We’ve been speaking with Andy Haslan from ASK International about the challenges faced in event security and also the opportunities in the Middle Eastern event industry…

Ask International1. What is it your company does? How are you better than your competitors? What’s your USP?
    ASK International is a professional security provider based in Dubai, UAE. We specialise in all aspects of event security from VIP and artist protection to large-scale event security management, crowd management and emergency planning.

All of our staff and security personnel receives continuous training not just in security management but in soft skills, such as customer service too. We pride ourselves on providing a clear structure and chain of command to clients, complimented by a round the clock management support and highly trained, professional staff.

2. Where do you see the event market heading in 2016 and why?
    The event market is becoming more and more aware and prone to the effects of current affairs and terrorist threats. As a result, event organisers will have to face:

Increased security measures relating to any mass gathering
Increased local authority and state involvement
Increased costs (more guards, perimeter security measures, CCTV and monitoring

Budgets will more likely become tighter and the entertainment / wow factor may be reduced due to the above. However, artist demands and the requirements of event planning, crowd and venue security management, licenses to perform and crisis management will also increase.

The threat of terrorist attacks will continue to rise and event organisers with a solid and professional security arrangement will gain market share in the most affected segment. (concerts, large sporting events, conferences, mass gatherings and festivals)

3. What new innovations or product launches can we expect from your company?
    We have introduced additional training for both ASK staff and clients to counter the above points.

We are continuously reviewing the level and scope of security services we provide, in order to reflect changing trends and security conditions and ensure contingency in any eventuality.

4. What’s the best event you’ve done to date and why?
    Last year’s highlight was the 2015 UAE Tour of the Pakistan vs England Cricket Series.

We had to deal with the challenge of huge crowds and a higher level of security threat, meaning more involvement from the event security perspective.

Large events, such as this one will not pass without minor incidents. Crowd management and customer service are just as essential as professional security management. The 6-week event passed with very little disturbance and all parties: teams, crowd, organisers were happy with the level and scope of security services and incident management – even got paid on time, job done.

5. What do like most about the event industry? what do you find most challenging about the industry?
    Likes:
Variation – no one day is the same
Interaction with Public – You meet some amazing people
Opportunity to team build

Challenging:
Variation – no one day is the same
Interaction with public- You meet some not so amazing people
UAE Weather (40 degrees plus)

6. Where do you see your company in 5 years time? Where do you see the event market in 5 years time?

As the UAE event scene expands and is becoming part of the international event circuit, we are aiming to be an active part of the global event experience and continue to provide a superior service that sets us apart and maintains our lead in the market.

The Event market:

Music events:
Perhaps the market and demand will be shifting from smaller, one-off events to more festival type on a regional / UAE basis.

Exhibitions, etc
Less of but larger events as supply meets reducing demand.
More integration with like-minded industries and suppliers.

General
Onerous cost burdens, threats, Health and Safety, etc. will mean the loss of many smaller players in the market.
Stricter licensing requirements, many of which will hinge on security planning and pro-active crisis management.

7. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting out as an event professional what would it be?
    Get fit and stay fit.
Events are demanding and you have to be everywhere. Learn to manage your work / life balance early on and enjoy the ride.

8. What else do you want to tell the event community about yourselves?
    95% of the attendees want to have fun, enjoy and experience the event yet 5% of the attendees cause 95% of the problems associated with event management.

ASK International allows you to provide the experience that you wish to the 95% in a safe and secure environment whilst ensuring that the actions of the 5% do not adversely affect your event or your reputation.