ISC East day one: Actually quite good
On my way here to New York I wrote about a decided lack of buzz surrounding ISC East, yet day 1 yesterday was pretty terrific by most standards. Does this mean I'm woefully out of touch and nobody wants to talk to me? Possibly. But I think I was right about the lack of buzz. Basically, everyone went into the event hesitantly, unsure of what it was going to be like and not wanting to commit to too much. A lot of companies clearly downsized their booths - GVI was in a 10x20, I think, same size as us. Pelco was maybe a 30x30. Honeywell was going with the same strategy they used last year, smaller booth, big people contingent. Also, the weather, like last year, was crap: Then, everyone discovered there were actually quite a few people there, saw the throngs of people entering and looking around, and I'm telling you that the mood in the hall was as way up as I've seen it since I came into the industry in 2005. People were happy to see each other, there were bad jokes being cracked, small wrestling matches were going on in the aisles, people were psyched. And it wasn't the gallows humor that's been going on at some shows lately, like where people at two booths play catch across the aisle with booth swag to emphasize how there's NO ONE around. That's because the place was packed. Here's an aisle scene from about 11 a.m. (and I was at my booth, which is sort of in the back corner of the hall (not that I'm complaining - thanks for the great booth, Reed Exhibitions! That first born child is totally in the mail!)): I really am joking about Reed, though. They've made huge strides in ingratiating themselves to the industry lately. Don't believe me? Not only did they just sign an agreement to run PSA-TEC, they went out of their way to move the show so that it no longer coincides with ESX, a show that was created solely to compete with ISC East/ISC West. They could have easily just thrown up their hands and said, "oops, no more dates at the convention center in Rosemont - sorry, you're hosed, PSA." But they didn't. You'll see a story on our newswire about the move, but here's the proof: I think I probably could have gotten a better picture of that, one that actually shows the PSA-TEC at ISC logo that's cropped on the bottom, but I was so floored by the date change as I walked into the hall yesterday morning that I wasn't working with a full-capacity brain. I'm not sure you understand what a pain in the ass it is to move show dates once you're committed. Our booth was hopping with people coming in for video interviews. It was a neat little set-up, actually, because we're right across from B&H Photo, and Shaun, our video guy, just happens to buy all of his camera equipment from B&H. Here's a look at how we do the video, with the first pic being of the video and audio mixing equipment, the second being of Martha interviewing Lance Dean, head of 2GIG Technologies, who scored a big customer yesterday in Apx (check the newswire later today for that one): Do they, or do they not look like rock stars? I'd say they do. So, what were the themes of the actual content of the show? I'd go with these three: 1. HD video continues to be the talk of the show floor. Those manufacturers that have committed to it say it's the best thing since sliced bread. Stardot, for example, had a very nice booth with some awesome video resolution on display. Very pretty. I know the booth looks empty. I took it before the show opened. However, not every manufacturer is on the HD bandwagon. Even Canon, which makes nothing but IP cameras, still does not have a significant megapixel offering. Why not? Ricardo Chen told me it was because Canon doesn't yet believe the low-light performance is good enough in the high megapixel offerings, which is why the company is working on its own secret-sauce digital processor that will solve that problem. We'll see what happens. 2. Money, money, money. It's a trend that's been developing since the economy went south, but manufacturers are way more interested in helping integrators and installers make better margin. First, they're emphasizing RMR opportunities like never before. And Napco does a good job of that with its iSee Video product line, which makes selling residential and light commercial video monitoring really easy. Right now all the storage is on site, just a 50 MB SD card, but they'll soon be releasing a light NVR, I'm told. But manufacturers are also trying to reduce labor costs for manufacturers. Pelco recently touted the ease of installation for its IP dome series, and the thing Axis wanted to talk about above all else at the show yesterday was the ease of installation on its new dome series: How does never having to use a mounting bracket again sound? How does, "even a marketing guy can install this in about five minutes" sound? How does, "you can still bill your customer for an hour of labor if you want" sound? (Yes, that last one is tongue in cheek. Security Systems News is not endorsing deceptive business practices.) 3. Beer still wins. Northern Video's booth is never empty. That's all I know: Finally, the day ended with a very successful Tri-Association Awards dinner, where the CSAA, NBFAA, and SIA all get together to honor industry lions. This year was the first they completely sold out the event, we're told, and there certainly was a huge crowd at the Lighthouse, a very nice place down on the Chelsea Piers. Alan Forman of Altronix and John Murphy of Vector Security were honored in a very nice ceremony, and the industry associations as a whole donated $10,000 raised from the ticket sales to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, an amazing organization that honors those who've lost their lives in the line of duty. This year, we were told, we have lost 100 law enforcement officers. Last year, it was 133. The good news, however, is that 133 represents the lowest number since the 1960s. Crime really has been turned around in this country, even if it doesn't feel like it because of the non-stop news cycle. Anyway, here's a bad picture of the event: So, that's about it for day 1. I'll try to get something as extensive up about day 2 tomorrow.