The official ISC East numbers are in

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01/14/2010
Back in New York, I was mostly going on impression and early returns when I lauded ISC East as a resounding success considering the economy. This week, I got the official audit results and it appears my impressions were largely accurate, even if they follow some trends that are becoming apparent in the security industry conference biz. Judging by exhibit-only attendees, which is the crowd on the floor, you can see why this year seemed busy (please note my continuing awesome table-making skillz):
Year Ex-Attendees Ven-Attendees Total
2009633118828340
2008618920778327
2007649023468906
20067861241910376
2005706020059125

Okay, actually, that table looks kind of cramped, but you can see that not only was there a slight attendee rebound this year (Ex-Attendees, short for exhibition), but the ratio between attendees and vendors (Ven-Attendees) improved as well. And I don't think that drop in vendor peeps is completely because of fewer companies in attendance, if anything I think it was the same amount of companies just sending fewer booth types (and I'm not sure I saw more than five or six booth babes, so no one was investing in models, etc., which would have counted in that number). So, in all, that's good. In a completely crap year for business, where the conference industry as a whole was down as much as 10 percent (yeah, that's not the best link, but Google wasn't behaving), ISC East actually did slightly better. But there are some interesting deeper numbers as well, some of them "good," some of them "not so good." The good? Well, 2,047 of the attendees at ISC East self-identified as end user. I think it's good for there to be a mix of the entire industry at industry shows, and I think it's good for end users to be educated about the industry's trends and technology. An educated end user base makes smarter buys, is generally happier with the system at the end, works better with the integrators, and demands more from vendors supplying product, providing valuable feedback. The interesting? Think the industry is fragmented? Here's some good evidence: 3,425 of the attendees said their companies are sized between one and 49 employees. That's a lot of small companies. Just over 800 said their companies have 1,000 or more employees. And I'd bet a lot of those from larger companies are end users. The not so good? Well, guess how many "conference attendees" were there? 44. Not that this is usually a huge number, as it was just 187 in 2005 and it's been declining since, but I think that's proof positive of a trend I see developing: People aren't paying for education. This could be because they don't trust education at large industry events, assuming all the content is bought and paid for and they're just going to get a bunch of sales pitches, and that could turn around for ISC when the PSA-TEC collaboration goes into effect and people have more assurance that the education is by and for integrators/installers, but I think it's more because so much education is free nowadays. With ADI/Tri-Ed/Anixter/ScanSource/etc. providing so much free training, with all the free webinars that are out there today, why would anyone fork over money to sit in a classroom? Well, if the content is good enough, I still believe that people value education, but I do worry they're jaded to the point where it takes a lot of convincing. Forty four, for ISC East? That's rough. Random observations: 1,267 said they were interested in buying video analytics - people may be down on the technology, but they're still interested. That's a higher number than said were interested in storage (690), monitoring services (1,127), and right behind ID systems (1,334). 4,667 came from the Mid-Atlantic - New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They weren't kidding about it being a regional show, but I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of there. It is what it is. You get 5,000 people to show up for an event from three states. See how easy it is. 4 came from Maine - that would be me, Martha, Tim Purpura, our publisher, and Gregg Shapiro, our associate publisher. I think. 0 came from Iowa, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Arkansas, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Come on, people, represent! 1 dude each came from Hawaii and Alaska. Well done. Finally, there were 66 media members there, a jump from just 47 and 42 the last two years. Is that a good sign or a bad one?

Comments

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sam_Pfeifle, Security Feeds - RA. Security Feeds - RA said: SSN: The official ISC East numbers are in http://bit.ly/6ayeoW [...]

I understood ISC East got a lift because fewer people attended ASIS last year given it was all the way on the left coast.

That's certainly one theory that's been put forward, Kyle, and I suppose it could be supported by the 2,000+ end users in attendance at ISC East, but there's really no way to know for sure. Is there really that much difference, if you're from New York, between flying to Atlanta and flying to Anaheim?

Has anyone been able to get a free pass into ISC West this year? A few people I've spoken to have all had to pay $50 to register. If everyone does have to pay this year, times $50 by the number of attendees and it's a nice little earner for someone.

Steve-

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