Attending GSX 2022
From Commerce Lake to Atlanta – We’re Headed to GSX
COVID is finally under control enough where we’re starting to see trade shows coming back to life. ISC West was much better this year than GSX and ISC West in prior years, so I really expect that GSX 2022 will be better than ISC West – at least as far as overall attendance year over year with the same show (GSX compared to GSX). ISC West is always the better show overall; and if you can only go to one security show, ISC West is where it is at – plus, it’s in Vegas, baby!
Back to GSX though – this year it is in Atlanta, which brings back memories. I have been to a few GSX shows, including several when it was called ASIS, and I am pretty sure a previous year was also in Atlanta. In fact, I think Savance even had a booth back then! That may have been the year we split a booth with RFIdeas. What sucks about getting old is that it all runs together and you start to forget the specifics if it’s been more than a year or two – so I’m excited to see what Atlanta has to offer (again)!
This year, Savance is sending four of us: myself, the lowly President and CEO; Sam Loria, our Sales Manager, who heads up strategic partnerships; John Loria, our Sales Executive; and Robert Joseph, one of our technical leads. These guys are local to Michigan, so we’re all flying out together and staying together. We’ve built up a pretty good friendship over the years, so it’s fun to get the group together. In fact, on Fridays, I invite the local team out to my dock on Commerce Lake, buy everyone lunch and drinks, and we work the day on the lake. It’s a pretty good setup out there – plenty of outdoor seating, power, high speed wireless Internet, fridge, waverunners, a pontoon, and just about everything you need to be productive!
Spending time together on Fridays has been a great chance to bond with the team, enjoy the summer, and still get a lot done. We have started calling the pontoon the “conference room” since that’s the best place to have an important web conference that doesn’t pick up the sound of the water and our neighbors! It’s an inspiring day too, as we seem to feed off each other’s energy, and then turn that into actionable items. It’s a nice change from the COVID days, that’s for sure – so this year, some of the regulars from our Friday dock days will be spending some time together in Atlanta! On one of the Fridays, we hunted for a vrbo / airbnb close to the Georgia Convention Center. I think it’s then when a few of us learned what the term “gentrification” means. Many of the places right by the Convention Center are making it known that they are in the midst of gentrification. So we might be at a nice place based on the pictures, but next door might be a run down drug house, and the other side could be a liquor store with bars on the windows! We’re not 100% sure what we’re going to get, but we’re banking on the good reviews. Our #1 goal was to find something within walking distance to GSX; let’s hope it’s safe enough to still walk when it’s dark (and light too) out! We found a pretty nice place – you can check it out here. If you haven’t found lodging, it seems like the way to go if you have more than a couple people attending. John volunteered to cook us a meal, so we’re hoping we can take him up on that!
As for GSX, I’m most excited to see everyone again, and introduce John and Robert to some of the people they may or may not have met over the phone, but are our good partners. As you work in the security industry, the industry gets smaller. You recognize most of the organizations, and you know a lot of the people. You build up friendships overtime and it’s nice to have a gathering that brings most of those people together. It’s also a good chance to build stronger friendships and actually meet people face-to-face that you’ve met over the phone or over a Zoom. Let’s be honest: business is still personal, no matter what anyone tells you. I’d much rather work with someone I like than with someone I loathe. So it excites me to take such a good group with me this year to have a chance to build lasting relationships at all different levels: First, internally: us getting to know one another better. That’s always good. Second, with our vendors, including new vendors. Our job is to learn about their products and their go to market strategy and their challenges, and make sure we directly align to help fully support those efforts, but more specifically how to navigate within their organization to educate as many people on how we work together and how to help identify opportunities that will help us each gain more business together. Third, with our integrators/resellers. Many of them have done multiple projects with us, or maybe just one, or maybe we just did a web demo for a project they’ve worked on in the visitor management or mustering/emergency management space integrated with an access control system. Either way, it’s our chance to meet them, thank them, educate them, and help support them too. Many of these people are friends already, or it gives us a chance to build a friendship with them. It’s awesome really. The best part is that we have two newbies, and we have myself and Sam, who are veterans. So it’s a chance to share our knowledge and get them excited about the industry, too – and see how our products fit in so nicely, and are in such high demand. It reminds me of recharging your batteries – as every year leaving the show, we come back with loads of new ideas and refreshed, knowing our product is a perfect fit for the industry and in very high demand.
Just this week, we signed the team up for ISC East and ISC West. We’re currently planning on only attending, though we do keep tossing around the idea of having a booth presence again. A few years back, we made the decision that it’s better to invest the money into building stronger partnerships with our access control partners vs. having a small booth at a big show hoping we get the attention of a few integrators that may not even be a good fit for our solutions. As we get larger, people keep asking us about our booth, and it makes us wonder if we should have a presence again just as a hub for our partners to come find us. I’m sure it’s inevitable, but I’m not going to lie, it’s nice to come down without having to set up a booth, and have people tending to the booth each day. We still get so much more out of spending quality time walking the floor. Only time will tell what the future holds, but at least for now, we’re walking the floor and excited to do so! Can’t wait to see everyone and enjoy the trip down to Atlanta. It also happens to be my 45th birthday (on the 15th of September). So it’s kind of a warm up act for my birthday celebration that better be waiting for me when I get home! Let’s be honest, at 45, I’ll be lucky to get a card from my wife! Who am I kidding! That’s probably why I think GSX and Atlanta are such a big highlight!