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INTERVIEW WITH KHALID BUALI, REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIS MIDDLE EAST

Aym Events: What challenges does your industry face when it comes to security?

Khalid Buali: Today more than ever, government organizations, public spaces, businesses, and critical infrastructures are prone to intrusions, attacks and sabotage. Implementing a robust security system that makes use of the newest technology should be the primary focus for all industries. In the Middle East specifically, the physical security market, which was valued at US$3 billion in 2014, is estimated to grow 25 percent annually over the next six years to reach US$11 billion in 2020, according to analysts Frost & Sullivan. This includes a range of technology such as access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection, perimeter protection, door alarms, as well as the management software and system integration. Much of this regional growth is driven by government regulations that will contribute to an overall growth in security.

However, challenges still remain. These include the duration of installation process, a high initial cost of set up, and a lack of awareness. Did you know for example that in 2016, energy was the industry second most prone to cyber-attacks, with nearly three-quarters of US oil & gas companies experiencing at least one cyber incident? However in their latest annual filings, only a handful of energy companies cited cyber breaches as a major risk… Similarly, recent incidents involving drones forced airports and other critical infrastructures to rethink their security protocols while growing internal security challenges in the Middle East have raised demand among the region’s authorities and security agencies for innovative products to improve homeland security.

AE: Could you tell us a little bit more about ASIS Middle East 2019?

KB: ASIS Middle East 2019 Conference and Exhibition is a prominent annual security forum organized by ASIS regional volunteer leaders and supported by key security leaders from critical industrial facility operators in the region, Saudi Aramco, SATORP, SASREF, Sabic, SADARA Chemical Company, Saudi Electricity Company and STC. The theme this year is Industrial Revolution 4.0 Enabling Security. We wanted to focus on the current trend of automation and data exchange which includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and cognitive computing as well as emerging threats of UAVs and countermeasures. And obviously what all these developments mean to the security industry.

AE: What major themes will the conference explore this year?

KB: This year we will focus on a number of sectors including Government, Homeland Security and Policing, Offshore & Maritime Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Cybersecurity, Unmanned Vehicles, Transport and Critical Infrastructure, Banking, Hospitality, the Convergence of Cyber and Physical Security, as well as Robotics.

AE: How will the event help face some of these challenges?

KB: ASIS ME 2019 Conference and Exhibition is a prominent regional security event where all of the critical asset owners and asset operators gather. It is a unique opportunity to meet security end-users, installers, integrators, distributors and consultants. The exhibition will showcase the latest technology and provide a vast networking opportunity to review new and innovative security solutions. By bringing together such varied sectors as banking and

petrochemicals, hospitality and transport, the conference will enable key players not only to share experience with their colleagues but also learn from a number of other sectors.

AE: Who can we expect to hear from?

KB: Firstly, we are honoured that Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed, Bahrain’s Minister of Petroleum will be giving a keynote speech during the opening ceremony. But we’re also very excited to be welcoming a truly international roster of speakers this year. For instance, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri, the Director General of the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs will discuss Border Security Innovation while the former Head of the GIS Office at the National Center for Security and Crisis Management in Jordan, Dr. Ali Nouh Mabdeh, will analyse how UAV technology can be used to support the capabilities of National Security and Crisis Management Agencies. We will also welcome Mohammad Altura, Chief Information Technology Officer for the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority of Kuwait to discuss Digital Transformation in Cybersecurity. Finally, a fantastic session on Cultural and Hospitality Security will see Robert Carotenuto, Vice President for Security for the New York Botanical gardens and Dr. Declan Garrett, Head of Security for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, discuss security matters in public spheres, cultural institutions and places of worship.

AE: Where can we find out more?

KB: More information on the program, speakers and exhibitors, as well as registration options can be found at www.asis-me.org

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