ISC Quest

In just seven days, professionals from around the world will converge on Las Vegas to show off, talk about and ogle the latest in security products and services at ISC West 2010. And with the economy apparently beginning to stagger back to (relative) normalcy, it will be interesting to see how lively the conference gets.   

This year, the folks at ISC West are aiming to draw in attendees in any way they can. One of the biggest changes is its substantially expanded educational series. The newly-established ISC Education Advisory Board has revamped the show’s curriculum. With the help of manufacturers, end users, integrators and education experts, the advisory board has worked to make the ISC courses more relevant, helpful and interesting than ever before.

Mike Johnson, the director of industry development for Reed Exhibitions, which hosts the ISC tradeshows, said the group’s strategic partnerships will lead to more targeted education this year.

“We’re essentially approaching this with an entirely new philosophy in that we’re working with the industry directly in developing content moving forward,” he said. “This event belongs to our attendees -- and the industry at large -- and we want to work more closely with them so they feel ownership with this, more so than they have in the past. Ultimately, we want to provide a solutions-focused program that matches the needs of all of our people.”

Reed also partnered with members of the PSA Security Network and PSA Security Tech Team, the Security Executive Council and the Security Industry Association to gain even more insight into what industry professionals want.

The new educational tracks include the Signature Series, high-profile sessions that have universal appeal for industry members. I’m most intrigued by “Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History,” which takes place at 1:30 pm on Thursday. The session will reveal how a group of Italian thieves broke into the Antwerp Diamond Center, one of the world’s most secure buildings. In February 2003, the men gained access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of diamonds by breaching a mind-boggling security system.

Incredibly, the building’s security defenses included a specially secured perimeter, locked-down entrances with metal barriers, a CCTV system, guards, light and heat sensors, vibration and motion detectors, and an explosion-proof vault door. Regardless of how they did it, clearly there are some important lessons in this story for the security industry.

The Signature Series also will include a roundtable discussion on security technology in the next decade. During the panel, moderated by Richard Chace from SIA, industry leaders will discuss the products and technology applications that we’ll see being dealt, installed, integrated and ultimately used by the year 2020 -- as long as the Mayans weren’t right. The impressive collection of panelists includes Denis Hebert, the executive vice president of ASSA ABLOY and president and CEO of HID Global; Fredrik Nilsson, the general manager of Axis Communications; and Terence Yap, the vice chairman and CFO of China Security and Surveillance Technology Inc.

“The Look Ahead” will be help at 4 pm on Thursday.

If you’re unsure of what sessions to attend -- or just a little overwhelmed by all the choices -- check out SIA’s new Curriculum Map at Arminda Valles-Hall, the group’s director of education and training, explained that the knowledge assessment tool was designed to help security professionals evaluate how their skills and knowledge rate against top-performers in their industry, focus and role.

“It also identifies a set of industry and business courses that will help take you to that next level of performance,” she said. “It’s a learning map, if you will.”

The re-imagined education series also includes the IP Institute, Crisis Management and Vendor Solutions tracks. It seems like this year’s tradeshow really will offer something for every attendee -- even when they’re not on the show floor.

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety