So what was the verdict on Infosecurity Europe 2009?
Overall, I thought it a definite success. The feedback I received from both vendors and visitors was positive. The new venue was bigger and quieter (in most places). The programme was wide ranging and entertaining, even a little “edgy” at times. The Hall of Fame expert panel, in particular, was a classic session: lively, controversial and entertaining.
The issues raised throughout the conference were relevant, interesting and thiught provoking. I now see electronic voting and DNS in a new light. I was also particularly pleased that visitors seemed keen to explore relatively new dimensions of security such as human factors, information governance and data integrity. In fact, I felt that a new climate of change is beginning to emerge, which is something that surprised me in an economic climate when everyone seems rushed off their feet.
Many vendors commented to me that they were pleased with outcome: the footfall might have seemed a little lower but the visitors were of a higher quality and more business like, with less time wasting. This might reflect a more mature or perhaps a more hard-pressed customer base. It would be interesting to hear the views of exhibitors.
All of the visitors I spoke to seemed very pleased with the outcome. Many were there to learn rather than judge and they liked the variety in the programme, both in subject matter and format. Some also commented on the fact that the stands seemed to have less hype and more focus on useful services rather than obscure products. Perhaps this reflects a growing maturity of vendors as well as customers in an increasingly tough market. We could certainly do with more events that deliver efficient marketing of relevant products to potential customers. Unlike many things in security, this is a win-win opportunity
The clunky side was the aggressive policing: more of a security guard than a receptionist mentality. If you found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time you were treated like an intruder. We need a better welcome for visitors and somewhere dry, warm and with refreshments to park anyone that happens to arrive early. Earls Court in the rain is not a great place to be. You wouldn’t experience that at a modern location such as Excel. But then Excel is in the middle of nowhere unless you happen to be flying in to London City airport.
But overall the verdict has to be one of a significantly improved event from most perspectives. My congratulations go to the organisers who clearly did a fantastic job.