Following the grisly citywide attack in Paris that left 129 dead and 352 injured on Friday night, the demand for high-tech state security products will likely increase in the coming months. Many of these new products -- from facial recognition technology to combat drones -- will be on display this week in Paris at Milipol, Europe’s largest national security event that attracts thousands of security companies and police officials each year.
The event comes at an emotional, if not opportune time, for the exhibitors. Demand for security products typically rises after any major terrorist attack, which will bring this event -- and many of the products up for sale -- into sharp focus.
“The threat level a city faces is a key driver of technology expenditure,” the event organizers said in a recent statement. “There is a strong correlation between threat as it is perceived and investment.”
The global demand for private security services grew nearly 8 percent in 2015, reaching $244 billion in spending by 2016, according to Freedonia, a market research group. Freedonia acknowledges that terrorism threats have a direct effect on the health of the security market. “In general, demand for security services is driven by rising urbanization, the real and perceived risks of crime and terrorism, belief that public safety measures are insufficient, and growth of a middle class with assets to protect and the means to pay for supplementary security measures,” the group noted a recent report.
Businesses that provide security-related tech products have seen surges in business following major terrorist attacks in the past. For instance, after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack at a luxury hotel, sales of security technology gadgets boomed. “Sophisticated security-related electronics are expected to flood the domestic market after the Mumbai terror attacks,” one local news report noted at the time, citing a 30 percent increase in sales.
Milipol itself is a four-day affair. It is both a showcase for new security equipment and technologies, as well as a forum for discussion on how new technology can help police prevent and solve crime and terrorism. This year, about 1,000 companies will be presenting police officials with a range of new anti-terror products, including facial recognition technology, WiFi-enabled sniper rifles and high-tech surveillance camera systems.
The conference, which operates out of a massive exhibition center near Charles De Gaulle airport, will also feature several panels and discussion groups among police officials. The main focus of the lectures happens to be centered around “counterterrorism” and “safe cities.”
On Saturday morning, the conference organizers announced that the conference will continue as planned, despite added security measures. “Following the tragic events in Paris, Milipol and its organizers are putting in place increased security measures (bag checks, entry controls and security personnel) and are working with the law enforcement authorities to optimize security at the event.”