Following the success of this years’ event, ConvergX™ 2017 will be taking place between February 7 – 9, 2017 at the Sheraton Suites Eau Claire in Calgary, Alberta. The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) speaks to WāVv Founder & CEO, Kimberley Van Vliet, to find out what’s happening with ConvergX™.
WHO is this event geared towards?
Kimberley Van Vliet: ConvergX™ was inaugurated in 2016 as a platform for the diverse industries of aerospace, defence, security, and energy. The conference brought together nearly 200 key decision makers from the various industries, top-level government agencies and Ministries, with service and suppliers from North America, Australia, India, and Europe. As a result of the first ConvergX™, no less than Twenty-Four (24) separate business opportunities were been created. Now it is more important than ever to diversify business, establish new growth areas, and fortify unique business connections.
WHAT is the goal of ConvergX™?
KVV: ConvergX™ was created and produced by WāVv, a procurement strategy consulting firm, as a response to clients’ requests in the Aerospace, Defence, and Security industry to engage in securing long-term business with adjacent markets. WāVv is uniquely positioned to use strategic business development strategies and event history in delivering ConvergX™. ConvergX™ seeks to promote cross-sector services and capabilities through discussing future needs and technology capabilities.
WHERE do you see the intersection of energy and security making the largest impact?
KVV: Globally the need for security of supply, infrastructure, and those that work within the industry are of prime concern. Using technology and processes from within the security industry are of immediate need to the energy sector. Also, security defence contractors are looking to support the greening of extraction and production of energy, realizing that they will benefit in lower operational costs and improve efficiencies. ConvergX™ creates the opportunity to work collaboratively in providing much-needed capital and knowledge resources to the continued demand for sustainable and renewable energy.
WHEN did this idea of converging energy and security come about?
KVV: The idea came about approximately 5 years ago when Canada exited Afghanistan. Defence and security companies were looking for other markets to break into as there was a decrease in government spending for research and development, as well as the acquisition of goods and services. Energy is an industry that has the same or similar political, environmental, technological, and security issues, and therefore is an easy cross-sector industry for the defence and security industry to engage with.
WHY are energy and security being combined?
KVV: Both industry sectors rely heavily on energy and produce similar technology and innovation. The use of that technology may have at times different objectives, however fundamentally are utilized in the same manner. Monitoring, management, predictive analysis, threat and risk assessment, physical security, and operational material are quite aligned. A significant example is that cyber terrorism consistently is viewed as the number one cyber security concern in the energy sector. Other areas of concern include hacktivism, hacking for profit, corporate espionage, and internal exploitation by employees that are either not following protocol or are disgruntled.
Most vulnerable areas identified include:
- Remote Access
- Field and Office Devices (Phones, Laptops and Tablets)
- Operational Information that is Easily Available Online (e.g. SCADA systems default password information is available online)
- Email Spoofs/Social Engineering
- Legacy Systems
- Wearable Technology
HOW do you hope this event will influence these industries and future partnerships?
KVV: There have been significant cross-sector business relationships struck as a result of this conference that continue to be supported by an advisory committee consisting of people from defence, energy, and government in North America. It is through their existing engagement and support that this conference continues to be successful. The topics chosen for panel discussions, where business and policy opportunities will be presented, quickly create and showcase the immediate need to work together for innovation, research and development, and the provision of cross-sector business. The range of topics also provide for continuous future partnerships as they range from clean and green technology to the future innovation requirements within each sector. Including government and academia within this conference provides the basis to ensure collaboration, support, and vision are understood and delivered upon. Creating jobs, exporting technology, and the continued collaboration of global needs remains the core of ConvergX™.