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The Internet of Things World Forum 2015 Highlights

Specifically Speaking: Our regular Q&A with a security consultant; this time Stuart Aynsley, Mott MacDonald

Specifically Speaking this time is with Stuart Aynsley, Associate, Mott MacDonald, Dubai

Talk about the main areas you are working in right now.

Mott MacDonald is involved on numerous projects in the UAE and wider region working across a broad range of sectors including healthcare, education, air, rail and sea transportation, entertainment, retail, commercial, hotel and hospitality.

What trends in security management did you see in 2015?

Security continues to be important due to the political uncertainty which is recognised by governments, authorities and developers. With many major regional events planned over the next few years, visitors to the region and residents need to know that their safety and security are taken seriously.

There have been updates to many national security standards in the region. Clients recognise that safety and security design and delivery are critical to both new and existing developments and ensure they are incorporated.  Clients are also investing in training for security service providers to ensure they provide safe, secure and efficient services, whether working independently or supporting emergency services.

Online threats such as cyber attacks should not be underestimated either and IT security remains important to everyone. Attempts to target computer information systems, infrastructure, IT networks or personal devices are becoming more common – even if they do not always get reported in the news.

What challenges/opportunities does this part of the world offer the sector as whole?

The Gulf is an extremely culturally diverse region. Just about every job advertised requires the applicant to have the “ability to work within a diverse cultural environment”. As well as the potential security challenges that can arise, companies and organisations need to ensure that communication within any diverse work team can be understood so that there will be no misunderstandings. It is also important to provide collaborative team building activities to enhance social relations and define roles within teams.

Developing project specific designs to meet both legal and client requirements brings both challenges and opportunities for a consultant, contractors, suppliers and manufacturers. When we attend the Intersec and SDiB (Safety Design in Buildings) conferences, we get a better understanding of each other’s challenges and solutions. We can use these opportunities to work together to continuously improve what we deliver.

In your time at the SDiB conferences what areas were most attendees interested in?

In recent years we have found that keeping pace with Government improvements in safety and security raises the standard for building owners, facility managers and operators when they are seeking approval or under audit. Security and life safety standards are regularly improved in Dubai, the UAE, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. This policy of continuous improvement can only be good for residents, visitors and business, as it builds confidence in safety.

Systems integration challenges have also been discussed at recent conferences. This is not something new in itself as security, life safety and building systems have all been linked together in some way since they’ve existed. The challenge that faces people now is that by securing some systems they can become independent and isolated. Consequently they can’t share information in the ways we have become accustomed to. SDiB has received these questions in recent conferences so it is one of the sessions in this year’s Dubai conference.

How do you position Intersec compared to other global security shows?

As one of the most well-known and widely supported exhibitions in the region, Intersec attracts visitors from both near and far away. The high level of attendance of property clients, designers, suppliers and contractors from across the MENA region is undoubtedly what keeps manufacturers coming to show off their latest products. The opportunity to listen to client and authority requirements, engage with other design peers, research product developments and contribute to the safety and security project delivery market are what interests us at the Intersec and SDiB conferences.

Interview by Emma Procter
Specifically Speaking features a Q&A with a different security consultant every month.
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