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IFSEC previewed

It’s all change for IFSEC this year – new venue, new shorter format. It means a new experience for everyone – exhibitors and visitors alike.

As Roy Cooper, Professional Security MD, says there is concern among IFSEC regulars about the move from the National Exhibition Centre outside Birmingham to the ExCeL centre in Docklands, pictured. “Everybody’s debating, ‘what do you think of it going to London?’. My opinion of it going to London is that it isn’t going to make any difference. Some people might not go because it’s London, and others will go, because it’s London. I don’t think it’s going to make a massive difference to the turn-out, and it’s probably a good opportunity to make the changes.” Roy describes IFSEC as a ‘big beast’: “It will never go away, but it does need to change; things do need to change as things go on.” For those of you that have got used to the floor plan of the NEC – and can almost walk blind-folded to your exhibition stand, or the stand you regularly visit – there’s a whole new lay-out to get used to. Roy Cooper has been going to IFSEC for five decades – last year’s being the 40th. “Yes, it’s a great opportunity for me to meet loads of people that I don’t normally meet,” although he does add that the Professional Security series of regional events, Security TWENTY 14 also lets him meet people. “I have always said, it doesn’t matter where they put it,” meaning IFSEC, “they can stick it in Dundee and it would still be a success.” We should at once add that we mean no disrespect to Tayside; only that people will travel to whichever city the show’s in. “Because most of the people in the industry have grown up with IFSEC. It’s been part of the industry for all of these years. It’s always been there and everybody, I would suspect, in the industry has at one point in their career attended IFSEC. It’s infamous. It’s global,” because after all IFSEC stands for International Fire and Security Exhibition. Just to mention in passing, as at the NEC, events are running alongside for fire safety (FIREX), facilities management (the Facilities Show), and health and safety. Your badge for one show lets you into all of them. “It’s part of our heritage, you could say. It is to the security industry what Buckingham Palace is to royalty.”


IFSEC began as a London show and lets visitors choose from the capital’s entertainment – Roy has tickets for The Eagles in concert at the nearby O2 Arena, the evening before IFSEC opens. “I am looking forward to it,” he says, meaning IFSEC. “I do love IFSEC. I am somewhat disappointed it has gone down to three days; we are normally rushing around to see all these people and we only have three days to do it now, instead of four.” It all means new routines – new hotels to check into, new after-show entertainment places – and there’s only two nights to fit all the wining and dining into. We knew where the awards dinner were, and the Tyco and Pelco dinners, and then there were those events in Birmingham city centre; now the prospect is of exhibitors offering their customers an evening on the Thames. As Roy says, it’s going to feel different being in London. Yet even in an age of email, people are as keen to meet and network as ever.

About IFSEC 2014

IFSEC 2014 opens at London ExCeL on Tuesday, June 17, at 10am and closes on Thursday, June 19, at 4pm. Visit


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