Author: John Davies
Trade shows are an interesting phenomenon – as an exhibitor you are there to shout about your latest products and services, to meet with your partners, and to engage with existing and potential customers. However, the other side of the coin is the opportunity to see what the rest of the industry is up to and to learn about the pain points and needs of buyers. We had a timely reminder of all of these when TDSi recently appeared at The Security Event at the NEC Birmingham.
We have all got so used to talking to people online that it’s easy to forget what a breath of fresh air a good live event is. Needless to say, many live events have been postponed (in the case of The Security Event by 18 months) and many more cancelled completely, so there was a particular buzz at the NEC this year.
We were very excited to unveil our latest products on the stand this year and there was considerable attention and love for our GARDiS software and readers. Their ease of use and setup was a keen talking point, but also many visitors were drawn to the product aesthetics – the readers proved to be a particular hit when seen ‘in the flesh’. Even the highest quality photography doesn’t quite compare to touching products and getting a real sense of what they will look like mounted on a wall for people to use.
These events are also perfect for good off-the-cuff conversations too. Many stand visitors were surprised and impressed by the amount of development we achieved despite the UK lockdown restrictions. We are very proud of how well the TDSi team mobilized and it was a pleasure to talk about all the behind-the-scenes activities to partners and customers, many of which we have not seen in person for quite a while.
The Security Event 2021 also showcased what the security industry has to offer right now. It is vital to stay engaged with the market, generating interest in the latest and best solutions that will help secure and protect businesses, organisations, and people as the world evolves rapidly.
Technology that caught my eye at the NEC Birmingham this year included Open standard access credential management on Advancis’ stand from Curatech. This uses the PSIA Open standard to enable an easier rollout of security credentials across enterprise global networks, even if they employ various access solutions across their estate. This level of integration is key in helping security operators to make the most of their investments and to better unify their security systems.
Our GARDiS range of security access control software and hardware is designed with the same ethos – bringing together all the elements of security and business IT systems to deliver better solutions and value for money. There seemed to be a consensus across the exhibitors and visitors that we spoke to that there needs to be better technology collaboration moving forwards – recent events have shown you need to be well prepared for virtually any scenario!
As much as it was a great opportunity to promote our business, attending The Security Event this year was also a fascinating insight into public reactions to live events moving forwards. Ongoing concerns about the pandemic were clearly evident – many people are still adjusting to being able to visit events and to mixing with large groups again.
Judging by our own experience there did seem to be less footfall at the event (the official figures may prove me wrong!), but that was to be expected. Uncertainty earlier this year made it harder for people to plan a visit and many businesses (particularly smaller installation firms) had to decide whether the potential risk to health and interruptions to their workforce was worth the benefits of visiting.
We also noticed considerably fewer overseas visitors and exhibitors – although with the complex system of travel restrictions in place worldwide this is not at all surprising. We spoke to a good variety of people from across the UK and Ireland and there was a lot of enthusiasm, which was very encouraging indeed.
With this year’s event being delayed there is a considerably shorter wait for The Security Event 2022, which will return to its intended April slot – only six months away! We expect interest and attendance to grow for the next event and TDSi will also be appearing at Intersec Dubai 2022 (16th-18th January) before that, which will give a better idea of how physical events are likely to progress moving forwards.
Certainly, online Zoom or Teams meetings will continue to have an important role in discussions and presentations moving forwards, but it’s important not to underestimate the role of face-to-face events as we all settle into the post-pandemic world. That ability to chat, demonstrate the technology and have a natural conversation as human beings is something that has been sorely missed for too long.
John Davies, Managing Director of TDSi