SIA Seeks to Make ISC Education Commercial Free

By John Honovich, Published Oct 19, 2009, 08:00pm EDT

A common complaint for seminars at trade shows is that they tend to be too commercial and too vendor specific. Sometimes this occurs indirectly and other times it is a result of a sponsorship package (pay X and get a speaking slot).

Responding to concerns expressed from previous shows, the Security Industry Association is making a push to ensure that educational presentations are commercial-free. This effort was recently described in a podcast [link no longer available] and plans to take effect for ISC West 2010 [link no longer available].

While speakers at this conference do not have to buy sponsorships, the speaking engagements are unpaid. The result is that usually vendors are the one's most willing to spend unpaid time and effort in the hope to market their technology.

In a call with SIA, they described how they were being much more rigorous in the screening and feedback process for the next event. One tactic will be to pair competitors together at a presentation. This could be useful especially when the competitors are directly opposed (incumbent analog vs up-start IP companies) but probably not as much if they are booth pitching the same trend with 2 different products (2 PSIM companies or 2 video analytic vendors).

[Update 2012: While presentations are less overtly commercial, they contine to be overwhelmingly run by manufacturers and slanted towards their marketing pitches.]

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