Are attendees at the ASIS trade show becoming more business-savvy? Have they mastered the technology basics and moved on to more complex issues of how various products can be used to help their businesses?
One exhibitor at ASIS 2014 in Atlanta says they have, and the change is impacting how the company displays its products. “Boon Edam has been exhibiting at ASIS for 15 years, and we have observed a new trend in how our customers approach us today versus just a few years ago,” says Mark Borto, president and CEO, Boon Edam, which supplies a range of entrance technologies including turnstiles, revolving doors and portals. “In the past, most customers would see a security revolving door and ask, ‘How does this thing actually work?’ We realised it was essential to do live demonstrations of tailgating or piggybacking to ensure customers really ‘get it.’ We also observed they didn’t understand the impact of a security entrance on such factors as throughput, fire egress, access control and, ultimately, on their organization as a whole.”
In contrast, today the personnel in Boon Edam’s trade show booth spend less time educating attendees about products and more time talking about enterprise implementation and standardization across multiple cities and even countries. Borto says most booth visitors understand how the entrance product works; now they ask “How can I get your products installed in Sweden, Germany, the UAE and India?” Customers also want to know how they can standardize on a product and implement it in a scalable way across multiple locations, tying it into enterprise-level software, he adds.
"Our future product innovations
“Our future product innovations will directly address the needs of this growing group of more sophisticated customers, demanding more from physical security,” adds Borto. He sees greater demand for new innovations to control and monitor physical security products seamlessly, such as IP capabilities, event notifications and automation.
Borto suggests that the security entrance market is progressing along the “innovation adoption lifecycle” bell curve (as theorised by Everett Rogers) from the “early adopters” to the “early majority” phase. “More people are aware of the threat of tailgating, how physical security provides a solution, and the overall impact of that solution,” contends Borto. (Given that turnstiles and revolving doors have been around for decades, one might question why the “early adoption” stage was so long, although granted there have been a lot of technology improvements and enhancements over the years.)
I wonder if the trend toward more sophisticated buyers is a reflection of the evolution of physical security and access control into a more technology-centric market. Or maybe the role of security professionals inside an enterprise is becoming more aligned with the overall goals of the enterprise – we keep hearing that it is. Wonder if any other exhibitors at the end user-focused ASIS show have noticed such a change. Wonder if similar trends are obvious at ISC West (dealer-focused), or at the international Essen and/or IFSEC shows? No doubt about it, we’re a changing market. No surprise if the typical trade show attendee is reflecting those changes.