The UK Security Expo has become the International Security Expo, and it’s set to become a truly global event.
Peter Jones is no stranger to working with government. It very much comes with the territory when you’re been in the business of launching and running events in the security sector for over 16 years.
Jones’ company Nineteen Events launched the UK Security Expo in 2016 as trade show designed to bring together global heads of public and private sector security, with official support from the UK government and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
“I know that a lot of people see the government as quite bureaucratic, but I have to say I find it quite entrepreneurial,” says Jones. “I’m an entrepreneur myself; we’re a little business, we’re a small, dynamic team and we move very quickly.
“When the government see an opportunity they are quick to move and react and support you, because this is about boosting our economy.
Our vision was to build a big international blockbuster
Everyone talks about the UK economy. We look at the High Street and what house prices are doing; those aren’t the things that drive our economy. The thing that drives our economy and keeps us really out of recession is export. And when you look at security, Britain leads the world on security capability. There’s enormous opportunity to be selling more of our UK PLC overseas, and that’s why government is so excited and so much behind this.”
“Our vision was to build a big international blockbuster, an international security event which is hosted in the UK.”
This vision and focus on international business meant that, just two years into its evolution, it seemed only natural that the UK Security Expo would rebrand as the International Security Expo.
The show floor
The newly rebranded show, which will take place on 28-29 November 2018, will expand to fill both the Grand and West Halls at Olympia London and will see a slight reformat in terms of how exhibitors working in public and private security are arranged.
“All of the Grand Hall is homeland security,” explains Jones. “When we say homeland just think of government, borders, terrorism, you know, aviation, nuclear power stations, all of that top-end stuff.
“The West Hall is being named the Commercial Security Hall. For commercial security we’re looking at hotel chains, retail, night-time economy, industrial, healthcare, education, hospitals, schools etc. All need security, but not quite on that top government chasing terrorist level.”
Jones expects the new addition of the Commercial Hall to the show to bring in a whole raft of new exhibitors, working in areas such as access control, CCTV and perimeter security.
“To put it really crudely, this goes from, high-level homeland stuff to commercial security, which I see as like midrange. If you look at the range, the breadth of exhibitors in the show, we’re now mid-to-high end. There are other security shows that like to do low-end stuff like padlocks and smoke alarms, but that’s not for us.”
Along with exhibitors, the show floor will also feature a wide range of conferences and technology workshop theatres.
“There’s an enormous amount of content in the show, which these days is very important,” Jones explains. “You’ve got to provide lots of content, keep innovating, and keep reimagining. So every year, you’re fresh, it’s something different, it’s exciting.”
As part of the attempt to keep things fresh and interesting on the show floor, International Security Expo will also include a substantial feature area, Jones reveals.
“This year we’re doing something totally innovative and new inside the hall,” he tells EN. “We’re building an urban environment. It’s called Protecting the Urban Spaces, and it’s going to be a park in the middle of the show.
“It’s all about stopping deranged idiots, terrorists, driving a van at our families and our children in a crowded space, and how do you do that. There are lots of kits that do that – from bollards to blockers and vehicle mitigation – but let’s show it in its real environment. The whole premise is bringing security to life, and that’s another thing we always try and do, because trade shows something can be a little bit dull. Rather than looking at a bollard on a stand, you can actually see that bollard in its real environment.”
Immersive, experiential feature areas, and even taking the time to think differently about the B2B experience, may well be an important factor in the future of our industry, argues Jones.
“In order for trade organisers to keep moving forward and growing their shows in an ever more competitive environment, you’ve just got to work harder to get your visitors,” he concludes. “Us organisers have been rolling out the same old content year after year over the last decade or so, you know, conferences, workshops and seminars.
“This is about reimagining content and giving the visitors an immersive live experience.”