ISC East day 2: still quite good
After a 10:30 p.m. flight home last night, and the combined effects of me being allowed to enjoy myself as I chose in NYC, I'm a little groggy and slow-moving this morning, so I'm going to do a little photo narrative thing for day 2, and then follow up with some more newsy stuff when I'm thinking clearer. But, the short story is that day 2 was also strong for ISC East. There was some drop off in attendance, but still good crowds and enthusiasm, and even a decent crowd as 5 p.m. and the end of the show approached. While there wasn't a ton of news made at the show, I had good and productive conversations with a number of integrators and manufacturers and most people seemed to think the show was more than worth their while. So, first, let me just show you the sweet neighborhood my hotel was in. I actually didn't have a problem with the Best Western Convention Center Hotel. The rooms were small, but the bed was decent (if made out of a strange foam that didn't give much), the shower was hot with good water pressure, the iron worked, and they had Fruit Loops, milk, and decent coffee in the lounge in the morning. That's good enough for me. Actually, the Internet didn't work, but I had one of those wireless cards so I didn't complain. However, next door was this: Yes, we were next to the horse barn. And it smelled like it. Oh, and what's that up on the left behind the horse? Why, yes, that is a strip club. Classy! But the location was actually to my liking because it was roughly a two-minute walk from the convention center and that allowed me to roll out of bed at a reasonable hour, to say the least. When you got to the Javits Center, I thought it was interesting how Reed chose to position the show on the outside sign, something I didn't notice on day one: Hmmm. Actually, it might be hard to see for you. Basically, it says: "The premier event for security professionals in the Northeast." So, that positions it first as a show for both end users and installers, pretty clearly, and Reed's not ashamed of being a "regional show." It is what it is. When you consider that some 40 percent of our readers are in the Northeast (assuming DC is in the Northeast), I'd say it's fine to be a Northeast show. But it's definitely not the national show it used to be, or maybe "aspired to be" in the last few years. A good decision to position it that way, in my opinion. It allows the locals to think of it as "theirs" and take some ownership. Also, if it's competition with ESX Reed's worried about, they can now say, "hey, our regional show is like five times bigger than their national show." Not that they would do that. Probably only a jerk like me would even think of that. Anyhoo, another new initiative at ISC East this year was the Career Center, put on by us and Security Director News. Check it out: It kind of flopped in one way, as it was meant to allow people to enter into the booth and use the computer inside to check out what jobs were available, and no one really did that. I think Bob Beliles used it as a quiet spot to eat lunch, though. However, there was a lot of interest in the online Career Center in general, and a lot of people stopped to talk with Jenna Grant, who runs that piece of our web site. Amie at Reed made a good point: Most people attend with colleagues, and you can't exactly say, "hey, guys, don't wait up - I'm just going to pop in here and look for a better job." Still, you'll see something like it at ISC West. Let me know if you've got a better idea for how to do it. Ideally, we'd be hooking up job seekers with people hiring. There are a lot of the former, maybe not as many of the latter, but it seems like there could be a use for it. People who already had jobs could at least spare a second day for ISC East, though. Here's the crowd waiting to get in at 10 a.m.: Not bad, right? And here's a mid-day overhead shot from the balcony. Right about 1 p.m.: And this shot was taken at 4:30 p.m.: HAI must be doing something right. And that would jibe, actually, with a couple of integrators who told me they're getting much more heavily into automation, lighting, A/V, that kind of thing. Jon Ecker at Peace of Mind Technologies, an integrator in Manhattan, told me non security low-voltage work now was as much as 30 percent of his business. Also, SW24, an integrator that focuses on video as a service and investigation with ex New York cops, had a very good show in general. They were very prominent in discussions and had good traffic. This is what they looked like late afternoon: However, not everybody was flying high on the show floor. The Chinese and Korean sections seemed to always be pretty deserted. Here's a typical scene: This booth may have been busy, may have not been - I was too busy chuckling childishly to myself: I know I wouldn't want to be the guy standing in front of the arrow. Also, doesn't this seem like a strangely indifferent booth on the part of Panasonic? New York is their backyard, right? They were on a wall, easy to miss, and you can see there wasn't much to see: I guess I was surprised. I'm used to Panasonic going the show-of-strength route. Also somewhat underwhelming was the new product showcase area: That just doesn't say to me, "wow! I'm so happy to be looking at this!" But I'm not sure exactly what they could have done differently. I think one of the problems is that most of the exciting new technology doesn't show all that well - software, in general. I guess I would have liked to have seen some video screens and some cool color images to jazz things up. As it was, the only product I spent more than five seconds looking at was this: Not exactly high-tech, I know, but I could see how it would be really useful in an installation and I sort of want one for when I tackle the refurbishing of my bathroom. Finally, in terms of gossip and chattering, just about everyone was talking about the GE Security story that went up on Bloomberg recently, saying UTC is now "the leading bidder," whatever that means, for GE Security. One person straight-up told us (well, he told Martha) he knew that UTC had bought GE Security for $1.6 billion. Another told me that JPMorgan Chase had the fire portion of GE Security all but sold to UTC over the summer, but GE balked at splitting up the property, and that's what led a JPMorgan employee to leak the info that GE Security was for sale in the first place. Someone else said the hold-up was that GE was trying to extract a premium for buying everything in one bundle, which wouldn't make a lot of sense, I guess, to the people who think the fire portion is the only thing of value in GE Security's portfolio. Yes another person speculated that Bosch might be interested in the access control portion of the business if it does get split up, since they're somewhat weak in access. But they might be interested in the fire portion, too, since they've recently made such a big commitment to fire. I don't know what to believe. If, in fact, UTC does buy GE Security for $1.6 billion, that would be a pretty bad deal for GE. They bought Edwards alone for $1.4 billion, and Interlogix cost them $600 million. Even a $2 billion price tag seems like egg on the face, I guess, considering the other pieces that have been bought. As food for thought, I thought these paragraphs particularly interesting from the Bloomberg article:
United Technologies has walked away from deals in the past, including an effort to buy Honeywell International Inc. in 2000. GE offered more for Honeywell than United Technologies, which didnâ€™t raise its own offer. The GE-Honeywell transaction was eventually blocked by the European Union. United Technologies also withdrew an unsolicited bid for North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold Inc., the maker of automated bank teller machines. The bid was pulled in October 2008 after Dieboldâ€™s board spurned requests for due diligence and management discussions.You never know how things might shake out.