12 Nov SecurMiddleEast Riyadh leads debate on industry challenges
For our second SecurMiddleEast symposium of the year we headed to Riyadh at the end of October. We had 50 guests in attendance with many more tuning in remotely to hear what Saudi’s thought-leaders and innovators could share with our audience. Our audience was drawn from the region’s largest organisations, government and military. The rousing success of the inaugural SecurMiddleEast Symposium in Dubai is testament to the need to bring together the most influential voices in the security industry to help tackle some of the most pressing security challenges we face.
At SecurMiddleEast we share industry best practice because we know the value that this sharing of information can bring. As an industry, the security playing field is constantly evolving, developing and transforming for the better and that is thanks to the hard work and dedication of key players like those speaking at this event.
Currently all eyes are on the Middle East as it works on the development and construction of some of the world’s most ambitious projects. Projects like The Red Sea Project on the west coast of Saudi Arabia and Lusail City – Qatar’s first ‘green city’. The scale of these projects means they require tomorrow’s technology today in the form of connectivity, surveillance, physical security and intelligent solutions.
SecurMiddleEast highlights a range of issues relevant to the sector including security installations, intelligent traffic solutions, city surveillance and critical infrastructure. Frank discussions over challenges, solutions and future expectations were all on the table, and attendees heard thought-provoking conversations, led by Saudi’s key industry experts.
In addition, three topics in particular shaped our event discussions and informed the knowledge shared at this event.
Saudi Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia has long held an ambition to become a global hub for innovation and technology. To help with this it developed a national transformation strategy, Vision 2030, that is focused on helping reshape its economy from being oil-reliant to a digitally empowered economy.
A key part of the vision’s success lies in Saudi’s ability to transform digitally – through improved digital infrastructure and a focus on technology. This can’t happen in isolation. To support it the highest level of cybersecurity needs to be implemented to protect the Kingdom’s national security.
Five years into its plans it has already been ranked first in the world in a number of key security indicators. This has seen it outperform the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the G20 countries in some instances. The International Telecommunication Union’s Global Cybersecurity Index ranks Saudi Arabia has sixth among the G20 nations.
As Saudi Arabia moves into the second half of its Vision 2030 project the eyes of the world will be on it paying close attention to what it’s doing. While Covid may have initially slowed Saudi’s economy – as it did globally – it may also have helped accelerate trends in digital transformation giving Vision 2030 a helpful boost along the way.
Research from Oxford Economics and Huawei concluded that by 2025 the digital economy will account for around 24% of global GDP – Saudi Arabia fully intends to be at forefront of this shift. Of course there’s no resting on laurels here – Saudi’s Vision 2030 won’t be complete in five years – rather it will have laid the groundwork for digital transformation to be an ongoing national priority.
Smart City Plans
The jewel in Vision 2030 is Neom – a smart city located in Saudi Arabia’s north-west. The modern urban development will be ultra-high-tech with data collected through various means in order to enhance the operations across the city. Emerging technologies such as IoT networking, machine learning and 5G mobile platforms will be deployed to monitor and control infrastructure with the overall aim of improving the life of Neom’s residents.
Of course, securing the city and the data is a colossal task and will require an intelligent security system that is up to the task. IoT devices at the heart of the infrastructure require built-in security to ward off potential attacks from hackers. This in itself can create a dilemma: if the devices in question are tiny sensors – as many may be – there will be constraints in both computational power and battery power. Yet being always-on is critical to the success of a smart city, so downtime is not an option.
As the teams involved in securing the smart city and developing its tech-heavy infrastructure continue to develop and advance cybersecurity at pace, the whole Kingdom will benefit.
Securing the borders
Saudi customs are currently working on a range of tenders to secure the land borders with Yemen, UAE and other countries around the region. It’s a complicated task given the varied terrain across the area: from flat deserts and gravel plains to the north, mountains in the southwest and not forgetting the need for maritime surveillance in the west for the Red Sea and the eastern border of the Persian Gulf.
The current focus on protecting the borders is on auto number plate recognition (ANPR), cameras and under vehicle surveillance systems (UVSS). This trio of security systems is just the beginning as Saudi works to secure territories that have been under threat in the past.
More info: Visit www.SecurMiddleEast.com for up-to-date information on the event.
Meet our event sponsors
ISS is a world-leading developer of security surveillance and control systems. ISS is able to help solve complex security tasks by applying additional algorithms to video content.
Intel is at the forefront of technology advances that are aiding the security industry, notably AI, the transformation of the 5G network and the rise of the intelligent edge.
BCD’s award-winning product range includes video surveillance storage servers, access control servers and harsh environment servers. It’s reputation as the most trusted source for innovative, purpose-built IP video storage solutions is unrivalled.