Intersec KSA exceeds expectations and is set to be even bigger next year, says Show Director Andreas Rex
Following a highly successful inaugural Intersec KSA, Security News Desk Publishing Director Peter Mawson spoke exclusively to Intersec Show Director Andreas Rex to find out why Saudi Arabia is so important to the security market, and what exhibitors can look forward to next year in Jeddah.
Peter Mawson: Considering you already have the highly successful Intersec show in Dubai, why have you chosen to open another in Saudi Arabia?
Andreas Rex: Well Saudi Arabia is the biggest market in the Middle East in all sectors, but specifically security. If you look at the market figures, in 2016 32% of the entire security spend has been in KSA. In the fire safety market the numbers are a bit higher, and for homeland security and border control, Saudi Arabia has more than 40%. So it’s the biggest market by far, and we could also see from the Dubai show that the Saudis were by far the largest international visitor number.
PM: So you’ve responded to the market knowledge gained from Intersec in Dubai and are offering a way for the industry to break into a market which is clearly a big opportunity…
Andreas Rex: Exactly, as much as Intersec in Dubai is an international show in the Middle East, with a lot of international companies, people also come to do business just with the Saudis.
PM: And how do you think it went for your commercial providers/exhibitors initially – how was the event received?
AR: Well our 22 launch partners, all the big players, confirmed before we announced the show. We told the big players our idea and they jumped straight on board. Because they trusted the Intersec brand and that the show would be of the same quality as our Dubai event, they were happy to follow us.
PM: That’s testimony to the reach the Intersec brand now has…
AR: Yes, so we had 170 companies confirmed for the launch event. At the first Intersec in Dubai we only had 40 exhibitors and it was an even split between fire safety and security. So it also put pressure on us to make sure we got it right, as the industry was investing in us.
We found a really good local partner in Saudi Arabia that was well-connected –Ace Exhibitions and we also delivered a good marketing campaign to support the launch.
PM: So it met your expectations from organisational perspective, from a commercial entity perspective and most importantly, for the security industry. What do you feel you’ve added into that market for end users? What feedback have you had from the delegates?
AR: Well there have been lots of security shows in Saudi Arabia and they were all okay, but we felt there was still space for us, particularly in Jeddah, which is the commercial hub of the Kingdom. It’s also a gateway to Mecca and other holy places- so the decision was to make Jeddah the location from the start.
PM: And was the spread of exhibitors of a similar profile that you would see at Intersec – were you able to offer delegates information through from all aspects of security – all the vertical bits that go with Fire for example?
AR: It was funny because it was nearly an exact copy of the Intersec Dubai show – the branding was the same, the brands exhibiting were same, even the carpet was the same colour and I am happy to say that it was equally as professionally organised.
PM: Did you run a conference alongside the exhibition?
We ran a conference alongside the exhibition, called Safety Design and Buildings, focusing especially on the security needs within the building and construction industry – the legal aspects, legislation, targeting architects and designers, how to build their buildings safely, talking about facades etc.
PM: So it wasn’t just about product but about education and support then?
Yes so that was day one and on days two and three we had the Intersec Security Conference.
PM: So what can we expect for Intersec KSA 2018?
We’ve booked the venue again in Jeddah. Talking to the exhibitors there was a clear consensus that the show remain here.
We hope we can grow it. There is still space in the hall to expand; we aim to be the largest regional show in event in Saudi Arabia. We’re not really targeting anyone from outside the country. It will be a small but highly professional and high-quality show, serving this market. 96% of the attendees were from Saudi Arabia and that was exactly what we wanted. The international community has Intersec Dubai.
PM: Given the success of Intersec KSA, would you consider opening shows elsewhere in the world?
For now we are happy with our show in Dubai and the one we now have in Saudi Arabia. The Dubai show makes great use of the fantastic infrastructure which makes it the perfect meeting platform and is why we have visitors from 125 countries, year-on-year, attending the event. We will further grow the Dubai show which is growing more and more internationally.
Then Saudi Arabia because it’s the largest market in the region, though we will explore the market and do more satellite events and conferences – small events to target local markets.
PM: Intersec is seen as a high-quality commercial brand, and I can understand that there must have been a lot of pressure to get it right, and it seems from the visitor numbers you’ve had that Intersec KSA exceeded expectations and that next year will be even better.
AR: Yes, a few brands didn’t participate. They decided to wait and see how this one delivered against what we had promised but said they would participate in year two. Many were visitors at the show and now that they’ve seen that it worked I’m sure we’ll have more on board next year.