Uniting for the safety and wellbeing of future generations

Christine Davidson

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International Security Journal looks ahead to Intersec 2022 with Christine Davidson, Group Exhibitions Director at Messe Frankfurt Middle East.

How has Intersec evolved since its creation?

From humble beginnings in 1999, when it featured 61 exhibitors from 13 countries, Intersec has developed into a global powerhouse and in 2022, in its 23rd edition, the three-day event is set to welcome more than 1,100 exhibitors from 135 countries.

Intersec’s growth and evolution coincides with many of the exhibitors that have been with the show from the beginning. 

UAE-based NAFFCO, for example, a founding partner, exhibited at the very first edition of Intersec and since then has been a mainstay in the event, becoming one of the world’s leading suppliers of life and fire safety solutions, with a global network spanning over 100 countries. 

In its customary dates at the beginning of every year, Intersec is a pivotal event in the industry calendar and remains the preferred platform for hundreds of new product launches from global manufacturers and we’re expecting more of the same in 2022. 

Its real value is in the connections that have developed over time, where innovators, end users and government agencies come together to collaborate, share knowledge and learnings and prepare for future challenges.

Intersec has grown in size and scope over the past 23 years, keeping pace with and reflecting the tremendous transformation in the regional safety and security market.

This year, Intersec takes a huge step forward as a nod towards its evolution to a multi-level interactive and inter-connective event that will host some of the most important product launches, industry stakeholder discussions and future focused content.

What can visitors expect to see at Intersec 2022?

Intersec will return with its seven product sections of Commercial Security, Cyber Security, Homeland Security & Policing and Perimeter & Physical Security, Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services, Safety, Health and Wellbeing. Intersec is the nexus and the only event of its kind to bring all of the key stakeholders together in one place.

Uniting for the safety and wellbeing of future generations is the theme and our common goal for Intersec 2022 and it’s our intention to bring together again the entire global community of security, emergency response, safety and wellbeing once again in Dubai for its 23rd edition.

Future foresight, bilateral cooperation and next generation tech is on the agenda for next year and we’re preparing an exciting three-day programme of value-added conferences focusing on key pillars such as cybersecurity, homeland security, agile first response command and control, safe secure future cities, safeguarding critical infrastructure. Simulations of live case study scenarios, demonstrations and interactive sessions will provide in-depth access to best practice, innovation and thought leadership from global industry specialists.

Digital asset protection, tech disruption and innovation will feature heavily with talks, pitches, presentations and activations by experts.

While huge construction investments are underway, such as in Saudi, the benefits of technology are obvious but there is a gap between desire, knowledge, finance and ability to integrate systems and human capital. Whilst dealing with maturing infrastructure and the challenges that presents, future urban environments are changing and will place new demands on cities of the future. The pace of change is rapid and to keep up, upgrades and retrofit is needed.

Whilst we look to the future, it is essential we also take time to review and reflect on the past 12 months. The industry needs to take stock, share learnings and discuss the necessary changes to procedures and operations. Other sectors have been disrupted by the pandemic but this industry is frontline and consequently has experienced massive transformation which will continue as it futureproofs against new threats.

The programme is comprehensive and carries over 250 speakers from heads of governments to security, cyber, policing, safety and emergency experts. From top level homeland strategy to command and control, intelligence, forensics and ransomware attacks. Intersec 2022 delivers a wealth of knowledge sharing, networking and business opportunities at a time that the industry needs it.

How important is bilateral cooperation within the security industry?

It’s hugely important and it’s why bilateral cooperation is a key sub-theme for Intersec 2022. We’re expecting more than 1,700 government attendees next year, all of whom are absolutely keen to reconnect with the industry and source the latest solutions to protect people and assets. 

Recent regional developments such as the Abraham Accords and renewed relations between the GCC states have also highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation and our focus for 2022 is to present the platform for our stakeholders to show how a collaborative approach can improve security, emergency response, safety and wellbeing in a post-pandemic world. 

The challenges presented by the pandemic have driven rapid digital transformation by government to meet the needs of citizens, the emergency services, safety and security sectors have played a critical role in ensuring continuity and a return to economic recovery. Intersec 2022 will provide a platform for exchange of strategies and success stories to further support bilateral cooperation.  

What COVID guidelines/precautions will be in place at the show?

Since July 2020, live, physical, in-person events have returned to Dubai and we’re happy to say that stringent measures have been applied across airplanes, airports, in the city and at the Dubai World Trade Centre venue to help ensure the safety of all exhibitors and visitors.

Intersec 2022 safety guidelines and precautions will adhere to the rules and regulations laid out by government authorities. These include, but are not limited to, the mandatory wearing of face masks at all times, strict adherence to social distancing, contactless entry with digital or print-at-home badges and regular provision of sanitisers throughout the show. 

Do you think the pandemic has highlighted the value of in-person events?

Absolutely. Over the last year, we’ve learned that, while virtual events have been useful to keep our communities connected, there is an overwhelming desire to reconnect in person in a safe and secure environment.

At the outset of the pandemic, Intersec pivoted to the digital world, launching our webinar series that are still ongoing and that have connected thousands of professionals virtually via panel discussions, presentations and live virtual Q&A interactions.

We’ve also launched our Interseclive365.com digital community platform which keeps global security, cybersecurity, safety and fire protection professionals connected 365 days a year.

Interseclive365 is an important step in Intersec’s own evolution and is a valuable compliment to the physical, in-person event that takes place every January. 

I have attended many of the events at Dubai World Trade Centre this year and am pleased to see international exhibitors and visitors back in Dubai and happy to be here. All of the people I have spoken with at these events expressed their confidence in the safety measures in hotels, on flights, in the venue and the shows.

Face to face interaction is so important, a fact that everyone recognises now more than ever before. I share the Intersec team’s enthusiasm to return to the show floor to welcome our global clients and partners and friends back in a safe and secure way.

How will Intersec 2022 help to ensure the safety and wellbeing of future generations?

By presenting that all important platform that promotes bilateral cooperation between governments, private and semi-private institutions.

Increased infrastructure investment, ongoing perceived external threats, stringent government regulations and new technology adoption has put the regional security market in a good position.

We’re seeing greater integration between IP-based security systems in the market, such as surveillance, access control, fire and intrusion detection, which is simplifying security management and increasing cost efficiency. 

There’s a greater requirement for a solutions-focused approach rather than a product-centric one and the demand for smart storage and high image compression technology will continue to rise.

The preference for cloud-based storage and access control will continue to grow and with the increased complexity of security requirements, integrated and centralised management of security systems are gaining momentum as they enable users to manage all security systems on one common platform.

All these solutions will be on show at Intersec 2022 and will play an important role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of future generations.

Could you provide a selection of the companies that are already confirmed to exhibit please?

The floorplan is looking very healthy, close to 75% full with some six months to go. There are still travel restrictions in place in some countries of course, however exhibitors are telling us they need to do business and are confidently confirming their participation. International pavilions usually seen on the show floor are also returning in a positive step towards getting back to business.

Some of the world’s leading security solutions players including Hikvision, Hanwha Techwin, IDIS, March Networks, Genetec and Mobotix. For fire and rescue, NAFFCO, Hochiki, Bristol and Fomtec.  Others include Bodet, Carrington Textiles, Nedap, digifort, Gatekeeper, Came, Johnson Controls and Astrophysics.

Why should a company exhibit at Intersec 2022?

Over the past 22 years Intersec has seen the quality of its audience increase dramatically. In 2020, nearly 90% of the of 34,000+plus visitors from 136 countries had direct purchasing influence on security, fire, cyber and safety products, of which 55% were top level management.

Increasing infrastructure investment, government regulations and a large inflow of non-oil investment will act as catalysts for security growth in the coming years, accentuated by a post-pandemic spending spree.

Certainly in the GCC, major global events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 is putting the spotlight on the need for added infrastructure security investment to protect critical assets along with tens of millions of people expected to visit the region and attend the events. 

Hospitality, entertainment, retail, even healthcare and education are examples of peripheral industry verticals that will also benefit from added government infrastructure spend and all will require their own forms of commercial security, providing added opportunities for the world’s solutions’ providers. 

In Saudi, major economic reforms in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will also play a vital role in its construction industry, while increased security will be necessary at religious locations and in particular for the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

But Intersec is a truly international show, with more than 60% of visitors coming from outside of the GCC. All this means high value connections from across the globe. 

In what ways is Intersec helping to promote the role that women play in the security industry?

The role of women in security continues to grow in prominence and at Intersec, this is reflected by expert female voices that have participated in our webinar series over the last year or so.

We’ve also just launched our Intersec Threat Talk webinar series in partnership with the Security Institute and these will have regular insights from female institute members that also hold high commercial or public positions in their respective fields. 

Finally, expect to see, as has always been the case, a large proportion of female speakers and delegates at the Intersec 2022 conferences in January next year.

Our own team is no exception – we have strong, confident and skilled females heading up both intersec Dubai and intersec Saudi Arabia.

What topics will be discussed by global experts and influencers as part of your conference programme?

The Intersec conference programme is still under production, but within the programme we’ll expand upon the overarching theme of the show, which is uniting for the safety and wellbeing for future generations and presenting the latest technologies and innovations that are making this happen. All conferences will have CPD accreditation from the Security Institute. 

How is Intersec 2022 incorporating the Dubai government’s vision for the next 50 years?

I think this can be best summed up by the words of one of our government partners, SIRA, in support of the show next year. 

H.E. Khalifa Ibrahim Al Saleis, CEO and Executive Director for SIRA said: “Intersec plays a critical role in bringing together international public and private enterprises, where for three days under one roof, the latest cutting edge security technologies are on display.

“There are nearly 2,000 security providers and more than 50,000 security professionals in Dubai and SIRA’s support of and participation at Intersec, enables us to share our latest developments, including new laws and regulations that help maintain Dubai’s status as one of the world’s safest cities. SIRA is committed to strengthening the level of its security guards and regulations across Dubai, with improved manpower and smarter, more integrated services. Dubai is known for being one of the safest places in the world and at Intersec 2022, SIRA will demonstrate how we intend to keep it that way.

“We look forward to meeting the global commercial security community at the 23rd edition of Intersec at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where we can exchange ideas, share knowledge and collaborate for a sustainable, safer, smarter and more connected world.”

Which individuals and organisations are officially supporting the event?

We have the long-standing support of our government partners, the Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police Academy, SIRA (Security Industry Regulatory Agency) and the Dubai Municipality. 

They have been Intersec’s official partners for many years and their support is crucial as we continue to expand the show together, which becomes even more important with major events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 draw ever closer and the need to keep critical infrastructure, physical and digital assets and people safe with the latest security equipment and technology.

Intersec is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

1-ISJ- Uniting for the safety and wellbeing of future generations
Christine Davidson

Intersec 2022 will take place from 16-18 January 2022 in Dubai, UAE. For more information about the event, please visit: https://intersec.ae.messefrankfurt.com/dubai/en.html


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