IFSEC International 2012 – Less wow, more how

Senior analyst Gary Wong recaps his experience at IFSEC 2012 May 14-17, 2012.
By Gary Wong, Senior Analyst, IMS Research (IHS Inc.) May 28, 2012

Day one of IFSEC 2012 did not get off to a particularly auspicious start, when I arrived at midday I was greeted by the sight of exhibitors prowling the showfloor scoping out the competition (a vision typically reserved for the last day of the show). Fortunately days two and three showed a marked improvement with many booths looking full and busy.

My general perception of this year’s IFSEC was that the showfloor looked smaller and that attendance appeared lower than last year. Whilst the official attendance figures may actually reveal a increase, my sentiments were echoed by many exhibitors at the show. Purely from anecdotal evidence, I suspect diminished economic confidence and the recent proliferation of regional and vertical market specific tradeshows damped interest in IFSEC.

As for trends and exciting new products, only a handful of manufacturers announced anything new and, in my eyes, nobody released anything particularly groundbreaking. A few manufacturers showed a number of interesting tweaks to products and user interfaces but nothing that I would class as a paradigm shift. The lack of new products and announcements at the show may be due to the close proximity of ISC West, Secutech and other regional tradeshows.

As for the theme of the show, there appears to have a been a shift from product to solutions (particularly with the more established vendors). IP video surveillance is no longer new, foreign or scary to most and high double/triple megapixel resolutions, whilst they are stand-fillers, do not really fulfil the actual needs of many show attendees. Increasingly the question being asked is: What can I do with these products?

Manufacturers were keen to show off the diverse range of partners that they collaborate with and/or how their products can be used in various novel (virtual wardrobe mirror) and more traditional (retail ePOS) scenarios.

I believe this theme will continue through the rest of 2012.