ASIS 2010 bigger, better than ‘09

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DALLAS—The official numbers won’t be released until after the show closes today, but the consensus among those Security Systems News spoke to, is that ASIS 2010 is bigger and better than last year’s show in Anaheim.

The show may have taken up a little less real estate as the result of smaller booths for some, and the crowd simply doesn’t compare to four and five years ago, but there was no dearth of big snazzy booths, and manufacturers seemed pleased with the steady traffic, especially on Tuesday.

Some trade shows seem to be awash in partnership announcements, at others there's a preponderance of certain categories of products. What stands out after two days on the show floor at ASIS 2010? A number of companies are reorganizing after acquisitions and reintroducing themselves. There's a big emphasis on integrated solutions—everyone's talking about that. Manufacturers are repurposing and re-grouping products to create specilized solutions for certain vertical markets. Noticeable this year are more and more booths organized around their vertical market solutions. Big buzz word this year: cloud computing. People are either doing it, they want to do it, or, at the very least, they want to weigh in on it. And, finally, whole building integration and, in particular, energy management, are two more topics du jour this year.

Asked what he’s been working on since the closing of the ADT/Broadview deal this spring and the reorganization of ADT into separate residential and commercial businesses, John Kenning, president of ADT Commercial, said he’s been heads-down working on “the verticalization of the commercial sales organization.” ADT commercial is bundling the integrated services it will offer commercial customers, and there’s a lot of excitement about video monitoring services in particular. Kenning also announced ADT is giving its Aurora, Colo. monitoring center a major facelift, and creating a new customer briefing center, which will have life-sized interchangeable demonstrations of complete product solutions for different vertical markets. It’s under construction now and will open in January, he said.

At the Protection One booth, which sported a new, modern-looking logo, CEO Tim Whall and CMO Jamie Haenggi talked about this show as a “coming out party” for Protection One, the nearly completed task of getting a senior staff members in place and a number of new initiatives, including moving all support operations for its national accounts program to its Irving, Texas monitoring station.

Gone from the floor was GE in the wake of its acquisition, completed earlier this year, by UTC Fire & Security. Under UTC Fire & Security, old, familiar (and ones dealers are very fond of) brand names are being made new including Edwards, Lenel, and Interlogix. The Edwards name was resurrected earlier this year for the fire business. Headed by Bob Haskins, Interlogix, was re-introduced before the show. It’s UTC Fire & Security’s portfolio of intrusion, video surveillance, fire & life safety, access control, and transmission systems for residential and small- to medium-sized commercial enterprises. Interlogix is one of four major brands—Lenel, Supra and Onity are the others—that make up UTC Fire & Security’s newly reorganized Global Security Products group, which is headed by president Mark Barry.

The vertical market emphasis was apparent at the Samsung booth, which displayed a verticalized solution for campuses that has proven successful, and is being used internally as a model to create comprehensive solutions for other verticals. Likewise, at the Verint booth, where I had a chance to sit down with Debjit Das and Courtney Jaret, there was more discussion about vertical market deployments.

The addition/integration of energy/building management systems into the fold was a focus at Johnson Controls (which was showing its well-known Metasys building management systems for the very first time at a security show), at Schneider Electric, and elsewhere.

Over at Panasonic, president Bill Taylor was talking energy management (a focus for years—but one that’s been brought to light more recently with last year’s Sanyo acquisition) and the integration of other Panasonic products into vertical solutions—for education and retail in particular.

Energy management for residential applications was a topic of conversation at the Honeywell booth, where new Honeywell Security and Communications president JoAnna Sohovich, said it’s a natural for Honeywell—of thermostat fame—to offer a security/energy management solution for residential customers. Expect an announcement on that in coming months, she said.

IP cameras were everywhere, and market/integrator education about IP cameras continues to progress, according to manufacturers. Asked about training, Arecont Vision’s Scott Schafer said a nine-hour training session involves 30 minutes on products and the bulk of the time on topics such as designing, configuring a system and “lensing options ... It’s all math,” he said.

IP camera maker Axis Communications is partnering with Stanley and Niscayah to provide a new hosted-video solution for smaller businesses. “It’s a second convergence revolution,” said Axis general manager Fredrik Nilsson.

And what about different systems working together? ONVIF and PSIA signs were everywhere. A lively group stuck around the convention center after the show closed for the PSIA interoperability event and reception last night, to see how different manufacturers plugged and played. More interoperability was in store for this morning with an ONVIF breakfast.