Security professionals from 109 countries gathered in Orlando, September 12-15 for the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2016), the profession's most comprehensive education program and security marketplace. The event, which was co-located with the (ISC)2 Security Congress and InfraGard 20th Anniversary Congress & Conference, attracted more than 22,000 registrants, representing 10% growth from the previous year. Keynotes by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson and FBI Director James B. Comey underscored key conference themes, specifically the rise of lone wolf attacks, the risk of a cyberattack on critical infrastructure, and the need for greater public-private sector collaboration.
"In addition to my volunteer leadership role, first and foremost I am a security management professional," said David C. Davis, CPP, 2016 president, ASIS International. "From the tradeshow floor to the formal education program, the depth of learning offered at this year's event was astonishing. As a result, attendees and exhibitors were able to hold meaningful conversations about the current threat landscape, the new tools and solutions available, and how to best support each other's goals."
The four-day program, which also featured keynotes by Ted Koppel and Elliott Abrams, included more than 250 education sessions, the first U.S. Outstanding Security Performance Awards, and inspiring remarks by Everest survivor Dr. Beck Weathers. In addition, ASIS 2016 showcased 550 exhibitors, providing attendees with hands-on access to security technology addressing the full spectrum of threats including drone detection, body worn cameras, autonomous security robots, cyber intrusion detection software, 4K cameras, data analytic tools, and more. 80% of ASIS 2016 exhibitors have already rebooked for ASIS 2017, convening Sept. 25-28 in Dallas.
New this year, InfraGard co-located its annual Congress and Conference with ASIS 2016 and will continue the partnership in Dallas in 2017. Both Secretary Johnson and Director Comey identified the need for greater private-public sector collaboration, which this relationship exemplifies.
"With increased terror threats both domestically and globally, collaboration with the public, government, and private sector is critical to the security of our citizens, as well as vital infrastructure," said Gary Gardner, chairman, InfraGard Board of Directors. "Partnering with ASIS ensures our collective memberships have access to the intelligence and current threat assessments needed to protect and provide resilience for the communities in which we serve."
In conjunction with the event, ASIS held a free Community Preparedness and Prevention Seminar as part of its inaugural Security Week. Supported by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection, the program educated Orlando community leaders and small business owners on the fundamentals of security, soft-target protection, and crisis preparedness. In addition, ASIS provided free access to the conference and expo for all active duty military, law enforcement, and first responders as part of Law Enforcement and Military Appreciation Day. ASIS rounded out its community outreach with the ASIS Foundation School Security Funding Competition, providing Lake Brantley High School with a $22,000 donation for security upgrades and $19,000 of in-kind security equipment and improvements.
"As the global organization representing more than 35,000 security professionals worldwide, ASIS is distinctly positioned to deliver a dynamic security event that is truly by the industry, for the industry," said ASIS International CEO Peter J. O'Neil, who took the helm of the association earlier this year. "I was inspired and energized by the passionate community of security professionals who convened in Orlando last week. While our annual conference delivers unparalleled value in information sharing, networking, and exposure to cutting edge technology, our constituents can rest assured that we are committed to evolving and modernizing the event's content, format, and events to meet the rapidly changing needs of today's security professionals. We look forward to building on this year's success in Dallas next September."