2021 is almost over. It is, therefore, time to look back on the past year. In this end-of-year interview, Evalan CEO Henk Schwietert talks about the biggest challenges, the best experiences and gives a preview of 2022.
How do you look back on the past year?
We have used the past year to build considerably on our solutions. With IoT, you can see that more and more standard solutions are emerging that connect to each other. This trend is different from five to ten years ago. Then, end-to-end solutions were mainly developed for one specific application. During the corona period, we made progress in creating a portfolio of building blocks for the IoT chain. We expect to benefit more from this in the coming years. These building blocks are already hardened, proven, and certified and allow us to realize solutions for our customers faster.
In 2021 we started several great projects, such as deploying ARMOR at Spinel Safety Center. We have been working for a long time with the Ministry of Defense on ARMOR, a solution to detect heat stress. Now, ARMOR is also being used by the fire department during fire drills at Spinel Safety Center to protect employees against heat injuries. This deployment provides new opportunities to reach an important group of new potential users.
I also think it is important that our team remains closely connected. This has been difficult in the past year, but we have managed to maintain good cooperation. I think that is one of Evalan’s strong points. We have a diverse team that knows how to work together on new innovative projects and technologies. The achievements from the past year are the achievements of the whole team. Together we will emerge stronger.
What have been the biggest challenges for Evalan in the past year?
With another corona year almost behind us, it has been hard to keep everything on track. This challenge does not only apply to Evalan but many companies. At Evalan, innovation is an important aspect of our business, and innovation requires intensive contact between the company, customers, and potential customers. One of the major challenges has been to realize innovations together, even though communication has become much more complicated. There are tools we can use to have conversations and coordinate things. However, innovative processes often require more than just exchanging information online. New ideas and solutions often arise in creative moments when you work closely together. It has been a challenge for Evalan to manage through that.
What qualities are important in an IoT company to succeed?
A few things are essential. First, you need to understand the challenges and dynamics of IoT. A lot of knowledge and experience is required to make an IoT solution work properly and reliably, from start to finish. The elements in the IoT chain require different expertise. That is the second important quality; if you want to do all parts of IoT well, you need people in your team who have the right expertise. It is often underestimated what it takes to ensure that an IoT solution works properly. We have not yet come across any IoT issues that are completely the same. Every IoT application has a few different elements, for which then customization is needed. For that, you need in-house knowledge and experience.
How does Evalan differ from its competitors?
Many IoT companies are working on new solutions. The vast majority of them only cover one part of the chain. One of our most important qualities is that through our experiences, we have a good overview of the entire IoT chain. We also focus on long-term relationships with our customers. This has led to a track record of successful implementations, products, and solutions, which we have often realized with our customers.
What does 2022 look like for Evalan?
The solutions that we have implemented consist of various building blocks. We want to make these building blocks more widely applicable. In this way, they can provide added value in many more places and help our customers to create solutions faster. Another important goal is to provide insight into this added value. What does our product contribute to sustainability? How do the solutions help our customers with specific issues, such as making processes faster and more effective and reducing unnecessary costs?
The plan for 2022 is to promote that we are one of the leading IoT specialists in the Netherlands. In the long term, we would also like to offer our building blocks and sensors as separate entities. We did a successful spinout some time ago, and we hope to be able to do the same with other IoT products.