ISC West 2020 Finally Cancelled

By John Honovich, Published Jun 25, 2020, 03:45pm EDT (Info+)

ISC West has now been cancelled for the third time, now for all of 2020.

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Poll / ****

Comments (49)

ISC West has published a video about what to expect from the virtual event in October:

They plan to do 'showcased solutions' and 'custom matchmaking'. How well attended and how well they work will be interesting to see.

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Reed's problem is we have seen everything we needed through IPVM's webinars!

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Lol, they are a big company and I am sure they will put together a significant event.

The challenge I see is that being online there is a ton of competition, ASIS is going to have a virtual event 2 weeks before, every manufacturer can hold their own webinars at any time etc.

With physical events, the barrier is huge motivating enough people to travel at the same time or space, not so with online.

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I agree. IPVM shows have set the bar pretty high.

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I do think the traditional shows have an opportunity to excel at the matchmaking element. IPVM philosophically cannot and will not take money from vendors for marketing. If ISC West and ASIS figure out ways to do online matchmaking where they are sending significant leads to manufacturers, the manufacturers will pay premiums for that.

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Where is my money?! Haha

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Do we start the ISC East countdown next?

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Their comment on that:

Regarding ISC East 2020, our smaller scale, more regional-focused event slated for November 18-19 in New York City, we will be assessing event viability over the next 8-10 weeks with guidance from the Javits Center, New York State and New York City authorities.

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John, you may want to fix the typo in this post's permalink...

ipvm.com/reports/isc-20-camcel

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Thanks, that is now being directed to the updated slug.

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That is the right decision, long overdue

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This just hit our email:

Hello all,

We have been notified by ISC West organizers that the physical show scheduled for October 5-8, 2020 has been cancelled. They are working the details of transforming to a virtual event. The details for a virtual event are vague and they have provided the following:

“We will be rolling out additional information on the ISC West 2020 Virtual Event soon, including formats for education, discussion groups, matchmaking, showcased solutions and technologies, plus elements to celebrate the security community, and support our charity partner Mission 500 and their key role in helping kids and families in crisis,” stated Mary Beth Shaughnessy, Event Director of ISC Security Events.

While we don’t know what the new landscape will look like, we would like your feedback on participating in a virtual event for ISC West.

I look forward to your response.

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Added a poll to gauge interest in the upcoming virtual event:

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For those exhibitors that got burned by the late cancellation in March due to shipping costs, travel, PR ramp up, advertising and sponsorships with media partners that were too late to pull back, wasted hours trying to contact them to no avail, etc....I think the least Reed should do is invite those exhibitors to take part in the virtual show in at least some form free of charge. Even if they don't take up the offer....it would at least show some level of integrity and help rebuild trust.

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I think the least Reed should do is invite those exhibitors to take part in the virtual show in at least some form free of charge.

I think that's reasonable. I wonder, though, how much can Reed/SIA charge exhibitors for the virtual show? In Vegas, they can justify hard costs to some extent, paying the Sands, etc. But what's the cost of a virtual show? And even more importantly, how valuable is a virtual booth? I don't know the answer but every manufacturer has a website so the interesting thing will be how much more value can Reed/SIA deliver than a manufacturer's website or a trade magazine's website, posts on LinkedIn, etc.

Btw, Reed has already announced attending the virtual event is free, including the 'educational programming':

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I wonder, though, how much can Reed/SIA charge exhibitors for the virtual show?

virtually nothing.

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Part of it depends on attendance, can they get the equivalent of a 10x10 booth holder a few hundred 'visits' to the virtual booth? can the virtual booth holder come away with a few whale leads? If they can, they can charge a premium.

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A big challenge for all these virtual events, IMO, is that Reed, et al, are now competing with internal marketing departments. There are tons of options for doing webinar-type events. You can build up interest on your own, you can promote it through various industry organziations, etc.

One thing manufacturers cannot really do on their own is get 5,000+ people to walk by a demo system over a 3 day period. Security is still very much an "in person" kind of sales experience (again, IMO). Trade shows are great for showing off your product in real time. We, as manufacturers, cannot easily and cost-effectively replicate that scenario independently.

Online/virtual shows, though, there are lots of ways to drop $5K or $10K and pull an audience of 250-500 registrations (and a subset in actual attendees). You're also generally not trying to compete with 80 other organizations doing the same thing in the same general time slot.

I do not hold out a lot of hope for a virtual GSX, ISC, etc. as measured against those same events held in their in-person variants, or competing against all the alternatives for virtual sessions. Particularly not late in the year when frankly everyone will likely have already been through enough virtual shows to get the gist of where manufacturers are in terms of new product and upcoming features.

Looking forward to see what 2021 holds for in-person trade shows, and most likely not going to make any hard decisions and commit a blob of money to something before the outcome is somewhat predictable.

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I agree Brian. Virtual is great but not perfect. It's really hard to pay 100% attention to a webinar, especially if there are lots of the webinar's going on. I missed several of the IPVM demonstrations I wanted to see. The big difference is I don't have to repeatedly ask for the recording of the sessions. IPVM gets those out fairly quickly and even better are all subtitled as well.

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I'd imagine they have a pretty big database and that's likely to be attractive to marketing folks I suppose.

Yet I haven't seen any other show organiser going from a very late and costly postponement, to another postponement, to a cancellation to a virtual event. I'm wondering how some of those sales calls will go?

You're right - I'm not sure you'd pay anything significant for a virtual booth and I'd hope these would be bundled with some other type of activity.

A good matchmaking service is not a bad shout as long as they work with vendors to pre-qualify meetings...but that is the sort of thing that could easily and cost-effectively be offered at varying levels to disappointed exhibitors FOC.

And yep - we have a heap of publications, especially in the US, (also with significant databases), which have honed their webinar pre-marketing and promotional activities these last few months. Vendors are booked to run these through as least Q3. This also means a lot of vendors have already reallocated cancelled show budgets for FY20.

And with you guys doing a great job with the online shows and more to come next month along with a weekly choice of webinars...I suspect they are also going to have a webinar/online show fatigue challenge come October.

This is the first year I'll be celebrating 4th July because we can finally re-start human interaction AND importantly the pubs re-open ;) If Undisclosed #7 fancies coming along then after 10 pints of Stella followed by a few cheeky Jägerbombs the response might make more sense...and I'd happily wear my raspberry beret but I think I gave it to a second-hand store...

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I'd imagine they have a pretty big database and that's likely to be attractive to marketing folks I suppose.

For sure. The question is how many of those people can they convert? I think they will get a lot of people to register for October, since they have a big brand, it's free and many will be curious to see how it goes.

The 2 challenges I see for online events are (1) getting people to attend, online, there's lots of options, you can watch a Verkada webinar (and get free lunch, tumblers, etc.), waste time on TikTok, Facebook, NYTimes, IPVM, whatever. And correspondingly (2) even if someone does attend, how much time do they spend at the online event?

When you travel to Vegas, you are virtually guaranteed to spend 10+ hours on the show floor, since being on the show floor is a rare and richer experience. Who is on the Sands show floor thinking "let me just sit down and read IPVM or scan LinkedIn, etc"? Virtually no one. But at an online event, is it really so much more compelling than other websites? Anyone who can solve that will definitely have an advantage online.

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You're right - when you're at a tradeshow you are a captive audience and the venues are almost designed to keep you there. And Clint is right - by our very nature, we are social animals and most of us need human interaction to thrive.

And I don't know anyone who's not crazy busy right now if they are lucky enough to be working and not furloughed or laid off. I can't see that changing by October, so they cannot afford to spend hours at a time focussed on a virtual event so will likely pick a handful of sessions at most.

Everyone is busy chasing down projects or deploying those that are still funded especially since the longer economic forecast is so uncertain and/or vendors continue to rush re-opening/contact tracing solutions to market. Showcasing those in October is likely too late.

That's why the most valuable aspect I saw was the matchmaking especially IF the meetings are qualified and there are live opportunities on the table.

And IMO Reed missed a trick - if they had cancelled far earlier, not burned their exhibitors and hosted or even planned to host this virtual event earlier there might have been more appetite for it.

If it's a raging success I'll eat my raspberry beret.

And I don't want to disappoint you guys cos I know y'all loved em but the Tumblers are old news. It's Uber Eats vouchers, pro golf tips, virtual wine tasting, and out of this world funkiness...

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The right call... but overdue.

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IMO, the biggest value to a show is the person-to-person interactions, and while I believe the digital means we've adopted across the board to keep working is awesome, which a Virtual ISC West won't have 7 months post original show dates. I can't believe any manufacturer is still holding cards close to their chest of product they were announcing at ISC West. So then what will be the differentiating factor for this show at this point in time? IPVM has stepped up to fill a void that we may not have known we had with their virtual showcases and GSX will now be virtual a few weeks before ISC West. Can we spend more time this year away from working to watch webinars?

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I'm not going to say any names but I know of several products still not released or even mentioned to this date from a manufacturer or two. Really kind of aggravating.

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London's IFSEC has been rescheduled to 18–20 May 2021, according to an IFSEC press release. It had originally been delayed to 8-10 September 2020.

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UPDATE: 80% Refunds Only

Reed confirmed to IPVM that refunds will only be 80% of what was paid, if approved, with credits for various ISC activities, quote below:

All amounts paid for exhibit space or media to date for the March 2020 ISC West edition will be or can be credited and used as follows in any combination:

  • Towards participation in the March 24-26, 2021 edition of ISC West
  • Towards participation in ISC West 2020 Virtual Event (Oct 5-7)
  • Participation in ISC News Digital Sponsorships, ISC West Virtual Vendor Solution Sessions or Partner Bulletins (pending availability), must be fulfilled by West ‘21 live event.
  • Towards participation in ISC East 2020 (November 18-19, 2020)

The credit can be applied to your outstanding balances for any event for which you are already contracted to participate or to new contract(s) listed above. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options further, please contact your ISC Sales Representative.

Refunds can be requested upon approval. A 20% retention fee will be collected on the contracted obligation, due to sunken costs incurred by Reed Exhibitions for the 2020 event and contractors/suppliers.

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A 20% retention fee will be collected on the contracted obligation, due to sunken costs incurred by Reed Exhibitions for the 2020 event and contractors/suppliers.

This part really gets me. Exhibitors have additional "sunk costs" that are the result of this show being moved around and delayed numerous times. Everyone's sunk costs would have likely been lower had this inevitable call just been made at the beginning.

Reed is taking every opportunity in their wording to show just how out of touch they are.

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The 20% cannot be legit for sunken costs incurred by Reed Exhibitions for the 2020 event and contractors/suppliers.

Assume 10% of the previously contracted exhibitor space applies for a refund and, the other 90% roll their funds over. The total retention fee collected would only be 2% of the total revenue so, what then? Do they raise 2021 rates by 18% to recover sunken costs incurred by Reed Exhibitions for the 2020 event and contractors/suppliers.

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Assume 10% of the previously contracted exhibitor space applies for a refund and, the other 90% roll their funds over.

I think Reed benefits from motivating exhibitors to roll over their funds. Think of it this way, if you were making a brand new decision to exhibit today, in the midst of all this, would pay the same amount as 6 months ago?

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I Absolutely agree, 20% is outrageous. Where are our sunken costs?

I think in this time of uncertainty they should have given the money back and let the companies decide how and where to use the money, keeping us prisoners isn't an honest move.

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For 10+ years ISC West was penciled in as a must on the calendar. Great networking, my favorite vendors, new learning/vendors, and good times.

But their greed, and lack of acknowledgement on the seriousness of COVID-19 has really turned me off. If they don't take care of the manufacturers/integrators/end users adequately, then their CANCELLED ALSO. :)

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I agree with your statement that it was the must-attend show for the past couple decades. These antics certainly diminish my desire to attend. However, while still not perfect, I feel that 80% is still a reasonable refund. There are always costs that REED undoubtedly incurred and I'm certain they would like to keep their doors open. I was expecting/fearing that our manufacturer friends would receive nothing back, which would have cemented my desire to never attend again.

I do feel that the antics of REED denying, cancelling, rescheduling, cancelling, then rescheduling again, and eventually completely cancelling are ridiculous. Denial until smacked in the face with reality is, sadly, "the new normal" in the US. Reed should not be able to claim their repeated errors after the initial cancellation as sunk costs.

Maybe they need to release a commercial about "these unprecedented times" in order to appear empathetic.

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costs that REED undoubtedly incurred and I'm certain they would like to keep their doors open

FYI, Reed is a division of publicly-traded RELX, a $7+ billion dollar publicly traded corporation.

Their 2019 financials show that Reed did over $1.5+ billion USD in revenue with $400+ million USD in profit, screencap below stated in GBP:

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That's an operating profit margin of 26%. The business prints money year after year. Does such a business need to stick it to its 1,000 exhibitors which are all virtually companies far smaller than it?

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To play devil's advocate for a moment, should shareholders who might have retirement and maybe profit sharing funds tied up in RELX stock be stuck with the bill if the contracts don't happen to be in favor of the exhibitors? It would be nice if shareholders were that altruistic, and who knows maybe all the stock is being held by rich wealthy people at the company and none of it is in the common worker's pension fund. But whether the cost is stuck to exhibitors or to a corporation, a person is still getting stuck with the cost.

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Does such a business need to stick it to its 1,000 exhibitors which are all virtually companies far smaller than it?

No. Do they have the contractual capability to do so? It really comes down to - can they absorb the costs and do they want to. It doesn't seem like business ethics factors into many corporate decisions nowadays. I don't see this as being any different than any other corporation. If there is a means to cover costs and possibly eke out a profit while still avoiding lawsuits I suspect every business would do the same.

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If there is a means to cover costs and possibly eke out a profit while still avoiding lawsuits I suspect every business would do the same.

To the contrary, ASIS has offered full refunds.

Note, the reason ISC West gave was:

has been canceled due to industry and market circumstances.

Those 'industry and market' circumstance is on them. They could not deliver what they intended to deliver.

If I order a laptop from Dell, paying upfront, and for some reason, Dell cannot deliver it, how is that fair or reasonable that Dell keeps 20% of my money? Serious question. Is the analogy flawed or?

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I agree that they should provide a full refund. I don't see that as likely because there is some amount of lost costs here that are reasonably justifiable. I do not think reasonably justifiable is anywhere near 20% knowing how pricey these spaces are. The question to you is what % is enough?

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there is some amount of lost costs here that are reasonably justifiable.

What about the lost cost of the exhibitors? Their time preparing for the show? The expenses of building and shipping booths? Under that logic, should the exhibitors present Reed with a bill?

And even just 2 weeks before the show, Reed was adamant that the show was going to go on, e.g.:

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How many exhibitors made decisions that wound up costing them significant amounts of money because of Reed's public declarations?

More broadly, what makes it 'justifiable' for a seller to not deliver and charge the buyer for not delivering? We canceled the IPVM conference and offered 100% refunds to everyone. ASIS canceled GSX and offered 100% refunds to everyone. The Dell example I gave above. Imagine you book a hotel room and the hotel than says it does not have the room for you and then tells you it is keeping 20% of the charge. How is that justifiable?

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It's definitely inexcusable and yes, they can certainly bear the costs better than a small exhibitor. I still stand by my point that regardless of their capability to shoulder the burden, Reed will default back to what their contractual obligations are. Anything beyond that is just charity and PR.

If Dell does lose a laptop in transit their agreement with you says they will deliver a product. Dell will acquire an insurance payoff if a shipper lost a laptop to cover most, if not all of their costs.

The contract rules all here. I don't like it, you don't like it, and our manufacturer friends don't like it. I didn't sign the agreement. I do not know what is covered and what is not covered. There are unexpected and unfair costs we are all covering right now. For this scenario it is despicable but likely legally defensible.

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I asked Reed on Friday what part of the contract are they basing the partial refund on. If or when they respond, I will update here.

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Just got an email that CES2021 is going virtual:

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I think a lot of manufacturers are going to wind up getting addicted to these trade-show savings in the marketing budget.

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: CES 2021 Las Vegas Canceled, What Happens To ISC West 2021?

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Update: The virtual show registration is now open:

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I did not find any 'booth' information yet.

There are 3 video surveillance education sessions so far:

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Will IPVM be sponsoring the "Virtual Show Bags" for this? :D

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Ouch! No.

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Now, ISC East has been canceled:

ISC East in partnership with ASIS NYC Chapter, will collaborate to host a virtual event on Nov. 18.IPVM Image

They are planning another virtual event, though just one day Nov. 18th:

ISC East in partnership with ASIS NYC Chapter, will collaborate to host a virtual event on Nov. 18.

We are grateful for the partnership the ASIS NYC Chapter has established with ISC East. We look forward to the collaboration with ISC East and SIA to produce an impactful and meaningful virtual 2020 Person of the Year Award and Education Programs on November 18, 2020

ASIS NYC was increasingly tiny, even without coronavirus.

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And with the "exodus" of people and business from NYC, even if Covid 19 gets stomped out, there may not be another ISC East in NYC.

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there may not be another ISC East in NYC.

Well, I don't think Reed will give up that easy but your general point makes sense to me. Traffic could be way down for years to come.

I am curious how these hybrid in-person / virtual shows will go as it's not clear how many virtual people they will get for something like ISC East. The point of ISC East historically is to be convenient for people in the US Northeast physically.

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