How could ISC West be improved to make it more valuable for attendees and exhibitors?
As we unpack our bags – literally and figuratively - from the recent ISC West in Las Vegas, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the busy show. Specifically, it’s a good time to consider how the exhibition could be improved to be more valuable for attendees and/or exhibitors. We asked our panellists for their opinions, and we’re also interested in any other post-show commentary – please share in the comments section.
For attendees, show planning could be improved. Organisers might consider creating a tool that enables attendees to request meetings with particular vendors at particular times. For exhibitors, they might look at making the small booths less expensive. Many new, smaller companies, which may have exciting products to show, can’t afford to exhibit at the current prices. I also like the idea of having a section on the website for “suites-only” exhibitors. The organisers could charge a small amount to include exhibitors that have suites rather than booths, and it would make it easier for attendees to connect with these companies. Finally, it would be great to have a section on the ISC West website for exhibitor events — and this would benefit both exhibitors and attendees.
The good news is that ISC West keeps growing. If it wasn't larger, it surely looked larger this year. However, the bad news is that ISC West keeps growing. It is becoming more and more difficult to cover the whole show or even attempt to visit all the companies one needs to. We'd like to see ISC West attempt something that booth workers will hate, but their bosses might approve of. Instead of show hours on Wednesday and Thursday being from 10-5, how about trying 9-6? Friday could stay at 10-3. That would add four more hours to visit booths, equivalent of an extra half day.
ASIS and ISC West should consider combining to make it one massive show for security professionals. During the show, ISC should hold roundtable discussions, with relatively small groups to maximise interaction, for systems integrators to discuss priority market issues for developers, vendors and manufacturers to solve together.
The show was fantastic this year. Booth numbers were easy to find with only a few traffic flow bottlenecks. One thing I believe would make it more valuable to attendees, especially systems integrators, is to provide mini educational sessions on the show floor. These would be technology-focused and as vendor agnostic as possible. Manufacturers today have clearly assumed the role of thought leaders, which makes them perfect for these opportunities. These sessions could be a quick primer, 15-20 minutes, on cloud-hosted environments and what to look for; how to foster security with BYODs; or the loT and how it will affect the security landscape, for example. Attendees would benefit because they could stay on the show floor for the session and then resume booth visits. I appreciate the educational track at ISC West, but feel some of the sessions could be pared down and better targeted.
For a trade show of its size, ISC West seems extremely hassle-free. Even this year with the bigger crowds, it all seemed to operate smoothly. True, it’s a long walk from the far end of the exhibit hall to the Venetian meeting rooms, but even Reed Exhibition can’t solve problems of geography! One might also find fault with some of the sessions – I’ve heard grumbling over the years – but the real problem is that nobody has enough time to attend them. So more minutes in an hour might be helpful (in theory), but certainly no more hours in the day!
So how was your experience at ISC West this year? Did the show live up to expectations, or somehow fall short? What would you recommend to make the show better or more valuable? Feel free to share comments below.