Should IPVM Cover ASIS 2015?

With fewer new products and more information disclosed online before hand, the value of going to trade shows has diminished.

There's just not much important news to cover at such shows that need to be gathered at the show. So we wind up getting photos or videos of nonsense like the fake Austin Powers or the stupid Milestone coupon, etc. People do read it - there is that (the ISC West 2015 show report got 10,000 reads).

But what's the bigger point? I feel more and more it's just gawking at foolish things. I find it draining and not sure how it helps advance our members or the industry.

Looking at IFSEC right now, it seems similar. There's no real news being made.

To be clear, I understand why people working on deals / partnerships go to trade shows. The issue is about IPVM's role / value in going to shows.

ASIS 2015 is coming up in September in Anaheim, which raises the question. Vote below:


Selfishly voted Yes, since I make a point of attending any show within my nuclear air-blast radius, and think its my best shot at an inaugural edition IPVM lanyard.

We'll mail you one. Send us the address of your bunker / missile silo.

In all seriousness though, I am willing to consider genuine alternatives that are useful / add value. However, I want to avoid wasting a week on what is essentially gossip and goofiness.

I don't know what you do know, but I agree in large measure. Perhaps it would be more prudent to send one or two people, alternating years.

It's not so much the sending people that I care about. The issue is: What do these people cover that really is worthwhile and that can't be done by just talking to people on the phone and via the web? Thoughts from anyone?

John,

I voted yes because I like seeing what is being touted at the shows.

Instead of sending staff to cover the show you can randomly select a few members and send them. You may get a totally different report back. :)

What do you mean by 'touted'? New products or booth gimmicks or?

"i like seeing what is touted at the shows", mainly meaning i like to see how manufacturers are differentiating themselves from other manufacturers with similar products... as you mentioned most products are released prior to the major trade shows rather than at the show as they had in the past... in the shows i attended i like seeing the new products first hand... for me it goes much further than a sales slick in an email... booth gimmicks (onvif austin powers, sdc beer drinking contest, booth babes, etc.) aren't really my thing and I find them to be a little uncomfortable and annoying...

"i like seeing the new products first hand..."

The problem is there just aren't that many new products and those that are new are often just prototypes or beta versions so it's hard to make any meaningful judgements.

Again, I get why an integrator would want to talk to potential partners and their contacts at manufacturers. I am trying to figure out what we can do that is productive at a show.

Well since you have apparently have some newer, perhaps less recognizable staff members, the ol' secret shopping of manufacturer's Sales pitches is always good fun, no?

Maybe some more of that but we just did that last fall so it has not been that much time since then. It's definitely worth considering.

John, what were the top 3 trade shows for you over the years and what specifically made them so great? I feel like IPVM's show commentary doesn't go "under the hood" and focuses more on rating manufacturers marketing effectiveness.

What do you want us to specifically do 'under the hood'?

The reason we focus more on manufacturer marketing effectiveness is because that is what members have shown they want to read the most at trade shows.

For example, Ethan has done a Product / Tech Roundup ISC West 2015 and Product / Tech Roundup ISC West 2014, both low level, under the hood treatments, but it does not get 20% of the reads as the marketing stuff.

Perhaps this show will be different than last year due to location, but I lean heavily towards no. Unless your team has ample spare time or happens to live near the show the value it provides is minimal.

In my opinion IPVM is primarily a product based website. Most of the products that were launched at ASIS 2014 were stragglers that did not make ISC West, soft launches of niche products, or laughably bad products released to generate foot traffic. The product side of ASIS was all marketing to generate foot traffic and there were not a lot of feet in attendance.

I think that knowing that nothing of significance was released at a particular show is newsworthy in and of itself. If you don't send one of your paid staffers, perhaps you can appoint one or two "volunteer" IPVM subscribers who happen to live in the area to be your eyes and ears at the show.

Michael, we are going to know that information whether or no we send a team of people, one person or no people. Pretty much every new product has a press release that goes out on the wire, has a post on the company's website, tweets, etc.

If trade shows operated in secrecy where only attendees got information, I could understand it but this is not the case.

Ultimately, I do not care about the money of sending someone out there but the disruption that it is going to be a week of reporting and commenting on stunts and ads.

Perhaps the best reason for IPVM to go is because the show's is not as newsworthy as ISC.

Hear me out on this one.

I'm guessing that the majority of people on IPVM that would like coverage on ASIS 2015 are not attending. This could be for scheduling reasons/work-related reasons. But it could also be for the same reason you give: the lower density of truly valuable information. So if your only gonna go to one show a year, you are might make it to ISC, and skip ASIS.

But that's not to say it has NO value, just not enough to take another week off and get on a plane. And if it was in your home town, you show up for an afternoon right?

IPVM is the proxy thru which members can attend ASIS with limited cost and commitment. IPVM represents the combined desires of its members by attending. A single weary IPVM boot-on-the-ground does the walking for hundreds of members feet kicked back.

Also, for many members, a certain intangible benefit comes by having knowledge of even the most idiotic trade-show 'stunts', as the following hypothetical exchange shows:

Slick Salesguy: So these cameras are of course fully ONVIF compliant...

Big Buyer: Groovy, baby, groovy. <chuckles to self, then becomes self-conscious at the silence>, you know 'Austin Powers' at ISC?

Square Salesguy: You know I didn't actually make it this year; I think they are mostly irrelevant....

IPVM going to ASIS is a way for those not attending to get some feel of what it was actually like at the show.

In the same way that I'm wasn't motivated enough to go to the Jefferson riots personally, but more than eager to spend a couple nights watching CNN, IPVM can provide a little news to a lot of people.

"IPVM going to ASIS is a way for those not attending to get some feel of what it was actually like at the show."

What do you want us to cover specifically at the show?

Whether or not we go to the show our coverage of new products announced before or for the show is going to remain the same.

What else?

I would say don't bother.

ASIS isn't much for new releases or ground-breaking updats. It's a mini ISC-West targeted more towards end users.

Leading up to the show you'll see new product announcements, and if something comes across the wire that looks monumental you can always send someone at the last minute.

If there is anything on the show floor that it truly newsworthy, you'll hear about it, and you have enough "insiders" attending the show that you'll be able to get some perspective and post relevant info for the larger IPVM community to benefit from.

We get detailed direct input from people at almost every manufacturer via email and phone, including a number of huge manufacturers who pre-brief us.

Ironically, it's typically easier for us to exchange emails with an exec than to go the booth and talk to junior people who don't know those details.

I agree, trade shows are becoming a waste of time. Only trade show I would attend is ISC west and the only reason I woud go to ISC west anymore is to simply meet my suppliers, and to just go to Vegas. But I havent went the last 2 years because I dont really see any point anymore. As you said, we usually know everything already thats going on via the web, email subscriptions, etc.

"Why would integrators want to ....." Many times the end user is going there anyway as they plan a large purchase. These security directors and above want to discuss solutions and not products so they don't always attend ISC and they are a part of ASIS with classes to attend. The integrators accompany them to make sure they are not distracted or confronted by solutions they don't represent or don't recommend. It's a buffer zone. They also want to hear what the manufacturers are promising they can deliver first hand since they will end up on the hook for it. I'm sure there are other reasons.

Yes, I agree. Anyone who is making a large purchase and does not already know the players and people well can benefit greatly from going to a major trade show.

I voted no. If, like you say, you can cover all of the news from afar, then what is the point? The only reason I can see you wanting someone there is to get the "scoop" on something major. If that isn't remotely likely, then I don't see a value.

If IPVM's virtual ASIS presentation allowed 20 members to skip the real show altogether, would that be worth it? What about 50?

What do you want us to cover specifically at the show?

Specifically, if one knew exactly what would be newsworthy, that would be half the battle. The emerging stories, like h.265 at ISC or the IDIS debacle are unfold and are hard to predict. I find the information about booth traffic and overall assessment of the mood interesting as well.

How about a survey of exhibitors asking them what exhibits they found the most interesting, (besides their own of course)? And then check those out?

How about a couple of live podcasts, on the industry in general, with some knowledgeable execs? That type of thing works best face to face.

Live member questions during GoPro streaming.

"The emerging stories, like h.265 at ISC or the IDIS debacle are unfold and are hard to predict."

We called the IDIS debacle weeks before the show - How to Blow $200,000 On A Booth

H.265 was shown at the Chinese show months before, we posted about Hikvision was announcing H.265, etc.

These trends are easy to see and verify. None of them are secretly restricted to private meetings.

"If IPVM's virtual ASIS presentation allowed 20 members to skip the real show altogether, would that be worth it?"

If people just want to know about new products, there is no need for 'virtual ASIS presentation'. We already cover new products in-depth 90% of which is done before trade shows.

For people who want to do deals or meet with potential partners, there is no virtual thing that IPVM can do to replace it. One has to go.

"How about a survey of exhibitors asking them what exhibits they found the most interesting, (besides their own of course)? And then check those out?"

We ask exhibitors that regularly. By far the #1 response, "We are busy with our own booth / meetings."

"How about a couple of live podcasts, on the industry in general, with some knowledgeable execs?"

The problem is getting people who are both knowledgeable and willing to speak freely without simply pumping their own stuff. This is very hard.

Is this a fair summary of your position?

There are two areas that IPVM can report on at trade shows:

1. Innovative Product and technology offerings.

2. Trade show floor activities - stunts, gimmicks, gossip and palaver.

ASIS 2015 will have very little of #1 and IPVM will not go for #2.

No.

Regardless of what innovative products are shown at ASIS (or ISC West), IPVM can and will get all the info we need from manufacturers via phone or email, typically before the show.

As much as (many) manufacturers do not like us, they realize that having IPVM cover their new product announcements is a valuable marketing opportunity so they are happy to provide info without having to go to a junior person at a booth.

Do you think you will go to ISC West 2016? (Gulp)

I have not been to a trade show since ISC West 2013 and we have covered 4 shows since. Given that, the likelihood I go to ISC West 2016 is quite low.

Although I find covering ISC West personally draining (even remotely), I think there is value in sending IPVM team members since it is now the one truly major show in the US.

If only IPVM could do a low light camera shootout on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disleyland, that would be at least a change in scenery.

Ok, what about this? We drop ship a 'bot or two right into Anaheim. If we can find a sympathetic manufacturer with an AC outlet and 2 sq ft of carpet, we're golden.

Members can take turns 'attending'.

IPVM will get some press for sure. You say that by sending an automaton, IPVM is making a statement about the vacuous and soulless nature of the show itself.

I'll even spring for the 'booth bots'. Whaddya say?