A large number of UK companies are taking advantage of the benefits that exhibiting as part of a UK Pavilion brings. Daren Wood, export services manager at the British Security Industry Association, highlights some of these advantages.
For many UK security companies, presence at overseas exhibitions is a no-brainer. The opportunity to showcase new products or services to buyers in target markets and the ability to meet with existing overseas customers, distributors and specifiers is an attractive proposition. Whilst many companies still choose to exhibit independently, more and more UK companies are taking advantage of the benefits that exhibiting as part of a UK Pavilion brings.
As the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Approved Trade Organisation (ATO) for the security sector, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is responsible for liaising with UKTI and other organisations to identify international exhibitions that UKTI, through the ATO, should support. These exhibitions will form part of the UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) calendar of events.
The BSIA also organises UK Pavilions at these shows, enabling UK companies to benefit from a wide range of benefits before, during and after the show.
UK Pavilion benefits
The first benefit, and perhaps the most important for exhibitors, is that the UK Pavilion forms a focal point for end‑users and security buyers. By exhibiting under the same ‘Great British brand’, UK companies are able to benefit from increased footfall as buyers are attracted to the Pavilion to source the quality products and services that the UK’s security industry is globally renowned for.
The UK Pavilion is located in a prime, central location on the show floor providing the exhibitors within it access to increased exposure and visibility to visitors.
A further benefit from exhibiting together is that UK security exporters enjoy a reduced cost to exhibiting, which further increases the profitability of attending overseas shows. On top of the reduced costs, the BSIA also helps companies to access the UKTI’s TAP funding programme, which can offset an exhibitor’s costs by up to £2,500.
Logistically, the BSIA takes the strain out of booking stand space by acting as the main liaison between exhibitors and the show organisers; managing stand design, construction, furnishings and fittings. The BSIA also appoints a freight forwarder to assist companies with the shipment of their goods; and on site, BSIA representatives oversee the construction process and are available to deal with any technical issues.
In addition, by working closely with the show organisers, the BSIA ensures that the UK Pavilion, and the companies that exhibit within it, are promoted in relevant trade publications, local media and show literature. This ensures that visitors to the show are aware of the range of UK companies in attendance and the products and services that they will be showcasing.
The UK Pavilion also provides a great opportunity for exhibitors to build connections with fellow exhibitors, experts and representatives in the security industry and to enhance their international reputation.
All of these benefits ultimately contribute to a more successful, stress-free and profitable show for exhibitors.
Most recently, the BSIA organised three of the UK Pavilions (Commercial Security, Fire and Rescue, and Homeland and Policing) at Intersec Dubai over 17-19 January 2016, helping 73 UK companies to attend as exhibitors. Intersec continues to thrive as an important fixture in the security events calendar. The most recent edition was 10 per cent larger than in 2015, spanning 50,000sqm with over 2,400 brands on show. 2016’s show welcomed 31,261 visitors from 128 countries which made it the largest and most international Intersec to date.
The importance of Intersec to UK security companies is clear. According to research carried out by the BSIA’s Export Council – a dedicated forum for BSIA member companies who are focused on extending their business to overseas markets – further increases in overseas trade are expected for 2016, with a clear focus on the Middle East. In fact, 40 per cent of respondents identified the Middle East as the single most important target market, whilst 80 per cent of respondents claimed that they are looking to increase their level of business in this region.
At Intersec 2016, UK companies illustrated this fact by attending in force. The UK Pavilion took more exhibition space than any other pavilion in attendance at the show and attracted a huge amount of international visitors. During the show opening ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum took the time to visit the UK Pavilion and talk to representatives from UK companies. By visiting the UK Pavilion in person, His Highness demonstrated the appetite of the Middle East region to develop relationships with UK security companies; something that many exhibitors were keen to reciprocate.
Intersec plays a pivotal role in enabling UK companies to meet with potential customers, existing distributors or partners and as a platform to launch new products into the Middle Eastern market. Many of the companies that decided to exhibit as part of the UK Pavilion at Intersec 2016 reported that the show was particularly successful and that the UK Pavilion had helped to contribute to this.
One BSIA member company, RGL Electronics Ltd, have been active in the Middle East for a number of years and attended Intersec 2016 as an exhibitor for the first time.
Geoff Jones, director of RGL Electronics, said: “By exhibiting at Intersec this year, we had the opportunity of getting in front of the people that really matter and we were able to build upon what is already a major marketplace for the RGL brand. We showcased our range of access control products and a disabled toilet alarm, all of which attracted a good response from visitors to the show. The quality of the contacts we have made has been very high and I anticipate that some of these contacts will develop into orders over the coming months. “
Storm Interface launched the S60 range of mullion format keypad readers at the show, which received a fantastic response from prospective customers.
Peter Jarvis, senior executive vice president at Storm Interface, commented: “The response to the Storm S60 was absolutely astonishing. When developing the product, we found that there was a real need for a product that would not affect the aesthetics of landmark buildings where typically, you wouldn’t want to drill into the building materials to affix a traditional reader. We’ve found that there is a real demand in the Middle East for products that meet the design specifications of landmark buildings, especially in Dubai.”
Commenting on the value of exhibiting as part of the UK Pavilion at 2016’s Intersec, he said: “We were really impressed with the level of support that the BSIA provided both before and during Intersec.
Association with the BSIA is absolutely essential at these types of exhibition. The BSIA’s excellent organisation of the UK Pavilion freed us up at Intersec so that we could focus on what we needed to do; meet with target contacts, promote our products and make valuable sales.”
Global market challenges
Clym Brown, marketing director at Texecom, also found Intersec to be a positive show: “We see themes at Intersec that resonate with global market challenges – the proliferation of advanced wireless security devices, home network and smartphone connectivity for users taking control of their own security, and increased connectivity and integrated features for commercial and security applications. At Intersec, we found our breadth of system offerings, using the same architecture and programming structure throughout, was really well received by visitors looking to provide the highest levels of security for a wide range of applications.”
Elsewhere, BSIA member company, Remsdaq, estimated that they recorded approximately 25 per cent more validated leads at Intersec 2016, when compared to the previous year.
Alan Hardy, EMEA sales manager, commented: “It was an extremely satisfying exhibition with unprecedented numbers of good quality contacts visiting our stand. There was an extremely positive reaction from all our visitors to our EntroWatch, EntroStar and EntroPad range of access control solutions. We are confident that our business in the region will increase significantly as a direct result of our participation in the show.”
The BSIA is now taking bookings for stand space in the UK Pavilion at 2017’s edition of Intersec – 22-24 January at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.