Customers have begun to think beyond just buildings, to safer and smarter cities.
For most security companies, the Middle East market is always exciting and full of opportunities. Traditionally, this has been an area of high economic growth along with high-security concerns. There are so many high-value assets that need to be protected, especially the likes of oil and gas
Speaking from his company’s point of view, Kenneth Hune Petersen, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Acting VP for EMEA at Milestone Systems, pointed out that the Middle East market has high potential, and they have some major plans for it.
“We are growing our office here significantly, not only from a footprint perspective but also from the perspective of the number of personnel,” Petersen said. “We are hiring quite a lot of new people here and also doubling our office space. We see a growth that’s more than the average MEA growth.”
Petersen added that the customers are a mix of new and old. Some of the new customers are from verticals like safe city and construction, which has always been a strong vertical in the area.
Extending beyond building
One of the major requirements seen in the Middle East market as of now is large-scale projects, according to Vikas Chadha, VP of Commercial Security at Honeywell.
“Customers want larger solutions,” Chadha said. “They ask, you can do security for buildings, but could you do it for a whole city? Would it be possible for you to extend your solutions to a larger city infrastructure, which involves a lot of other parameters like license plate recognition (LPR), parking, and security is just a part of it. This is not just in Dubai, but also in other cities in the Middle East.”
Automation is gathering interest across the globe, mostly because of the convenience, lower costs, and efficiency. In the Middle East, the cost isn’t exactly a concern at the moment, but convenience and efficiency are.
“More customers in the Middle East are looking for automated solutions,” said Adlan Hussain, VP of Marketing at CNL Software. “How can we provide more automation in the control room, how can we make things faster, how can we be less reliant on people. I think there is an understanding that although labor costs in this region are not as high as in places like the U.S. and Europe, automation improves efficiency compared to the use of people and also allows for things to be done in a structured manner.”
Automation allows the addition of more policies and processes and their adherence. Solutions that support the use of automated systems like facial detection would enable customers like commercial entities to distinguish between their employees and unauthorized people.
According to Hanno Vogels, VP of Sales for EMEA at Bosch Security Systems, a major trend seen in the market is a change of attitude towards efficient use of resources.
“The requirements of the region, in my view, have changed,” said Vogels. “In the past, there were a lot of high-end technical features, but now there are a set of completely new requirements, like energy consumption. For instance, our public address systems now consume about 30 to 40 percent less power
than before. About ten years ago, we would have talked about the quality of audio. Now the people assume that we already have it, so its power consumption and the number of racks to calculate how much space is needed, is what matters.”
Protection against hackers
Cybersecurity is a major concern in the Middle East. According to a report from IBM Security, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are two countries that have seen the costliest cybersecurity breaches after the U.S. Other reports suggest that state-sponsored players were behind many of the cyberattacks in the Middle East and espionage was the motive behind hacking
Hence it isn’t surprising that many customers are asking for solutions that pay special attention to cybersecurity. Chadha said that a lot of their customers have so much data and integrated systems that they consider cybersecurity a priority when purchasing physical security solutions.
“They are often concerned about how to cyber-secure
their systems, how to stay ahead of the hackers, and what the requirements for this are,” Chadha noted.
Drones and other requirements
The oil and gas vertical is still important for many security companies. Given the nature of the infrastructure in this vertical, there is always a demand for rugged, outdoor solutions that can withstand tough weather conditions in remote locations.
According to Ettiene Van Der Watt, Director of Business Development for MEA at Axis Communications, perimeter security solutions continue to be in strong demand in the region. After the recent drone attack on an oil plant in Saudi Arabia, solutions to control unauthorized drones are also picking up demand.
“There is also a major need for anti-drone technology,” Van Der Watt noted. Perimeter intrusion solutions with multiple layers are often requested from large critical infrastructure clients. These solutions could include anti-drone devices, traditional surveillance, and radar technologies. The key is to ensure that these technologies are seamlessly integrated to facilitate the desired alarms with high accuracy.
The traditional requirements in the oil and gas sector cannot be ignored either. According to Jean Wehbe, CEO of VEER, which is a partner of Milestone Systems, said that camera-based smoke detectors, leakage detectors, and safety solutions to protect employees while operating large machines, are popular.