After a virtual conference in 2020 due to complications from the coronavirus pandemic, ISC West took a step back towards normalcy with a hybrid show format July 19-21. For many, it was the first in-person security event since 2019, and they were unsure of what to expect.
“There was a bit of trepidation when we committed to attending and exhibiting this year,” said Daniel Rosales, senior director of technical services at Telguard. “With the guidelines providing strict rules for interactions, our expectations were obviously lower than in previous years. What was a pleasant surprise to me was that the lower quantity of interactions once the show got started was traded for a higher quality of conversations.”
This theme — fewer people, higher quality interactions — was echoed by many of the attendees who traveled to the Sands Expo.
“Kudos to all who attended ISC West,” said Tracy Larson, president of WeSuite. “We had a great time and many meaningful meetings with prospects and clients. Although the attendance was down compared to a normal year, the energy level was full force and we left the show happy and satisfied with our experience. For WeSuite, the decision to attend was definitely the right choice.”
RX, the company that coordinates the event, said that more than 400 companies braved the triple digit temperatures to connect and show what they’ve been working on over the past 28 months.
“It’s been very exciting to re-engage with the industry in-person here this week,” said Will Wise, group vice president of RX. “ISC West is the first major physical and converged security event to take place in the U.S. since 2019. Attendees, exhibitors and speakers have been raving about the quality of the audience and the collective energy of the community taking a big step forward for the market.”
Mark Hillenburg, vice president of marketing at Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), was impressed with the turnout not only at the show itself, but at the company’s annual Owners Forum held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vegas on the day before the conference.
“Our experience at ISC West was really good, and we had a great Owners Forum the day before and some really good traffic at the booth,” he said. “The attendance was obviously lower than previous years, but the quality of the attendees was still very strong. We are glad we made the investment.”
There were plenty of education opportunities both for in-person and virtual attendees. ISC West featured more than 65 virtual education sessions, which were pre-recorded and live-streamed, almost like television programming. These sessions were divided into 17 tracks, including COVID-19 Response and Public Safety and Health; Drones and Robotics; and Live @ ISC West, which featured recaps of the day and exclusive interviews with keynote speakers.
The conference’s first keynote featured Dave Komendat, vice president and chief security officer of the Boeing Company. In the keynote, he shared his thoughts on how the security industry will recover and grow as the pandemic subsides.
According to Komendat, security organizations, suppliers and integrators who can demonstrate a strong value proposition using defined metrics will survive and thrive; those who cannot will likely be challenged as businesses face a challenging future. Komendat concluded that, more than ever before, security leaders, suppliers and integrators must seek out internal partnership opportunities where the implementation of multi-use technologies and integrated solutions enhance efficiency and lower costs for multiple organizations within a company.
In one educational session, “Industry & Community Leadership: Creating a Path for the Vision,” Candace Aragon, vice president of marketing and events at PSA Security Network; Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies; Kasia Hanson, global IoT partner sales leader at Intel; and John Nemerofsky, chief operating officer at Sage Integration, discussed and described how to build and develop a pathway to success with measurable, accountable outcomes. For all panelists, this includes diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that work to help women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC employees thrive in the workplace.
For Nemerofsky, it’s as simple as doing the right thing, recalling when Sage Integration was founded, converged from two different companies.
“When we got there we had female staff members having the same role as male staff members for a third less pay. A lot of diversity, equity and inclusion is … making equal opportunities to everyone,” he said, pointing to Sage’s interview process.
Hanson, who chairs the Security Industry Association’s Women in Security Forum (WISF), explained that diversity and inclusion creates a common purpose in the workplace.
“I’m so glad that we continue to look at diversity and inclusion, because it only helps us for the greater good,” Hanson said.
In “Cyber Risk is Business Risk,” Antoinette King, founder, Credo Cyber Consulting; Christopher Peckham, chief operating officer, Ollivier Corporation; Gary Hoffner, vice president, PSLA Security; and Tyrone Chambliss, program manager, Northland Controls, gave an overview on how cyber risk is business risk from a financial, legal, operational and reputational standpoint. The panel shared how to identify cyber threats, threat actors and the different types of attacks. In short, it’s cheaper to be proactive than reactive, with the cost of ransoms, information retrieval and losses not covered by cyber insurance bankrupting companies who aren’t prepared.
According to King, however, lost faith in the business is the biggest loss of all.
“The cost of trust to a brand or organization is invaluable,” King said.
The day two keynote, “21st Century Best Practices: Law Enforcement and the Security Industry Confront Emerging Trends” was presented by James A. Gagliano, a retired FBI professional with a quarter-century of experience in mitigating criminal and terrorist threats. He highlighted essential 21st century adjustments in law enforcement and security postures, and addressed recent responses to contemporary challenges such as active shooters, bombings, domestic terrorism and pandemic issues.
With the world reopening again, Gagliano stressed the importance of balance, like balancing how much of the internet is monitored for threats, or balancing how much information facial recognition technology reads. With police budgets changing, security professionals often find themselves filling the gap.
“How do we find that sweet spot where we are anticipating what they’re going to do next?” Gagliano asked.
There was also a strong turnout for SIA events at the show, according to SIA CEO Don Erickson.
“SIA was thrilled to see people’s enthusiasm around ISC West and commitment to the show this year, and it was wonderful to be back in-person with our members and the industry as a whole,” Erickson said. “ISC West 2021 saw strong turnout for SIA’s signature events, the SIA Women in Security Forum keynote and breakfast, the SIA RISE networking event for young professionals, the ISC West Keynote Series and the SIA Education@ISC West conference program, and SIA enjoyed helping bring the industry together to explore the latest technologies, network, learn, share ideas and more.”
Security professionals are already looking forward to next year’s ISC West conference, which will take place March 22-25, 2022, at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.
“Our team connected and reconnected with many end users, strategic and technology partners and consultants, and it was great to meet in-person once again,” said Diane Ritchey, marketing director, safety and security, Zenitel Americas. “See you next year!”
All virtual programming is available to attendees and appropriate ticketholders until the end of 2021.