100 Days in Office with Fokko van der Zee
GIT SECURITY Talks to Nedap's Managing Director
It seems like, Nedap Security Management does things differently: They give the impression that their developers sit at one desk with their customer service. And that’s exactly what the Netherlands-based company strives for: Developing products right for their customers and it shows. Now, Nedap Security Management has taken on someone new in a leading role: Fokko van der Zee is the company’s new Managing Director. When this was announced at IFSEC, Lisa Schneiderheinze of GIT SECURITY was pleased to shake hands with him and, after roughly 3 months in office, she had the opportunity to ask about his impressions of Nedap and the industry.
GIT SECURITY: Navy, Healthcare and now Security! That is quite a journey. Is there a common theme that ties in with your previous professional experience?
Fokko van der Zee: Yes, you could say there is an underlying theme. In all the industries I have worked in there has been a strong hi-tech element, but also the need to balance technical complexities with human involvement. And in all of my positions it has been important to have a good team spirit. I would say I am a people person with a strong predilection for technology and innovation. I suppose, subconsciously, I have always sought this mix in the positions I have chosen. This combination of hi-tech and the human factor is very much the case in my current role at Nedap. And Nedap definitely ticks the innovation box – we are constantly looking for new, more effective ways to solve challenges.
What is it about the Security Industry that caught your interest?
Fokko van der Zee: Because of my interest in the tech world, Nedap was very much on my radar – it is acknowledged as a leading technology company with a great focus on entrepreneurship and continual innovation. Being part of such an organisation really piqued my interest. Today’s world is volatile, vulnerable and fast changing. We not only face physical threats but, thanks to the speed of technological change, the increasing risk of cyber-attacks.
I want to contribute to solving these major concerns and make the world a more secure place to enjoy living. What drives me is being relevant to today’s society and making a difference. And I believe that joining the security industry, and particularly a forward-thinking organisation like Nedap, will enable me to do that.
You have now tackled the first 100 days in office – congratulations! What is the most unexpected factor you have learned about Nedap?
Fokko van der Zee: Lots of companies talk about valuing their people and it being people that make the difference, but this really is the case at Nedap. It is not just lip service – Nedap invests heavily in creating the best working environment possible and helping employees to develop. In fact, despite being a technology company, one of Nedap’s core values is that people make the difference. Nedap’s flat organisational structure is also an unusual approach, but one that is key to our success. Alongside the fostering of personal entrepreneurship and innovation, it means each person is very empowered and free to think beyond the norm. Combine that with our focus on recruiting or developing a high level of expertise and you have a very powerful team.
Based on your former experience, what do you want to change at Nedap Security Management in the future?
Fokko van der Zee: Nedap is a really unique organisation and its strength is in its difference. So it is not really that I would want to change anything, more that I would want to galvanise our strengths. Certainly, as we are living in an ever-changing world it will be important for us to remain flexible and continue to find new ways to be even more adaptive.
Nedap claims to fit customers’ needs rather than offering predefined systems. Offering solutions for customers is a great message, but it is sometimes difficult to imagine what your company has to offer. Can you describe the Nedap Security Management offering in a few sentences?
Fokko van der Zee: We can imagine it is sometimes difficult to comprehend all that we do. Access control is at the heart of what we do and we have a deep understanding of authorisation models. We offer both software and hardware to manage physical access control. Next to this, we believe a physical security system should be protected against any kind of intrusion in today’s world. This is why we have developed end-to-end security, which ensures encrypted communication between card, controller and server. In overall, we have the aim to enable our Channel Partners to fulfill their customers’ demands for security management systems. Our product, AEOS, is therefore highly configurable, so Channel Partners can create systems based on customers’ specific needs and local regulations.
Your security management solution AEOS combines access control, video management and intrusion detection on one platform. But the market is always changing. How do you ensure that the system stays future-proof?
Fokko van der Zee: As the access control industry is constantly changing, we continuously invest in developing and improving AEOS. The openness of AEOS is important to us. We focus on developing APIs, which enables optimal connection with third party systems. By using our APIs and industry standards we increase the integration possibilities with leading technology partners. To gain in-depth know-how in related fields of access control, we also integrate with best of breed solutions like Milestone, with whom we have partnered with for video integrations. I believe these two things, combined with AEOS’s great flexibility and our constant tracking of current and forthcoming needs, will enable us to stay fit for the future.
Is the constant change in technologies a blessing or a curse and why?
Fokko van der Zee: I do not really see it as either – it is just a fact that we embrace. Nedap is a company centred on learning, and change gives us plenty of opportunity to do that. I would say we thrive on it.
Nedap claims that AEOS is more flexible and easier to use than any other security solution. Can you prove this claim and give us some examples?
Fokko van der Zee: The rest of the market uses controllers that are capable of only one thing whereas our controllers can do whatever you want them to do and you can change this whenever you want. We achieve this by separating hardware from software – we put a powerful processing capacity in each controller so the software can define its purpose.
Thank you very much!