INTERVIEW: Sherida Sessa, Industry Vice President, ISC Events, Connected Security Expo & Unmanned Security Expo

INTERVIEW: Sherida Sessa, Industry Vice President, ISC Events, Connected Security Expo & Unmanned Security ExpoFindBiometrics President Peter O’Neill recently spoke with Sherida Sessa, Industry Vice President, ISC Events, Connected Security Expo & Unmanned Security Expo. ISC Events hosts the leading security industry trade show, ISC West, which FindBiometrics reports form live every year. The following interview begins by examining what’s driving interest the in access control market, and why biometric solutions were the most exciting products on the exhibition floor this year. The conversation also covers the show’s best new product—CrucialTrak’s BACS Quattro multimodal biometrics device—talks about increased presence of robotics and drone technology at the conference, and ends with a discussion on the convergence between physical and information security.

Read our full interview with Sherida Sessa, Industry Vice President, ISC Events, Connected Security Expo & Unmanned Security Expo:


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Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): ISC West seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year and I understand this year was another record breaker in terms of attendance. Please tell us what is driving this interest in access control?

Sherida Sessa, Industry Vice President, ISC Events & Connected Security Expo (ISC): Well, access control is one of the fastest growing segments of the industry right now which is really exciting for the show. In terms of just general security, it is obviously a very hot time for the industry. I would have to say that the real increase in the biometric offerings that are out there are drawing a lot of attention to access control as a whole. As a result, some of our most exciting new products that we saw at the event this year were centered around biometrics and access control.

FB: I understand it was indeed a biometric access control company that won the award for the top new product at the show?

ISC: It was. That was CrucialTrak and it was their multimodal biometric access control system which beat out about 120 other products across almost 30 different categories. Considering all of the technology that is coming online in the connected space, of course video surveillance is always moving quickly and innovating, and then the whole new area that we had with drones and robots, it speaks volumes that that biometric access control system beat out all of those other technologies at the show.

FB: This was my fifteenth year attending ISC West and reporting from the show floor and so much has changed in that time especially, as you mentioned, major evolutions in mobility, connectivity, biometrics of course, but also very interesting to see robotics and drones at the show. Do you think this reflects accurately what is going on in the security market as a whole?

ISC: Definitely. We try very hard to make sure that we are on the forefront of what is happening in the market; it is a constant process of innovation for us as we plan the show. We watch industry trends and try to be just ahead of them so that we are bringing the most cutting edge technology to our attendees. This year it was all about the drones and the ground robots, which are a very tangible reflection of the opportunities integrating physical security with cyber security & IoT/connected functionality. I’m sure you have heard there was a change in the FAA regulations part 107 back in June of 2016 that really catapulted the aerial vehicles opportunity into the commercial sector here. We were able to quickly pivot and make sure that we were addressing that segment at the show, both from an exhibits and educational perspective We had a full theatre with scheduled sessions for people that were free to attend because that is how strongly we feel that the information needs to get out there. We also had a whole array of exhibits that accompanied the education, as well as some flight and ground demos.

Our other area of focus to address market trends is the Connected Security Expo which we were fortunate enough to launch last year. That whole area of the show is addressing exactly what is happening in everybody’s life and especially in the security industry, where we are really needing to bridge the gap between the physical world and the digital world. We need to look at securing our organizations and our businesses from a holistic perspective not just from one side or the other. The lines are clearly blurred and we’re looking forward to straightening it out for the industry.

FB: We really see the world the same as you do because we report a lot on the convergence between physical, logical, mobile on large scale deployments, and this does present some challenges to the industry, and it is nice to see that ISC West is addressing these challenges. Do you see it as your role to facilitate the discussion around these big changes in our industry?

ISC: Absolutely, we make it our goal to bring forward looking speakers to the show, and you saw that with Phil Celestini, the FBI cybersecurity section chief who did the opening keynote, and Mathew Rosenquist, our second keynote speaker from Intel who is a cybersecurity strategist as well. Mr. Rosenquist commented to us that “ISC West is the first conference to embrace the cyber + physical security convergence and continues to be a leader.” We’re pleased to see this resonating, as the trade show world is where the industry comes together to have these hard discussions and to learn from each other, and to talk to the thought leaders and the experts in these areas. So, we absolutely see it as our role to help facilitate that discussion and make sure it is worth everyone’s while to come out and spend a week with us.

FB: Congratulations on another very successful event. It is one of my favorite conferences and we attend a lot around the globe every year. I know that the biometric companies that we talk to there were all very excited and very positive about the show. So, congratulations again on a wonderful conference.

ISC: Oh, thank you so much and thank you for being there. We are really looking forward to working with you more closely going forward.