Staying abreast of technology developments in the security industry (both successes and disappointments) is of great interest at Butchko, Inc. and one of the reasons we are sought out by clients. We are always looking for new venues and efficient ways to enhance our knowledge and insights. That desire led me to the mountains of Utah, where I attended my first SecurityXchange event last week along with over 130 manufacturers, integrators and consultants. This annual event has run for the past 14 years and is advertised as a forum for one-on-one meetings between executives of integration, consultant and end user companies and manufacturers – like Speed-Dating for the security industry. I have attended other events with this format in the past, so even with recommendations from others my expectations were mediocre going into the conference.
Fortunately, SecurityXchange exceeded my expectations and provided significant value. The key pieces were the diversity of companies represented, the level of advance preparation by both event staff and participants, and the open exchange of information both in and outside of organized meetings during the conference.I knew something was different, when two and a half months before the event, I was interviewed in depth by the event staff regarding my needs, those of my clients, and the types of information from which I would benefit in gaining through the program. All participants contributed this information and the results were shared so that valuable one-on-one meetings could be scheduled before the event. Additionally, preparatory phone meetings were held in the weeks before the on-site event so that general introductions could be handled, leaving more time on-site for serious discussion. I provided overviews of specific issues and challenges to manufacturers during the preliminary discussions. This lead time gave them two to three weeks to gather specific information in response to the questions, so the on-site meetings were more efficient. Beyond the formal meetings, and initial introductions, the stage was set for ad hoc conversations which provided solutions for current projects and opened doors for future work.
In all, of the 12 formal meetings and additional informal meetings I had, the majority produced information and relationships which are already translating into tangible value. I believe one of the main reasons for this was that information was openly shared instead of being presented in a hard-sell framework. Even though direct business deals will result, the discussions involved explanations and problem-solving instead of “let’s make a deal”. Within every supplier discussion, I asked and was given candid and in-depth responses to the question: “what are you bad at and what are your weaknesses?” No one wants to have their solution placed in a situation for which it can’t succeed. In those cases, everyone loses: the end user, consultant, integrator, and manufacturer all end up frustrated, less profitable, and sometimes in litigation. It’s a recipe for disaster our team works to avoid like the plague.
My goal wasn’t to meet with manufacturers that I already know well, although they were well-represented at the event. I focused instead on the technologies and providers where I don’t have a longstanding relationship or identified go-to resource. Topics of interest spanned cloud-based access control (BlueBOX), illuminators (Axton Technologies – and it was amazing to see how enthusiastic the Axton team gets when discussing their vision for advancing this part of the industry), hands-free biometrics (Coprometro USA & FST Biometrics), managed power (LifeSafety Power & Altronix), specialized video (Digital-Watchdog & DRS Technologies) to name a few.
Maybe it was the high altitude or the beautiful mountain setting, but I left Utah energized and armed with a list of new resources to share with our clients. SecurityXchange was definitely worth the trip.