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Advancis is known for it's security and building management system WinGuard. This constantly developed product ist distributed via integrators, OEM-Partners and in some exceptional cases also directly. Since 15 years Advancis understands itself mostly as consultant and system integrator. Regina Berg-Jauernig of GIT-SECURITY.com met with Jan Meiswinkel. Together with company founder Hartmut Nöll he manages the company as a
GIT-SECURITY.com: Mr Meiswinkel, you're celebrating your 15th company anniversary these days. I remember your presentation of WinGuard on the Security Exhibition in Essen in 2000. How did you manage to enlarge Advancis to 25 employees and an annual turnover of 3 million euros today?
J. Meiswinkel: Until that day the company was basically a one man show by Hartmut Nöll. I met him these days and we both saw the potential in one another and started pushing forward the company as equal partners.
What were the criteria for success from your point of view?
J. Meiswinkel: A basic criterion is our wide diversity of characters and competences inside our company. This applies for the sales department as well as for the project management or developement. Also the diverse allocation of the management and company ownership. From my point of view, this is one part of our success.
And in the quality of your product?
J. Meiswinkel: Yes. The head of development has an essential influence on the product. This may be a difference to other companies, that are more orientated to market- and project specific requirements. For us the significant influence of our engineers and software developers on the development process as well as on the quality of the product is most important. The company Advancis is 100% focused on the product WinGuard. This means we concentrate on security and building management and don't lose our focus in following other activities aside. This is how we position ourselves in the market.
The fast success that might be pursued by the sales department is slowed down by the development department in a fertile way. We believe that this mixture is the base of success for the company.
Were there also difficult times?
J. Meiswinkel: Basically the times are always challenging. This is just because our business is moving so incredibly fast. In other industries products can stay on the market for years, mostly unchanged. In our business it's different. That's also a reason why we changed our development process to „Scrum", a model for flexible software development. With this „moving" model, the proximity to the customer plays a decisive role. Our work with the product is therefore a iterative process with constant releases of new updates of our system. This way we can coordinate the development of the product in a close cooperation with our customers. The most difficult part in our business is often to determine the desired functionality and the perfect operational concept already before the product launch. Our customers highly appreciate our way to work here.
Of course this has organisational influences on your sales process?
J. Meiswinkel: Yes. In our sales team we don't see ourselves as the conventional sales representative, but more as a consultant. By this consulting approach we're able to act very flexible and generate the added value for the customer in the end. Internationally this approach is already common. The question here is usually not about the pricing of the product, but more when the investment charges off itself by mapping and supporting the processes in the company.
What is your biggest personal motivation?
J. Meiswinkel: It always motivated me the most to find solutions for special circumstances and requirements. This is also about building big and very big systems. In the beginning, that was a real challenge for us. Nowadays we receive bigger assignments not because we became more well-known, but because due to our independency we can provide a sustainability of investment in reference to future modifications of a system.
Do you have something like a vision that guides you here?
J. Meiswinkel: The vision is the complete integration and automatic interaction of building- and security solutions in full plus the interaction and communication with other systems like full-scale emergency operation systems. The guiding theme for us is always to create safety. To make the world a little more secure by protecting human lives and objects of any kind. This is an important stimulus which also creates personal satisfaction.
Which kind of solutions are you working on most intensively today?
J. Meiswinkel: For example we're working on further integration of different CCTV-Systems into our open CCTV Manager. A big part here is the integration of video analytics. One important point here is the synchronisation of the events inside the facility with the corresponding CCTV streams. We already presented this functionality on the Security 2008 in Essen, showing the practical application for a casino solution. Another example for the added value of synchronizing and interaction between the different subsystems is the surveillance of datastreams inside an IT-infrastructure. As an example, our system reports if according to the access control an employee has already left the building, but still data is retrieved from his workstation. Moreover we busy ourselves with the development of mobile solutions like a client version for the Iphone. Some more catchwords right now are Smart- and Green Building Technologies.
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