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.”


Attendee Insights

Here are some more thoughts from attendees on their return to the in-person show.

“The undeniable ISC West theme was quality over quantity. Our meetings were high level and purposeful, and the audience brought a refreshing mix of diversity with many women and young professionals participating. Amidst the sizzling Las Vegas temperatures I was especially pleased that so many stayed throughout the conference — bringing a full and eager audience to the WISF signature breakfast event and BCD’s Emerging Technologies panel on day three of SIA Education at ISC West.” — Maureen Carlo, Director of Strategic Alliances, BCD International

“Defendify enjoyed what we felt was an excellent ISC West 2021 show. It was wonderful to be back to a live event, meet with many of our security integrator partners, and make lots of new connections. There were a lot of great discussions about cybersecurity and especially the intersection of physical security and cybersecurity. We also continued to hear from current partners and prospects about the accelerating physical and digital convergence that is upon us, as many of them were looking at Defendify as a way to provide cybersecurity solutions to their customers along with their current physical security offerings.” — Rob Simopoulos, Co-Founder, Defendify

“We’ve been having a very strong year in turnstile sales already, and back in March we wondered if a July show in Vegas would be worth the investment. We were pleasantly surprised to find that many people came to show ready to do business with active projects! The energy of the show was incredibly uplifting for all of our staff as well. Even some of our largest customers, some well-known brands, came to visit and discuss ongoing projects being implemented around the country and internationally. The number of visitors was lower, but the quality was there and we have plenty of projects to follow-up on.” — Valerie Currin, President and Managing Director, Boon Edam

“We had a great show this year. We met with dozens of integrators who were looking for alternative solutions for their customers. If anything, the last year has taught us the need for custom solutions to address challenges homeowners and small business owners never anticipated facing. Customers are using their smart home security systems in new ways and professional integrators came to ISC West this year looking for more versatile, flexible solutions.” — Warren Hill, Vice President of Marketing, Alula

“Attendance seemed to be down a little bit, but the overall energy and focus at the show was extremely strong. We had some really great meetings and have come away from ISC West with continued validation that the professional integrator community is an integral part of driving innovation within the smart home security industry. We’re excited about the coming year as we continue to launch new products and develop new programs for the professional dealer to scale and expand their businesses.” — Brian McLaughlin, CEO, Alula

“First and foremost, it was great! While we knew attendance would be lower, it was so good to see our customers and partners after 17 months. We met with highly engaged current and potential customers who were looking to solve specific problems. We also saw a greater increase of end users at the show. As a whole, we were pleasantly surprised with the show traffic.” — Rick Koscinski, Americas general manager, Honeywell Commercial Security

“While there was much anticipation leading up to the return of ISC West 2021, you had to be there to fully appreciate this year’s event. There was a true sense of reunion for the security industry and more excitement than ever to see one another. The show floor and meeting rooms carried a distinctly different energy — all of us attendees seemed to listen a bit more attentively, express a little more gratitude and certainly share our latest accomplishments with great enthusiasm. While the pandemic may have put events like ISC West on hold, it was clear — from the new products and solutions on display to the valuable insights shared in event seminars — it certainly didn’t slow down industry innovation one bit.” — Chris Shanelaris, Public Relations, Americas, Axis Communications

“It was a much smaller show, both in terms of the number of exhibitors and attendees. However, many of the people we did see were very knowledgeable and looking for answers to specific questions. It’s hard to say how successful the show will be until we’ve had a few weeks to follow up with these potential customers.” — Mohammed Murad, Vice President, Global Sales & Business Development, Iris ID

“The show wasn’t what we’ve come to expect based on the number of people and booths. But it was still a quality show. I had good meetings with customers, partners and prospects. It was great to see people in person again. Let’s hope ISC West 2022 is back to its typical, robust size.” — Brian Baker, Chief Revenue Officer, Calipsa

“Coming in, we knew the attendance was going to be lower than a traditional ISC West show, but we were impressed with the quality of the conversations we had with those who came to our booth. Those who attended the show came eager to learn about new technologies and how they could impact their business.” — Brad McMullen, General Manager, 3xLOGIC

"The most positive thing by far was just the activity level. The people who were actually there were focused on getting information, finding out what was going on. We got more attention and more interest, probably because there were fewer booths. Normally the bigger booths take all the energy out of the room because people go there first, but this year they spread out and scattered." -- Paul Ahern, President, Cypress Integration Solutions


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.