It’s all about evolution

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Editor, Security Systems News

There’s an evolution happening in the security industry and

I’m not talking about the rapidly changing technology or the

proliferation of IT-based security systems.

It’s the trade shows of this industry that are going through a metamorphosis of sorts. What were at one time events targeted exclusively to the security dealer and the systems integrator is now being opened up to the likes of corporate security officers, while other events geared toward a single market are now incorporating the likes of security.

This year’s ISC West show is no exception to change, nor is this fall’s ISC East. This will be my fifth ISC West show, but it appears to be the first time that show producers have put together separate educational tracks, with one set geared towards the security dealer or systems integrator and the other track dedicated to corporate security executives.

When Security Systems News requested the seminar guide for ISC West and received the corresponding brochures, two different programs were part of our ISC West package. While there is some overlap in terms of courses, with some classes offered to both groups, there’s definitely a new feel in the air.

Take for example, the names of some of this year’s courses - “Understanding Federal Government Security Criteria”, “Reaching the Federal Market – Insight into GSA Federal Supply Schedule Program” and “Homeland Security and Unconventional Weapons.”

Now more than ever security and our government are entwined. The same is expected for ISC East this fall, with its new location of Washington, our country’s capital. Show producers also expect to draw from the abundance of government agencies in the area and attract security officers related to those organizations.

With so much emphasis placed on security these days, it’s about time the industry opened its doors. For years ASIS International has traditionally been the trade show that has attracted the corporate security officers.

Now, new opportunities lay ahead making it possible for the security industry - the dealers and systems integrators who install such systems - and the government and other groups to work more closely together than ever before.

Along with ISC going through its own evolution, the same appears to be true for the National Systems Contractors Association’s annual trade show, held in March. More and more members of the security community are traveling to this event as they search for new products to become a single solutions provider to customers.

A few months back I must have spoken to at least half a dozen security company owners or employees in a week’s time who told me their company is a member of the organization or plan to attend that show. Though security is the focus of many of the companies I spoke with, some also provide sound and nurse call systems, all important products and services for customers looking for a single solutions provider.

Last month, I wrote about how the Massachusetts Burglar & Fire Alarm Association became what looks like the first alarm organization to change its moniker from the traditional “burg and fire” name to incorporate the words “systems contractors.”

Here, too, is that evolution taking place in our industry. To compete in today’s competitive market, especially with a myriad of legislative initiatives ongoing in Massachusetts designed to limit burglar alarm work only to burg companies and data work to others, the association had to evolve.

There’s so much about the security industry changing these days. It’s more than just about providing locks to keep people out, as was the case in the old days. Today it is more about providing information, securing our homeland and being partners with the corporations and the government agencies who need a security solution.

While the changes at ISC and NSCA are different in comparison to the technological updates taking place every day in our market, they’re still just as important. If our trade shows and organizations don’t evolve, how else will our industry stay on top?