Everything you always wanted to know about ESX

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06/30/2008
A couple days late, here are some highlights from the new home-grown industry show called ESX, the Electronic Security Exposition, which took place in Nashville, June 24-28. Congratulations to the CSAA, NBFAA, EH (the group that organized the event) and the TBFAA on this inaugural event. First up on June 24 was the skeet shoot, sponsored by the Tennessee Burglar & Fire Alarm Association at the Nashville Gun Club Now, I’d never held a gun, let alone shot one, but guess what I found out? Shooting semi-automatic weapons at little pieces of clay is fun. It helped that I had lots of spirited encouragement from the our two guides--Foxy and Paulette—and from those in my group—Bob and David Michel from Valley Alarm in California and Gene from, can't find his card, but it's a security company in South Carolina. (Gene not only hit a bunch of skeets, he took out a live bird during the excursion.) Thanks also to Dom D’Ascoli of Smoky Mountain Security in NC for lending me one of those fancy shooting vests with the padded shoulder, it was only after I donned that vest that I actually hit one of those little orange saucers. And my shoulder's probably a little less bruised as a result of the padding. After the skeet shoot, we had about 10 minutes to get cleaned up and walk down to the Country Music Hall of Fame for the NBFAA scholarship awards, and the Sara Jackson and Morris Weinstock awards. Fortunately for us, the winner of the Sara Jackson award, Frank Burke, was with the skeet shooting crowd, so the event didn't start until he arrived. Here’s Leischen's write up on that very nice event. ESX organizers made some great choices of venue throughout this event, including the reception that followed the awards. it took place in the rotunda. Great party locale and I'm glad they opted for the reception where you can talk to many, rather than a sit-down dinner. Ready for Day 2? Not yet, most found their way to nearby Broadway for some BBQ, beer and blue grass for at least a couple more hours. Day 2 was full of educational sessions, which according to everyone I spoke to were well programmed and well attended. Here's Sam's story about sessions he attended and mine on a home automation session I attended. This day was also jam packed with NBFAA and CSAA meetings. I went to the crack of dawn government relations meeting to hear what was going on in Washington. The evening found everyone back on Broadway. My group wound up at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, where Cher was sitting up front in a booth near the band. What'd she look like in person? She was very thin and had very smooth skin. We're well into Day 3 by the time the editors arrive back at the Rennaissance Hotel and a few short hours later we were heading to the show floor wondering what it would look like. It was not jam-packed by any stretch, but there was a respectable crowd and exhibitors I talked to reported "quality conversations." There were more well-attended educational sessions and Sam's Rising Stars luncheon was a great success. (Always nice to see diversity in the crowd. Here's to you over-40s!) Evening # 3 is the Big Bash. Again, ESX does it right: a little food, a little drink, a little Marty Stuart. Then it's time to load up on BBQ to prepare for the Club Crawl. Organized again by the TBFAA, we went toured some clubs that we were now pretty well acquainted with and ended up at the Cadillac Ranch where a veritable who's who of the security industry rode a mechanical bull. I don't ride bulls, but a publisher I know rode said bull for well over a minute. Just wish I had a picture to prove it. Day 4 and the show floor was very quiet. Exhibitors would have liked more traffic, but isn't the show floor always quiet on the last day of any show? At lunchtime, Sam packs 'em in again for his "Next Generation" luncheon. A lot of people left Friday afternoon, but not Leischen and I. We went to the Grand Ole Opry and then, just for good measure decided to head back to Broadway for more blue grass, beer and BBQ. This is Robert's Western World where we hung out. Check Sam's ESX blog entries for an insider’s opinion of the music. I had never listened to this much country music before and came away wondering why country musicians are always singing about trains. We heard this one at least twice a night, but there are many, many songs about trains. One young musician I spoke to at Robert’s on Broadway said he’d never thought about it before, but he estimated that a good 10 percent of the songs he sang were about trains and another five percent mentioned trains. Asked if he’d consider singing about other modes of transportation, he said no. “I’m not going to sing about no hybrids.” So the editors of Security Systems News are in denial about this show being moved to Baltimore. Nothing against Baltimore, but it's going to have a lot to live up to next year.