More than 19,300 security professionals from industry, government and law enforcement, along with product manufacturers and service providers from around the world, turned out for the ASIS International 55th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, held in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 21-24. Hosted by ASIS, the leading organization for security management professionals worldwide, this annual forum is the most comprehensive education and networking event in the security industry.
“In these difficult economic times we are pleased that so many security practitioners were able to attend this important professional-development event,” says ASIS President Michael R. Cummings, CPP. “By all accounts the Seminar and Exhibits was a huge success, with attendance down less than 9 percent, despite a vast majority of the industry reporting dramatic cuts in travel and training budgets. As we have done in the past, we are conducting a full independent audit of our registrations and will post the final figures as soon as they become available.”
“Our exhibitors told us that they were pleased with the high quality of our attendees, many of whom are committed professionals with purchasing authority,” Cummings adds. “As the world’s leading security event, ASIS 2009 continued to offer superb educational sessions and the latest technologies, products and solutions, as well as incomparable networking opportunities.”
The Exhibits, which covered more than 230,000 net square feet of the Anaheim Convention Center, offered a one-stop opportunity for key decision makers who rely on this annual event to assess new products and plan security purchases for the coming year. More than 715 companies exhibited thousands of cutting-edge technologies, products and services relating to biometrics, IP technology, thermal imaging, robotics, explosives detection and much more.
This year’s Seminar and Exhibits launched ASIS Accolades, an awards competition that recognizes the security industry’s most innovative new products, services and/or solutions. ASIS invited exhibitors to submit new technology, product or service solutions for evaluation for the first annual competition. A team of judges representing end users and experts in physical security and cyber technologies reviewed more than 130 entries before selecting the top 10 winners.
The wide-ranging education programs offered more than 160 sessions covering security topics and critical issues, as well as core security management best practices and strategies. Attendees were able to select sessions from 15 tracks—which included crisis management, critical infrastructure protection, crime/loss prevention, physical security, homeland security, government/military security, and investigations—to design a personalized program.
ASIS collaborated with the Information Systems Security Association this year to expand the depth of security expertise for members of both organizations. In keeping with a partnership between the two groups, ISSA endorsed a track of 30 information security sessions.
Keynote speakers Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national security adviser under President George W. Bush, and author, actor and cultural icon Ben Stein enlightened and entertained audiences. Capt. Richard Phillips, who became the center of an extraordinary international drama when he was captured by Somali pirates, was the keynote speaker for the CSO Roundtable, the invitation-only group of top security executives from the world’s largest companies.
ASIS 2009 welcomed attendees from 90 countries, including special delegations from Korea and Japan. Additionally, a Federal Aviation Administration security group, also meeting in Anaheim, attended Seminar events, including keynote presentations, the Exhibits and general sessions.
One first-time attendee described her experience at the Seminar as “amazing” and “absolutely phenomenal.” She went on to say that she is looking forward to sharing her experience with her colleagues, as well as making a case that they attend next year.
ASIS 2009 used social media tools for the first time this year, including a Seminar blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These forums provided attendees with expanded coverage of the education sessions, in-depth speaker profiles, and last-minute updates and schedule changes.
Handouts from the educational sessions at ASIS 2009 are available online (password-protected for paid attendees only). Audio recordings from the education sessions will be available online in mid-October (password protected for paid attendees). A DVD of all the sessions or downloads of particular recorded sessions are available online to everyone, for a fee.
Plans for the 56th Annual Seminar and Exhibits, to be held in Dallas from Oct. 12-15 (Tuesday through Friday), are underway. More than 70 percent of the Exhibits space is already sold. The deadline for the call for presentations is March 1, 2010. Click here for more information.