ESX 2019 wraps up in Indy after memorable event

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06/10/2019

ESX 2019, one the key security industry conferences, wrapped up last week in Indy, with the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and The Monitoring Association (TMA) organizing another great event. As the premier Media Sponsor for ESX each year, Security Systems News is always proud and honored to support the conference.

As I said in my introduction of the opening keynote, it is inspiring to be in a room filled with so many professionals who are so “passionate” about security. This passion is what differentiates them from others, and makes them so successful at what they do. This passion for security is also what made ESX 2019 stand out.

One of the ways that SSN has tried to bring better and more-timely content from key conferences like this is through live videos and social media. Throughout my wrap-up and SSN Managing Editor Ginger Schlueter’s wrap-up coverage you will find links to live videos (mostly SSN Live Twitter Feeds), as well as footage of the SSN Video Interviews that were done on the Expo floor at the ESX Central Stage.

The conference started with what has become a staple at ESX, the Open Exchange Breakfast, which always seems to deliver a high-level content focused on industry specific topics. This year was no different, as ESX Chairman George De Marco moderated an interactive panel that included Alex Pachikov, Founder, Sunflower Labs, and Nate Williams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Kleiner Perkins.

Williams, who founded UNION Labs, spends his time these days discovering the next big businesses at the intersection of Connectivity (IoT), DataScience (AI/ML) and Autonomy/Automation as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kleiner Perkins.

Williams said that “security” is one of those areas that “couldn’t be hotter” as more and more IoT devices are connected and exist on a platform that must be secured. The sensorfication of security, he noted, will continue at an ever-increasing pace, and security is going to need to keep up, even stay one step ahead. And as Silicon Valley continues to innovate in the space, partnerships with these companies can be very advantageous to more traditional players within security.

He also pointed to the potential to mine and use all of the data that is being generated today and in the future — from our phones, our cars, our homes, cities, etc. — pointing out that the “breadth and depth of it is enormous,” noting that the data can help security professionals run their companies smarter and better serve their customers in the process.

When it comes to the truly smart home, Williams pointed out that there is still a “divide between the dream of the connected home and reality.”

Pachikov, who is a founding member and longtime leader of business development at Evernote, has since become a specialist in emerging trends in the mobile and robotics industries. His Sunflower Labs’ company features an autonomous drone-based security solution that he demonstrated for attendees, showing just how far drone technology has come over the past few years. You can tell that he has spent years perfecting the system, overcoming many challenges that first existed for this technology, such as flying in bad weather, which he showed the audience how he was able to overcome.

Pachikov said he believes the “next revolution will come from autonomous drones” because they offer many unique advantages, including:
•    Coverage of large properties (up to 150m radius);
•    Tracking of moving targets;   
•    Proactive deterrence; and
•    Standalone or integrated with existing security systems.

Overall, he said, “The time is right and technology is ready … I am excited to bring this to market.”

As Williams pointed out, ultimately it is about “capturing your customer” and finding out how to address their “pain points” and provide the right solutions for them, whether it is through technology, or services, or both. Pachikov’s drone system is a good example, he said.

Another highlight of ESX this year was the Opening Keynote Luncheon: Making an Impact, which was delivered by the amazingly charismatic Dr. Rick Rigsby (click here for the full keynote), who spoke about how important it is for us to get back to the basic values — kindness, compassion, ethics, morals, decency, to name just a few — that many times get overlooked in today’s “look at me” society we live in.

Dr. Rigsby referred many times his book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” which is based on the timeless common-sense wisdom learned from his father, who as a third grade dropout taught himself how to read and write, all while working for his family at an early age, and supporting and guiding the moral compass of a large family as an adult.

Rigsby was quick with inspirational and thought-provoking quotes throughout his gripping presentation, where he asked attendees to pull their heads out from the insanity of the day-to-day and look at the bigger picture that is life itself. My favorite of his witticisms — “Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity.” For more on Rigsby, I highly suggest you give his keynote a listen — just make sure you have a Kleenex handy!

Moving to the Expo hall, I was able to have some great conversations with many of the exhibitors as well as with many leaders within the industry during the SSN Live Interviews that were conducted on the ESX Central Stage. Below is a short recap and link to the interviews that I did on both days of the Expo floor:

Tuesday, June 4

Ivan Spector, President, and Celia Besore, Executive Director, The Monitoring Association.
During our conversation, these two key leaders of this important organization shared their thoughts on what the association is focusing on these days, how monitoring companies and stations are evolving and what is to come moving forward for professional security monitoring.

Gretchen Gordon, President, Braveheart Sales Performance
Be sure to check out my enlightening conversation with sales performance guru Gretchen Gordon, who shared many secrets of successful companies, including how top companies today are finding and retaining good employees.

Stan Martin, SIAC
It was nice to sit down with the head of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition and get an update on what SIAC is doing to combat the Sandy Springs Alarm Ordinance that has sparked such controversy over the past year.

Jeremy Mclerran, Sr. Director of Marketing at Qolsys Inc.
During our interview, Jeremy tells SSN about the company’s latest panel, which took home First Place in the ESX TechVision Challenge, a culmination of the ESX Innovation Awards, which were given out at the show.

Mark Hillenburg, Executive Director of Marketing, DMP
Mark speaks with SSN about DMP, which took home two ESX Innovation Awards this year.

Wednesday, June 5

Dina Abdelrazik, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates
SSN speaks with Dina about where the smart home is today, including the latest Parks research on smart home adoption, the future for smart home automation and what dealers and monitoring companies need to do to stay on top.

Merlin, Guilbeau, Executive Director and CEO, ESA
Check out my conversation with the head of ESA, who shares with SSN some details on the latest initiatives the organization has going, including a workforce development initiative with SIA that couldn’t come at a more critical time, as this is a major concern for everyone in the industry.

Mike Jagger, President, Provident Security
During my talk with a former ESX keynote speaker who runs a highly successful security company, Jagger shared some refreshing views on the industry that may alter the way you look at topics such as false alarms.

Steve Firestone, President, Select Security
During my talk with the head of one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in security today, Steve shares some of the secrets of Select’s success, as well as some of the areas of focus for ESA, which he serves on the Board of Directors for and helps guide strategy.

In addition, sitting in on the many educational sessions, and having the opportunity to moderate one myself, I was reminded of how important a conference like ESX is in helping to define where we are as an industry, and how we can continue to push the industry forward together — as an industry.

In my session, Installation Performance: On Time, On Budget, On Par for Quality, I had the pleasure of leading a great panel that featured Mike Williams, Project Manager, Security Pros; Cindy Ponder, General Manager, Bates Security; and Shuvankar Roy, Vice President, Xfinity Home.

Each of them pointed out in their own way that the customer is still king, and getting the job done right for them is the first and most overriding priority. Ponder, for example, outlined how the company was able to “create efficiencies and best practices within sales and operations” that have lifted the company to that next level, cutting a 16-week backlog for commercial jobs in half, “empowering staff and lifting morale of staff,” which as she pointed out, is the goal for any company today.

It is sessions like this and speakers like Rigsby that make ESX such a memorable experience.
 

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