DSEI returned to London’s ExCel Centre in September 2021. Andy Dunne, from Boyden UK visited the first live Defence and Security event since the start of the pandemic. Here companies, national armed forces and industry showcased their latest technology, strategies and equipment.

By Andy Dunne

If you were looking for a conference that will give you an in-depth overview of the latest innovations and developments in the Defence and Security industry, then DSEI 2021 was your event.

If you’ve not heard of the event before, DSEI connects governments, national armed forces, industry thought leaders and the entire defence & security supply chain on a global scale. With a range of valuable opportunities for networking, a platform for business, access to relevant content & live-action demonstrations, the DSEI community can strengthen relationships, share knowledge and engage in the latest capabilities across the exhibition’s Aerospace, Land, Naval, Security & Joint zones.

This year's show was held from September 12th to 15th at London ExCeL Centre. Being the first ‘live’ defence exhibition in the UK since the pandemic started, the organisers did a good job making the show as covid secure as possible, with colour coded wrist bands available to anyone who was concerned about social distancing and only allowing attendees entry upon proof of a covid passport or recent negative test.

The exhibition halls were buzzing with activity as hundreds of exhibitors showcased their cutting-edge products to thousands of eager visitors. Visitors could also attend workshops on topics such as cyber warfare, maritime security and biometrics identification systems. For those who wanted to learn about future trends or hear inspirational presentations by some of today's most influential figures in the field, there were plenty of options available too.

As a visitor to the event (and my 6th time attending DSEI), I was able to attend several presentations and workshops, meet with existing Boyden clients and interim executives as well as meeting several key prospects that due to the events of the pandemic were looking to secure access to executive interim managers to forward programmes within their business.

Over the course of the 3 days I attended, I was able to visit a vast array of the exhibition and stands. I especially enjoyed listening to presentations by Air Vice-Marshall Harv Smyth, Director of the MoD Space Directorate on ‘The future for the UK Defence Space’ and ‘Why the future of the defence sector depends on diverse and inclusive organisations’ by Neha Bhasin from Atkins. Also, it was excellent to see Women in Defence UK’s Angela Owen talk about their new strategy of ’30 by 30’ which sets the ambition of achieving a minimum of 30 per cent female representation at all levels across the defence sector by 2030. Finally, it was also great to meet with our partners at ADS who were hosting over 80 UK based companies in the UK Pavilion.

We were welcomed to the QinetiQ stand and our tour began with a demonstration of the firm's latest developments in unmanned technology. They also showcased some truly ground-breaking designs including their new Mobility Test Rig in conjunction with DSTL.

QinetiQ/Dstl team debuts Mobility Test Rig

Many CEOs and MDs talked with me about challenges they are having accessing senior executive leadership talent, with the pandemic creating pent-up demand for executive individuals in the areas of Transformation and Change. The interim management team within Boyden are specialists in identifying executive management talent across the whole Defence and Aerospace sectors and have access to the most in-demand executives including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, Operational Directors, HR Specialists, Marketing, Engineering, Digital Transformation and Programme Leaders.

For those who missed the event but want to learn about future trends or hear inspirational presentations by some of today's most influential figures in the field, many are still available to watch on the virtual DSEI portal.

In summary, the first face to face event in the defence space was a fantastic success. The world appeared to be normal once again, people meeting face to face, shaking hands and building vital networks to push forward with business. This event showed how crucial the Defence, Aerospace and Security sectors are to the global economy. Here’s to a great show, and I’m already looking forward to the next one in 2023.

Atlas Elektronik UK with a waterborne demonstration.

Leonardo UK

A vast array of UAV technology on display

Boxer Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land

Chinook on display on the dockside.

More Blog Posts by Andy Dunne

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.  Learn more