SIA Director Dismisses Coronavirus, Don't Cancel ISC West

By John Honovich, Published Mar 03, 2020, 02:02pm EST

SIA Director and ISS executive Janet Fenner has come out criticizing the lack of education and the 'mainstream media', arguing against canceling ISC West.

Fenner posted on LinkedIn arguing against canceling comparing coronavirus to the flu:

In a subsequent post, Fenner shared a more than a month old post about why the flu is a bigger threat than Coronavirus.

Fenner responded to IPVM's request for clarification, emphasizing that 'the flu still poses a bigger threat' than coronavirus:

this is a serious matter and I don't envy the heads of corporations that need to make decisions based on the safety of their employees or based on the liability that they face regarding travel. Even our own CEO is contemplating not attending. My post was focused on trying to place this into context and stop a bit of the hysteria that we do as human beings. The reality that the flu still poses a bigger threat is real.

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Coronavirus Far More Dangerous Than The Flu

While the flu today kills more people than coronavirus, the issue is that this can change extremely quickly, in just weeks, far faster than people like Fenner appreciate, because, unlike the flu, there is:

  • No vaccine for coronavirus
  • No anti-viral medication for coronavirus
  • No herd immunity for coronavirus
  • No experience testing or treating coronavirus in the US
  • Long periods where the virus is undetected but can be passed on to others (think ISC West show floor)

"Going Viral" Expression

Most everyone is aware of the expression "going viral" and it is used frequently in technology and for videos (see this list for examples). These are things that one day have little to no views or usage and then in a week or a month explode to tens or hundreds of millions.

Literal Viruses "Going Viral"

Viruses like coronavirus are literally the origin of the term "going viral".

For example, take this projection from a Harvard graduate in chemistry and physics who ran growth for Uber and Facebook, two of the fastest-growing, viral companies of the past decade:

Why am I so concerned? It all boils down to two simple numbers: the reproduction number (R0) and the case fatality rate (CFR). For the flu, R0 is 1.3 and CFR is 0.1%. For 2019-nCoV, experts currently estimate R0 to be ~2.6 (2x the flu) and CFR to be ~1.5% (15x the flu). If we are not able to reduce these numbers quickly and drastically, 2019-nCoV could become a pandemic that infects over 1 billion people and results in over 10 million deaths.

Or this from a well thought out coronavirus podcast with Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch in which he "predicts that between 40 to 70 percent of adults in the world will become infected with the coronavirus."

The risk of viruses is that they literally go viral. That's why so many scientists, public health officials, governments, etc. are so adamant about taking steps to reduce the virality of the virus.

The Banquet

Perhaps the most infamous story from the Wuhan coronavirus origin is that Wuhan threw the world's largest-ever banquet of 40,000 people while local officials were suppressing and downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus:

This, of course, resulted in mass infections and deaths.

SIA / ISC West Be Careful

Underestimate a virus at your own peril.

The upside is money for SIA and Reed but is it worth the risk of becoming the next Wuhan banquet?

Update March 19, 2019

Janet Fenner has left ISS, posting:

5 reports cite this report:

2020 Mid Year Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Jul 27, 2020
The first half of 2020 has been shocking, for the world generally, and for...
"He Is An Idiot!" Exclaims SIA Director John Mack on Mar 23, 2020
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Disaster At ISC West: Reed And SIA Burn Manufacturers on Mar 16, 2020
ISC West is a disaster but there's a winner for now. Reed and SIA have burned...
Directory of Companies Dropping ISC West 2020 on Mar 06, 2020
UPDATE March 2020: UPDATE April 2020: ISC West 2020 Cancelled Again,...
JCI Slashes ISC West Booth 88.8% on Mar 05, 2020
The mega-booth at the main entrance of the ISC West show floor is now...

Comments (160)

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Show update now: Stanley Security has decided not to exhibit, according to multiple sources close to the company.

By square footage, Stanley is the largest exhibitor to do so.

From privately talking to many large manufacturers, they are seriously monitoring the situation and considering not attending. How many actually decide not to and forefeit the hundreds of thousands they already paid, remains to be seen.

I think the best strategy for exhibitors right now is to plan to send a small crew for setup. Odds are getting higher that the show will not be able to accommodate labor requirements if the outbreaks get worse and a large number of people do get sick, or self-quarantinne.

If you cancel in advance you are saying that you do not intend to exhibit and are forfeiting any recourse (IMO). If you show up with the full intent to exhibit and Reed cannot deliver a functioning show (get crates to the booths, hang banners, etc.) I think you would have a strong legal case for a full refund.

This could become a game of chicken between Reed and exhibitors.

Knightscope is now out:

They had a 20 x 30 booth:

Knightscope is now out:

Of show, or the industry in general?

Oh man, marketing opportunity wasted.

"Robots don't even care about and work tirelessly through your human pandemics."

Yeah, totally agree. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Knightscope to put some 'bots in the booth and highlight their remote NOC capabilities, with no actual employees present in the booth. The risk is pretty low, there are no puddles for the robots to fall into.

Ah come on Brian, Scuba Steve was on his lunch break when he went swimming!

Have anybody mentioned an option to lend robots to others, specifically for the event?

You are a idiot !!!!

UD #26.

This is where conversations go downhill. Don't disparage anyone just because you think their attempt at humor does not sit well with your sense of the same.


You are a idiot !!!!

This is a great way to encourage IPVM to unmask your undisclosed status.

I have a hard time with anything funny or joking About this event because of the Coronavirus. ISC should be cancelled. Again this is very very serious !!!

Just to be clear, we (IPVM) do not unmask undisclosed posters. It is an important part of the forums. As long as there isn't danger or criminal threats, undiscloseds stay that way.

Also, while I don't agree that I'm an idiot (well, most days), the post stands and the poster is certainly able to disagree with me or any of us. We/IPVM also do not find the Covid 19 risk 'funny', hence the repeated coverage including this report.

(For the record, I voted the undisclosed comment 'Funny'.)

There is only one man that can lead the robots...

If Chuck goes, I'll goes. :D

When you get outmarketed by Knightscope it is a dark day indeed.

Stanley owns 3xlogic and pacom i believe. will they pull out too?

Good question. Pacom does not have a booth in the first place but 3xLogic has a separate 30x30:

Checking for confirmation, will update.

do you have a "global" floormap of cancellations? similar to:

We are going to publish a directory of cancellations tomorrow so we have a single resource to track and update who has pulled out.

The 3xLogic booth is out too, though I think Stanley has been calling it 'Stanley Product' more recently after the acquisition.

Both booths then, the 40 x 50 and the 30 x 30.

It is starting to add up now.

Both booths then, the 40 x 50 and the 30 x 30. It is starting to add up now.

sounds like we have the first case of booth to booth spreading ;)

Pacom has typically been in the Stanley Security Booth past years.

I had confirmation, directly from a Stanley director, that they would not be going to ISC West.

Did JCI finally confirm that they would not attend following their directive suspending travel? It seems strange that they would leave doubt hanging like this...

My understanding is that JCI still plans to exhibit. The big question is how will and how many people will staff it?

Related, that's the most common thing we are hearing from exhibitors - cutting staff going to the show and then secondly looking at how things to develop to determine if they should cancel.

We have not cut any staff directly - we had a sales staff conference call and asked everyone to gather all the information they needed (including the CDC reports and the Nevada State reports) and have a discussion with their families and then let us know by Friday of this week if they intend to sit out the show.

We will not force anyone to go if they are uncomfortable nor will there be any type of repercussion if they decide not to attend. So far one person is reluctant to be at the show out of 12 scheduled for booth duty. We'll see by this Friday if any others change their mind following the increase in reported cases in the US. If others cancel, we will probably simply go short-staffed.

My gut feeling is that this will be a very poorly attended show.

have a discussion with their families and then let us know by Friday of this week if they intend to sit out the show.

That's a good plan. I'd be curious to see how that goes with the families. What we have seen if an employee has elderly parents they regularly interact with or family members with medical conditions, the understandable approach is to decline to go.

I’ll let you know by the end of the weekend- my feeling is that there will be a couple of guys that will choose to stay home instead of travelling

IPVideo is IN, according to an email I received this afternoon. Think this Smart Sensor can detect corona virus?

We are in fact attending ISC West 2020, and will be providing complimentary hand sanitizer to those who stop by our booth to see HALO Smart Sensor 2.0 in booth #28045.

HALO Hand Sanitizer

Good for you, Jack. Smart...AND needed. Have you been on Amazon to buy hand sanitizer recently? OMG: $250 for 6 small bottles. Nothing like supply/demand capitalizing on hysteria!

If I get infected with Corona Light while at ISC I am coming to your booth to cough, sneeze and fart on your smart sensor for the sake of research. Keep a couple of extra Halo sanitizes for me.


A complete explanation, in Spanish, there must be others in English.

¿Cómo se compara el coronavirus con la gripe? Los números dicen que es peor | Ciencia | EL PAÍS


Typical response from the old guard in the industry. "Why? Because we've always done it this way!"

It's funny to me how the folks who are most vocal about downplaying this threat tend to have a lot of money tied up in the game - for example, the investment community has tried hard to spin this as not a big deal - and yet the markets are not interpreting this rose-colored view quite the same.

In her defense, I don't think she (or ISS) have all that much tied up in this financially. I believe they were not even on the floor to begin with this year.

If you meant SIA as having money tied up, as I understand it, SIA does not have much say in this, they contract the show out to Reed, and are pretty much unable to influence things like a cancellation of the show, beyond what is stipulated in the initial contract (which does not appear to cover health related concerns).

Just make sure you wash your hands!

If you meant SIA as having money tied up, as I understand it

To clarify, since many don't understand SIA's relationship to ISC West, SIA makes most of its revenue from ISC West technically being the 'premier sponsor'. Reed runs the show but pays SIA sponsorship fees. Of SIA's ~$7 million annual revenue, $5.8 million comes from such sponsorship.

SIA does not have much say in this

Not sure how much say SIA has in this but they have a lot of incentive not to lose this, as the show is virtually their entire 'business'.

Not sure how much say SIA has in this

Based on some unofficial conversations I have had with many people about this, SIA really has no ability to call the show off. Granted, this may not be correct, but I am fairly confident at this point that SIA is "along for the ride" and it would be up to Reed, The Sands, or some other external entity to make the call on cancelling this, even if all SIA board members had agreed to cancel it (which to my understanding they have not in any way agreed to or contemplated).

I think that this virus outbreak is going to cause a TON of new legalese to be drafted into contracts and agreements around events such as ISC West. This is a contingency that the conference market in general does not appear to have been sufficiently prepared for.

SIA really has no ability to call the show off

I believe that. The question is whether they could speak out about the risks or against it going on. Clearly, SIA Directors can speak out in favor of the show continuing.

Clearly, SIA Directors can speak out in favor of the show continuing.

Yup, this is the classic social media challenge. When should independent statements made by employees, directors, etc. of an organization be viewed as representative only of that persons opinion, and when should they be viewed as representative of the organization itself.

On that point, I asked Fenner prior to publication:

How does this post relate to your position at ISS and the SIA board?

She declined to comment on that.

Definitely related:

Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi looked visibly feverish as he spoke on state television Monday, downplaying the spread of the new coronavirus in Iran. Without a face mask on, wiping sweat off his forehead and speaking to local press, he coughed into a tissue several times. One day later, he tested positive for the coronavirus.

I read that earlier too. Here's video of him at the mic:

Head in the sand, always a good strategy....


Wow, once highly respected, now I have none to her for her dinosaur mentality. Or was it money above everything else mentality.

The tone and overall content of her assertion is a mistake. Just ask Hanwha. Hanwha Removes ISC West Coronavirus Waiver

Granted they are in a difficult position, long term thinking should prevail.

I changed the opening line from "criticizing the uneducated" to "criticizing the lack of education".

Fenner objected, responding:

'“criticizing the uneducated” – that is not correct. I did not call anyone uneducated.

Fenner's original line:

Educate yourself. The mainstream media shouldn't be your only source of information.

I view 'educate yourself' as an admonishment, though a particularly odd one when the education desired is that flu poses a bigger threat than coronavirus.

Just saw on Linkedin Airship Industries is pulling out of ISC.

Michael, thanks.

Here is a copy of their post:

If only Fenner could convince them it's less of a threat than the flu.

With only 56 followers I'd stay home too.

Lol, in fairness, generally smaller companies with less name recognition get more out of ISC West.

Motorola / Avigilon has hundreds of salespeople and reach into a vast array of accounts. For Airship, this is one of their best chances of connecting with big potential partners or customers, so I think it's a sacrifice for Airship.

I believe Airship is still FedEx’s VMS solution. Small company but obviously a big deployment.


Absolutely, we did not take the decision to pull our attendance lightly, but in light of the unknown being a greater risk than the known, it was the decision that made sense in the end for our company.

When the argument to go or not go is based on comparing fatality rates of catching this disease versus the flu or another related disease, that itself is what in law enforcement they call "a clue".

Being small, while every dollar we spend on marketing is important, the value of every employee is significantly more, so we are trusting that the customers and partners we planned on meeting with will more than understand and be happy to meet under different circumstances (physically or virtually).

For those that don't know about our company and would like to understand more about Airship, please reach out to me directly, as we would appreciate the opportunity to have that conversation.

Paul Allen

President, Airship Industries Inc.

All very good points in the article and its rather indisputable that COVID-19 is more deadly than the flu. While it's repeatedly stated that the CFR is between 1.5% and 2.0%, I still struggle how we've had 3131 deaths (reported as of this morning) against 92,000 cases. That would point to a mortality rate of 3.4% would it not?

Either way, to compare it to the flu is not accurate. Yes, the flu has killed far more people. However, when people have the flu it is easy to spot and diagnose, hence, the lower mortality rate. But, if someone has COVID-19 they don't even know they have the virus for up to 14 days during which time they can infect a lot more people. To me, this is the scary unknown of this virus.

Also, as US students and families begin to travel for Spring Break I wouldn't be surprised if our cases spike from the end of March to the begining of May. And, for those that claim that the virus will begin to die off as the temperature warms, I point to Singapore which has an extremely tropical climate yet has more cases than the US as of today.

The point being is that this virus is a true unknown. We try to contain it and then there are pockets of outbreaks. Governments around the world are closing schools for two months at a time and are even banning large indoor events. Perhaps this is irrational and time will tell, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

The point being is that this virus is a true unknown


There are worries now that the incubation period could be 27 days.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) incubation could be 27 days, shows data

I still struggle how we've had 3131 deaths (reported as of this morning) against 92,000 cases. That would point to a mortality rate of 3.4% would it not?

I'm no scientist, but it seems likely we have a huge number of asymptomatic or minor carriers within the states at this point.

The 2.3% death rate was based on 44K confirmed cases in China up to Feb 11. This does not include asymptomatic / minor unknown carriers, or even suspected carriers.

The 'Practice good hygiene' admonishment insults 90,000+ people as victims of their own poor hygiene?

'If you had only washed your hands, you dirty people!'

That seems a bit unfair. Isn't this a direct representation of most governmental agencies top tip? "Wash your hands " seems to be the most common recommendation that I see to reduce the likelihood of exposure. Reminding people to look before crossing the street doesn't mean that the one that got hit didn't look.

Government agencies also advise against 'avoiding close contact with those who are sick' and 'stay at home when you are sick'; two important recommendations Penner does not mention when suggesting 'good person hygiene' is the key to being educated.

Given the rather lengthy and ambiguously understood incubation period, how can one accurately assess who is infected/sick and who is not? Is abstaining from large groups by not attending this conference an uneducated overreaction?

In this CDC guide, Washing Hands is one of seven prevention steps. Not one, but one of seven:

Meanwhile in Vegas all the adult film shows.....continue.

Can someone explain "The mainstream media shouldn't be your only source of information" comment, please ?

How does citing an opinion from a writer "specializing in political commentary and world affairs...for the Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal for four years." qualify as "educate yourself" in this case ?

Right, her source of questionable info is nothing more than another opinion that supports her team. It's easy to find someone who agrees with you on pretty much any subject, if you dig deep enough online.

So, does this qualify as a credible source for Fenner?

Trump says he thinks 3.4% coronavirus death rate is a "false number" - CBS News

HIMSS Announces Cancellation of the 2020 Global Health Conference & Exhibition

Looks like these medical professionals are only getting their info from that 'mainstream media'... if only they read The Western Journal and the opinion writer specializing in political commentary, I mean he's been doing it for FOUR years !!!

looking on the bright side, the Booth Babe/Attendee ratio may be at an all time high...

New emojis?

That booth babe just finished working the China import show.

I thought ISC west had done away with booth babes.

How can someone working in the security industry be as unconcered about something that could be a severe global security incident? (Deaths, supply chain disruptions, civil unrest, etc)

Quick question, does Reed or SIA stand to actually lose revenue here? Aren’t the booths prepaid? Are there attendance based revenues that I wouldn’t know about?

It's a good question and it's not totally clear. If they cancel, then they are not fulfilling the terms of the contract and would be subject to give some form of refund, is my non-lawyer understanding.

Here's how ipConfigure's CEO explained it:

The contract states there is no refund unless Reed cancels. If the show is canceled the refunded amount is based on what they have NOT spent at that point. We have no expectation that the $70,000 will be refunded.

We believe cancelation would be based on the Force Majeure "epidemic" clause in which case the highlighted paragraph covers how management is entitled to compensation for expenses incurred.

While actual attendee registration payments are a small portion of ISC West revenue, the terms listed say that Reed can cancel and give no refund:

This may very well be legal but it's going to go over extremely poorly if they cancel and keep the money from attendees (for those minority who actually pay).

There's the terms of the contracts, the possibilities of lawsuits and the considerations on their brand / future business to consider. In other words, maybe they can keep all or most of the money and cancel but they risk negative consequences from doing so.

But, again, they seem committed not to cancel unless the CDC comes in and demands they do so.

And then there is the risk, they do run the show and people contract coronavirus at the show. What are the legal ramifications of that to both SIA and Reed?

Thanks for the update. I think in that case Reed won’t cancel. Maybe if enough cancel first, then they call call off the remaining ones holding on. So if Avigilon canceled on their own, they don’t get a refund. But, if Hikvision sticks to attending, but Reed ends up calling it off, then maybe Hik gets some reimbursement where Avigilon will not. Not sure that the amounts spent are enough to warrant this level of scrutiny or not.

So if Avigilon canceled on their own, they don’t get a refund. But, if Hikvision sticks to attending, but Reed ends up calling it off, then maybe Hik gets some reimbursement where Avigilon will not.

I don't think that's true but I don't know because Reed is adamant about the show going on.

Also, Reed has already said the China manufacturers have been given credits for future ISC shows so this sets up a tricky precedent if they cancel the show, i.e., would the non-China exhibitors be entitled to the same?

The CDC should cancel all shows of this magnitude. If the threat is still an unknown UNKNOWN, why not enforce cancellation on breeding unnecessary cesspools and help the situation out as a whole.

Personally, all attendees should just cancel, it's just a security show.

I could care less about Reed's greed, whom should do the right thing and CANCEL.


I have decided to act like my couch.

Worth noting - Reed Expo has a general statement out today that firmly declares all of their shows will go on and no federal restrictions are blocking them:

Please note that our events in the United States are taking place as scheduled and our status with regard to the COVID19 virus remains unchanged: the health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors and staff is our number one priority. Currently, no federal restrictions are in place to prevent conferences, conventions, trade shows, exhibitions and travel within the United States

The way I interpret that is Reed is committed to holding every event, regardless of the risk and concern attendees and exhibitors have unless federal restrictions block them.

As i said few days ago, as long as the government won't put a stop to that they won't cancel... greed at it's best.

Amazon has a case.

They will most likely not attend I bet.

More broadly, Amazon has a travel ban / deferral so it is not clear how they would staff the Ring booth. They might drive, view it as essential, that I don't know.

This whole thing is very interesting. Tech conferences are getting cancelled daily. At the same time, I see cruise ships with thousands of people aboard departing every couple days near me. I was at an Orlando theme park for a meeting on Monday, and it was as busy as ever from what I observed.

The airports are staying busy as well, here is a view from Flightradar24 of some of the planes in the sky right now, each with a couple hundred people on average.

I am sure many people will disagree with me, but at this point, attending ISC West is probably not going to be a make or break factor for anyone in decent health. It might change the timing a bit, but the end result is that if you're susceptible to the virus, it has already come to a location near you...

It might change the timing a bit

There's value in changing the timing:

(1) Increased learning and options for treatment over time

(2) Avoid being early to get it, where it will cause alarms / quarantines, major disruptions to one's family, school, company, etc.

(3) The summer, which many believe will reduce the transmission of coronavirus

If you knew for sure you could delay the timing significantly, it might be worthwhile. However, IMO, the likelihood is that it is more a matter of a week or two, maybe a month, and I do not personally think there is likely to be any significant progress in development of treatments, etc. in that time.

The coronavirus is similar to an influenza virus in terms of how it transmits, infects, etc. (to be clear it is not "the flu"). There has not been a lot of progress in the last few decades for flu treatments, and even flu vaccines have had moderate effect at best.

I do not see doctors making some great strides on this faster than the rate it is spreading, it will more likely be addressed via human immune systems than medical treatments.

The summer, which most believe will reduce the transmission of coronavirus

Why? Because it is hotter in the summer?

Why? Because it is hotter in the summer?

Yes, that's the belief / hypothesis of many. The thinking is that it will follow the seasonal pattern of the flu, from the CDC:

Flu Peak Activity Chart

Explanations include:

“The droplets that carry viruses do not stay suspended in humid air as long, and the warmer temperatures lead to more rapid virus degradation,” says Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University.


People spend less time indoors—where they tend to be in closer contact with each other, making it easier for the virus to spread—in the summer.

But, as that same Time article points out, COVID-19 is so new, it is not clear if that will be the case.

Still though, again because it is new, better to wait to get it.

Not sure what the benefits of getting it early would be, though there's this discussion - Pros And Cons Of Intentionally Contracting Novel Coronavirus...

Well, it is already in the 70's in Vegas during the day:

If higher temps reduce the spread, are you safer in Vegas, or Boston (or any more northern/colder area)?

For me, Vegas will probably be slightly colder on average, so maybe I should stay home after all.

Check the open seats on those flights. I'm seeing seat charts for flights today on United where the premier section is about 80% empty! And that's between two major hubs.

Very good point. I would not be surprised if the flights were at less than the usual 105% capacity the airlines like to run at. However, they also cancel flights and rebook people when plane capacity gets too low to be profitable, so I do not believe those are mostly-empty planes flying around.

No matter how you look at it, there are a LOT of people moving all over the country daily.

This is just planes. We also have trains (to a much lesser degree certainly), cars, busses, etc.

I live in FL, we are still in snowbird season where I see a fresh set of faces at the local coffee shop every week as people come and go that do weekly or monthly rentals instead of seasonal.

ISC West seems scary because it would be 30,000 15,000 all in the same place at the same time from multiple locations, but I think we are not aware of the daily long-range movements of people around us in society already.

it would be 30,000 15,000 all in the same place at the same time

The fewer people who attend, the safer it is?

Statistically, I would think so.

If that is true, then ISC West is getting safer every day :)

The less the better

We (USA) are at the point where China was in Dec/Jan, yet we still allow mass gatherings even though the CDC can't ascertain with any degree of certainty the transference methodology of COVID-19 and it's new mutations.

Let's just do a giant pot luck at ISC like they did in Wuhan (40K Families) and see what happens in late March and early April.

Who is pulling the strings at the CDC to let mass gatherings continue unabated knowing the history of this soon to be "officially" classified pandemic?

I get the economics hit, but the CDC has ability to minimize, if not mitigate what will surly be a disaster for us like it is proven over and over all over the World to date.

The complete apathy and lethargy of the U.S. response are the reasons I’m really worried about this thing.

There is already a pretty clear example in Vietnam of how easily this thing can be controlled when you take the necessary measures (limiting travel, isolating potential carriers, patients and caregivers). Unfortunately, there has been no political will for that here. Inaction, driven by fears of hurting both the economy and reelection opportunities in the short term, will likely translate into a big mess for us.

Mr. Karas made a solid point about Disney, cruises and airlines. If this epidemic was well contained, business as usual would make sense. But here in the U.S., we have continued to carry on as if there is nothing going on, just like they did in Wuhan, but on a much wider scale.

We are attending but taking a wait and see approach. We will not have any of our international employees attend the show. Lastly, we are going to have 1/2 of our sales team work our booth. My biggest question to Reed is how can they say there is not drop in attendance? We have polled some of our End User customers (who are registered for free) and most have said they aren't coming. How are they determining their figures? Hotel room cancellations? If so, I'm going to be adding a dozen of those today.

Good point on attendance John. At the price point most of the vendors are paying to be on the floor at ISC, does Reed or SIA have any sort of guarantee on how many folks will be attending? i.e. is there a statement that reads something like " get in front of 30K professionals who attend ISC West". My think is if the attendance drop off is substantial, is there a recourse for the vendors?

The original post from Janet was representative of an unpopular viewpoint...according to the responses shown here. Or, is it just that most people are not willing to stand up and say what they think in fear of the public lambasting?

In my one-on-one conversations, I find most people are not highly concerned for their own health. They are healthy and they may get sick. But, they will survive. That is not to discount the horribly negative overall health and economic effect of a disease like this. We SHOULD take precautions.

”Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor. I have never even played one on TV. And, I don’t stay in Holiday Inn Express hotels.”

I am just curious, John. Are you still planning to attend? Or, are any from your group attending?

John. Are you still planning to attend? Or, are any from your group attending?

Shawn, thanks for your first comment. I am not attending. Copying my explanation from another thread below:

A week ago, I emailed our employees that had been planning to go to ISC West recommending we/they do not go to ISC West. I was not thinking about liability but the general risk that IPVM could play a role in infecting them or their families. One IPVM employee currently wants / plans to go to ISC West (the other 4 who had been planning, including myself, are not going).

As for:

In my one-on-one conversations, I find most people are not highly concerned for their own health. They are healthy and they may get sick. But, they will survive.

I think that would be the same for me but, (1) I am not interested in betting my life on that (literally) and (2) I have family that, if I infected them, could die and (3) if I got it, it would be incredibly disruptive (quarantines, hospital, etc.).

I can respect that people have different risk profiles. For some people, ISC West is a make or break once a year opportunity to find leads or close business. It's not for us, so it's hard to outweigh the risks for my situation. Makes sense or?

That makes perfect sense! We are discouraging anyone with ANY concerns from going. Even more-so, those with more susceptible/higher-risk people at home are being discouraged from attending.

And your comment about the event being a make-it-break-it opportunity hits home! Personally, I can connect with 50 people in 2-3 days that would take me 30 flights to accomplish otherwise. For me, the risk of all that additional travel is more than the risk of the event.

We all have to weigh the facts, risks, and our own personal situations!

Shawn, good feedback!

Personally, I can connect with 50 people in 2-3 days that would take me 30 flights to accomplish otherwise.

That seems to be the second-order and perhaps bigger effect for manufacturers, as customers drop out, the number of potential meetings falls. Indeed, I am hearing more complaints from manufacturers about customers cancelling than directly about contracting coronavirus. It is somewhat of a vicious cycle, now many manufacturers are cutting staff for their booths.

Hey John. I am planning on attending until notified. As I mentioned, our group has been cut in half.

The same reason why companies buy cheap low-quality cameras, they have a high risk tolerance.

It makes me wonder about my company considering we position high quality, relatively high priced cameras. However, we have a high risk tolerance for an unknown potentially deadly disease.

Or, is it just that most people are not willing to stand up and say what they think in fear of the public lambasting?

are you insinuating that I don't have the courage to proudly stand up for my beliefs even when posting as an anonymous spineless troll?

how dare you, sir?

Super funny. thanks! I needed that!!

Well, the WHO just weighed in, declaring it more dangerous than the flu.

Coronavirus Live Updates: W.H.O. Says Covid-19 Has Higher Fatality Rate Than the Flu - The New York Times

All publicity is good publicity.

Outside of our (relatively small) industry no one has ever heard of ISC West, but if it becomes ground zero of the US outbreak - similar to the banquet in Wuhan - then EVERYONE will have heard of ISC West and attendance may soar at future shows. Maybe that is Reed's diabolical plan and why they won't consider canceling.

I’m hoping this is satire, but just in case it’s not, why would anyone outside the industry attend? Makes no sense. 🤷🏻‍♂️

The hit Reed Exhibitions (division of RELX) would take in a cancellation of ISC West is negligible based on their market cap. SIA would suffer substantially and may not recover.

Our business overview – RELX

Note the "30 countries" and "more than 7 million" attendees annually. Wonder how many shows Reed is hosting that have been cancelled to date?

I also find it amazingly irresponsible that RELX holdings has all the answers in their portfolio of divisions: Medical, Risk and Legal.

I would say the latter is doing the talking right now.

I just got a phone call from a very large vendor at ISC West polling people to see if it is worth it for them to attend. He mentioned two other very large names in the industry doing the same thing. It will be interesting to see what happens if these 3 pull out.

Reed will cancel their London shows and reschedule others around the world, but the US must be a 3rd world country as the show goes on.

The London Book Fair has been canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The fair, which usually draws more than 25,000 writers, agents and publishers to one of the international publishing industry's biggest gatherings, had been due to take place at London's Olympia conference venue March 10-12.

Organizer Reed Exhibitions said Wednesday that it had decided "with reluctance" to cancel the event.

The decision came after several major publishers, including HarperCollins and Penguin Random House, pulled out of the fair because of the disease, citing the risk to staff.

Also Wednesday, organizers announced that Asia's biggest casino industry trade show has been postponed because of the virus.

Global Gaming Expo Asia, originally scheduled to be held on May 19-21 in Macao, will be held at the end of July.

More than 13,000 people attended last year's expo, jointly organized by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions.

The Latest: New York reports 6 virus cases, including family -

If you peruse the language on all of Reed's shows at it relates to the corona virus, it seems, regardless of the letterhead, similar in body and context (authored by the same?).

OK, I'm done spending time on this. I'll see everyone at the show unless it's cancelled.

How and is IPVM still going to do ISC West Coverage?!? I need it now more then ever since I'm breaking my streak this year.

Anyone with booth duty going to make the rounds and moonlight for IPVM? Or at least give us the photo coverage (no need to interview).

Here is the last I heard from John, which was 2 days ago:

As for us, a week ago, I emailed our employees that had been planning to go to ISC West recommending we/they do not go to ISC West. I was not thinking about liability but the general risk that IPVM could play a role in infecting them or their families. One IPVM employee currently wants / plans to go to ISC West (the other 4 who had been planning, including myself, are not going).

How and is IPVM still going to do ISC West Coverage?!?

If the show goes on, we will certainly cover it. The plan would be to hire someone local in Las Vegas (i.e., avoid the virus exposure of flights, hotels, public transportation, etc.).

And I am sure there will be a number of IPVM members who go who will share pictures / videos.

This thread is so long and varied it's hard to inject appropriately. And this may be quasi-inappropriate injection anyway but I feel it worth noting.

All I have to say on the topic of personal hygiene is all one has to do is go to the stalls in the men's bathroom at any trade show. Ask yourself, " how many children are at this show?" None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Why are so many grown men still leaving the seat down and leaking all over it in addition to the floor surrounding the head? Not just one stall, damn near all of them in every quadrant of the exhibit hall!

What's wrong with all you selfish, disrespectful, inconsiderate, hygiene-derelict adults? Where can I drop a deuce in Vegas without absorbing some strangers remnant bodily fluids? That gives you an indication of how much you can trust the hygiene of the person standing next to you or shaking hands. (and no, I don't think virus is transmitted on a toilet seat)

I trust 25% of attendees to wash their hands. Good luck containing transmission with 100+ handshakes per person per day. If you're not otherwise health compromised, you may get sick but hopefully won't die.

The SIA directors comments are nothing short of disgraceful. They certainly are ill-informed.

In many other walks of life, such irresponsible comments made by a senior person within a business would lead to disciplinary action or instant dismissal.

Shameful comments and I hope in time she reflects back on this and realises the error of her ways.

They are not ill-informed. They are just gREEDy.

She is a idiot !!!! , Just shows SIA only cares about money and not about human life.....

Fenner continues to defend the flu position:

The key section about deaths from Fenner's link is:

There is no doubt the flu has killed more people in the past. The question / risk remains how fast coronavirus deaths will ramp up especially if we do not take preventive measures.

Just facts:

From CDC Website for 2019/2020 Flu Cases - using max estimates

45M cases; 560K Hospitalizations; 46K Deaths

Hospitalization Rate 1.25% vs 20% for COVID-19

Death Rate 0.1% vs 3.4% COVID-19

Flu incubation is before symptoms is 1 to 2 days vs 14 -24 days for COVID-19

The Flu is a well known entity. COVID-19 is new. The concern is real.

300MM kids missing school worldwide as of 5 minutes ago. NW USA school systems shutting down, 1K+ self quarantine in NE USA, confirmed cases spike in US.

Facebook just closed it's Seattle office.

Yet the show goes on.

Intersec Expo Saudi Arabia that was originally going to be held on September is now on hold. It is the sister exhibition of the Intersec security exhibition that is held annually in Dubai in January.

Is see ABA also cancelled their conference next week for the National Institute on White Collar Crime in San Diego.

Ms. Fenner has no knowledge or experience that qualifies her to make statements about public health risks or epidemiology. Her rant is contrary to what health professionals are telling us (wash your hands, avoid crowded places...hello? Get that second one?).

At this point, I think ISC West should at minimum be postponed until August and if that is logistically impossible, then it should simply cancelled like so many other larger trade shows in the world. At least 24 trade shows have already been cancelled due to this health emergency, among them Mobile World Congress and Google I/O (see link below for more).

And, by the way, flying to the venue, in cool, dry, recirculated and potentially infected air with 200+ other people is borderline stupid. This has caused United Airlines, as only one example, to take the unprecedented step of cancelling 10% of its domestic flights and 20% of its international flights.

Perhaps Ms. Fenner is right that information should sought from sources other than the mainstream media, but she is certainly not among those sources, nor is SIA or ISS, for whom she appears to be speaking.

Coronavirus Cancellations: COVID-19 Fears Costing Hundreds Of Millions As Events Become Casualties

I think Janet is just worried that if the show is cancelled, she wont get her Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award to put on her trophy wall.

...and now we have motive

Lourdes shrine closes healing pools as precaution against coronavirus – Catholic Philly

If holy water won't help I sure don't trust the bathrooms in Las Vegas to keep me virus free.


Hey John, is there a way to stop email notifications for the articles we comment? I think it's okay to receive notification when your post got replied, but any new comment would send an email to me... That's crazy, my mailbox is filled with IPVM now......


Wow! I found it!

is there a way to stop email notifications for the articles we comment?

Yes, you can scroll to the top of the discussion and click on the button that says "Unsubscribe from Comments," as shown in the image below:

Or, you can uncheck the box next to "Subscribe to comments on this report":

If you have any other questions, please contact me directly at

More Positive Press for SIA/Reed......SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!!!!

Blacklisted Dahua and Hikvision due to appear at major US security trade show - Business Insider

And another event postpones.....But not ISC West...….

BREAKING: 50th Anniversary, General Assembly & Industry FORUM | POSTPONED !!

It’s very simple , until people die from this virus , ISC will keep the show going and reselling the cancelled booths. These are the facts.

Check out the SaaStr regulations (scroll down). Surprisingly, SXSW is still on, but many bailing out.

At this point, I do not see the ROI for manufacturer to attend the show.

Corona virus conversation will take 50% of your scheduled meetings.

Most of the attendees (Non-manufactures) probably canceled their travel plans.

Everyone will be wary about shaking people's hand and not be focused on what your pitching.

Why risk health of your employees when there will be no ROI for the show at this point. You can probably save a lot more money in travel expenses instead of putting in more expense on top of what you might lose by pulling out.

I even stopped going to the gym until more details are provided in terms of vaccine development and human trials next month.

The risk of ISC West brand getting damaged from just one incident of Corona virus arising from the event would be ironic when ISC West is all about security and safety for the public.

I even stopped going to the gym until more details are provided in terms of vaccine development and human trials next month.

Best excuse I've seen for skipping leg day yet.

Since the flu kills one in a thousand, and we have all been through it several times, I get my annual vaccine and don't give it much further thought.

Covad19 is an evolving and invisible risk, with an arguably much higher death rate than flu, and for me it is calm and reasonable to assess the risk and reward of ISC in favor of skipping it. Having a self interested party call that panic doesn't factor into my decision.

I am healthy and figure I would be OK if exposed, but I live in close proximity to people I care about who are in a higher risk category. That means I would be wondering what I am exposing them to even when asymptomatic. And that factors in big time.

Fenner's jab at mainstream media can be taken, intended or not, as a reckless comment with cloudy insinuation. Does she have new information from a more reliable source? Was her critique of MSM also a broad dismissal of advice from experts on MSM? Was it simply a slur of convenience, a handy politically biased talking point?

SIA and ISS might appreciate clarity in communication, which would avoid needlessly alienating a big sector of the public that still values accountability and relies on MSM for the role it plays.

MSM in turn relies on credibility and trust, and can be called out and held accountable to journalistic standards. This is in contrast to cable opinion shows or online social platforms of information distribution which, because of their revenue model, rely on curated inflammatory content to drive up viewer retention. Accuracy is sporadic and of a lower value for their audience, and the public good plays an incidental role if any.

Would Ms. Fenner care to clarify the sources she would like us to supplement our information diet with?

MSM in turn relies on credibility and trust, and can be called out and held accountable to journalistic standards. This is in contrast to cable opinion shows or online social platforms of information distribution which, because of their revenue model, rely on curated inflammatory content to drive up viewer retention

Aren’t MSM and cable shows pretty much the same thing anymore??? Neither seem to rely on credibility and trust and neither seem to be held accountable to journalistic standards!

NYT and Wash Post appear pretty synchronized with CNN et al. on most issues.

UI#34 - Thank you for a well written and thoughtful response on this matter.

UM#34 - Yes and no. Yes, they are labeled by a particular political faction as "MSM", but NYT and WaPo, as well as CNN, adhere to the highest standards of journalism and, when they do get it wrong, despite multiple sources, they admit to it. Contrast that with Fox News, which is at best a bad TV show masquerading as a news network. Read or watch the recent Hannity interview on COVID-19 if you need any proof of this. Here it is:

Trump floats his own coronavirus hunches on 'Hannity' - POLITICO

Very well written and to the point , thank god there are people on here with higher than a room Temperature IQ. SIA should reassess it’s board members.

Even the Vegas showgirls have better sense than Janet. Her marketing skills are good, but not enough to get a positive spin on the situation.

Las Vegas on edge as coronavirus spreads nationwide - Los Angeles Times

This show will propagate the virus.

Wow.....Even the Stoners get it...….Hello...Reed...SIA...Are you there?

Event Cancellations Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Its really a shame but this show will not do well......I was really looking forward to it but, the attendance is going to be low.....

I wonder when the ISS CEO, Mr. Figuieredo, who is not attending the show, will come here to tell us whether Fenner actually speaks for his company, or whether he supports her misinformed and irresponsible grandstanding efforts for personal exposure.

That Harvard Professor I cited in the article about 40-70% of the world getting infected with coronavirus is criticizing the "false narrative that things are under control in the US".

More broadly, there is a growing belief among specialists that there will be an explosion of confirmed cases in the US in the next few weeks.

This makes sense to me, since testing may soon (finally) be possible, and as it proceeds the numbers are likely to spike. When that happens it will be interesting to see if the US requires lock-downs as have been seen in China and now Italy.

The numbers are going to get worse before they better. That is the reality we will have to live with for the next few months.

Janet Fenner has left ISS, posting:

Marketing is the last thing I would eliminate right now.

ISS is not commenting on the matter but what marketing has Fenner really done for ISS in the nearly 2 years Fenner has been at ISS?

If ISS's marketing had improved a lot in that time, I highly doubt this would have been the outcome. I certainly feel bad for anyone losing their job in this situation but I don't think it's fair to slight ISS for not viewing marketing as important.

we are, but we need to spread out :)


Sounds like they let her go... no really she left.
What goes around comes around, Corona is not a thing? Now you don't have a job because of it.

They didn’t do it fast enough , it’s ignorant uneducated people like her that put us in this position right now !!!

I have worked with Janet in the past and can speak from experience that she is amazing at her job. I disagree with John in the fact that he may not have seen her efforts at ISS from his standpoint. To that point he is also not an employee of some of the larger camera manufacturers out there and would not see the strides she made in building key partnerships with companies like these. Hanwha in particular. These efforts are not done in the public eye.

ISS' issues are definitely not on her shoulders as there are a lot of other contributing factors. Lack of investment into a sales force to begin with. Again not the marketing person's fault.

She may have misspoken about what we all know now is a very serious threat (Covid-19) but everyone is allowed to make a mistake. I think some of the commentary above is pretty ruthless and no single mother should lose her ability to support her family.

Someone will see her value and pick her up immediately. I will clarify I am in no way defending SIA here as I have my own opinions on that organization.

Someone will see her value and pick her up immediately.

I am sure they will but, just like a pro athlete, results count.

  • Fenner left Hanwha right before Hanwha took off and vaulted into a major player.
  • Then to Dahua and that was a disaster.
  • Then ISS, which ended poorly.

I think Fenner has done a great job of building her own personal brand. And I think she has talent. But when you run marketing, success is building the company's brand, no?

She is alive , while people are dying on the front lines. This a good lesson for everyone, to educate yourself before opening your mouth.

She must be an old hippie. Looked at that signage or whatever it is for 10 seconds trying to figure it out and felt like I just left a Grateful Dead show. What a long strange trip it’s been!

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