Riyadh SecurMiddleEast symposium brings together the best

Riyadh SecurMiddleEast symposium brings together the best

Back in October we were honoured to be able to bring together some of the greatest minds in the security industry for the SecurMiddleEast symposium in Riyadh.

Following on from the tremendous success of the Dubai version, the Symposium was the second event that was run by Intelligent Security Systems and Security Middle East Magazine, in partnership with our event sponsors, BCD and intel.

The conference was attended by professionals in the security industry in addition to hundreds of virtual guests joining us from 15 different countries, all eager to hear from high-profile leaders and experts. We had a stellar line up of industry experts who joined lively question & answer sessions and discussions and delivered presentations and best practice examples to our audience.

Three key topics were informing the discussions of this event: Saudi Vision 2030, smart cities and securing the borders. Smart technologies – like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence – are helping to drive the transformation of the Kingdom under the Vision. Equally, the Vision is pushing those in the sector to be in front of every single aspect of security and its related technology.

Each of our high profile speakers was able to share their unique insight into the use of smart technologies, their thoughts on the Vision and the lessons they have learned in their own careers. This exchange of knowledge is invaluable for anyone working within the security industry. But if you weren’t able to join us you can still catch all our discussions over on our YouTube channel.

Securing digital transformation

This exclusive, invite-only event was chaired by Richard Burns whose carefully constructed questions ensured that our audience had plenty of points to take away with them for consideration. Richard was the perfect moderator for this event thanks to his position as Chairman at ISS – Intelligent Security Systems.

After warmly welcoming our audience he welcomed our first guests up on the stage: Hamad Alkhalaf, Chief Enterprise Services & Solutions Office, Saudi Information Technology Company.

Alkhalaf spoke eloquently on the topic of securing digital transformation and explored some of the digital challenges that exist in achieving this. He explained that true digital transformation requires the identification of initiatives across the entire technology themes and looked at both the idea of secure by design processes – whereby security is baked in to every part of the digital product or software development, and DevSecOps – a set of practices combining both software development and IT operations.

Predicting the future

The first roundtable discussion of the day featured two titans of the security industry: Eng. Abdullah Alzamil, Senior Direction of Security Technologies at the Saudi Customs Department and Dr. Mohammed Aladalah, Head of Video Security & Analytics, Public Safety Department of the Ministry of Interior. Our eminent guests were highly anticipated by our audience and didn’t disappoint with the insight and knowledge that they shared.

Dr Mohammed is involved in the design, implementation and management of security and security systems kingdom-wide. With over one million security cameras in Saudi Arabia, he has responsibility for every single one of them. “One of the main challenges we face is trying to build on our existing infrastructure because arguable you could say there are four main uses of cameras. You have monitoring, detection, recognition and identification… mainly our infrastructure was towards monitoring.”

Picking up on the theme Eng. Abdullah spoke about they handle the obsolescence that is built-in to technology. Referencing the challenge of centralising the x-ray machines that are used to scan parcels, humans or cars he said: “(We) use different types of machines and different formats. Our challenge was to create a platform that can read from all these different machines, regardless of the technology being used, the specification, and making sure to give the commander or security officer the decision he needs using the same software.”

Smart City standards

Ahmed Habib, Security Manager at Quiddiya Entertainment Capital explored why we need smart cities in order to better manage ourselves and resources. He touched on the challenges faced by cities which could be improved through smart cities, including: growing pollution problems; local of physical and social infrastructure; inefficient use of resources and the UN sustainable energy and Environmental requirements.

“While we develop these smart cities, it’s important we have some kind of uniform standard that everyone can abide by,” he commented, before going on to summarise the existing security standards and the current smart city standards. “While these standards are a good start we need to develop them more and to align them more to the government bodies that are developing the cities, whether the current cities or the future cities.”

Vision 2030: future trends

Our final session saw a panel of industry-leading experts take to the stage to share their thoughts on Vision 2030 future trends. Participating in the Q&A format session was Aluisio Figueiredo (CEO of ISS), Jeff Burgess (CEO of BCD), Zishan Haider (COO of Jamal Jaroudi Group), Sabry Eissa (Managing Director at IBTech) and Mohammed Lotfi (Integration Manager at Metco).

Richard kept the panel busy by asking them about how to keep ahead in the systems integrated business in Saudi; the biggest security issues within the country’s airports and how they were solved; the world supply issues we’ve been seeing recently and when the panel expects them to be resolved; as well as how to work with and manage the expectations of clients.

Haider was keen to emphasise that you should never over promise on something you can’t deliver and “don’t push something that the client doesn’t need.” The key take-away was be where your customers are – understand and listen to what they need.

The power of education

Figueiredo acknowledged the important role that the symposium was having on the industry: “Listening to the panellists, for me everything is summarised into education. Where there’s customer expectation, what AI can do, the cost benefit vs functionality. I think that we need more events like this. I think that’s the beginning. Educating customers, to avoid things like over promising and under-delivering.”

His final closing words, proved to be the perfect summary of what this event was all about: “Education, best practices, sharing our experiences like we’re doing today. To avoid the pitfalls in the future.”

Coming soon…

Find out more about who our guests speakers were, watch some of the highlights and check out the pictures from the event.

The event was the second in our events programme, following the inaugural June event in Dubai. Our next event is planned for Doha – keep an eye out on our website for all the details and to find out how you could be joining us to ensure you stay up-to-date with the security industry.