Interview with Alex Nicholl, Show Director for Intersec 2023

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Alex Nicholl, Show Director, Messe Frankfurt Middle East tells what fire and safety professionals should look out for at Intersec 2023

Why should people attend Intersec Dubai 2023?

Intersec 2023 is the must attend event for anyone in the security, fire and protection industries in the Middle East and further afield. It is the leading event bringing together key players in Commercial & Perimeter Security, Homeland Security, Fire & Rescue, Safety & Health, and Cyber Security, creating a unique platform for buyers, sellers and decision makers to meet, network and do business. The exhibition brings the the latest technology and innovations from around the world to Dubai. What’s more, Intersec is truly global, expecting more than 850 exhibitors from around the world – and an incredible 80% of the companies exhibiting are travelling from as far afield as the USA, Europe and Asia, in addition to the wider Middle East region.

We are also thrilled to be bringing some fantastic new features to Intersec for 2023: the Fire Fighter Challenge in association with 911 Fighter Challenge and supported  Dubai Civil Defense; the Attack Zone hosted by the Loss Prevention Certification Board; the Safety Walk showcase where exhibitors can to showcase and demonstrate their latest safety clothing and products; the Tech Stage gathering tech disruptors, innovators and thought leaders and finally Start Smart Zone connecting start-ups directly with key decisions makers, buyers and investors.

In addition to that, Intersec will feature four conference streams, each dedicated to bringing together the best and brightest minds in their respective market sector: fire & rescue, safety & health, cybersecurity and the security leaders’ summit. Attendees to these events will benefit from knowledge and insights from key players from around the world.

What’s particularly exciting about Intersec is that every element is affiliated with the relevant government entities here in the UAE, which, along with the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, demonstrates the commitment of the UAE Government to these important industries. Dubai Police and the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (SIRA) are affiliated with the security sector; Dubai Civil Defence with the Fire & Rescue element of Intersec; while Dubai Municipality supports the safety sector and the Cyber Security Council and Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) underscore the importance of the cyber sector. It is a testament to the value that the region places on these industries and how Intersec brings them together in Dubai, that we receive so much official patronage and affiliation.

So attendees to Intersec will benefit from networking and educational opportunities alongside discovery of the latest products and technologies – all in an incredible three-day program that has been designed to provide the greatest value to both exhibitors and visitors alike.

What is on the agenda for fire and safety professionals at Intersec this year?

Fire and Safety is one of the five pillars of Intersec and remains an essential part. Fire and safety professionals can, in addition to making connections with over 400 dedicated fire and safety exhibitors, as well as attend the dedicated conference stream hosted by Dubai Civil Defence and take part in – or simply watch – live activations such as the Fire Fighter Challenge or the Attack Zone.

The Fire Fighter Challenge in particular is taking place for the first time at Intersec, with teams of firefighters from across the GCC taking part. It’s a fantastic and fun way for exhibitors to demonstrate their equipment in action, to draw attention to the extraordinary levels of fitness required of our heroic firefighters and also introduces a level of friendly competition among the region’s firefighters.

The Attack Zone gives exhibitors a chance to really put their products to the ultimate test – where each will be tested to its limits by the LPCB in order to discover breaching time and breakthrough limits. Assessment will be based on LPCB standards and is another live action demonstration which will bring a new element to the exhibition.

And of course, both of these features are sure to be a magnificent spectacle for visitors too!

In terms of hosted visitors, we are expecting to receive delegations of Civil Defence representatives, including Director Generals, from around the region, including other Emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, as well as Saudi Arabia and other locations within the GCC.

What key speakers and seminars should attendees from the fire industry look out for?

The Fire & Rescue conference at Intersec is hosted by Dubai Civil Defence and has been specifically designed to address the challenges and opportunities that are unique to the GCC region, as well as introduce the latest innovative technological advancements. The agenda for the conference focuses on several key themes: Standards & Policies, which will feature an update on the regional standards & policies and what we can learn from other countries outside the region; New Energy sources, assessing the risks associated with new and sustainable energy resources and taking measures to prevent fire breakouts; Innovation & Technology, dealing with changes in the fire environment due to innovative technologies and finding new solutions to existing and emerging challenges before an emergency response is required; Education, identifying the greatest hazards facing the communities and using that information to create education and prevention programs to reduce the effect of those hazards and finally Collaboration, which will examine how to adopt a collaborative plan for disaster management, working together with other nations.

As this conference is dedicated to Fire & Rescue, I do think that all of the sessions will be invaluable for attendees from the fire industry. However, if I had to select a few in particular, some of the key sessions I would advise to look out for include ‘High Rise Firefighting – Practical to tactical’, during which Captain Brent Brooks of Toronto Fire, Canada will examine the unique firefighting challenges posed by tall buildings and review tactical response options to address challenges in operational deployment; as well as ‘100 Years – 100 Cities – The Evaluation of Urban Fire Risks’ by Dr Peter Wagner, Head of Leadership Department, Berlin Fire and Rescue Academy, Member of CTIF, who will discuss the specifics of urban fire risks and distinct types of fire risks in cities.

In addition, Vinay Deshpande, Technical Director – Fire & Life Safety, WSP; Steven Reilly, Principal Engineer – Fire & Life Safety Lead MENA, Cundall and Susan Lamont, Director of Fire Safety, Arup will take part in panel discussion focused on ‘Fire safety & sustainability – approaching the net zero challenge’, which I am really looking forward to.

It is also worth attendees making the effort to discover the Tech Zone activation, which allows exhibitors at Intersec, including those in the fire and safety sector, to showcase their products and solutions in 20 minute bitesize sessions. The schedule for these presentations will be announced closer to the time, so attendees should keep an eye out to make sure that they don’t miss any exciting announcements.

Can you tell us about the range of exhibitors from the fire industry at the show this year?

There are over 400 fire sector exhibitors taking part at Intersec 2023 from all corners of the globe. We are particularly excited to welcome NAFFCO – one of the world’s the world’s leading producers and suppliers of top-tier firefighting equipment, fire protection systems, fire alarms, security and safety engineering systems worldwide – as strategic sponsor for Intersec 2023.

The fire industry exhibitors at Intersec 2023 span the entire spectrum of products and services in the industry, including alarm panels, smoke detection systems, extinguishers and firefighting foams, pumps and equipment, rescue equipment and hoses and nozzles, to name a few. Intersec really brings the global fire industry to Dubai, exhibitors come from around the world, such as Reliable and Potter from the USA, HD Fire and KV Fire from India, Detnov from Spain, Luke Alexander from Singapore and Coopers Fire and Reaction Fire from the UK. Of course, this is in addition to the many UAE based companies represented, including NAFFCO, Bristol Fire Engineering and Waterfall Pumps. In fact, around 70% of the industry’s global market leaders will be at Intersec 2023 – it really is the place to be to interact with the worldwide fire industry.

What networking opportunities will be available at this year’s event?

Networking is such an important part of any industry, and is particularly important in the Middle East region, where face-to-face business transactions are extremely important. Intersec 2023 provides a large number of networking opportunities, from the conference streams and meeting opportunities with more than 850 exhibitors present. Another key opportunity to interact with the whole industry will be at the Intersec Awards – a glittering gala dinner dedicated to celebrating success and innovation. Taking place during the evening on the second day of Intersec, Wednesday 18th January at the Ritz Carlton Dubai, the ceremony will recognise and reward the products and people in the industry for innovation, sustainability, commitment and achievement. With around 350 attendees expected for the celebration, it provides a collegiate yet professional platform for networking with industry peers. Tickets for the gala will go on sale soon – so I really recommend people don’t miss out

What are you most excited for as the event draws closer?

Oh, there is so much to be excited about at Intersec 2023. Personally, I am excited about many things but have to say that in particular, I am excited to see the growth of the show since the last edition. Intersec 2023 will be almost one and half times bigger than Intersec 2022 – I am thrilled to see that the industry’s appetite for large events is returning, now that it is possible safely. So I’m excited to welcome the global industry back to Dubai for sure.

I’m also excited about all the impressive demonstrations that will be at Intersec Dubai, like the Fire Fighter challenge and the Attack Zone, as well as the opportunities to hear from incredible key players at the conferences. The agendas for this year in all sectors are insightful, though provoking and focused on the challenges and opportunities of the GCC in particular.

This article was originally published in the January edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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