The first IFSEC appearance in South Africa was generally well received and praised by the exhibitors, but as with any show, a few criticisms remain.
IFSEC Securex South Africa 2009 (IFSEC SA) is over. This year's show was the first one wearing the international IFSEC branding and by most accounts it was a success.
Hi-Tech Security Solutions was there, with a fantastic stand – even if we say so ourselves – and our experience was that the visitors streamed in steadily and were of a high calibre, even if it seemed there was less than last year. But that is just our opinion. Hi-Tech asked a few of the exhibitors for their experiences at the show.
"IFSEC 2009 was a pleasant surprise considering the current economical situation. Africa has shown itself as a positive place to do business and this bodes well in these dark and troubling times," said John Lakin, sales manager for HID Sub-Saharan Africa. On HID's stand, the company demonstrated its latest integrated physical and logical access solution, HID on the Desktop. HID on the Desktop improves risk management and physical/data security by allowing users to use the same badge used to open doors to log into their computer.
GeoVision's Mark Marais noted that he experienced fewer visitors at the show, but a larger percentage of them were 'seriously looking for solutions'. This provided fertile ground for the company to promote its GV-Mobile GPS solution, although Marais adds that many people are not that well informed regarding the technical advances in the industry.
Centurion Systems' marketing manager, Adam Butchart compliments the foreign visitors attracted this year, saying, “We received more than three times the number of unsolicited foreign visitors looking to import our products into their countries than the number that what we specifically invited.”
A criticism Marais has, which is echoed by a few of the exhibitors is the perceived lack of marketing and exposure promoting the IFSEC SA event. Cassim Ismail from Connoisseur was in agreement, noting “the show this year was not advertised aggressively as previous years". Ismail was one of the exhibitors who was unhappy with the number of visitors at the event. In addition, he would like to see improved administration and organisation for next year.
A common complaint was the lack of a functional and reasonably priced restaurant or canteen on the show floor. This is not something the organisers can do much about as the Sandton Convention Centre seems determined to charge a captive audience extortionist pricing for poor service. How many organisations can claim they make the prices in Sandton City look reasonable?
Moving back to the show itself. Nicky Scott, sales and marketing manager, at Push To Talk Africa was one of the happier exhibitors, noting that the “attendance was exceptional,” and adding “our stand had exceptional coverage and we had more than enough visitors at our stand. We have received a number of fruitful leads which we are currently following up.”
Saskia Wagner from Trivest says she was “pleasantly surprised at the show, both the size and the quality of visitors. The only concern was that the show was split on two levels and many visitors may not have made it to the second hall. Trivest was promoting its Secusmart call encryption solution (see 'Secure conversations').
Vassen Naicker, is the product specialist for Western Digital Hard Drives at Drive Control Corporation. As a first-time exhibitor, Naicker was impressed at the turnout and the growth opportunities in the industry, as well as the leads he attained over the three days.
“In my opinion we had a better class of client this year, those people who took the time to visit, came with intention and they knew what they were looking for,” said Brian Pautz, CEO of Digi-Lam Systems. “This year we highlighted specific 'Show Specials' and it is the first time that clients placed orders on the stand, some actually paying cash to secure specials.”
On the other hand, Pautz is not sure his company will be back, stating the costs and add-on services such as stand security and signage as reasons.
The reality of hosting any show is that not everyone will be happy. However, the IFSEC SA organisers should be complimented for an overall good effort, especially considering the harsh realities facing all sectors of the economy. Some suggested the show be moved to a different location, but this seems unlikely. Let us hope IFSEC 2010 resolves the criticisms and takes place in an improved economy.
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