Manufacturers Unhappy With ASIS 2014

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 08, 2014

An IPVM survey of 50+ manufacturers reveals that most were not happy with the ASIS 2014 Atlanta show, with a number of them quite upset, highlighted by one notable industry veteran affirming:

"The industry does not really need more than one big trade show a year, which is ISC West. We keep on financing ASIS which is mainly a result of ego fight between ISC and ASIS management. It may be time to stop the madness. It will improve the ability to support local events, seminars and roadshows."

In this note, we reveal their responses, issues and look at the underlying causes:

The Good

A distinct minority had unquestionably positive things to say:

  • "It was one of our best shows...very heavy booth traffic."
  • "Very satisfied. Extremely busy all three days."
  • "We were very happy with the show - in fact we got a bigger booth for next year." (startup)
  • "Felt satisfied for our company as a whole."
  • "Overall traffic seemed light but we actually had more booth traffic than from any previous ASIS."

The OK

Others, noting issues, tried to emphasize the positive:

  • "Attendance was certainly low, but quality of our meetings were good"
  • "The leads were a little slow, but they were high quality."
  • "Generally just OK. Floor traffic was down some, but lead quality was acceptable."
  • "While attendance was clearly down, the quality of both integrators and end users was very high."
  • "With fewer leads, that means in order for the show to be a success, these leads need to have a higher success rate." [TBD]

The Bad

However, many pulled no punches:

  • "Very light. Did not justify the investment"
  • "Very bad...one of the worst shows"
  • "Not satisfied at all with overall turn out. the last 3 shows have been poor"
  • "Floor plan not easy to navigate. Not impressed overall. Not a good show. Felt smaller than other years."
  • "Only good on the second day."
  • "The last 5 years of ASIS,we would scan an average of 500 leads and this year, we had less than 200"
  • "We will not be exhibiting again next year."

Specific Show Criticisms

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And a few had specific criticisms of the Atlanta show itself:

  • "Like Philly, convention center layout makes it hard for vendors not at the front entrance section."
  • "It seemed that your traffic really depended on where you were on the floor. I'd be in one booth and it was crickets, then I'd walk 50 yards and it was hopping."
  • "The Atlanta venue was a bit (a lot) grim"
  • "Lots of vacant spaces, lots of booths that did not seem very busy."

Stop Moving the ASIS Show

Two explicitly called out the issue of moving it from city to city (most recently Philadelphia to Chicago to Atlanta):

  • "I had a number of interesting conversations as to whether the ASIS strategy of hop-scotching all over the country is a good idea. Several of us mused aloud if it's time to pick one great venue and stay there for a while."
  • "It seems many people I spoke to felt it was better when it alternated between Las Vegas and Orlando."

Indeed, even one of the security trade magazine editors was negative about the show and its moves, titling it "Mixed Reviews", which for a trade magazine is akin to calling it terrible.

Manufacturers at Fault

On the other hand, manufacturers need to take some of the blame. Generally and specifically, the amount of new innovations and releases were quite low and insubstantial.

Interesting new things drive interest, whether its visitors to a website like IPVM, or exhibitors at a trade show like ASIS.

ASIS just provides the forum. They depend on the manufacturer to drive interest with their own news and breakthroughs.

One tactical answer is smaller booths that cost less and look busier / more impressive.

2 reports cite this report:

Weak ASIS 2015 Show Upsets Manufacturers on Oct 02, 2015
Though ASIS is supposed to be dedicated to security professionals, their main customer base and revenue source ($10+ million) is...
ASIS CEO To Exit on Jun 22, 2015
Amid declining exhibitor attendance and membership troubles, the richest man in security management is leaving. Michael Stack [link no longer...
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