The Dallas Convention Center was easily the safest place in town this week, as the 56th annual ASIS International seminar had the run of the place, with a showroom full of the latest toys you'd need to spy on the bad guys, liberate the good guys and zap anyone else who's standing in your way.
This year, ASIS (formerly the American Society for Industrial Security) entertained its gathered security managers with a remarkable, bizarre combination of speakers who you'd like to think ended up in a room together at some point: Dave Barry, Pervez Musharraf and Mr. "Miracle on the Hudson" himself, Chelsey Sullenberger, III. What's up now, Get Motivated!?
Though we weren't welcome at the keynote talks, Musharraf used his pulpit to advise any Americans in the audience against pulling out of Afghanistan early, lest we risk repeating the Soviets' mistakes in 1989. "Maybe I've got thick skin, but I can face dangers," he said, or so Security Management magazine reports.
The T-shirts for sale could hardly stand up to the Texas GOP gear at their meet-up last summer (still, that tie-dyed ASIS polo was pretty sweet), but the rest of the exhibit hall was a pretty fascinating place, full of mock game shows, candy trays and little promotional toys to entertain thousands of convention-goers whose real-life jobs are probably actually kind of scary. The showroom was full of companies with vague names that could've been lifted either from Office Space (Tridium, Intergraph) or a Bond villain's business card (The Anvil Group, Third Iris, Inc.). Or for a folksier sort of surveillance op, Uncle Mike's Law Enforcement.
From small-town policing to global counter-terrorism, if you've got problems, someone in that convention hall would've had a solution: "health care solutions," "door opening solutions," interoperable advanced workforce solutions" and even "manhole security" -- which can mean some wildly different things depending on where you are.
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