The right direction

11 March 2020

Security Matters sat down with The Security Event director, Tristan Norman, to find out why it is essential to attend the event at NEC Birmingham on 28-30 April 2020.

The Security Event is in its second year and is set to be much bigger in 2020. What would you put that down to and what can people expect to see this year? 

I think the industry really embraced The Security Event when we launched back in April 2019 – it was an overwhelming response. We saw a lot of manufacturers and service providers come along and visit. That naturally produces a successful show that translates into more exhibitors. We are almost triple the size now in terms of floor space than we were in our launch. That's a mixture of people taking slightly larger stands and wanting to exhibit their entire range of products rather than a selection. Quite a few people dipped their toe in the water and off the back of that success have now come back with a more comprehensive offering to really showcase their brand to its fullest in front of the UK security industry in 2020.

With the event almost tripling in size, what does that mean for people who might consider visiting for the first time? 

Last year we had 84 main exhibitors, a number of which shared their stands with other brands. That's moved up to over 150 for our 2020 edition.

For the visitor it means that the UK household names in security have a presence. There were a few that weren't there in year one that people would have liked to have seen. They fed that back in our independent survey and now we’ve got all of the brands involved in the event that people mentioned to us that they wanted to see in 2020. So we're really excited by the quality and quantity of companies on display and feel like it really reflects the UK security landscape in terms of distributors, manufacturers and service providers. There are some exciting product launches taking place onsite plus on-stand demos so there is so much more to see this year to keep people busy for the entire three days. Alongside the exhibition, the four seminar theatres are also packed full of education, training and practical guidance providing visitors with more value completely free-of-charge.

What's the target demographic for visitors at this event? 

The Security Event is the UK's number one event for commercial and residential security. That really is the entire buying cycle. Predominantly we are about 70 per cent trade visitor – this includes installers, who go out and fit the systems on commercial properties or residential buildings, along with integrators, consultants, specifiers, distributors and manufacturers. And then 30 per cent of visitors are end users, which would be, for example, the head of security for a chain of gyms, retail outlets or commercial buildings etc., as well as architects, residential builders, construction companies and all professionals who take security into consideration as part of their job.

You've got even wider industry support from key associations this year. Who is supporting the event and why is that important? 

Security Matters is, of course, as it’s the official media partner of the event. In terms of event partners, we partner with the likes of ASIS UK and The UK Security Commonwealth which has about 40 associations and membership organisations as part of that including the Association of Security Consultants. We partner with the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA), The Fire & Security Association (FSA) and the IASME consortium who are solely responsible for the Cyber Essentials training programme.

The Irish Security Industry Association (ISIA) is a new partnership for us this year, which really puts our flag on the ground in terms of making this the UK and Ireland's number one event for the security sector. We have also joined forces for the first time this year with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI). The NSI will be supporting us by inviting their accredited companies along, by having a stand presence and also by contributing to the content at the Fire and Security Installer Theatre to really showcase best practice to not only their installers, but the rest of the industry as well.

We also partner with Tavcom Training and Linx International Group on one of our theatres. And we partner in our Designing Out Crime Zone with the PCPI (Police Crime Prevention Initiatives) who are made up of the Police Digital Security Centre, Secured by Design and the Police Crime Prevention Academy. They put on a fantastic range of content showcasing what the police force are doing behind the scenes to make our communities and businesses safer across the board. And finally, we work with the Security Institute too.

Could you tell us more about what kind of content you have on offer this year? 

We've increased the number of content opportunities this year. In total we have five theatres on offer for security professionals, so there really is something for everyone.

New for this year is the Fire and Security Installer Theatre, which – as just mentioned – is supported by the likes of the NSI as well as the FSA. It really is a fantastic theatre where installers can get best practice advice, updates on standards and CPD accredited training.

As also mentioned, the Designing Out Crime Zone returns this year in partnership with the PCPI who are running a timetable of content throughout the three days which is really exciting. This will include everything from an introduction in house brands to the testing and certification of products across fire and security. Simon Newman, PCPI head of cyber and business services, and his team will be talking around the impact of cyber security including within serious organised crime and their threats against businesses.

At the Tavcom Training Theatre you can learn about becoming CTSP accredited. They're also doing some fantastic sessions on 5G, for example, and what impact that will have on the security industry. We've also got sessions on IoT (Internet of Things) and the opportunities and challenges and security and implementations of IoT on the industry both as an installer and end user. We've got some great sessions talking about physical security, digital security, risk and security design. We've also got some fantastic panel debates around the role of automation and security systems design, the impact of A.I. on the industry and GDPR.

The Security in Practice Theatre features leading expert speakers on the latest trends and best practice case studies for security professionals.

And the Innovation Theatre, sponsored by Honeywell, will give visitors the opportunity to discover the breakthrough technologies shaping the security sector.

All of our sessions are CPD accredited with our partners, the Security Institute.

Besides the exhibition and the seminars, what other things should people look out for at the show?

Paramount is the ability to network with industry peers. Birmingham itself is a fantastic location for that. If you go to Broad Street and head into one of the many bars and restaurants, then you're pretty much guaranteed to bump into someone within the security industry.

We also, as event organisers, facilitate that networking after the show every day from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, where there's free drinks receptions on the main catering area, which enables exhibitors to network amongst each other as well as with visitors. And then on the first night of the event, as with last year, we've got an VIP networking event taking place at the VOX for 500 people overlooking the NEC campus, sponsored by Honeywell and Tyco.

Can you sum up why anyone should take time out of the office to come to one or all three days of The Security Event?

The Security Event and also the wider NEC series is designed to maximise your time. It's a one stop shop for your business. You can investigate new products and innovation that you can pass on to clients, receive CPD accredited education, and network. You can look into expanding your businesses and creating new revenue streams – looking at how other people have maximised different areas and technologies within security for their clients. And it's not just The Security Event – we have another 300 exhibitors as part of our co-located series of events across health and safety, facilities and fire safety, which our visitors can make the most of.

In conclusion, what sets The Security Event apart from others to make it the must-attend security event in the UK calendar? 

For me, it's a combination of factors. It's an event which has really found its home at the NEC in Birmingham. The industry, as I said, in year one fully embraced it. The signs are in our registration, which is already tracking almost double what it was this time last year, and in the number of exhibitors involved. It really is THE meeting place for the UK security industry and that's everyone across Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. We are encapsulating the UK commercial and residential security market in one place over three days in Birmingham – and we look forward to welcoming you there.