Post-Show Coverage: Intersec Awards 2023


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James Thorpe, Editor, International Security Journal looks back on a memorable night at the Intersec Awards 2023.

On 18 January 2023, leading figures from the security, fire and safety industries gathered for the Intersec Awards at the prestigious Ritz Carlton DIFC in Dubai to celebrate product innovation, individual accomplishment and business achievement.

Alongside my colleagues from International Security Journal and International Fire & Safety Journal,  including IFSJ Editor and fellow Intersec Awards Judge, Iain Hoey – as well as newly appointed Managing Editor, Duncan J. White – I had the pleasure of directly interacting with business leaders, independent consultants and association heads who are all playing their part in the ongoing development and growth of key markets in the Middle East and beyond.

H.E. Khalifa Ibrahim Al Saleis, CEO, Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), H.E. Dr Mohamed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cybersecurity Council, UAE Government and Turki Bin Matooq Al Thonayan, Chief Executive Officer, The National Security Services Company (SAFE) were amongst the delegates who attended this memorable evening of networking and celebration.

Recognising excellence

The Intersec Awards – which were established to recognise the exceptional performance of people, products and companies across ten categories – attracted almost 1,300 entries for the 2023 instalment.

Joined by my fellow judges Eng. Arif Mohammad Al Janahi, Director of Security Engineering Dep., SIRA, John Cowling, Independent Security Consultant, Howard Leedham, Principal, ESID DMCC and Yacine Benamane, MENA & Iran Senior Regional Security Manager, Unilever (and Vice Chair of ASIS Dubai Chapter), prior to the event, we were put to the assignment of individually reviewing submissions from leading brands and on behalf of influential people. This process was repeated for the fire and safety categories by a separate set of independent judges.

From a product perspective, we were judging submissions for Homeland Security Product/Service of the Year, Commercial & Perimeter Security Product/Service of the Year, Cybersecurity Product/Service of the Year and Security Sustainability Product/Service of the Year. For these categories, we considered the technical components of each product/solution, their capability and performance whilst also taking into account how innovative and valuable they were to the industry.

After much deliberation, the security category winners were:

  • Homeland Security Product/Service of the Year: EnforceAir: D-Fend Solutions’ Counter-Drone Technology – D-Fend Solutions
  • Commercial & Perimeter Security Product/Service of the Year: OPTEX REDSCAN Pro LiDAR series – OPTEX Europe LTD
  • Cybersecurity Product/Service of the Year: Managed Detection and Response services powered by AI platform – AIsaac – Atos
  • Security Sustainability Product/Service of the Year: Offsetting the carbon of the Electronic Security Manufacturing sector – Secure Logiq

In the fire and safety product categories, the judging panel – consisting of Terry Johnson, Manager Crisis Preparedness & Emergency Response – Group HSE Department, ENOC, Rob Davies, Operations Director – Advisory Services, WSP in the Middle East, Vidur Berry, Projects Manager (Engineering Specialist), FM Global, Ghaith Bakir, Senior Regulatory Engineer, UL and, of course, Iain Hoey – came to the following verdict:

  • Fire Product/Service of the Year: Protec Cirrus HYBRID Aspirating Fire and Smoke Detector – Protec Fire Detection
  • Exceptional Community Service & Well-being: Lost and found – Dubai Police
  • Fire & Safety Sustainability Product/Service of the Year: Eco Land And Eco Sea – Detectionloop
  • Safety Product/Service of the Year: chnnl – chnnl

“An honour to reward and celebrate these achievements”

The people categories, as explained by event organisers Messe Frankfurt Middle East, were designed to recognise and reward those who ‘challenge industry standards, are exceptionally skilled at inspiring transformation and bringing about substantial change and who have achieved great success as industry experts in their particular field.’

Across the disciplines of security, fire and safety, the people categories were fine-tuned so that four unique awards would recognise the individuals making a real difference.

The award for Outstanding Commitment to the Industry went to Adil Abdel-Hadi, Aman Security Training, for proactively raised the professionalism of the security industry throughout the Middle East and Africa. One way in which he achieved this was by introducing City & Guilds accredited training courses for both SIRA and the Dubai Police Academy, which have benefited over 200,000 vocational students.

Commenting on the award win, Abdel-Hadi told me: “It is a great honour and great trust from the industry to award me this. Whilst I know that I am not the only one who is committed to the industry, I am really proud to receive this award.” He also described the feeling as “overwhelming”.

Les Allan, Chairman of the Association of University Chief Security Officers and winner of the International Leader of the Year award also commented: “I am absolutely thrilled to win this very prestigious award. I am deeply honoured to receive recognition in this category, especially when considering the spectrum of nominations that came in for this, up against a very credible and valuable set of competitors.

“This award is very much a recognition, not just of the work that I do as Chairman of the association that I am representing, but of all the good people that give up their free time to contribute to making the higher education security industry across the world as good as it is.”

Elsewhere, Khalid Al Khatib, CEO of NAFFCO was selected as Regional Leader of the Year and Essa Ahmed Al-Mutawa of Dubai Civil Defence was hailed as a rising star, receiving the Young Emirati Achiever Award.

Al-Mutawa told the team at Messe Frankfurt: “I feel extremely honoured to receive the award; it will help me try to think positively and to give more to my work and company.” Al-Mutawa paid tribute to Intersec 2023, adding: “I would like to thank everyone who works for this great event.”

“Security, safety and fire protection play a vital role in the world and the stars of the industries deserve to be celebrated,” said Alex Nicholl, Show Director at Messe Frankfurt Middle East.

“The calibre of entries for the Intersec Awards this year was incredible, demonstrating the commitment and innovation of people and companies to driving advancement across the board. It is an honour to reward and celebrate these achievements and I send my congratulations to all of our winners.”

On behalf of the team at International Security Journal and International Fire & Safety Journal, congratulations once again to the award winners and all those recognised for their contributions to the industry. And, for those who couldn’t attend the awards, make sure you book your place for 2024 – we’ll see you there!

The Intersec Awards are part of Intersec 2023, which took place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 17th – 19th January.

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