With ASIS coming up, I have been asked by numerous people if I will be going. This conversation usually leads up to a question of "What is better. ASIS or ISC West?" I have heard different people feel they get better booth workers during ASIS while others say ISC West has better quality booth workers. I think they are the same workers for both events. How about the City? Las Vegas or the ASIS City (This year is Anaheim).

Better for Integrators?

Better for End Users (ASIS?)?

Better for Manufacturers?

Better location?

Better after hours?

Better Hotels?

Seminars and Education?

Cheaper flights to Vegas?

Chicago was full. Better in the middle (Midwest)?

So on?

Both equal?

It used to be that ASIS was considered the "end-users" show, while ISC West was considered the "dealers" show. ASIS used to show the high-ticket items (such as armored vehicles) and guard and investigative services, while ISC had the "parts and pieces" (contact switches, wire, tools, etc.) that were of more interest to installers. Over the years, ISC has become a little more like ASIS and started targeting end-users, while ASIS appears to have shrunk and doesn't have the allure that it once did (at least IMO).

I usually always go to ISC West, and ASIS every other year unless I have a client who asks me to go along with them. I feel that ASIS has the best educational seminars, and if you are a CPP or PSP, attending the seminars at ASIS is the quickest way earn lots of CEU points.

Everybody has a different opinion on cities; Las Vegas and Anaheim are convenient for me, while the mid-west and east coast locations are less attractive. I'm sure people located in other areas feel the opposite.

It's expensive to attend these shows when you factor in airfare, hotels, rental car, etc. If you work for yourself, attending also means the loss of billable time, the cost of which can exceed that of your direct expenses. I figure that it costs me in excess of $5,000 for every show I attend.

I almost always gain something from attending, but am not sure that it is worth the cost. There are so many other ways to learn, gather information, and network these days that I am starting to feel that the trade show is a dying institution.

For the show floor stuff, ASIS is a subset of ISC West.

If you're going for training, ASIS still holds an edge but that too has significantly shrunk (IMO).

I think ISC West is the optimal show and the only benefit ASIS has is that it moves locations so you might find it easier to go on the years it is local or semi-local to you.

I have gone to ASIS for 30 years now and ISC on and off (Including last year). If you are a Security Professional, you need to go to ASIS, if you deal more with the technology, you may get more out of ISC. This year I was surprised at how inexpensive was for me to attend ASIS. $400 for a round trip $900(?) for show and $140 per day for hotel (probably because the show is next to Disney World). Something to consider with either is the time lost (time is money).

I get a lot out of both and learn new things each time i go to either. There are always the naysayers out there who will say there is never anything new. Point is, if YOU don't find anything new, you "ain't looking" and you should probably not go to either. Save your money and watch Youtube. A company i worked for had me conduct classes with my staff, complete with ppt slides, lesson plans, etc. I got in the habit of organizing my time well using the show apps offered by the show sponsors, going to the after-show rooms to get the smaller demos (and noshes) and looking at the things relevant to my projects first.

Finally, i enjoy mingling with people who I know and respect. We trade off ideas and solutions, badmouth and endorse products that we use and get good (well, at least most of the time) lunches (and maybe dinners!). Last time I checked you could not do that on-line (IPVM excluded of course). You need to keep current with both what's happening in the field of security as well as the technology. If i could afford it I would go to both every year, but thats just me. Bottom line is never stop learning..

"There are always the naysayers out there who will say there is never anything new."

When people say this, the point is not that there is literally nothing new but that there are not enough new things (in terms of numbers or significance) to justify the time and money invested. Of course, that will vary depending on the person's responsibilities and what things are released.

I do think if you go to one of the two looking for new things, there are not a lot of 'new things' you will miss if you skip the other. Since manufacturers release more new things in the January - April time frame than June - September one (because summer), ISC West has an advantage if one wants to catch the 'newest' things.

Im not just talking about the exhibits, but the seminars, networking and relationships as well. But I do agree with John's point, there may be more "new things" at the ISC; on the otherhand, there are still a lot of manufacturers who first present their products at ASIS, they are just not all technology. My interest also includes things like fencing, locks and keys, lighting, manhole covers, investigation services, CPTED Design techniques, active shooter prevention, and mitigation, guard services, backgound check services and even insurance. My guess is that you dont have a need for that kind of stuff.