Exhibition News May 2019 - Page 23

Cover Feature it really has,” he tells me. “There has to be an emergency plan in place. The problem with crowd management, security and counterterrorism is that it’s invisible. It’s also the most important part of your event, because if it does go wrong that is all you have. You could have up to 15 minutes’ response time from the emergency services, first response is only as good as your management and safety & security team.” Blake adds that security and risk management is all about scalable mitigation, making a judgement call for each individual event based on a risk assessment and what would mitigate potential risk. One potential area of vulnerability he highlights, which is certainly relevant to the world of exhibitions, is who is let into a venue during build-up. “A vetting process would be a really good way forward,” he explains. “There’s no point having a load of vetted security staff when every other Tom, Dick and Harry can come onsite. The biggest threat is an insider threat. It’s easy to set up a perimeter and search people, but if you’ve got 500 staff onsite during build with no system in place then you might as well not bother, because anything they want in is already there. “It’s often just a changing of working practice, it’s having the right systems in place monitored by the right people.” A cunning scan The entrance to an event can be a focal point for security planning, and for high-risk events with a high volume of visitors it can be a tricky task balancing proper security with the visitor experience. This is a problem Farnborough Airshow knows all too well. The biennial show welcomes up to 100,000 visitors and more than 1,500 exhibitors as well as a range of government officials and VIPs, which makes efficient and effective security of paramount importance. Operations director, Neil Theuma, talks EN through an innovative solution the organiser trialled in 2018. “What we looked at was technology through a company called thruvision,” he explains. “They’ve developed a camera which takes an X-ray image of visitors walking “It’s all about scalable mitigation. You don’t throw the kitchen sink at everything” – Steve Blake through a particular walkway and it can be set to varying levels and can pick up things from small weapons all the way through to larger items. “We trialled that on our main entrance, and it enabled people to effectively walk through without having to stop, if they weren’t carrying bags. We set the system up to accept laptops coming through. If anything was being picked up on people walking through the new technology, they were then taken aside and searched in a traditional way.” The use of the technology meant that visitors who had printed their badges at home and who either didn’t have bags or just had a laptop were able to walk uninterrupted into the event, vastly reducing queue times. “Security has always been paramount, especially on a show of our nature where there are high-value assets,” continues Theuma. “We have some civil and defence organisations at the Airshow and security is always very high on the agenda. “What we like to think we’re doing is pioneering the use of new technology by trialling and using these new systems as they come out. What we also try to consider more now is the customer experience and the visitor journey, which is another key driver in making sure the Airshow remains one of the best shows in the world.” Tech is clearly driving innovation when it comes to security at events, whether that’s in the form of apps enabling visitors to become an organiser’s eyes and ears, or scanning that helps to prevent issues before they occur. But as incidents at live events continue to make headlines around the world, it’s vital that the exhibition industry takes the threat seriously. EN How can we better protect everyone involved in our events? If you’d like to join the conversation get in touch at nmacdonald@mashmedia.net May — 23