The Security Event, NEC, Day One Review

The Security Event

Security on Screen reporter Jeremy Malies walks the floor of The Security Event 2024 (April 30 –  May 2) at the NEC in Birmingham. He interviews exhibitors, speaks to industry bodies, and gauges this show organised by Nineteen Group 


1 May 2024 

My first interview could hardly be more on home turf, at least in terms of current case studies for this exhibitor. Steve Green of Genetec (Stand M5/H45), has a compelling news item. Our venue here, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), is a Genetec customer! Steve describes how the NEC has been using Genetec products since 2001. There are currently 511 cameras benefiting from Genetec’s enterprise level software, and venue managers have the insurance factor of failover or standby mode.  

Photo: Geograph.

Steve, a BDM at the company, also tells me that the International Convention Centre (ICC) elsewhere in Birmingham (Broad Street) is part of the same estate. It has a further 120 cameras and Genetec’s Federation™ feature allows facility managers at the NEC to see camera streams from the convention centre. 

Joined-up thinking 

Combining multiple independent Genetec™ IP security systems into a single virtual system brings numerous benefits for operators, and the case for such interaction is compelling. The open methodology and protocols allow seamless communication and a converged approach with access control products from Tyco, a Johnson Controls brand. 

I’m clutching a cup of Starbucks coffee and Steve takes pleasure in mentioning that Starbucks is also a Genetec customer. They use the Omnicast™ VMS at 12,000 sites in the US. Whatever the viewing flexibility of the VMS, Steve wryly observes that you would need a monitor the size of all the walls here in Hall 5 combined to have an overview of each coffee outlet! 

Source: Pixabay.

Convergence, open systems and the resulting empowerment of the end-user clearly motivate Steve as he lists video, access control, door Intercom, intruder detection and IoT as disciplines which can all be unified. A major multi-faceted installation at Twickenham Stadium has tested even this versatile suite and has involved Genetec Security Center, Security Center Omnicast and Security Center Synergis. 

Steve is complimentary about the Security Event and organisers Nineteen Group. He highlights sheer footfall (I interviewed him early on the first day with the show already buzzing), the high quality of visitors and the serious nature of sales enquiries. He is enjoying networking with end-users, channel sales partners, technical partners and the trade press. Steve is also relishing what he refers to as “speed dating” supervision as he makes introductions between pairs of companies that can work under the Genetec software umbrella. 

Tim Purpura of Morse Watchmans (Stand 5/H50) is a natural communicator whose written output includes a compelling blog that has covered everything from securing legitimate cannabis farms to banking culture and “zero trust” security environments to protect hotel guests.  

“Zero trust” security culture in hotels. Source: Pixabay.

He is passionate about school safety and technology, and a proponent of how best-of-breed suppliers such as Morse Watchmans can use key control and key management technology to protect everybody from seniors in care homes to school children. He often references the company’s EKG (Emergency Key Grab) Kit For first responders which gives services such as fire and police prompt and overall access to master key or keys as they arrive on site after an incident. He too is complimentary about the Nineteen Group, saying that the company has promoted The Security Event effectively through every aspect of the marketing mix in both traditional and social media.

Passing the Vicon Industries stand (5/K15) I felt I had gate-crashed a party when instead of obtaining my hoped-for soundbite from a senior executive, I was whisked (along with other security journalists) out of the hall and into a demonstration suite adjacent to Hall 3. Vicon have an innovative new product launch slated for October 2024 and we were shown the unit’s capabilities. Security on Screen will report on the product (hardly a state secret that it’s a camera) in the autumn.  

Meanwhile, Vicon CEO Saagar Govil talks to us about on-the-ground requirements from integrators across all sectors. Ease of installation and robust (minimal nuisance alarms) analytics that truly address real-life scenarios are at a premium. Achievable analytics that give the right alarm in the right scenario in the field rather than the development lab have infused everything Vicon have done for some years now.  

The team brief me about Anavio. Launched last year, it is a Cloud-based Security Software-as-a-Service platform that allows schools to be smarter in the technological sense and operate to greater safety levels. Anavio integrates video, access, and Intercom in one intuitive system, powered by AI and face-based authentication. 

Source: Pixabay.

It’s surely a primary role of a security show to allow exhibitors to demonstrate add-ons and new features. Ingo Meijer is VP of EMEA at Brivo whose stand here (5/J35 ) abuts a display by Eagle Eye Networks. The two companies have partnered and show me the tightly integrated solution that gives customers a true Cloud integration of video surveillance and access control.  

And the add-on? Brivo now have a robust field-proven employee badge for access control (and other functions) within Apple Wallet from an iPhone or Apple Watch. The future additional functions are now almost unlimited but obvious applications are cashless vending, follow-me printing, parking, elevator usage and even charging of electric vehicles. Such limitless applications can be seen as an ecosystem. 

If you’re attending The Security Event, you can hear Ingo speak on Thurs May 2nd at 11.00 (Forum). The session will be chaired by John Mack of Imperial Capital. Ingo will be joined on the platform by Gordon Mackay of STiD and Matt Haynes of HID.  

So what of the many trade bodies and associations exhibiting at The Security Event?  What kind of prognosis do they have for the industry. What are the current industry trends? What demands are their members making of them and how can the requests by association members be best met? 

I started with Paddy Kyle, chief commercial officer at the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) on stand 5/N155. “Interesting times!” was his slightly inscrutable first response when asked about the state of the industry.  

He expands to say that the merging of physical and cyber security (to the mutual benefit of all) is progressing well and unlike some trends, it has not been oversold. Methods being used and targets being set are practical and achievable.  And the spectrum is so wide in terms of industry players: the broad groups are manufacturers, installers, integrators, distributors, and standards bodies. More groups could be identified if you wanted to drill deeper. 

Paddy dwells on Skills For Security, this being the UK’s security sector skills body. By offering advice, guidance, and training as well qualifications, Skills For Security is undoubtedly improving skill levels and professionalism in our sector. It is a subsidiary of the BSIA. Paddy and other executives are quite right to show pride when outlining its tangible and quantifiable achievements. Never prescriptive or judgmental, the BSIA should also be commended for its lobbying to Government for ethical use of facial recognition.  


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