Virtual ISC West and GSX+ Exhibiting Contrasted

By Joey Walter, Published Sep 17, 2020, 10:40am EDT (Info+)

Both ISC West and ASIS GSX are going virtual this year, just weeks apart, but which one is better for exhibitors?

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GSX+ 2020 Online is being held Sep. 21-25 while ISC West's 2020 Virtual Event is from Oct. 5-7.

In this note, based on conversations with both organizations, we examine what the main differentiators of the shows are and how they compare.

Executive *******

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ASIS ***+ *******

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Poll / ****

Comments (29)

ASIS just sent out a 1-minute video, it's 30 seconds of saying generalities and 30 seconds of an advertisement:

ASIS makes their money!

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She said it was "next week". I had no idea it was next week (yes, I've followed some of the posts, and have seen the dates published).

Usually the couple of weeks before an ISC West or ASIS/GSX show you can't help but hear about it. People asking if you will be there, planning meetings, etc. I have not had anyone ask me anything about GSX+, have not really heard much mention of it, totally did not realize it was next week (we are not doing anything for GSX+, which is also why it is not top of mind for me).

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New details: 92 total GSX+ exhibitors:

  • 27 "Tier 1" exhibitors, notables include Axis, Bosch, HID, IDIS, JCI
  • 30 "Tier 2 exhibitors, notables include Milestone, March Networks, Brivo, Eagle Eye
  • 35 'Tier 3" exhibitors, not any big video companies and 10+ are media partners getting comp booths

Missing: Motorola/Avigilon, Hanwha, Dahua, Hikvision, Genetec, FLIR, Verkada and obviously many many others.

Last year, ASIS reported 550+ exhibitors, so they are down 80%+

This is the site to login for the show - Global Security Exchange Plus (GSX+) Note, it's not GSX nor ASIS's site.

The layout is pretty clean:

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Each company has a 'schedule a meeting' button, clicking that goes to Grip which shows a list of company representatives / salespeople to schedule a meeting:

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That part seems promising. We'll try to get a few meetings and then report back.

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Also, they have a recommended section, evidently, they want me to talk to Milestone:

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I like the idea and layout they have for facilitating meetings.

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Also you can search other attendees. This is cool but there's some privacy risks, e.g., it pulled up a list of DHS employees:

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IPVM has a large number of government members but we would not think about displaying them publicly.

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Other searches: everyone with the name Michael who is an attendee:

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I did a GSX virtual one-on-one call today and was pretty impressed, that Grip platform handles it end to end, e.g., the reminder right before the call:

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It did immediately start a meeting room. Like with all browser based video / audio streaming, there was some challenges but it also included live chat and we just agreed to do an immediate call.

The next level up, from a show perspective, is to let people talk immediately. That would mirror the spontaneity and ease of a real show, oh there is company X, boom talk to them for 10 minutes and done.

I think this is promising.

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Today is GSX Day 1, oddly the "marketplace" (i.e., exhibits) is only open for ~3 hours during the day, which might make sense in real life but is odd for the Internet:

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The virtual welcome reception:

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hat tip to BRK - I knew it was coming up - but I didn't know GSX+ was starting today either.

note that in John's post a few above this one, they recommend that people use the hashtag #GSXPlus to 'share your experience' on social media.

Do a Twitter search for that hashtag and you will find 7 (at least up until 10pm ET on day 1).

Every year for at least the last decade, there were THOUSANDS that used the show hashtag - at least on twitter - for both ASIS and ISCW.

I also note that there are ZERO industry PR firms using that same hashtag - and they were a solid 25% of the normal thousands of show hashtag posts on twitter. (EDIT: Correction - LRG had 1 of the 7 show hashtag tweets and mentions their customer Shooter Detection Systems)

great breakdown by Joey in this piece.... but the whole time I was reading it I couldn't help but think, "uhhh - people will pay thousands of dollars for a zoom meeting?"

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Was the welcome better than last years welcoming event??

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Day 3 today, Zumba shortly but again the 'marketplace' / exhibition hall is only open for 3 hours today:

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I am still confused about why an online event would limit the 'exhibits' to less than 3 hours a day.

That said, still think the 1 on 1 one meeting setup is very useful but not sure how many people are using that.

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I am still confused about why an online event would limit the 'exhibits' to less than 3 hours a day.

FWIW, we are doing an upcoming virtual show related to In-Q-Tel, and you can specify hours that you have staff available for live chat or calls. The limited Marketplace times for this show might be so that virtual exhibitors do not need to keep people on standby all day.

BTW, personal anecdote, I totally meant to attend this, but at the same time have other things booked this week. For IRL ISCW, you dedicate the week to the show and for the most part do not have to remember to block time off or worry about other meetings creeping up. While I'm sure I could have blocked out specific time for this, my mental approach was more "I will fit it in if I can". Granted, as a potential exhibitor there is maybe less incentive for me to try and attend the show compared to an integrator or end user, so my perspective may not be representative.

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The limited Marketplace times for this show might be so that virtual exhibitors do not need to keep people on standby all day.

Standby where? I get it at a physical event since people need to be in a physical place but in a virtual one, if someone is not 'there', they can instantly forward it to a person's email or text, etc.

For IRL ISCW, you dedicate the week to the show

And that's because it offers something of value you cannot do on the Internet, meet lots of relevant people in real life at the same time. It's like reading IPVM, if I don't read it this morning, I can read it this afternoon or tomorrow.

Real life shows are sprints, websites are marathons.

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Standby where?

Anywhere you want, it's all virtual! :)

I think the expectation is that attendees can communicate with a live person instantly. You need to have enough people on standby to respond to any incoming requests, and with no precedent for any of this I think it is hard to figure out if you want 1 person to block off time, or 10. IMO if a virtual attendee wants to communicate with you and all you can offer is a delayed email response or a wait of more than a few seconds, that attendee is likely to move on.

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Update: Reported registrants were down 77% from 2019.

ASIS announced that GSX+ 2020 had "more than 4,500 registrants from 82 countries, along with 88 exhibitors populating the virtual Marketplace." While ASIS described that as strong, last year, in 2019, ASIS announced "20,000 registrants from more than 125 countries and 550+ exhibitors packing the convention center."

ASIS does not disclose the breakdown between conference and marketplace registrants, so it's not clear if the 2 sides fell equally or one side's registrations dropped more. I would guess the exhibits/marketplace fell more as the conference sessions remained but the marketplace was much smaller (80%+ down in exhibitors) and the experience of 'exhibiting' online is much worse.

ISC West Virtual is this week. The drop in attendance is going to be dramatic, like GSX+, but not sure if it is going to relatively better or worse.

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ISC West Virtual is this week. The drop in attendance is going to be dramatic, like GSX+, but not sure if it is going to relatively better or worse.

I'd wager worse. There is no hype coming off of GSX in the sense of a "you had to be there" moment, and it is not like the exhibitors were likely to have held back on promoting their GSX virtual presence. Why would someone who attended GSX attend virtual ISC? What new or compelling thing is there to draw people in?

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I'd wager worse

The plus for ISC West is that ISC West is a bigger name overall and registration is entirely free (for GSX+ you had to use a discount code to wave the $50 marketplace fee).

Because it's entirely free, they may get more people to register than GSX+. That said, I am not sure what it would mean in practice since there are few meaningful ways to engage with exhibitors. But ISC West may announce it had 6,000 or 7,000 registrants, etc.

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Virtual ISC West is live, under 70 sponsors listed:

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This is what the day 1 kenote session looks like:

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I was not able to get the video to stream despite briefly troubleshooting it and running in Chrome.

This is what a "Exhibitor Tech Center - Headline Sponsors" looks like:

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The best I can tell it's a webpage. At the bottom, it has a contact us button which lets you send a message:

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I just briefly attended this:

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It's pre-recorded video and it has ~1 minute commercial before the video starts:

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The video is recorded but there is a person there live answering chat questions.

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This one had about 3 minutes of intro commercials, none of them were related to the session itself.

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Honeywell (Resideo) seems to be missing.....or am I missing it.

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They are missing. In fairness, they had 1,000+ exhibitors last year so they are down 93% so it's easier to list who sponsored vs who dropped.

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I just checked out the ISC West online and was pretty appalled. Don't think I've had such a poor web experience since Geocities. I wasn't really sure I was on the right page and everything you click launches a new tab. What is an 'Exhibitor Tech Center'...why don't you just call it a 'Virtual Booth' or something people understand? No way to see or conveniently search list of 'exhibitors' and they are broken up by Headline/Platinum/Gold/Etc. My goal is to find the most relevant to me, not who paid the most.

Didn't think it was going to be earth shattering, but this is pretty shameful. GSX+ was surprisingly better...ok not that much, but better. At least ISC didn't try to make me pay $55 (though I used an exhibitor code to get in free to GSX..)

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Good feedback, I had similiar questions / confusion.

What is an 'Exhibitor Tech Center'...why don't you just call it a 'Virtual Booth' or something people understand?

I don't know why they did it but by general understanding it's not a 'booth' since there is no way to talk to anyone live (i.e., live chat, real time video, etc.) Now, why they did not include that is confusing to me, e.g., GSX+ included that for 'exhibitors'.

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Some one mentioned and seems like a real missed opportunity to not have at least some time blocks where somebody is standing by for a live chat or video call. Actually was a bit disappointed our company didn't do that on our own online event...maybe next time..?

Could this be the next thing for IPVM show?? A 'F2F' meetup session with all presenters available?

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Could this be the next thing for IPVM show?? A 'F2F' meetup session with all presenters available?

We are definitely open to doing so, I am not sure of the mechanics to use to make that successful. Ideas?

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Will be hard to reproduce the spontaneity of live events but maybe if there were some general interest live sessions to attract some attention and then presenters can choose to be available during/after that? From presenter side might be tough to have the right people there to field the variety of questions that might pop up...so means should focus the topics for the meetings? Lots of questions, but could be interesting if done right. You guys would know from attendance numbers and lead generations if looks like might be enough critical mass to make it a success. Wonder how the Security TWENTY online events turned out.. I didn't see if they had any kind of meeting facility..

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Btw, today, IFSEC has its own event called Tech Talks, see screencap:

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It's better laid out than Virtual ISC West. The talks are recorded, e.g.:

They do have live Q&As that use Zoom, e.g. screencapped:

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Not clear how many people are actually attending.

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