As excitement builds ahead of The Security Event 2022, SJUK speaks with Tristan Norman, Group Director, Safety & Security Portfolio at Nineteen Group.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously stated that “vitality shows in not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.” Whilst the poignance of such a statement is certainly not lost on those who work in events, it is fair to say that the idea of putting on a show like The Security Event twice, in the space of seven months, in the presence of COVID-19, is no easy feat. Contrary to the challenges posed, the Nineteen Events team are raring to go once again.
In 2021, The Security Event delivered exactly what the industry was hoping for given the turbulent circumstances the UK had faced since the start of the pandemic. A chance to meet with one another face-to-face in a professional capacity was exactly the boost that consultants, installers and manufacturers needed. Moreover, the chance to do so under one roof, in and amongst eager crowds of visitors, proved to be both a valuable and somewhat nostalgic experience.
Now, as April 2022 beckons, themes of persistence and evolution will converge at The Security Event as it returns to the NEC Birmingham. As the anticipation builds, we spoke exclusively with the show’s Event Director, Tristan Norman about how this year’s instalment will differ from the last and what visitors and exhibitors can expect to see.
A close-knit industry
When it comes to the security industry, in-person events are absolutely vital. “As an industry, we are very close-knit,” explains Norman. “A lot of exhibitors and visitors have been in and around security for much of their working lives. The connections that people make in the industry are only strengthened by meeting face-to-face and these events will continue to be important now and in the future as well.”
Though the prominence of the virus made some think twice about attending large scale events last year, the return of The Security Event felt like a fresh start for much of the industry following the hiatus caused by the pandemic. With a host of large scale manufacturers still eager to demonstrate their innovations in-person, the appetite to impress has equally carried through to 2022. Norman elaborates: “Once again for this year’s show, we have got a full representation from our founding partners including ASSA ABLOY, Comelit, Honeywell, Texecom, Videcon, Tyco, Anixter and Motorola.
“What we have seen is that a lot of the companies that were with us in September 2021 are taking a larger presence this year. In addition, we have had a number of new entrants to the event including Uniview and Hanwha Techwin; these businesses see The Security Event as a premier UK exhibition and we are delighted to welcome such world class brands to the event.
“Naturally, I think a lot of companies were waiting to see what year two of The Security Event looked like before they made a commitment to exhibiting in 2022. I think we tend to forget that the event has only ran twice in the past. We had our second edition, in 2020, disrupted by the pandemic and having bounced back from this challenge the year after, there seems to now be a significant demand from exhibitors who may have only walked the show in 2021.”
A conference programme to remember
One of the key components of the 2022 event that has the industry on tenterhooks is its in-depth conference programme. Produced in partnership with Philip Ingram MBE, the event’s Head of Content and regular editorial contributor to SJUK and ISJ, the discussions which will be taking place promise to delve into a wide range of pressing industry topics.
“Philip will bring a lot of knowledge to the conferences at The Security Event this year,” says Norman. “There are some major themes which will be discussed, including the 2022 Commonwealth Games which are taking place in Birmingham. From a security standpoint, this is a major event, particularly when you start considering factors relating to the management of crowds and public spaces.
“From a commercial security perspective, much of the conversation will continue with the theme of cybersecurity and there will be strong components of this which are weaved into discussions about physical and digital environments.”
In addition, there will be a significant amount of discussion about the impact of a UK Protect Duty and how the public can be safeguarded against the threat of terror. With the potential implications of this legislation continuing to dominate conversation across a variety of security sectors, such analysis will shed light on what the UK can expect and the ways in which it can prepare for change.
An ever-evolving event
As exhibitors continue to be announced in the build up to April, one of the factors which will differ from last year’s instalment is related to the momentum that Norman and the team are continuing to build. Having launched in year one with a smaller pool of customers and exhibitors, in 2021, the event hit the 150 exhibitor mark and in 2022 it has its sights set on reaching 200 – a significant milestone in the evolution of this event.
In terms of the physical footprint of the show, not only has it moved from hall 3A in the NEC where it was last year, to hall 3, it has also had its networking and catering options upgraded so that those who are visiting and conducting business have an even smoother day-to-day experience.
Norman continues: “We will continue to do our infamous networking in and around the social areas from 4:30 onwards on the first two days of the show. It’s a great chance to have a casual drink with colleagues and speak about some pressing industry trends in a more casual manner. We have extended the length of these events in comparison to last year. Moreover, it allows our exhibitors the chance to go and meet more clients who they wish to take out and network with. Whilst there is obviously a serious side to the industry which connects these people, we love to facilitate and maintain friendly discussions amongst peers.
“Another key addition this year is also our ‘Connect+ Live Programme’. This hosted buyer style programme allows buyers to mark out their specific requirements so that they can receive the best possible chance to get involved in key projects and frameworks; it is available in The Security Event, The Fire Safety Event, The Health and Safety Event as well as The Workplace Event.”
With the National Cybersecurity Show also enjoying a successful 2021, it was thought that the best way of coming back with an even bigger and better show would be to let it gain a longer stretch of momentum before its next return. “We therefore decided to grow its size and scale by putting its next edition in 2023,” clarifies Norman.
“As well as the security-related events, The Fire and Safety Event experienced substantial growth in 2021. The Health and Safety Event has also continued to grow and The Workplace Event is an evolution and relaunch of the facilities event and it allows specialists in this field to discuss trends in intelligent buildings and smart city components as well as traditional topics.”
Norman is thrilled about the evolution of the event itself and how the show, both aesthetically and from an exhibitor perspective, has developed. He concludes: “When people tend to ask me, ‘What is it like to work in exhibitions?’, it’s hard to explain. What you have is a room full of customers all experiencing your product at the same time, all together. You cannot beat the feeling of hosting an industry and connecting them under one roof.
“Moreover, by having our events all together in one place, we can create fluidity amongst multiple sectors in a variety of industries. As we look to attract more visitors from mainland Europe and beyond, we are looking forward to The Security Event cementing its position at the forefront of the industry.”
Both Tristan and The Security Event team look forward to welcoming the industry back to the NEC Birmingham on 5-7 April 2022. To find out more information about the event and to stay-up-to-date with exhibitor announcements, visit: www.thesecurityevent.co.uk
This article was originally published in the March edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.