Industry leaders gather for inaugural Dubai conference


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On 25 of May, 276 senior security professionals gathered at The Grosvenor Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE for the inaugural ISJ Leaders in Security Conference.

The conference undoubtedly lived up to its name as leaders from every corner of this innovative regional hub of modern security met under one roof to discuss some of the key issues shaping the industry.

Inside the Windsor Ballroom at The Grosvenor Hotel, an ideal networking space had been created to facilitate interaction and high level networking amongst delegates and exhibitors. As well as International Security Journal’s stand, the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), MOBOTIX – Platinum Partners for the ISJ Leaders in Security conference – ACRE, Morse Watchmans, Astrophysics and MVP Tech had the opportunity to showcase their exhibition materials and products in-person.

As the doors opened to the conference room itself, a true feeling of connection and discussion was then carried through into the main hall as delegates took their seats amongst peers working across a variety of sectors in the security industry.

And, as the discussions and presentations began – with the assistance of a dedicated translation team – it was ensured from start to finish that all of those in attendance could benefit from such sophisticated conversation, regardless of whether they were being presented in Arabic or English.   

How the discussion unfolded

During the pre-conference process of engaging with speakers and developing an information-packed agenda, one of the fundamental components of the ISJ Leaders in Security conference was to shine a light on the most pressing topics influencing the MEA region whilst drawing on a wealth of global perspectives. Not only was this key tenet reflected in the level of discussion which took place throughout the day, it enabled a high level of targeted networking that made the conference truly individual – and one to look out for in 2023.

After opening addresses from Ian Stokes, CEO, Centurian Media and John Cowling, Conference Chair, delegates had the pleasure of hearing a keynote address from H.E. Khalifa Ibrahim Al Saleis, CEO of SIRA which focused on the historical origins of SIRA and how the security sector has evolved within the Emirate of Dubai.

Following these insightful introductions and blessings, Yacine Benamane, Security Manager, Unilever, North Africa & Middle East chaired the opening panel, ‘Re-Calibrating the Supply Chain’, which saw Dr. Wilson Esangbedo, National President, ALPSPN, Matt Horrox, Director, Continuity Strategy and Sorana Parvulescu, Partner, Control Risks come together to explore how business leaders can collaborate with one another and ensure that the supply chain is stabilised and futureproofed in light of geopolitical tensions and logistical issues.

Throughout the rest of the day, Phillip Antoniou, VP Sales EMEA, MOBOTIX, Mo Ahddoud, CEO, Chameleon Cyber Consultants and Amit Mehta, Cyber Security Advisory Practice Lead, Mastercard explored ‘Cyber Security and Data Management’, a topic further highlighted for its importance with the arrival of H.E. Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security, UAE Government.

‘Critical Infrastructure’ was the focus of discussion for William Brown, Director, Control Risks, Andy Edwards, Vice President, GardaWorld International Protective Services, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Commandant General – Nigeria, Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Wadih Abi Hader, Sales Director EMEA, Astrophysics.

Howard Leedham MBE (Panel Chair), Managing Director of ESID DMCC, Tim Purpura, VP Global Sales & Marketing, Morse Watchmans, Simon Whitehouse, Managing Director, SGW Consulting, Mo Ahddoud and Issam Shibany, Head of PreSales and Business Development Middle East and Africa, MVP Tech chatted with one another on the ‘Taking an Integrated Approach to Security’ panel and ‘The Constant Need for Upgrades – If It Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?’ panel saw Chris Adigwu, National Secretary, ALPSPN and Simon Whitehouse, Managing Director, SGW Consulting take to the stage.

During the latter of these conversations, Whitehouse remarked: “Some particular users are going to have a requirement for a particular level of sophistication and a particular level of security.

“When it comes to upgrading the latest system, the likelihood is that a particular facility won’t be the first choice for an end user to move to if they are not happy with the technical or physical solutions which are in place. Another key drive is cost; any organisation looking to reduce its reliance on people-power will be looking to get more out of sophisticated technology. Legacy technology cannot provide this however.”

Moreover, ‘Cloud Technology & Cloud-Based Solutions’ was discussed by Alexander Holmstrom, Global Sales Director, ACRE International, Elias Bechara, Managing Director, 6SS and Dr. Daniel Omofoman, Technical Associate, ALPSPN. Leedham also chaired the ‘Hospitality and Retail Security’ panel which featured Vitthal Teli, Cluster Security Manager Hyatt Place Hotels in Dubai & Hyatt Centric Jumeirah, Mark Shepherd, Risk & Security, Associate Manager, MAF Properties and Tim Purpura.

In addition to the engaging panel discussions, there were multiple thought-led presentations from speakers with fascinating regional insight and expertise. Ahmad Younes, Sales Director Middle East & Africa, MOBOTIX gave a TED-Talk style presentation which focussed on topical points of discussion including: The evolution of CCTV; The comparison between conventional CCTV systems and intelligent security systems; Design, development, production and quality assurance in Germany; Excellent image quality with MxPEG+; Integrated intelligence; Cybersecurity; Functions common to all cameras and the unlimited possibilities provided by custom apps.

In addition, ‘Global standardization and type approval importance of security systems’ was discussed by Eng. Col. Arif Al Janahi, Security Engineering Director, SIRA and Joss D’Silva, Vice President, Emirates Group Security focussed on central control and aviation security.

There was also a presentation from Yacine Benamane which posed the question, ‘What Standards do you need to Succeed in Security?’, an analysis of ‘Private & Public Partnerships’ from Jose M Gonzalez, Assistant Regional Security Officer, U.S. Consulate General Dubai as well as a ‘Regional Roundup’ from Matthew Burnard, Director, Control Risks which explored the Middle East threat landscape.

To stay up-to-date with the latest developments regarding the ISJ Leaders In Security conference in 2023, please visit and follow the official LinkedIn page here:

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