Security meets Industry

October 15th, 2012

European Commission Conference - Essen 25. - 26.9.2012

The European Commission for the first time combined a conference event to discuss various aspects outlined in their recently released “Security Industrial Policy” along with their presentation of 7 key projects on their own stand during the Bi-annual security exhibition in Essen.

More than 370 participants from 26 countries joined in the 2 day conference addressing 5 key topics: A Strategy for the Security Industry, Alerting the Population, Joining Forces to secure EU borders, Research meets Industry (experiences from national programmes) and Horizon 2020.

Opening Speech

Paul WeissenbergMr Paul Weissenberg (Deputy Director-General EC-DG Enterprise and Industry) gave the opening speech outlining that Security was now recognised as a major topic in its own right with 1.4Bn Euros proposed for Research & Development projects in the next phase of projects under the next Horizon 2020 research programme (2013-2020). This recognition of Security and the formation of a network of security minded people is thanks to the hard work of Mr Christian Ehler MEP.

Mr Weisenberg emphasised the need for Europe to have a strong Research & Development base to remain competitive Globally and also for the need to resolve internal national fragmentation issues in order to provide a strong EU mark to promote exports in the future.

The US have access to a vast internal market of 300M people with harmonised standards whereas although Europe has the potential to a similar sized market, it still needs to resolve the national issues that fragment their internal market.

A Strategy for the Security Industry

Christian EhlerThe first discussion panel, “A Strategy for the Security Industry”, was moderated by Mr Christian Ehler (MEP).

He thanked all those who contributed to the Industrial Policy, specifically mentioning Euralarm who were now participating in the EU Commission studies.

He stated that it was obvious that further discussion on trade agreements on civil defence would impact the security industry and consequently it is necessary to resolve the fragmentation of the internal European market. There would be a push for harmonising standards across Europe in order to establish a larger single market and an EU brand to compete Globally. The Security Policy for Industry specifically mentions CertAlarm as leading the Industry with a pan-European Certification scheme providing a “EU Security Label”.

The panel discussions highlighted the need to accelerate the development times as co-operative development cycles were seen as too long for private developments. Additionally the initial administration and reporting were seen as heavy for many entrepreneurial SMEs. This is currently being addressed with the Commission.

The lack of interoperability standards was also seen as slowing development and does not optimise potential system performance and a recurring theme highlighted was that there is a real need to ensure that end user involvement is included in the projects from the start, to maximise the transfer from Research programmes to products sold in the market.

Alerting the Population

Marc ChabaudThe second discussion panel addressed “Alerting the Population” and was moderated by Mr Marc Chabaud (President – Euralarm).

The panel identified that any system solution needs to be multi-channel and future proof. It is not necessary to have identical management in all counties however it is necessary to have professional crisis advisors and communication channels in each country which can then be linked European wide.

It was presented by Aafke Schaapherder that the Dutch public warning system was going “live” on November 8th but that their focus was on alerting the public with information and leaving them to decide their best course of action.

A focus is being made to alert the Citizen via various media channels but as Marc Chabaud highlighted there are already reliable, approved Fire & Security systems installed in buildings which could effectively be used to warn the citizen, especially in times when mobile phones may be switched of.

It is for this reason that Euralarm are working on a parallel demonstration project with Alert4All, an official EU FP7 funded project. Mrs. Cristina Párraga, Project Manager for Alert4All, highlighted the need for any system to be multi-channel and future proof. That training and familiarity are essential for the correct citizen response in times of crisis.

The Euralarm “PEARS” project will demonstrate that existing Fire & Security equipment can be part of a multi-channel communication network.

Joining Forces to Secure EU borders

Marco MalacarneMr Marco Malacarne (Acting Director EC-DG Enterprise & Industry) moderated the next discussion on “Joining Forces to Secure EU borders”.

Activities in Maritime border security are currently well advanced and the programme “PERSEUS” represented the largest FP7 funded project at 44M euros, which was also presented on their stand at Essen. PERSEUS focuses on the issue of irregular migration and trafficking especially in small boats.

The panel highlighted that there was a lot of sensor technology available including Passive Radar and “seeing over the horizon” but the issue of what to do with the huge amount of data and privacy issues needed to be addressed. Fabrice Bourdeix (VP Thales) highlighted that the next focus would be to move from point solutions to “End to end solutions”.

Current issues take a more “search and rescue” focus with small unsafe boats often being detected and responded to after a sea disaster. There is a clear opportunity in this area for further civil and military research partnerships.

Research & Development projects will continue as there is a constant struggle between measure and counter-measure. Edgar Beugels (Frontex) emphasised however that although there was a clear need for civil and defences developments to become closer, there was a also a clear requirement from the civil side for a “much lower price tag” and a different way of addressing the population.

Due to the increasingly large number of people crossing borders there is a need to revise the process and methods to ensure citizen safety with legal migration.

Experiences from National Programmes

Herbert von_BoseMr Herbert von Bose (EC-DG Research, Industrial Technologies) led the discussion on “Experiences from National Programmes”.

It was highlighted that both in national, as well as EU funding, there was a need to improve the ratio of funded research into final products. This is possible via the early and focussed involvement in what the End User Need really is. In Austria where the social sciences are involved from the start and there is no research funded without demand, there is a good move from research to launch at which point there is no negative community comment.

It was highlighted that SMEs did have issues liaising with Universities and large research groups and that large companies had issues with co-funding projects that lead to public IP however it was noted that the successfully funded projects came from Research projects that were already core to the company’s strategies.

Mr Uberto Delprato (IES Solutions, an SME company) emphasised that standardisation is a priority and promotes a willingness to invest in that area and opens up a wider market to ensure good ROI.

Horizon 2020

Gilles de KerchoveThe last panel, moderated by Mr Gilles de Kerchove (EU Counter Terrorism Coordinator), discussed the next “Horizon 2020” research programme.

The proposed 1.4Bn security research budget is substantial and represents 4% of the total budget. This reflects the importance seen with security having their own budget. IT security and critical infrastructures are becoming more significant with the need for solidarity and co-operation between member states becoming increasing more important. There is likely to be a continued co-operation between civil and defence research programmes.

Focus areas identified by the panel for future Research & Development programmes include:

  • interoperability
  • cyber crime / technologies
  • EU certification
  • privacy regulations
  • more Public Private Partnerships
  • research in Bio technologies
  • smart facilitation
  • critical infastructures

It was recognised that the EU has grown as a peace and security provider and that this position should be maintained.

Final Session

Bernhard HeitzerThe closing remarks were made by Mr Bernard Heitzer (State Secretary for the German Federal Ministry)

The “experiment” of a joint conference and having their own stand at one of Europe’s leading security exhibitions was seen as a success – with congratulations to Mr Tajani and his team.
The Horizon 2020 Research investment allocated will help foster cross border partnerships as well as civil and defence research groups. Research programmes will continue to develop and grow and the valued feedback on how to improve partnership and SME involvement will be addressed.
The research programmes are seen to successfully stimulate innovation and help make Europe competitive in the Global market. Further involvement of SMEs is desired and the issues raised during the conference will be addressed.

Although Research and Development Programmes is a large part of ensuring Europe remains competitive, it is recognised that Business and Policy makers need to continue their work.

Mr Marco Malacarne finished with confirming that this years event was seen as a great success and although he was unsure of the venue, there would be a similar event in 2013.

Glen Dale
Euralarm General Director

Press office

Martin Franke
+31 70 427 5200