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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Technology insight greeted visitors to IFSEC 2009

02 June, 2009
Visitors to the IFSEC exhibition in May were rewarded with far more insight into underlying IP technologies than in previous shows
IFSEC has long been dubbed the best and biggest security show in Europe but a cloud had been hanging over it for some time prior to it's opening last month. Some key exhibitors had pulled out and others were considering following suit. Everyone was nervous; exhibitors wondered if there would be enough leads generated to justify their presence and the organisers had to cover the enormous costs of renting the giant National Exhibition Centre for the entire week for four days of exhibition time. The cautious approach was reflected in the shrunken stands and in the general event organisation which seemed more chaotic than in previous years.

Visitor numbers were undoubtedly down on previous shows but it was quickly evident that the security circus was back in town and the visitors weren't to be kept away by a mere economic crisis. The physical security industry is a rapidly changing world and keeping up to date with these changes is important for matching protection to the development of threat levels. There are cost benefits to change as well and although there is still some resistance to investment in new technology in Western Europe, attitudes are changing in line with the new breed of security professional, hungry for knowledge and keen to embrace new ideas.

This year's exhibition seemed to be aimed in their direction by providing more insight into underlying technologies, educating on the benefits of IP, the future cost implications and performance benefits of moving with the times and seeking to clarify the seemingly chaotic world of emerging standards for open systems and compression algorithms. The underlying atmosphere was more to do with soliciting confidence in the industry rather than merely selling cameras and alarm systems.

Talking to a number of tired exhibitors as they were winding down on the quiet final day of the show, most were confident and happy with the leads the event had generated. Squeezed budgets had kept the curious in their offices so that those who did attend were there with a purpose. As one exhibitor explained to me, having slightly fewer visitor numbers isn't necessarily a bad thing because you can spend more time with those who've made considerable effort to get there and are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Those who had pulled out of this year's show are already starting to book for 2010 when the circus returns in May.
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