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ASIS springs into future

The digital future was the theme for the ASIS UK spring seminar on Wednesday, writes Mark Rowe.

Over the years the UK chapter of the security management association has been to some swish places, and the first gathering of 2018 was no different, as it was hosted by audit firm EY at their offices beside the Thames and by City Hall, at More London Place in SE1. Pictured is the networking over drinks into the early evening after the afternoon event.

After a welcome by John Imhoff, EY’s chief security officer (CSO), and Sukanta Dutt, EY’s global partner for risk management, speakers before the coffee break were Supt Roy Smith of the Met Police; and Alicia Humphreys, manager of EYX, the innovation arm of the business, who discussed how the likes of drones, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, augmented reality and robotics create opportunities and threats for the security sector. That was a similar message to EY’s head of global social media relations, Jamil Zakaria. Questions from the floor and the talk afterwards into the early evening showed that ASIS UK members were grappling with the future; both as users of social media and monitors – to keep an eye on the sheer amount of platforms and tweets in a world of 500m tweets a day and a predicted three billion social media users by 2020.

Among the points aired from the floor was that social media, analysed, can help security managers see if the security ‘message’ is right and being taken up (whether by customers, or site users), which means in a crisis a security manager is better able to bring together a crisis response team. Another idea raised from the floor was of an ‘arms race’, between the rush to technology and the ‘bad actors’ who manipulate social media platforms. AI (artificial intelligence) is already starting to be corrupted; so that voices and video can be made into ‘fake news’, that might make a spokesperson of a brand appear to say something that is outrageous or criminal. Despite such ‘weaponising’ of tech, there is still a place for human judgement, it was suggested, for ‘connecting the dots’, and for ‘trusted sources’ to put out counter-messaging. Every automation, it was said, has a human behind it. Also aired by the meeting were the risks around what corporates say, and how they say it, in a world where a single viral tweet – depending on who sends it – can knock a billion off the value of a company.

Sponsors Convergint, Everbridge and TrackTik also gave presentations.

ASIS UK Chapter chairman Dave Clark thanked sponsors, speakers and the host, Richard Stevens, associate director global security (EMEIA) at EY, ‘who plays a key role within the UK Chapter as director of education’, Dave said.

ASIS UK’s summer seminar is on Thursday, June 14. For ASIS UK calendar of events visit


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