Cortech Open Innovation Events: The 2018 Series at IFSEC International

This year, Cortech Developments hosted its annual Cortech Open Innovation Event (COIE) Series while exhibiting at IFSEC International 2018, Europe’s leading security event and the only global stage committed to co-creating the future of integrated security. Five events were held over the three days of the show in June, and provided 70 delegates with the chance to see the latest developments in security, building and fire control technology as well as find out about how smarter interoperability between these systems actively reduces cost and risk, improves operational efficiency and provides greater situation awareness. Brian Sims reports from ExCeL London.

Cortech Developments ran two COIE sessions per day on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 June, with one event running on Thursday 21 June. Each of these events afforded attendees the chance to meet with collaborating manufacturers (more of whom anon) and witness real-time demonstrations of software and hardware which provided an insight into how to adopt smart integration techniques with a view to mitigating risk and reducing costs.

Delegates were encouraged to take part in dedicated cluster group discussions. Topics were raised by delegates which then helped to form the basis of the live demonstrations. These subjects included future-proofing, the integration of new with older legacy technology and managing multiple systems across multiple sites.

Each cluster group was facilitated by a technology expert from one of the participating manufactures, among them Cortech Developments. As per previous events, these cluster groups stimulated open discussions and collective thinking around current and future industry challenges, as well as creating that all-important direct link into the live interactive element of the event.

Attendees at COIE 2018

Attendees at the 2018 COIE Series included security and intelligence managers, consultants, business directors, heads of risk, project managers, technical directors, security engineers, facilities managers and national security advisors.

Overall, one third of attendees were end users and two thirds of them consultants. Looking back at statistics from previous COIE days that Cortech has orchestrated, over three-quarters of those present across the three days of IFSEC International had never attended one of these events previously, while the rest had attended one in the past three years.

Each event was free to attend, while all delegates were able to obtain two Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours for attending one of the sessions.

The benefits of attendance at COIE days are both many and varied. Attendees have previously described the COIE Series days as informative, well structured, interesting, refreshingly honest and thought provoking. One delegate at IFSEC commented: “The Cortech Open Innovation Events are different to any of the educational events I’ve attended in the past. They provide a focus around challenges faced by modern day Control Room environments. It was a well-balanced and informative presentation using collaborative companies, thoroughly enjoyed by myself and the colleagues with whom I attended on the day.”

Another attendee explained: “Attending the Cortech Open Innovation Event is a fantastic way in which to keep up-to-date with the latest thinking and developments across the field of security and risk management and participate in stimulating exchanges of ideas and experience. The interactive demonstration was both informative and interesting and gave an insight into how new and old systems can be brought together under a single interface, as well as addressing the latest challenges we’re all facing in the security industry.”

Cortech Developments’ own head of sales and marketing, Jason Blundell, informed Risk Xtra (Official Media Partner for the 2018 COIE Series): “We were delighted to welcome 70 delegates to the COIE Series spanning the three days of IFSEC International. By collaborating with a mixture of different attending manufacturers, we were able to demonstrate how smart integration can reduce risk and cost when managing multiple technologies across multiple sites. We were very excited to be running our event during IFSEC in what was a change to the normal format. The feedback from delegates has been extremely positive. The 2018 Series has surpassed even our own expectations.”

Format for the COIE Series

As always, the COIE Series concentrated on ‘mitigating the risk for workplace safety, high security and building efficiency’. The itinerary for the sessions at IFSEC International was split into morning and afternoon schedules. The morning Cortech Open Innovation Events started with arrival and registration, with welcome introductions delivered by representatives of Cortech Developments. Ahead of the live software and hardware demonstrations, current industry challenges were then discussed as part of the cluster group sessions and content for the presentation decided on by the delegates.

Following on from the morning demonstrations was the opportunity for delegates to network and meet with the manufactures. This year, participating manufacturers included Intech Solutions, Paxton, Bosch, AMG Systems, Texecom, Geutebruck, Commend, CitySync and Business Insight 3. Representatives from each of these COIE Partners were available for one-to-one discussions with delegates after the live demonstrations concluded.

Morning sessions closed with lunch and networking, with the afternoon sessions beginning and concluding using the format as per the morning. Each afternoon COIE session wrapped up with more networking. Often, delegates wanted to stay on and discuss ideas and plans that had arisen from the live demonstrations.

Collaborating manufacturers

The COIE Series at IFSEC International not only provided interesting, thought-provoking and educational events for attendees, but also created a positive experience for the collaborating manufactures involved.

Adrian Mealing, Texecom’s head of industry affairs who took part in the series of discussions and live software/hardware demonstrations, commented: “It was a very informative event and an excellent opportunity to engage with specifiers, consultants and end users alike. End users are constantly looking for ways in which to control large estates with the minimal number of people, while specifiers are more concerned about interoperability as opposed to integration. They also want reassurance that products can be updated and patched where and when vulnerabilities are discovered.”

Mealing continued: “Our forthcoming cloud services, which will allow remote upgrading and cloud management for systems, will help to address these needs from both an end user and specifier perspective. I’m also glad to say that the humble intruder alarm is very much back on the map. The possibility of cloud management capability and true interoperability really resonates with today’s estate managers.”

Hayley Joseph, sales office manager for AMG Systems, added: “AMG Systems was really proud to be a part of the COIE Series at IFSEC International. We were most impressed with the educational platform it created for integrated security users. The use of IP transmission within the security industry has increased the potential for less installation and user problems when adopting an integrated platform, so the subject matter and the real-time ability to highlight simple risk mitigation was refreshing.”

Antony Searle, commercial manager at Paxton, informed Risk Xtra: “Paxton was pleased to be involved with the COIE Series at IFSEC 2018. Collaboration between complimentary manufacturers, such as Cortech Developments and Paxton, is important when working to provide customers with useful and relevant solutions. It’s also a behaviour we value in terms of how we do business. The format of the event worked well, and gave us the opportunity to listen to end users, find out more about their requirements and understand where their concerns lie. It was a very interesting experience.”

Attendees left the COIE Series educated and informed which allows for them to be better equipped to manage their evolving building and organisational needs, while at the time they learned the detail about the effective implementation of holistic solutions for their business and how to become more sustainable as well as other benefits (the reduction of energy consumption, for example).

Detail of the demonstrations

The real-time demonstrations challenged members of the audience to reconsider how they use their existing systems and new technology to deliver greater benefits and value for their host organisation.

Facilitated through the use of software and the latest manufacturer technology, the demonstrations addressed many of the challenges faced by modern day Control Room operators including intrusions, unauthorised access, fire detection, nuisance alarms, Health and Safety incidents, building energy efficiency and building management. Not only did the demonstrations show how these types of challenges can be managed on a single site, but they also addressed how they could be monitored and controlled over multiple and complex sites.​

Further consideration was then given to the risks and challenges faced when managing multiple technologies across multiple sites, focusing in particular on prioritisation, escalation, accountability, verification, efficiency and, last but not least, return on investment.

*If you were unable to attend one of the COIE Series briefings during IFSEC 2018, do keep accessing the Cortech Developments website (www.cortech.co.uk) where dates for the next COIE Series will be announced

**If you’re an end user, security consultant or contractor and interested in gaining a greater understanding of managing risk in the workplace, contact Cortech Developments at Brook House Farm, Withers Lane, High Legh, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 0SG (telephone: 01925 750600, e-mail: info@cortech.co.uk)

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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