The Global MSC Security Conference & Exhibition is an important annual event that historically takes place at The Bristol Hotel in November. For one-day, security practitioners, senior police officers, local authority members and technology experts come together to debate the most important topics in the area of security and public sector surveillance.
For 2020 the chosen theme was 'AI and Analytics in Video Surveillance' and the event was given even greater gravitas when the Surveillance Camera Commissioner choose to use the conference as the platform for his final public address in the role.
Plans for the event began soon after the success of the 2019 conference. However as the long term impact of Covid-19 on hosting events became apparent, a decision needed to be made whether to postpone or cancel the event.
Derek Maltby is the Managing Director of Global MSC Security and he comments: “The programme was finalised with excellent speakers on a hot topic for the security and surveillance industry. Our sponsors were looking forward to continuing their support of the event and early delegate registrations were looking good.”
At the start of the pandemic, the decision was taken to continue to plan for the conference to take place. As the severity of the situation rapidly unfolded it was clear that it would not be possible to host the conference. Derek adds: “Everyone would have understood if we had decided to cancel, but we wanted to find a way to stage the conference, with the caveat that it would need to match the same high standards.”
The challenge was given to ZiaBia Events Consultancy who have been entrusted with managing the Global MSC Security conference in recent years. Working in collaboration with the AV company, Istead, they developed a plan to host a Special Online Event.
“When we discussed making the conference a virtual event, it was important to us that it stood out and didn’t become just another webinar,” explains Derek. “It was a step into the unknown but having worked with ZiaBia and Istead for so long, we knew they shared our high standards and that we could trust in their advice, guidance and expertise implicitly. ”
The two hour-long Special Online Event would be hosted at the Istead studios in Coventry and streamed live to delegates representing private and public sector organisations around the world.
Derek explains: “The vision was to produce a live, high quality Newsnight style broadcast, with a presenter and a mix of in studio and external interviews, presentations and panel debate.”
The existing sponsors Genetec and Pelco, along with media partner, the International Security Journal were quick to give their support to this exciting first for the industry. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter and Philip Ingram MBE also agreed to give their presentations.
Project Manager at ZiaBia, Paola Davis, states: “We needed to work at lightning speed to get everyone onboard, feeling comfortable with the new look format, and to allow ample time to give the event the promotional campaign it deserved.”
Whilst working with Global MSC Security and Istead on the logistics and aesthetics of the event, the ZiaBia team also co-ordinated a multi-channel marketing campaign that included a targeted email campaign, social media engagement across LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as an extensive media outreach programme.
The Bristol conference typically attracts delegates from across the UK, however, the Global MSC Security team was struck by the high level of interest and registrations from all corners of the world including Europe, China, US and Australia. The event was acknowledged by all involved as a huge success.
“The ZiaBia team went above and beyond, to deliver a Global MSC Security first,” concludes Derek. “The feedback we received from our speakers, delegates and sponsors has been fantastic, with calls for a Special Online Event to become a mainstay of the Global MSC Security calendar, alongside our flagship conference, which we look forward to hosting again hopefully in 2021.”