Milestone Drops IFSEC

By John Honovich, Published Apr 18, 2019, 09:46am EDT

Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no longer is attractive to us".

Inside this note, we examine Milestone's move and rationale plus downsizing by Dahua and Hikvision and IFSEC's response to IPVM.

Related, see our 2018 IFSEC show report.

Milestone: IFSEC 'No Longer Attractive'

Milestone responded to our questioning of why they dropped IFSEC, bluntly saying:

Milestone is constantly evaluating the return on our investment in trade shows in general, and have found that IFSEC in EMEA no longer is attractive to us. In 2019 we will have much more attention on digital marketing and our own events.

Looking at the MIPS event in Copenhagen from a digital perspective, we had nearly half a million engagements on our own social media, and on top of that you can add all of the partners and customers, who took part in the conversation via their own platforms. The amount of people watching the live streams outnumbered the people in the room, and the recordings are still being accessed as I write this. We have not remotely seen that level of engagement in connection with any of the trade shows, we have participated in previously.

Note: 'Milestone Live' has an index of videos from their MIPS events.

Milestone's Own Events (MIPS)

Milestone runs the most highly attended series of video surveillance manufacturer events, with 800+ attendees in both America and Europe. One of the differentiators of the event versus other manufacturers is the scale of partner manufacturers invited, e.g., Milestone had 50 other manufacturers exhibiting at the Americas 2019 event, making this their own effective 'trade show'.

Of course, in comparison to general trade shows, Milestone focuses around its own marketing, products, and agenda so the indoctrination is much more intense.

On the other hand, general trade shows, like IFSEC, expose companies to people who may not use or even consider using Milestone. However, for mature companies like Milestone, the challenge can be that most industry professionals already know about Milestone so spending hundreds of thousands of pounds for a booth can become an unattractive investment.

Paxton Out Too

Milestone is not the only notable manufacturer out of IFSEC. UK-based access control manufacturer Paxton is out for 2019 after having one of the biggest booths in 2018 as shown below:

IFSEC explained about Paxton:

Paxton is having a year out, which also happens all the time with exhibiting companies. They’re currently hosting their own regional installer focused events in 2019 and are already contracted for 2020 and 2021. To quote Paxton directly ‘’IFSEC International is a fantastic show and we look forward to returning there in 2020’’.

Dahua and Hikvision Downsize

While the clear theme of 2018 IFSEC was mega Chinese booths, Dahua and Hikvision are downsizing at IFSEC 2019.

Here are their 2018 booth sizes:

And below are the much smaller 2019 booths:

IFSEC responded:

Hikvision and Dahua have both reduced stand sizes with our full knowledge and support. Hikvision was only that size originally due to the acquisition of Pyronix and now that assimilation is complete they don’t need an additional 100m. I suggest you contact Hikvision and Dahua directly for their views. We’re just the organisers and happy to accommodate whatever stand sizes our customers wish to use.

IFSEC - Move Not Newsworthy

Gerry Dunphy, IFSEC exhibitor director, questioned the newsworthiness of Milestone's move, explaining:

I would say we have different interpretations of what’s ‘newsworthy’. And by the way, UBM was acquired by Informa last year and are now the world’s largest exhibition organiser by some margin. We now have businesses in Europe, the USA, the middle east and the far east with new launches in security and fire planned for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a project in China. Which is what we would consider newsworthy.

Exhibitors come and go all the time, some are on biennial cycles, others change their strategies. It’s really nothing new, particularly in the security world. We’re still talking to Milestone and there may well be a presence at the show in the future- the audience is still highly aligned to their business. How they wish to present themselves is entirely their preference and we’ll look to assist in whatever ways we can. IFSEC as a brand includes not only the show but and all our global events.

Milestone had been an IFSEC exhibitor for many years before stopping in 2019.

Vote / Poll

IFSEC 2019 Developments

On the positive side, IFSEC shared a number of developments for the 2019 show:

The main themes this year are around convergence- we’re working with Vidsys and their main partners on the Converged Security Centre which has a full programme of simulations and case studies highlighting the key benefits of CSIM to the end user.

We are also pleased to see a formidable presence from AnyVision who’ll be showcasing their advances in AI and facial recognition technology.

AI is a big theme for this year as manufacturers highlight their products’ capabilities in this area, increasing the efficacy of the systems. Expect it to feature heavily.

We’re also delighted to see the return of Optex who’ll be presenting their new WX Infinity PIRs among other new technologies

Also Hikvision will be presenting some seismic developments in their AI and Deep Learning technologies.

Texecom is bringing Texecom Cloud to the show which will enable installers the management of multiple alarm systems from one single source.

IPVM plans to cover IFSEC 2019.

3 reports cite this report:

IFSEC And The Security Event Both Postponed To September Due to Coronavirus on Mar 10, 2020
IFSEC, the UK's largest security show and held in London, has been delayed to...
Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC...
IFSEC 2019 Show Report on Jun 19, 2019
The UK's largest trade show, IFSEC, is underway and IPVM has been examining...

Comments (20)

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A portion of Milestone's booth at IFSEC has been traditionally populated with cramped partner kiosks. Having participated as a partner in the past and paying a few thousand dollars for the tiny real estate, I would say IFSEC was not worth it. 

Interesting feedback #1. Have you done the Milestone partner kiosk at any other trade shows? Did you find it not worthwhile in general or?

Yes, I have participated at MIPS in Denmark (notorious Marienlyst/Helsingor event) and Las Vegas.  It is not worth it, but it is the cost of doing business I suppose... you got to kiss the ring.

I'm a semi-regular partner on Milestone's pods at the big events. For a smaller vendor, the opportunity to have a presence on a big both like Milestone's (or Axis, etc) is well worth the money at a show like ISC West or even Intersec - best bang for buck compared with having a small booth of your own in the bleachers for similar money.

However I completely agree with Milestone on dropping IFSEC - it is a fair bit more expensive than ISC West for nowhere hear the ROI - there are very few genuine "high end" buyers at the show, a lot of tyre kickers and not a lot of major opportunities being discussed compared with a show like ISCW. As a Milestone partner this is the one big show we wouldn't bother paying the partner pod money for. It may be because in the UK the real local buyers go to the smaller niche shows (and hated the IFSEC move from Birmingham to London), and so the main attendees who aren't selling their own products seem to be from Africa and Eastern Europe looking for cheap camera deals (the Hikvision stand always seems to be one of the busiest of the show)!

Gerry Dunphy has responded saying:

I may send to legal. 

To which I responded:

Let me know if you have any feedback or if you believe anything is in error or omitted. I am happy to review.

To which he retorted:

Don’t worry we’ll be sure to come back to you.

We are not worried. We are genuinely interested in reporting and incorporating what organizations have to say about newsworthy matters.

Note: I've updated the post with further IFSEC response on Paxton, Dahua, and Hikvision.

It's beyond bizarre to watch so many physec executives act defensively, revert to legal threats and generally exhibit poor manners in their interactions - week after week after week.  It's as if they've never had to deal with pointed questions or criticism before reaching their exalted positions.  

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: It's Beyond Bizarre To Watch So Many Physec Executives Act Defensively, Revert To Legal Threats And Generally Exhibit Poor Manners In Their Interactions

Partner kiosks are pretty ridiculous. I’ve never met a “guest rep” who is happy with the arrangement and totally confuses the offering. If I’m not interested in the host booth, I sure as hell aren’t going to visit a guest rep shoved in the corner pretending to be interested in the hosts offering.

Just another example how the IFSEC cash cow is ripe for slaughter.

Of you have to travel to IFSEC and stopover, it’s far better value to go to Essen which is far more professional and focussed even than Gerry’s circus.

The Security Event held at the NEC is everything that IFSEC isn’t - with the key word being ‘relevant’.

IFSEC has a sickening level of arrogance coupled with ignorance, entirely focussed on screwing the exhibitors, securing as much sponsored trash as possible and not promoting anything to the industry except themselves.

The sooner IFSEC dies.....the better.

As a Brit I am I’m ashamed that IFSEC is seen as representative of the U.K. security industry - when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Our home grown industry grows in spite of IFSEC not because of it. Their focus is the huge corporate stands that seek to push smaller companies in the corner and imply irrelevance. But IFSEC couldn’t care less because - we’ll, they’re IFSEC. A global event targeted at huge corporate spend and attracting legions of tyre kickers and souvenir collectors, whilst harassing exhibitors for next years event......

Increasingly in the U.K., if you have time to visit IFSEC you clearly have far too much time on your hands - but pocket fills of memory sticks and pens.

If IFSEC had no show next year, no one would care less and the industry would be a better place for it.

Probably fair to say that I’m not a fan, having had many years visiting and some exhibiting - my experience is anecdotal and commonly shared amongst those I work with.






As a Brit I am I’m ashamed that IFSEC is seen as representative of the U.K. security industry - when it couldn’t be further from the truth

What do British security professionals want out of a / their show? I've heard this criticism before (that IFSEC is too global) but, being an outsider, I am not clear what would make it a 'real' or 'true' UK event. Any ideas or examples?

That’s a good question. When I think about it, the show is trying to be a jack of all trades and master of none. They seek to target everyone from end users, consultants, designers, installers, integrators and one man bands. But I’m doing so, frustrate the same mix by failing to provide what they seek. I think professionals are more interested in their partners and also the direct competitors. The only people interested in the small Far Eastern booths are international visitors, so it would be good to strip this out of the show altogether. Rubbish displays like the drone zones are as boring and inconsequential as they are annoying. Huge booths with bored reps who know little or nothing about what the booth is aimed at are also annoying. There appears to be so little right with the show that it’s hard to identify a single issue that makes it such a miserable event. The visitor experience really is underwhelming and an anti climax. There just appears to be a fear ( perpetrated by IFSEC over the years) of how damaging it would be not to attend and spend more.

I think it would be a decent guess that the average U.K. pro visitor will only attend 5% of the booths and these would have been decided in advance.

Ultimately the show is too big, fragmented and largely irrelevant to must people and went the footfall is largely tyre kickers it’s easy to see a marketing budget can be far better focussed.   


With so many alternative options for marketing spend, IFSEC has to attract serious visitors.  In my experience, few end user and integrators from the north or midlands are willing to travel to such a difficult location, and the return on our investment shrank to zero.

The organisers were warned by many loyal exhibitors that the move from Birmingham was a bad idea but they did it anyway.  To answer John's question - what do UK security professionals want from a show? - I believe the answer is an exhibitor list which reflects what the local market actually uses.      

I believe the answer is an exhibitor list which reflects what the local market actually uses.

To clarify, does that mean different exhibitors or fewer exhibitors? Which exhibitors are desired? 

For my 10 pence worth. IFSEC changed with the move to London, the partnerships in the industry don't mean as much so the evenings aren't as forthcoming either... Excel is a pain to get to, Hotels are a poor and expensive to book..  Just hassle. Birmingham was central a car drive for a "team" to go up and back in a day. 

You're not wrong...though the last year or so at the NEC, the show was pretty well going to the dogs. 

Another observation is in the weeks leading up to IFSEC, all I hear from suppliers/partners is "are you going to IFSEC?"...which is odd, as few have more than a nano-second to speak with you if you do turn up.

Also - the last time I went to Excel I was amazed how many reps are stuck at the back of the booth with their ear glued to an iPhone or tapping away an email. I'm not sure I can explain why, but having done ISC, Essen and other smaller shows - I've never seen it as bad as at IFSEC. It just shows ignorance when the visitors have gone out of their way to give up their time and yet the reps think it's ok to carry on their "day job" and forget why they are even on the stand.

In the same way, as IFSEC apply strict rules regarding stand break down times - they should apply a common code of conduct that requires booth staff to be attentive and not use their phones whilst "front of house". Some may call this trivial, but it annoys the hell out of me!

Is Briefcam, Axis, Canon at the show? If that's the case, won't they be showcasing Milestone? I'm guessing a lot of integration partners will run XProtect too, so it's not as if they're not getting any exposure, and if there's nothing new to show, then it makes sense to give it a pass, and save a bit of cash.

Axis and Briefcam are listed as exhibitors but Canon is not.

While I don't generally look for Milestone displays inside Axis or Briefcam booths, if there is anything in there, it is almost certainly minor and not much of a substitute for having their own booth.

if there's nothing new to show, then it makes sense to give it a pass, and save a bit of cash.

My perception of Milestone's booths is that they generally don't show new things as much as market partners and do meetings. MIPS is where they focus on what's new (or at least what they are hoping to do, e.g., the marketplace).

I agree that they announce new, and future features at MIPS, but at some point they've got to demo it to the unwashed masses who are not invited to the party.

But if there's nothing new, and they already have 100% brand recognition + and their sisters at the show, it might be better to spend the money on alternative venues.

Update: While Milestone did not exhibit at IFSEC, they did their own off-site event during the show:

Just received, pretty bold spam / SEO request from some small trip outfit:

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