Assessing technology at ISC West: An integrator's perspective

Each year, manufacturers and service providers from across the various product segments within the security industry descend upon ISC West in Las Vegas to show off their latest and greatest innovations. With more than 1,000 exhibitors on the show floor alone, the challenge of combing the halls for the right solution to address the needs of a specific project can be a daunting one. Just visiting video surveillance vendors alone would be enough to fill up someone’s calendar during the conference. So, what’s the best way to most efficiently seek out and analyze the technology on display? SIW recently caught up several members of Security-Net for tips on how integrators can get this most out of their time at this year’s show.

SIW: From your perspective, how should integrators plan to tackle a tradeshow like ISC West?

David Alessandrini, vice president, PASEK Corporation: Tradeshows can be exhausting and overwhelming for attendees.  Integrators should have some meetings scheduled in advance with manufacturer reps to see the new products.  You should also do some advanced research and write down the booth numbers of product of interest.         

Bill Hogan, president, D/A Central, Inc.: Build a plan with key presentations from the educational sessions first, then key vendor meetings with the rest of the time dedicated to new technologies.  Two or three days at the conference and tradeshow will go by quickly.

Matthew Ladd, president, The Protection Bureau: The integrator should use their time to solidify existing manufacturer relationships and investigate possible new ones. ISC West is an opportunity to understand what technology is available. 

SIW: What are some of your recommendations for how integrators should assess technologies they are interested in at the show for potential customer deployments?

Alessandrini: If there is a real serious interest in a particular technology, a meeting or demo with the end user should be scheduled away from the show floor to avoid distractions.

Hogan: There is always plenty of hype. It’s important to get beyond the claim that a manufacturer does business with a certain account and get into the details.  Often you will find the deployments are in beta or very limited in reach.

Ladd: When reviewing new technology, don't get caught up on what's the latest and greatest, but review how new products can provide multiple sales opportunities. Bringing on new products can be expensive for an integrator in training costs and ramping up. 

SIW: Do you have any tips for your colleagues as it relates to cutting through a lot of the marketing jargon and buzz words that they will undoubtedly hear about some products at the show?

Hogan: All of the buzz words will be there. The key is to have a general understanding of your technology goals and objectives before you get overwhelmed with new technology.  Use cases need to be clear and if you can prove an ROI then all the better.

Ladd: Don't get swept up by hype. Look for substance.  

SIW: What are some of the technologies that you are most excited about getting a look at this year’s show? 

Alessandrini: There are new products offered every year.  It generally takes six to 18 months for a product to really gain widespread acceptance.

Hogan: I’ll be looking at wireless and analytics.

Ladd: My focus for this ISC West will be to look at technologies that can enhance my current product offerings. 

SIW: Are there any technology developments that have come along in recent years that you think hold a lot of promise for the industry, but have yet to gain widespread acceptance or adoption?

Hogan: I like to say Big Data is the future of integration. The industry is very slow in understanding the value of the data they are generating.

Ladd: Two technologies that have come a long way, but still have yet to gain widespread adoption include biometrics and IP-based technology.

SIW: What technologies are top priorities for your end user customers currently and how have you seen this change over the last several years?

Alessandrini: I wouldn’t say specific technologies are the priority rather what products can address or solve an immediate need. If the product or technology results in an extensive overhaul or costly purchase this may have to be budgeted for the following year.

Hogan: Right now my clients are focused on video analytics that can provide a return on investment.

Ladd: Technologies that are a top priority for my customers are those that enhance and integrate with existing systems. Many of our current customers are demanding software integration to Active Directory, a management tool.

SIW: At the end of the day, what are you looking to get out of this year’s show that you might not have in recent years?   

Hogan: This year I’m hoping to get a better understanding of wireless options for high bandwidth applications.

Ladd: I’m always looking to increase my knowledge on products and services available in our market.