Oct. 2010 update: This post was written around ISC West 2010, but the discussion is still applicable to ASIS 2010. If you are on twitter, follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman for updates from the show. I will also be attending the ASIS tour of the Dallas Police Department wireless surveillance system and monitoring center (Monday October 10), so look for my updates on that as well. Firetide will be at ASIS in booth 3824).
Below commentary is a guest post by Severin Sorensen, President and CEO at Sikyur LLC, reprinted with permission from his comments on IP Video Market Info LinkedIn group’s discussion on the upcoming ISC West trade show in Las Vegas. (And of course Firetide will be exhibiting at ISC West – our 5th year.)
Severin offers excellent commentary on the state of the security industry, and his insights are especially valuable since, as a security consultant, he is involved with the projects at the very beginning. Here’s his take:
“Conventions and trade shows have been hard hit during this downturn, and ISC West is no exception. From the map, you can clearly see how much trade show space open at this late hour — and this was surely not the case in 2007 when they were filled early upstairs, and also filled a huge downstairs section with booths nearest the registration area. The trade show was also noticeably impacted last year (the 2009 show) coming some six months after the September 2008 economic market crash, however the impact of the economic crash on the trade show floor exhibit space was muted as many companies had pre-booked their exhibits a year in advance and their sunk costs were non-refundable, so this surely lessened the financial blow to the organization in 2009.
So what does lower expected booth sales and attendance at ISC West this year mean to the industry? Continued tight economic times. Many consultants idle. New construction starts of security projects slow to be released. CFOs and CEOs making incremental quarterly go/no-go decisions, not annually as before the crash. And for the security industry investor — an amazing market consolidation opportunity to purchase for fractions of company worth companies that are under-capitalized, picking apart and purchasing companies among the living dead at low multiples on actual 2009 earnings — which should have the vulture capitalists salivating — what an opportunity. Thucydides said it best — “The strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.” We are headed into a consolidation boom as there is much private equity capital waiting in the wings for just such an opportunity. My own market forecast calls for 2-3 more years of difficult times in the broader market, and perhaps another year for the security market, but down the market will go yet again. January 2010 was absolute murder for the integrators and suppliers — a near market seizure — wait for the results to be reported and you will see. We are all part of a bigger market event going on.
So what does this all mean to me? ISC West is still one of the two most important security shows in the USA held annually (the other being ASIS), and it is a must attend for me. Indeed, it is more important than ever before for me as a security advisor and management consultant, to lay eyes on the companies that remain in business, to take a snap shot and review of the industry, in order to make sensible recommendations to my clients and design projects on who will remain on my spec list for equipment and services in the future. The networking, off-floor hotel meetings, strategic partnership opportunities, private equity meetings, will be better this year than has been seen in many years. So yes, there will be fewer exhibiting vendors, but the show and the total event is more important this year as it is a “survivors” photo opportunity, and chance to network and make better plans to navigate the choppy waters of this economic environment.”
About the post author: Severin Sorensen, CPP is President and CEO at Sikyur LLC and is also Chairman of the Physical Security Council of ASIS International, the world’s largest security manager association with 35,000 members. Sorensen, in his private security management consulting practice since 1987, helps senior level-security professionals, and in particular, the Chief Security Officers and their direct-reports, adapt to changing environments of risk, regulation, and information technology convergence that are rapidly reshaping the security field. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.