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RSA 2011: A kinder, gentler showroom floor

Feb 15, 20112 mins
Data and Information Security

SAN FRANCISCO — Exhibitors at RSA Conference 2011 are offering a more laid back presentation this year, and that’s good.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the showroom floor here.

I enjoy some of the more clever efforts at attracting attention, like when one vendor put a laptop in a glass case and dumped a bunch of massive cockroaches on top of the machine. The joke was cheesy (Get it? Bugs in the machine?)but you couldn’t help but spend a long time there staring at those fist-sized critters.

But I’ve never liked the booth babe approach to attracting people. Having a group of women stand around with their cleavage hanging out doesn’t speak to your value as a security vendor. It just says you’ll do about anything to draw people to the booth. The problem is that people are too busy staring at things other than your products.

To be sure, some of that is still on display this year, but it’s a lot less glaring.

I didn’t see as many people dressed as superheroes or robots on my first look around, either.

The displays are much more about letting the technology speak for itself.

I hope it stays that way.

–Bill Brenner