Live from Essen 2004 - The Largest Security Tradeshow in Europe

[Editor's note: Peter Harlick, associate publisher for Cygnus Security Group (Security Technology & Design, Security Dealer, Locksmith Ledger and, is in Messe Essen, Germany, for the famed European tradeshow/conference. He checks in with for a real-time report on the show.]

Every two years the largest European trade show for the security industry takes place in Messe Essen, Germany, and it's happening right now, Oct. 5-8. Attendance is expected to exceed 35,000 over four days and from what I've seen, I'm a believer. And if the traffic at the Bosch booth is any reflection of the attendance I would say its been more then 30,000 just on Thursday. In fact I mistook the second level of the Bosch booth for the food court -- that's how big this show is.

According to Peter Ribinski, president of Bosch USA, "Having a trade show every two years makes sense. You are able to train your staff properly as well as set up an extremely impressive booth, thus attracting both quantity and quality attendees. The US market tends to have trade shows every quarter with some occurring every month."

In terms of size the show covers nine halls which are about the size of a football field each. The demonstrations put on in a court yard have been fabulous and have ranged from rifle ballistic tests with live shots into protective glass to hand-to-hand combat exercises that involve audience participation.

Every aspect of security is being covered in the nine halls, which feature hundreds of exhibitors. There's a dedicated USA Pavilion that features some familiar names like Optelecom, Rainbow CCTV, Garrett Metal Detectors, Morse Watchman and several others with U.S. representation. In addition, the European counterparts are here from HID, Panasonic, Sony, Dedicated Micros, KABA, Honeywell, Gunnebo Omega, Flir Systems. If they're involved with security, you'll find them at this show.

Hundreds of new products are being introduced for the first time, including Bosch's new 500 Series Smoke Detector which is virtually invisible thanks to its ceiling flush-mount design. Pending UL approval, Bosch plans to launch this new detector, designed for high-end commercial and residential jobs in the second or third quarters of 2005.

From the magazine front, we've distributed over a thousand copies of the September issues of Security Technology & Design and Security Dealer magazines from our booth. I would highly recommend security dealers and/or corporate security directors who are serious about business make the investment to travel abroad to see what your counterparts are up to. Come to IFSEC in the UK in 2005, then come to Essen when the show returns in 2006 to expand your horizons and grow your business.

And if you need another excuse to check out this industry-shaping conference and exposition, make an epicurean mental note that the beer and food in Germany are positively delicious.