IFSEC draws multi-national crowd to Birmingham

Sunday, July 1, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, U.K.--Here at the National Exhibition Centre, IFSEC 2007 drew some 25,000 visitors from around the world to view the wares of show exhibitors, requiring 10,000 square meters more hall space than 2006. It is an impressive and sometimes bewildering show floor, and the above numbers do not include the concurrent Fire & Safety show in the hall next door.
UK distributor Norbain had the most obvious presence here, with a massive booth and a lead sponsorship that included branding on the very cards visitors wear around their necks. Siemens (in its capacity as a manufacturer), Dedicated Micros, Panasonic, Sony, Honeywell, and Axis were among other companies that clearly made a large investment here, and with names more familiar to North American integrators and installers. Less familiar to North Americans, Electronics Line 3000, the Risco Group (who do business in the United States largely as Rokonet), Abloy Security (a part of ASSA Abloy), Dallmeier Electronic, System Q, and Cieffe were among others with hard-to-ignore booth space.
Though there was a fair amount of crossover between what you would find at ISC West or ASIS in the United States, 30 percent, at rough estimate, of exhibitors would not be found in North America or would have very reduced presence. Some manufacturers, like Siemens with its newly designed residential keypad/controller series Sintony 60 that offers wireless options at 868 megahertz, had products that simply wouldn't work in the United States because of differing standards.
Proof positive the show was in Britain: ioimage had a dartboard set up in its booth for the chance to win a snooker table. Pelco's choreographed PTZ cameras were not dancing to the Beatles, however.
Any number of nationalities were represented among the attendees, but it was more than one exhibitor's opinion that the percentage of UK installers and end users on the floor was higher than in years past, as other significant international shows have popped up or increased in prominence in recent years--including shows in China, Russia, South America, and Eastern Europe--and made IFSEC less necessary for foreign integrators.
Though located near the Birmingham International Airport and on the train line, the NEC also was somewhat difficult to get to. It is a $40 cab fare from downtown Birmingham, where many people stay, or a $10 round-trip train ticket, which at rush hour means standing in very close quarters for some 15 minutes and then a 15-minute walk from the station to the hall.