Middle East Electricity (MEE), the region’s leading annual international trade event for the power industry, is undergoing major expansion in 2018 to service the shifting demand dynamics of the regional sector. To aid ongoing growth, Informa Exhibitions, the event organiser, has launched a dedicated Energy Storage & Management Solutions sector for the show, which is hosted by the UAE Ministry of Energy and runs at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 6-8 next year. Informa will also debut the thought-leading Global Smart Energy Summit alongside the mega exhibition.

Middle East Electricity is evolving in line with the regional industry, which is now one of the world’s most vibrant,” said Anita Mathews, Group Director – Industrial Portfolio at Informa Exhibitions. “Our new dedicated product sector will launch as the Middle East and Africa's most comprehensive coming together of local, regional and international energy storage and management providers, with international manufacturers demonstrating the latest technologies transforming industry practices to regional audiences.”

With rise in demand a change is required in the power industry of Middle East and Africa

With governments looking to meet spiraling demand - between 7 to 8per cent a year - caused by population growth and industrialisation, change is the name of the game across the entire Middle East and Africa power gambit. There is also a tremendous appetite to embrace technologies and renewables to combat climate change, deliver smart cities and make local eco-systems more resilient.” Energy Storage & Management Solutions will join four other specialised sectors at the show, which over 43 years has ignited and then maintained a reputation of being a bell-weather for regional development. The other sectors are the Transmission & Distribution, Power Generation and Lighting stalwarts, as well as Solar, which joins the MEE fold as a dedicated sector after six years as a co-located event.

Solar is now undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing sectors in the region with the Middle East Solar Industry Association putting the number of solar projects under execution throughout MENA at 3,610 with another 1,300 under tender,” said Mathews. “Mega projects are being jumpstarted across both North Africa and the GCC, while there is increasing acceptance and uptake of rooftop solutions, which have witnessed a 10-fold demand surge in the UAE in the last 12 months alone. This advancing sector, now benefitting from regionwide clean energy policies, holds out enormous opportunities for developers, EPC contactors, equipment suppliers and financiers.”

Informa anticipates its highest turnout ever for MEE 2018

The 2018 edition will host more than 1,615 companies from 66 countries, supported by 24 dedicated country pavilions. Covering the entire value chain of electricity products and services across the show’s five sectors, Informa anticipates its highest turnout ever for MEE 2018 reflecting the transformation currently underway throughout the MENA power industry. “This scale of evolution is nothing short of breathtaking with the multilateral development bank Apicorp putting GCC requirements alone at US $85 billion worth of investment in an additional 69 GW of generation capacity and US $52 billion for transmission and distribution over the next five years,” continued Mathews.

Apicorp says GCC power capacity needs to expand at an average 8 per cent annually up to 2020 with Saudi Arabia facing the biggest demand and needing to invest US $71 billion to increase capacity to 114GW. “With regional governments increasingly focused on economic diversification, demand is unlikely to slow for some considerable time. This has more keenly focused the global industry’s attention on the region and the show will reflect this with an international exhibitor base looking to engage with local players,” concluded Mathews.

Informa will debut the Global Smart Energy Summit

Alongside MEE 2018, Informa will also debut the Global Smart Energy Summit, a high-level summit featuring some of the biggest corporate champions in sector transformation, including Tesla, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy and NASA. The Summit sessions will lay out the future of the international sector and is expected to attract over 700 attendees exploring reform patterns across the entire power spectrum. “The Summit will unite the region’s government energy leaders, regulators, utility companies, contractors, consultants and energy end-users for three days of dialogue, thought leadership and networking with Smart Energy pioneers from around the world,” explained Ryan O’Donnell, Programme Director at Global Smart Energy Summit.”

The summit will be essential for all looking to play a role in an industry which is destined to change and effect change in the very near future.” Middle East Electricity is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler, and is hosted by the UAE Ministry of Energy.

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What characteristics do salespeople require in the physical security industry?
What characteristics do salespeople require in the physical security industry?

A basic tenet of sales is ABC – always be closing. But it's a principle that most professional salespeople would say oversimplifies the process. Especially in a sophisticated, high-tech market such as physical security, the required sales skills are much more involved and nuanced. We asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What unique characteristics are required of salespeople in the arena of physical security systems?

Can microchip implants replace plastic cards in modern access control?
Can microchip implants replace plastic cards in modern access control?

A futuristic alternative to plastic cards for access control and other applications is being considered by some corporate users in Sweden and the United Kingdom. The idea involves using a microchip device implanted into a user’s hand. About the size of a grain of rice and provided by Swedish company Biohax, the tiny device employs passive near field communication (NFC) to interface with a user’s digital environment. Access control is just one application for the device, which can be deployed in lieu of a smart card in numerous uses. Biohax says more than 4,000 individuals have implanted the device. Using the device for corporate employees Every user is given plenty of information to make an informed decision whether they want to use the deviceCurrently Biohax is having dialogue with curious corporate customers about using the device for their employees. “It’s a dialogue, not Big Brother planning to chip every employee they have,” says Jowan Österlund, CEO at Biohax. Every user is given plenty of information to make an informed decision whether they want to use the device. Data capture form to appear here! “Proof of concept” demonstrations have been conducted at several companies, including Tui, a travel company in Sweden that uses the device for access management, ID management, printing, gym access and self-checkout in the cafeteria. Biohax is also having dialogue with some big companies in the United Kingdom, including legal and financial firms. Österlund aims to have a full working system in place in the next year or so. A Swedish rail company accepts the implanted chip in lieu of a paper train ticket. They accept existing implants but are not offering to implant the chips. Österlund says his company currently has no plans to enter the U.S. market. The device is large enough to locate easily and extract if needed, and small enough to be unobtrusive Access control credential The device is inserted/injected below the skin between the index finger and the thumb. The circuitry has a 10-year lifespan. The device is large enough to locate easily and extract if needed, and small enough to be unobtrusive. The only risk is the possibility of infection, which is true anytime the skin is pierced, and the risk is mitigated by employing health professionals to inject the chip. Use of the device as an access control credential or any other function is offered as a voluntary option; any requirement by an employer to inject the device would be illegal, says Österlund. It’s a convenient choice that is made “based on a well-informed decision by the customer.” Aversion to needles, for example, would make some users squeamish to implant the device. More education of users helps to allay any concerns: Some 10% of employees typically would agree quickly to the system, but a larger group of 50% to 60% are likely to agree over time as they get more comfortable with the idea and understand the convenience, says Österlund. Protection of information The passive device does not actively send out any signals as you walk. It is only powered up by a reader if a user has access rightsIn terms of privacy concerns, information contained on the device is in physical form and is protected. The passive device does not actively send out any signals as you walk. There is no battery. It is only powered up by a reader if a user has access rights. With use of the device being discussed in the United Kingdom, there has been some backlash. For example, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has said: “Microchipping would give bosses even more power and control over their workers.” A big misconception is that the chip is a tracking device, says Österlund. It isn’t. “We love people to get informed,” says Österlund. “If they’re scared or apprehensive, they can just read up. It’s not used to control you – it’s used to give you control.”

Ethical consumption: should you buy security products ‘Made in China’?
Ethical consumption: should you buy security products ‘Made in China’?

Should ‘Made in China’ be seen as a negative in security systems and products? It’s an important and complex issue that merits a more detailed response than my recent comment in the Expert Panel Roundtable. For me, there are two sides of the answer to this question: Buying products that have certain negative attributes that are not in alignment with some part of a belief system or company mandate. Buying products that do not perform as advertised or do something that is unacceptable. For integrators and end users making the buying decisions, the drive to purchase products may not be based on either aspect and instead on the product that can do the best job for their business. But for others, a greater emphasis on the ethical implications of purchasing decisions drives decision-making. What is ethical consumption? Ethical consumption is a type of consumer activism that is based on the concept of ‘positive buying’ in that ethical products are favouredEthical consumption — often called ethical consumerism — is a type of consumer activism that is based on the concept of ‘positive buying’ in that ethical products are favoured, and products that are ethically questionable may be met with a ‘moral boycott’. This can be as simple as only buying organic produce or as complex as boycotting products made in a totalitarian regime that doesn't offer its citizens the same freedoms that we enjoy in the United States. Consider the goals of the Boston Tea Party or the National Consumers League (NCL), which was formed to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. Some examples of considerations behind ethical consumption include fair trade, treatment of workers, genetic modification, locally made and processed goods, union-made products and services, humane animal treatment, and in general, labour issues and manufacturing practices that take these factors into account. Increase in ethical consumption The numbers show that ethical consumption is on the rise. In a 2017 study by Unilever, 33 percent of consumers reported choosing to buy and support brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good. In the same study, 53 percent of shoppers in the United Kingdom and 78 percent in the United States said they feel better when they buy products that are ‘sustainably’ produced. There’s clear evidence that products from some Chinese companies suffer from cybersecurity vulnerabilities Though the aforementioned question that sparked this conversation centres around concerns with products made in China, there are many other countries where, for example, governments/dictators are extremely repressive to all or parts of their populations, whose products, such as oil, diamonds, minerals, etc., we happily consume. There are also a number of countries that are a threat in terms of cybersecurity. It may be naive and simplistic to single out Chinese manufacturers. Impact on physical security products Product buying decisions based on factors other than product functionality, quality and price are also starting to permeate the security marketplace. While this hasn't been a large focus area from the business-to-business consumption side, it's something that should be considered for commercial security products for a variety of reasons. Hardware hacks are more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating" There’s clear evidence that products from some Chinese companies suffer from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Last fall, 30 U.S. companies, including Apple and Amazon, were potentially compromised when it was discovered that a tiny microchip in the motherboard of servers built in China that weren't a part of the original specification. According to a Bloomberg report, “This attack was something graver than the software-based incidents the world has grown accustomed to seeing. Hardware hacks are more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating, promising the kind of long-term, stealth access that spy agencies are willing to invest millions of dollars and many years to get.” This, along with many other incidents, are changing the considerations behind purchasing decisions even in the physical security industry. Given that physical security products in general have been lax on cybersecurity, this is a welcome change. Combating tech-specific threats In early January, members of the U.S. Senate introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors and ensure U.S. technological supremacy by improving interagency coordination across the U.S. government. The bill creates the Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House, an indication that this issue is of critical importance to a number of players across the tech sector. Members of the U.S. Senate introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors To address a significant number of concerns around ethical production, there are certifications such as ISO 26000 which provides guidance on social responsibility by addressing accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour, respect for stakeholder interests, respect for rule of law, respect for international norms of behaviour and respect for human rights. While still emerging within physical security, companies that adhere to these and other standards do exist in the marketplace. Not buying products vulnerable to cyberattacks It may be counter-productive, even irresponsible, to brand all products from an entire country as unfit for purchasing. Some manufacturers’ products may be ethically questionable, or more vulnerable to cyberattacks than others; so not buying products made by those companies would make sense. The physical security industry might be playing a bit of catch up on this front, but I think we're beginning to see a shift toward this kind of responsible buying behaviour.