Back in the saddle: Gearing up for Vegas and ISC West

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02/20/2013

ISC West can bring on sensory overload, from the din of the crowd to the glitzy displays to the lower-limb fatigue that comes with keeping yourself upright for eight hours at a stretch. Throw in the never-ending (and endlessly varying) spectacle that is Las Vegas and you have a lot to wrap your head around.

It’s quite a scene, especially for industry newcomers. That was the boat I was in last year for my Vegas initiation, which I’m glad to say resulted in little long-term damage. Aside from sleep deprivation blamed on three nights of frat house auditions in an adjacent hotel room, I emerged none the worse for wear.

Now it’s time to gear up again.

The emails with “ISC West” in the subject line are already flying and appointments are being penciled in. For those who haven’t taken a close look at the calendar lately, it might come as a surprise to learn that a return to the Sands is only seven weeks away. April will be here before you know it, with much to prepare for in the meantime.

With that in mind, I started an ISC planner yesterday. It’s quickly filling up. The educational sessions alone are enough to keep attendees focused squarely on the show instead of what might await after-hours. Here are a few sessions that drew my interest:

— “Staying Connected: Leveraging the Cloud and Mobile Applications for Enhanced Security.” Everything in the world, security included, is going mobile. If you don’t believe it, ask anyone with a smartphone—assuming they’ll look away from it long enough to answer you.

— “Counterfeit Products in the Security Industry: A Very Real Problem for All of Us.” If you don’t think they’re out there, you’re wrong. And like other knockoffs, they’re probably only going to get more difficult to detect.

— “60 Sites, 50 Miles and 5 Key Lessons Learned: How One School District Made the Move to IP Video Surveillance.” In the wake of Newtown this will be a hot-button issue, with an obvious upside for security interests.

— “The Great Debate: What to Use, What to Lose.” Technology is exploding, but "assets" deployed improperly can become expensive liabilities. Jay Hauhn of Tyco Integrated Security and Fredrik Nilsson of Axis Communications will help attendees learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

There are more than 60 educational sessions planned, starting on April 9 and running for three days. There also will be three rotations (April 10-12) of networking on the 200,000-square-foot show floor, so heels are strictly optional (for this writer, anyway). Other common-sense advice for first-timers includes not skipping breakfast—it’s easy to go through a day at the show and realize at 5 p.m. that you haven’t eaten anything—and bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated. For a complete schedule and more survival tips, go to www.iscwest.com.