Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020

By John Honovich, Published Jan 23, 2020, 12:23pm EST (Info+)

Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019.

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The show, for many years the biggest annual security one in Europe, is facing significant challenges.

We share feedback from Axis and Genetec and look at the issues involved for IFSEC and European trade show events.

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Genetec *********

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Comments (24)

It makes total sense. Why pay crazy amounts of money to exhibit in the same space as all your competitors when you can invest that same amount, or maybe less, and create your own shows and events and have total ownership of branding. Nintendo is a good example of this. They seriously reduced their presence at E3 (the ISC West of video game industry) and instead invested in there own events and customer engagement has never been better.

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I disagree. While there is certainly value for bigger companies to do their own event(s), there is also value for them to still exhibit at general events. They serve 2 different groups.

At your own event, you can optimize and go in-depth with your strongest partners, customers, etc. But a lot of people who like or work with your company will not come because it's harder to justify the time for a single company's event than a broader one (for Milestone, think MIPS - attendance ~500 vs ISC West - attendance 30,000).

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I suppose it really depends on what you want to achieve from the show and how big your target audience is. Are you a niche or mass market manufacturer, who do you want to sell to, are you trying to build brand awareness etc etc...

It is more than just the cost of the space which can be in the tens of thousands of dollars but there is the cost of the stand build which in Australia can be in the hundreds of thousands. You then have the cost of flying staff in for the event and putting them up in hotels, paying for entertainment.

When I was in a previous role we did the local ASIAL event for a couple of years just to get the brand out there and then we stopped as it cost a huge amount. Our last show was around $300K. We thought that money would be better spent on other more targeted events.

Its a bit of a Damned if you do, Damned if you don't scenario as like others have posted it is hard to measure return on investment. On the flip-side what will the perception be from the market as a whole if you are not there...

It seems a lot of security shows are having issues though as it seems numbers for the Australian show dwindle every year and a lot of manufacturers are puling out.

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On the flip-side what will the perception be from the market as a whole if you are not there...

Well, when Axis, Genetec and Milestone all choose not to go, it will soften the blow...

It seems a lot of security shows are having issues though as it seems numbers for the Australian show dwindle every year

With more shows declining, I think that diminishes the negative perception of not attending. And $300,000 is a lot of money to spend to save face, unless your Hikvision ;)

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The biggest single mistake IFSEC made was moving to the ExCel arena in London. People in the UK never liked the idea of it where as show organisers touted the idea of making it easier for international visitors. IFSEC of course refuse to accept this!

The Security Event which is being held at the NEC, the original location of IFSEC when IFSEC was huge. The NEC is well liked as a venue for installers in the UK and is easy enough for international visitors if they have real interest.

A lot more exhibitors are now signed up to this years "The Security Event" and I feel most of these companies are going there to serve the UK installer market and don't really care about the international aspect in most cases. For example the Dahua UK team dislike the way the spend on IFSEC comes from there trade show spend as most visitors to the stand are international based and little UK based installers bother to visit.

Having exhibited at IFSEC on a number of occasions we spent over £100K on a medium sized floor area so I can imagine the total spend of companies like HIK and Dahua being ridiculous.

IFSEC organisers aren't easy to deal with and don't negotiate on floor space price so not disappointed if this show fails permanently.

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the original location of IFSEC when IFSEC was huge

Curious, #5, how much bigger would you estimate IFSEC was back in Birmingham than it is today? I was never there so have no sense.

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Hmm, clearly statistically I can't give you an exact figure.

As video surveillance is my only primary interest, IFSEC when in the NEC was so much bigger for Video.

For example here is the 2010 v 2012 floor plan (I couldn't flip it for some reason in the editor)

The major difference for me is that nearly the whole event was related to Video and Access Control with a small amount for Fire and other small related security sectors. The purple area was primarily the incumbents of the CCTV world (when Analogue was still relevant) and the orange/yellow area was for "IP" CCTV. The Green area was Access Control.

Also at the below shows the amount of up and coming Chinese brands (e.g. the small crappy stands) was so much more and back then you could potentially find something good when you spent the time!

Today IFSEC has a whole load of co-located shows at IFSEC and video surveillance has down-scaled massively.

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is also value for them to still exhibit at general events. They serve 2 different groups.

While I agree on some aspects of large brands exhibiting at large trade shows, I think the negatives based on being in the UK and Ireland market for a long time outweigh the positives.

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Well, nowadays everything is trackable. Maybe the ROI/lead gen/deal closed from IFSEC in recent years does not look good.

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I can relate. Our company exhibited at the largest show of its kind (different industry than this) for three years. Tens of thousands of dollars invested. The ROI was terrible. We are no longer exhibiting there and instead are focusing on other means.

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Tens of thousands of dollars invested. The ROI was terrible

There's definitely that concern, the only thing I would hesitate on is the value of branding and helping sales in ways that cannot be easily tracked.

Take when Axis or Hikvision spend tens of thousands on lanyards or us with the ISC West bags. There is no way to track the ROI on those things but it's not unreasonable to think that the extra impressions one gets with those things help customers be more comfortable with the brand and more likely to consider or chose companies they see more of.

To contradict myself, I do agree about the risk on booths. Booth expenses can get very expensive very quickly and if you are not getting enough new hot leads, that's a lot of money to just hope will build the brand.

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This particular booth was over $4,000 USD for a 10x10, sans any amenities like carpet, power, internet, furniture, etc.

I'm clearly in the wrong business.

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over $4,000 USD for a 10x10

Lol, a 10x10 at the back of ISC West costs more than $10,000 for bare concrete:

I'm clearly in the wrong business.

As are we all :)

Successful trade shows become a bit of a monopoly in that there are not any real alternatives to reach a mass of people in person. But when trade shows start to decline, the descent can be dangerous as a vicious cycle emerges (see IFSEC).

That said, ISC West booth prices are wild, especially considering how much manufacturers underinvest in online marketing.

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I sense that in the world incresingly penetrated by, and even dominated by social media communication rather than face-to-face communication, remote/on-line learning rather than face-to-face/classroom learning will continue to diminish the value of large, expensive trade shows for manufacturers.

While I agree that targeted events vs large trade shows address different audinences as noted by John above, I sense that the value proposition (cost/benefit) of large, expensive trade shows is diminishing. Maybe even akin to the 8-track, cassette and CD.

Being an old timer, I still love a big trade show! Golf, trade show floor, face to face with old and new collegues and friends, steak dinner. What's not to like? Only the price!

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Depends largely on the commodity but I don't think trade shows are going away anytime soon, especially for consumer items or shows that are open to the public.

Take, for example, CES, E3, SHOT Show, and SEMA. Huge, growing attendance and popularity and for seeing what's new in their respective industries. Several of them are the de facto launch point for major manufacturers' new products. Social media plays an important part in communicating them to folks who could not attend, but definitely doesn't replace the shock and awe of being there.

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If you are not a Milestone/Genetec/Axis sized company (i.e. in a 10x10 booth) and you hope that people just show up to your booth, then you've wasted your money IMHO. I'm not a fan of the ROI for exhibiting at trade shows, but if you are doing it, then you should do the pre-show work and line up a series of potential customer meetings. The benefit of the show is the concentration of potential customers in one location, but at least ISC West is so large that the amount of walk-in traffic is likely going to be small. Plus, after walking up and down a few aisles, everything starts looking the same.

If you have enough meetings lined up, your booth has more guaranteed traffic that is already interested, generating more buzz around the booth. If anything, I would measure the ROI around how many meetings you can line up beforehand. If the number is small, then you should reconsider the show's value.

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Totally agree. In the media industry, all TV content distributors try to schedule with their existing clients at MIPTV and MIPDOC. I know most of the sales struggle to fully book themselves because of the new shows and docs they produced. But I understand that the security industry is much different from fast-food TV shows and documentaries.

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you hope that people just show up to your booth, then you've wasted your money IMHO

But isn't that the point of a booth? I meant it as a serious question.

If you are just going to line up meetings (which I totally agree with you) why not just get a meeting room or suite off the show floor? They cost much less. The tradeoff is a further walk but you are paying an extra $5,000 for 2.5 days for that?

I do think that booths help spur spontaneous meetings. Myself as an example, if I walk past a booth and I have 5 minutes if there is something about the booth or company that strikes me as interesting, I'll pop in whereas there's very little chance I would agree to a formal 30-minute meeting with most of those companies. Am I abnormal in that?

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But isn't that the point of a booth? I meant it as a serious question.

I agree, it is the point. I'm saying that if that is the *only* strategy of going to the show, then it is a mistake. You should arrange as many meetings as you can, *and* you hope that you do get some impromptu meetings with visitors at the booth.

BTW, I know at least one company that goes the suite route rather than a booth. They decided that the booth was too expensive and gave minimal ROI.

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How about a report on The Security Event, IPVM?

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We did one when it launched - IFSEC Competitor The Security Event Launches, Same Week As ISC West

We may do another one but it started at least as a very 'local' UK show in Birmingham. It's clearly getting bigger, they are targeting 8,000 visitors this year, which would make it similar in size to ISC East 2020, a regional but large and growing event.

When I last went to IFSEC in 2018, it was roughly ASIS GSX size, significantly smaller than ISC West but bigger than ISC East.

With Axis, Genetec, Milestone and others out at IFSEC, the floorplan is likely to shrink further.

Though, at least for now, Axis, Genetec and Milestone are not exhibiting at The Security Event either.

Here is their most recent list of brands / companies exhibiting:

No alternative text description for this image

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IFSEC is dead. The move to London backfired on the organizers and having it late in June also did not help. Temperatures in London often get in to the high twenties or more (Celcius) in June and attending IFSEC in a suit was a disaster. Air conditioning was/is non existing in the venue and even proper ventilation wasn't an option. Good leads were very hard to come by at IFSEC anyway and in general it seems a total waste of money.

Most manufacturers have significant sales teams who visit their partners and prospects on a regular basis and smaller, more personal, road shows also had an impact on folk no longer travelling to the 'big one'. I for one do not miss having to work at IFSEC one bit and having not attended last year has made zero difference to our business.

IFSEC is to happen in May this year but I can see more big names dropping of the calendar soon.

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Talking of temperature in London. In 2015 IFSEC was in July. And it was surprisingly cold +15C (59 F) for July.

As for " not attended last year has made zero difference to our business" I also agree.

In the Internet era an importance of such events like trade shows should decrease every year. Websites/email/webinars/youtube/downloadable trial versions do their job well.

Talking of our last trade show experience: we got a few times more website visitors each day than the number of our booth visitors at the same day.

And this year probably is even worse for trade shows. Especially with the Corona-virus media panic.

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I was just at Intersec last week and we had a large booth there. Most US based people chose to cancel due to regional issues and my flight path reflected this as well. The show was ok in terms of quality of customers but I don't yet have the data I need to decide if it was worth the investment. I know some customers want to see a brand presence but I can also spend the money in region to do this. My guess is we scale back or are completely out next year.

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