With Intersec 2013 in Dubai (15 – 17 January) fast approaching we talk to John Davies, chairman of the Export Council of the BSIA (British Security Industry Association) about the work of the Export Council in promoting British expertise in the security sector and the strong business growth experienced by its members in the Middle East region over the past 12 months. A trend which Davies believes is set to continue for 2013.
John Davies, who is managing director and principal owner, of BSIA member company TDSi is an enthusiastic advocate of the BSIA’s Export Council and the security products and services its members can offer. He is currently engaged, along with his colleagues, in efforts to expand participation in the Council: “We are undertaking a major drive to get more BSIA companies involved and, thankfully, this already seems to be reaping rewards as membership has risen by an impressive 10% year-on-year. I know from first hand experience running a company [TDSi] that the Export Council offers an invaluable forum for information exchange, and exclusive research, on key regional markets. This insight can make a real difference to the success, or otherwise, of businesses on the ground – just knowing who to speak to and where you can find help provides a real step-up in an increasingly competitive environment.”
Davies also believes that the BSIA connection helps to breakdown barriers and add an extra degree of credibility in the marketplace: “Whilst it is not a regulatory thing, being part of the BSIA and the Export Council gives confidence to prospective customers that you know what you are doing and, consequently, it is worth paying attention to the solutions being proposed.”
Connecting with Buyers
Looking in more detail at the role of the Export Council, Davies explains that it is tasked, primarily, with forging productive links between UK security companies and overseas buyers across the globe including, crucially, in the Middle East: “This is an ongoing process and the Intersec exhibition in Dubai remains very much the focal point for the Export Council’s activities in this pivotal region.” According to Davies there is strong demand for the best that British providers can offer, particularly when that is associated with an ability to comply with international standards and best practice, something which, he claims, BSIA member companies are well placed to offer. “In fact this year’s event will be the 15th time that the BSIA has attended Intersec and this time around we hope to have more companies taking part than ever before.”
Focused on Intersec
The security-related innovations that BSIA members are planning to display on-stand during Intersec 2013 are extremely wide ranging, says Davies, covering everything from integrated systems to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm technology and switch mode power supplies: “ Conveniently, many of these will be clustered around the BSIA-organised UK Security Pavilion.”
In addition to having a presence on the UK Security Pavilion, Davies confirms that the Export Council has again been working closely with UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) to run a ‘Meet the Buyers’ event: “Over the years this has proved to be an extremely productive way of bringing suppliers and prospective customers, who have specific project requirements in mind, together for face-to-face discussions.”
Middle East Matters
The importance of the Middle East for British security providers cannot be overestimated. According to Davies, the strength of this trade was brought into sharp focus recently when the Export Council undertook a detailed ‘State of the Nation’ research effort. This questioned members about their experiences exporting in 2012 as well as their expectations for 2013: “There were a number of results from this which are directly related to the Middle East. Our research found, for example, that the Middle East is currently the most important overseas target market for BSIA members. This was also reflected in the fact that almost 70% of respondents are keen to increase their business in the Middle East during 2013. Alongside this Intersec was singled out as one of the most popular overseas trade shows – alongside MIPS in Russia – that BSIA members attend.”
At a wider level, as the economic outlook remains problematic in the UK, it is understandable that more and more British security businesses are seeking to open up opportunities in overseas markets: “The ‘State of the Nation’ research highlighted, interestingly, that 85% of respondents felt that the ongoing slowdown at home made exporting even more important. For Export Council members sales outside the UK now represent a significant, and growing, proportion of business, with the survey finding that, in the majority of cases, this accounts for between 40 and 70% of their turnover. Encouragingly, two-thirds also reported that the level of this business had increased over the past 12 months,” says Davies.
Ready for 2013
Considering the prospects for Intersec 2013, Davies is hopeful that, ultimately, it will prove to be even more successful than in 2012: “Last year is certainly going to be a hard act to follow as we saw an unprecedented level of visitor interest. To quantify this, in a post-event survey, 83% of our Export Council members said they had witnessed a growth in visitors coming to their stands. Moving ahead we are confident of another positive outcome given the number of members, and quality of solutions, confirmed for the show.”
For more information regarding the BSIA’s Export Council please visit Hall S2, Stand S2-531C during Intersec 2013. Alternatively, further details and a full list of member companies can be found at: www.bsia.co.uk/export-council.