Thoughts on ISC West 2023

Last week was my second ISC West and my second trip to Las Vegas. I wrote previously about how we’re long out of the dark days of the pandemic, but I wasn’t prepared for the spectacle of the show floor—not just the exhibitors, but the sheer number of attendees. It’s definitely safe to say that trade shows and large gatherings are back in business.

It’s nice to be able to shake hands and put a face with people with whom you’ve only ever interacted virtually. I politely introduced myself to more than a couple “strangers” only to see their nametag and realize we’ve been emailing back and forth about once every two weeks. It’s also nice to be able to discuss business in the context of small talk and real, human interaction—how’s the weather, how are your kids, how’s the house, and so on.

I also had a stronger set of sea legs (“Vegas legs”?) underneath me from the beginning. Navigating casinos can be something of a challenge—entirely on purpose—and I took note of my new ability to leave for a breakfast event 45 minutes ahead of time and not be 20 minutes late because I zigged when I should have zagged past the roulette table.

I took in the camaraderie of the industry as a whole—the way that different organizations are willing to partner with each other when each really does have something unique to contribute. Safety and security seem like a universally accepted good—especially in campus environments—and the willingness of so many partners to make it a group effort was more than a little heartwarming to see.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at


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