Intersec 2023: Interview with Alex Nicholl, Show Director, Messe Frankfurt Middle East


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What’s new for Intersec 2023?

Intersec 2023 will be the 24th edition of Intersec, the world’s leading trade fair bringing together key players in Commercial & Perimeter Security, Homeland Security, Fire & Rescue, Safety & Health and Cyber Security, from 17-19 January 2023 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

With more than 950 exhibitors, Intersec 2023 is over one and half times bigger than the last edition in 2022 – which means that there will be plenty of new technology and innovations from around the world giving attendees access to more than 10,000 products across the complete security value chain.

There will be some fantastic new features at Intersec for 2023: The Fire Fighter Challenge in association with 911 Fighter Challenge and supported by Dubai Civil Defense; the Attack Zone hosted by the Loss Prevention Certification Board; the Safety Walk showcase where exhibitors can to showcase and demonstrate their latest safety clothing and products; the Tech Stage gathering tech disruptors, innovators and thought leaders and finally Start Smart Zone connecting start-ups directly with key decisions makers, buyers and investors.

In addition, the conference programme has been reinvigorated and will feature four streams, each dedicated to bringing together the best and brightest minds in their respective market sector: Fire & rescue, safety and health, cybersecurity and the Intersec Security Leaders’ Summit. Attendees to these events will benefit from knowledge and insights from key players from around the world.

That’s before you get into the networking opportunities, of course – plus the return of the Intersec Awards, which, while not entirely new for 2023, are certainly bigger and brighter than in previous years – a glittering gala dinner dedicated to celebrating success and innovation, at the Ritz Carlton Dubai taking place during the evening on the second day of Intersec, 18 January.

The ceremony will recognise and reward the products and people in the industry for innovation, sustainability, commitment and achievement. With around 350 attendees expected for the celebration, the shortlist of finalists will be announced at the beginning of January and tickets for the gala will go on sale soon. That will be an unmissable evening I’m sure.

What can visitors expect from this year’s conference agenda?

As I mentioned above, the conference program at Intersec 2023 features four streams: The Intersec Security Leaders’ Summit, Fire & Rescue Conference, Safety & Health Seminars and Cybersecurity Conference. Each has been specifically designed to address the challenges and opportunities that are unique to the GCC region as well as introduce the latest innovative technological advancements.

Hosted under the theme of “Integrated tech for global security: Protection, Disruption, Sustainability”, these conferences will feature content for the complete ecosystem of emergency services, security and safety all within the Intersec 2023 exhibition.

The Intersec Security Leaders’ Summit is an invitation-only event taking place January 17 and 18 within Intersec 2023 and gather government and private sector security decision-makers to explore national strategies, homeland security and policing commercial and perimeter security and cutting-edge technologies.

Speakers at the Summit will include more than 50 experts from 13 countries across the Middle East, Europe, the UK, and USA. Some of the sessions that I am most looking forward to include an on-stage conversation titled ‘Holistic Approach to Large Event Security Management: Turning Lessons Into Action’ with Helmut Spahn, Director – Safety, Security & Access at FIFA. Fresh from the World Cup, he will be sharing insights and learnings from the mega-event, which I’m sure will be of interest to many attendees.

In addition, the pressing issue of cybersecurity will be discussed in a keynote ‘Pioneering Digital Economy: Integrated & Innovative Smart Secured Services Ecosystem’ by Dr Bushra Al Blooshi, Head of Research & Innovation at Dubai Electronic Security Centre; while Adrian Whelan, DHL’s Senior Vice President and Head of Global Security, looks to present perspectives on the future road map for supply chain security.

The Fire & Rescue conference at Intersec is hosted by Dubai Civil Defence and focuses on several key themes: Standards & Policies, which will feature an update on the regional standards and policies and what we can learn from other countries outside the region; New Energy sources, assessing the risks associated with new and sustainable energy resources and taking measures to prevent fire breakouts; Innovation & Technology, dealing with changes in the fire environment due to innovative technologies and finding new solutions to existing and emerging challenges before an emergency response is required; Education, identifying the greatest hazards facing the communities and using that information to create education and prevention programs to reduce the effect of those hazards and finally, Collaboration, which will examine how to adopt a collaborative plan for disaster management, working together with other nations.

Among the leading names speaking at the event, on the 17 and 18 of January, some of the key sessions include ‘High Rise Firefighting – Practical to tactical’, during which Captain Brent Brooks of Toronto Fire, Canada will examine the unique firefighting challenges posed by tall buildings and review tactical response options to address challenges in operational deployment; as well as ‘100 Years – 100 Cities – The Evaluation of Urban Fire Risks’ by Dr Peter Wagner, Head of Leadership Department, Berlin Fire and Rescue Academy, Member of CTIF, who will discuss the specifics of urban fire risks and distinct types of fire risks in cities.

In addition, Vinay Deshpande, Technical Director – Fire & Life Safety, WSP; Steven Reilly, Principal Engineer – Fire & Life Safety Lead MENA, Cundall and Susan Lamont, Director of Fire Safety, Arup will take part in panel discussion focused on ‘Fire safety & sustainability – approaching the net zero challenge’, which I am really looking forward to.

The Cybersecurity Conference hosted by the UAE Cybersecurity Council, will take place across all three days of Intersec 2023 and feature the latest trends, drivers, challenges and successful case studies across industries that are playing a substantial role in shaping the cybersecurity industry growth. Some of the key sessions to know about for this conference include ‘Security Battle in a Converging IT/OT World : Improving Critical Infrastructure Resilience’ which will take the form of a panel discussion featuring Shahab Siddiqui, Global Head of Cyber Security at Petrofac; Hamad Saeed Husain Abdulrahman, Director of the Information and Communication Directorate at King Hamad University Hospital; Biju Hameed, Dubai Airports Head of Technology Infrastructure Operations and Shaik Abdulkhader, CISO of Qatar Petrochemical Company.

This illustrious panel will be moderated by Khalid Ansari, Principal Cybersecurity Engineer, FM Approvals and is sure to be a gold mine of insight.

Another crucial panel discussion will examine the top cyber security priorities of ‘Enabling Innovation’ and ‘Zero-Trust’ and feature insights from Hussein Shafik Bahgat, Regional Information & Cyber Security Risk Officer(CISRO ), Standard Chartered Bank; Ashish Khanna, Cyber Security Program Manager, Dubai Customs and Mohamed Gamal Abdelmksoud, Group Information Technology Director, United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical).

Perhaps as importantly, the conference will also address the new age talent, with Talal Alasmi, Director of Information Security – Department of Electronic Information Security at the Ministry of Education, Oman presenting on the theme of ‘Creating Cyber Minds’.

The Safety & Health Seminars taking place at Intersec on the 17 and 18 January will help attendees navigate the latest UAE and other MENA regulatory changes and align with global best practices to deliver a strong health and safety culture suitable for the current environment. The key themes that will be discussed range from a focus on how digitalisation can help create healthier and safer workplaces with a multitude of new technologies; the use of safety information as data to be analysed, reviewed and examined to build safety road maps and analysing how HSE managers can understand and navigate the growing role of sustainability in corporate life and contribute to the organisation’s net-zero journey as well as standards, regulations and procedures and the importance of project management in HSE.

There will be a session on ‘Managing HSE for Mega Projects’ by the Executive Director of HSEQ for NEOM, Dr Rob Cooling; which will take place on day two of the conference, a dedicated NEBOSH day which will also feature NEBOSH representatives including Dee Arp, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive, Andrew-Wilkinson-Sharpe.

Who are some of the big-name exhibitors that will be attending?

The exhibitor list at Intersec 2023 underscores the importance of the exhibition to all five key sectors across the entire value chain.

For the Fire & Rescue section in particular, there are over 400 fire sector exhibitors taking part at Intersec 2023 from all corners of the globe. One key exhibitor, a founding partner of Intersec 2023 will be NAFFCO – one of the world’s the world’s leading producers and suppliers of top-tier firefighting equipment, fire protection systems, fire alarms, security and safety engineering systems worldwide. The fire industry exhibitors at Intersec 2023 span the entire spectrum of products and services in the industry, including alarm panels, smoke detection systems, extinguishers and firefighting foams, pumps and equipment, rescue equipment and hoses and nozzles, to name a few. Intersec will host exhibitors from all corners of the globe, in fact, around 70% of the industry’s global market leaders will be at Intersec 2023.

Commercial & Perimeter Security will feature companies such as PERCo, is a leading Russian manufacturer of security systems and equipment; Traka, part of ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions from the UK, a global leader in intelligent management solutions for keys and equipment, as well as wireless electronic locking and access control smart solutions global provider Salto. 

Also within the Commercial Security sector will be IDIS Global, returning for their tenth appearance at Intersec, whose primary launch at the show will be a new range of advanced and highly accurate edge AI dome and bullet cameras, as well as its innovation for SMES, AI Box for Surveillance. In addition, IDIS will also be showcasing its AI Box for Retail, the DV-1304, which will give smaller retailers all the benefits of AI-powered business and customer intelligence, and displaying a new comprehensive line-up of NDAA-compliant, end-to-end video solutions including network cameras, NVRs, a choice of VMS and deep learning analytics tech.

Homeland security is dedicated to products and solutions for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Airport, and Aviation Security. Exhibitors in this section will include strategic sponsor SAFE, from Saudi Arabia, alongside Singapore-based global technology, defense and engineering group ST Engineering and leading developer and manufacturer of metal detectors for security applications Garrett from the US.

In addition, AGMC, one of the largest importers for the BMW Group in the Middle East, will be participating for the first time at Intersec and plans to launch four police bikes and two armoured cars.

The Safety and Health sector will be divided into environmental, industrial and public health and safety, with representatives including Carrington Textiles, the largest producer of workwear fabrics in the UK, producing over 55 million metres of fabric annually, and exporting to more than 80 countries worldwide; alongside exhibitors from around the globe such as Abdulshakoor Abdullah Algarawi General Trading from Saudi Arabia, Kivanc from Turkey, Arvind Limited from India and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) from the UK.

Cyber Security will host cyber solutions, experts, from national leaders to public and private sector professionals, from cyber connoisseurs to advisors and cyber economists to corporate buyers. NX Digital Technology, a leading Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity service provider in the Middle East will be exhibiting in this sector as well as FM Approvals from the USA and Cellebrite GmbH from Israel.

Other exhibitors include eAxis Communications, Lensec, TP-Link and Secure Logiq, while Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC), the Official Government Partner of Intersec 2023, will be running a live simulation team-based workshop. Participants will get the chance to act on both sides, first as the attackers attempting to breach a simulation and switching to investigate, document and protect against a previous simulated attack.

We anticipate up to 30,000 security, emergency response, safety and cybersecurity professionals attending Intersec 2023, in addition to receive delegations of Civil Defence representatives, including Director Generals, from around the region, including other Emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as well as Saudi Arabia and other locations within the GCC.

Every element of Intersec is affiliated with the relevant UAE government entities, which, along with the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, demonstrates the commitment of the UAE Government to these important industries. Dubai Police and the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (SIRA) are affiliated with the security sector; Dubai Civil Defence with the Fire & Rescue element of Intersec; while Dubai Municipality supports the safety sector and the Cyber Security Council and Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) underscore the importance of the cyber sector.

It is a testament to the value that the region places on these industries and how Intersec brings them together in Dubai, that we receive so much official patronage and affiliation.

Can you tell us more about the Start Smart Zone?

The Start Smart Zone is one of the fantastic new features at Intersec 2023. One of the key benefits to attending Intersec has always been the networking opportunities that it provides for the industry, as it attracts such a huge number of key players.

The Start Smart Zone has been developed to increase this opportunity for start-ups in particular, by providing them with the opportunity to connect face-to-face with key decisions makers, buyers and investors.

Any start-up companies among the exhibitors are welcome to take advantage of the global appeal of Intersec to make connections that may not be possible otherwise, giving them unparalleled opportunities to grow and scale up.

Finally, what are you most excited about as we get nearer to the show?

Oh, there is so much to be excited about at Intersec 2023. Personally, I am excited about many things but have to say that in particular, I am excited to see the growth of the show since the last edition.

Intersec 2023 will be almost one and half times bigger than Intersec 2022 – I am thrilled to see that the industry’s appetite for large events is returning, now that it is possible safely. So, I’m excited to welcome the global industry back to Dubai for sure.

I’m also excited about all the impressive demonstrations that will be at Intersec, like the Fire Fighter challenge and the Attack Zone as well as the opportunities to hear from incredible industry leaders at the conferences. The agendas for this year in all sectors are insightful, though provoking and focused on the challenges and opportunities of the GCC in particular.

1-ISJ- Intersec 2023: Interview with Alex Nicholl, Show Director, Messe Frankfurt Middle East
Alex Nicholl, Show Director, Messe Frankfurt Middle East
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