the panel, PPVAR, the session’s sponsor, will host a reception. The conversation begins at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, in room 502.

Looking at the full slate of SIA Education@ISC sessions, there are a lot of great learning opportunities for attendees. Some session titles that stand out include “CSI Live in Action: Uncracking the Code to Forensic Video,” “Seeing is Believing: Intelligent Usability from Camera to Recordings,” “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Air Photo Mapping and Event Response” and “2014: The Year of the Robot.” There’s definitely something for everyone, so check out the full list of educational sessions here < http://iscwest14.mapyourshow.com/5_0/sessions/index.cfm?>.

Ten years ago, I played (badly) in my first and only AIREF Golf Classic. I had a great time, and even though I haven’t had the opportunity to do it again, from what I’ve heard, the tournament has gotten better over the last decade, so it should be a lot of fun. The event tees off at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, April 1. There may still be openings, so if you’re interested in playing, visit www.airef.org. Interesting side note: As a volunteer at the 2005 tournament, I snapped photos of each foursome as they came off the 18th green, so I had a ringside seat for a Vanity Fair photo shoot the late actor Tony Curtis and his wife were doing with famed photographer Annie Liebovitz by the pool behind their home, which bordered the 18th fairway. At one point, Curtis disrobed for this shot (note the golf carts in the background), and as the last foursome of the day made their way to the 18th green, he turned and said, “Hi, guys” — clad in nothing but a smile. Only in Vegas!

Now in its fifth year, the Security 5K/2K run/walk benefits Mission 500, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of children and communities in crisis, with all funds going to World Vision’s humanitarian efforts. The race takes place the morning of Thursday, April 3, with shuttle bus service to the starting point beginning at 6:15 a.m. SDM’s senior editor, Heather Klotz-Young, will be participating. For more details or to register, visit www.firstgiving.com/Mission500/security-52-k-2014.

On the topic of Mission 500, a new event that looks like it could become a staple of ISC West is the HID Global Sponsored Kit Build. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, HID is partnering with Mission 500 to host a school backpack build in the registration area at the show. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to stop by, even if only for a few minutes, to help assemble school kits that will then be distributed to a Title One school in the Las Vegas area. The idea behind the kit build is to provide children with the school supplies they need, which then frees up their family’s financial resources for essentials such as food, medicine and utilities. It will be interesting to see how many kits they are able to put together in four hours. Judging by the industry’s enthusiastic support of Mission 500 through the Security 5K/2K, I suspect the backpack supply may run out before the time does — so interested attendees should plan to get there early.

As I said, these are just a few of the many events going on next week at ISC West. There is a lot more to see and do, and there is something for everyone. Chances are, you will see a Stormtrooper, a robot or someone you recognize from TV.  You might even come dangerously close to getting plowed over by a Hall of Fame athlete (Michael Strahan, in my case). No matter what you see, who you talk to, which parties you attend, or how heavy your show bag gets, remember two things: wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of fluids.