John van den Elzen is the General Manager of Tiandy Technologies Europe. He is responsible for managing the European activities of Tiandy related to sales, marketing and operations. His main tasks include building the infrastructure, creating and maintaining the eco partner environment and developing local sales & marketing activities in the region.

Prior to joining Tiandy Technologies, he was General Manager, Worldwide Surveillance Business Unit of Promise Technology, and the Managing Director of Promise Technology EMEA. In these positions he was responsible for managing the global activities of Promise in video surveillance, and strengthening operations in this market. In addition, as the Managing Director of Promise Technology EMEA he led the company’s activities throughout Europe the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

How did you come to work in the security industry?

Actually, it was pure coincidence as I was working for Promise Technology and mainly active in the IT market with storage solutions. We had some “accidental” sales in the security market, mainly related to casinos in Africa and prisons in Europe. In 2007, General Electric Security approached Promise Technology and some other storage vendors as well for the development of a storage system. We managed to stay in the race until the end but at the very last moment we lost the entire deal to a competitor. The loss of this deal was for me the signal to change our strategy and not only focus on the IT industry anymore but also jump into the Security industry. That year was the first year we joined the IFSEC show in Birmingham.

What is the best professional advice you have received?

I have always been in a lucky position to get professional advice and support from many people in the industry, but the best advice was always to work hard but also smart towards the goals you want to achieve in life. Of course, I am travelling all around the world and meet with a lot of different cultures. From an owner of a Russian distribution company I received some of the funniest advice I’ve ever heard: “John, here in Russia we don’t do business with the brain but with the liver.” It will not come as a surprise that the company was not able to generate good business, because also in Russia people do business with their brains.

Quick Facts
Film or TV? Film as I never watch television as I am working most of the time. I see a lot of movies when I am flying from one location to the other
Favourite album
Don't Come Easy
, Tyketto

Ideal holiday

Just relaxing at the swimming pool and enjoying time with my family in a sunny country during the summer holidays

Favourite film

Highlander - it's the mix of the movie and the music from Queen

Morning or evening?

I am definitely an evening person. I never like to go to bed and as a result I have difficulties waking up in the morning. In general 5 or 6 hours sleep is enough for me during week days.

What's something few people know about you?

I have been on some quite remarkable business trips. I can remember one trip with a Russian business partner 8-9 years ago and my partner there was an owner of an old Russian vessel. The purpose of the trip was to investigate if it made sense for Promise Technology to purchase shares from the company, and become part-owner to speed up the business in Russia. We were cruising around on Lagoda Lake, a large lake between Russia and Finland. We visited a monastery church and a bunker from WWII built in the middle of nowhere on small islands. This was my first experience with white nights as it never got completely dark. At 3 o’clock in the morning the owner decided to stop the engines of the vessel and start a BBQ on a small island, starting the business discussion. It was an unique experience but later on I was reading that there was high radioactivity measured in the bunker… Oops. So, I might be radioactive but I’m still alive.

What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living?

Although you need to sacrifice a lot of your family life during all the business travels and work from early morning to late evening, I still find it a privilege to work with so many different cultures and visit places most people will probably never visit. You learn to view and approach situations from different perspectives.

We were cruising around on Lagoda Lake, a large lake between Russia and Finland
A white night on Lagoda Lake, Russia

What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security?

When I was young I was playing volleyball. Nowadays I am coaching my son’s team with a lot of enthusiasm. In my spare time I also like to swim and keep fit, as it gives me new energy and keeps me in good shape. I am in the fortunate position that I have a swimming pool in my backyard, so I am not bound by opening hours of public swimming pools. I also enjoy sitting on a terrace with friends and talk about everything except business while enjoying a drink.

Where was your last vacation?

For years we have visited Lazise, a small village at lake Garda in Italy. It is a very beautiful environment but it was not my choice. My wife is used to going on vacation to Lazise in her childhood with her entire family, so I more or less inherited it from the moment I started dating her. In the beginning I was still resisting as I like to go to different places. I was able to convince her once to go to France but that was my one and only victory in 15 years. Sometimes my family is invited or able to join me during my trips and these are the most memorable trips for me.

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Enhance traditional security systems within your smart home
Enhance traditional security systems within your smart home

Market dynamics are changing the U.S. residential security market, creating new business models that better appeal to the approximately 70% of households without a security system. Smart home adjacencies have helped revitalise the traditional security industry, and alternative approaches to systems and monitoring for the security industry are emerging, including a new batch of DIY systems. Growth in the residential security market and its position as the channel for smart home solutions have attracted numerous new entrants. Telecoms, cable operators, and CE (consumer electronics) manufacturers are joining traditional security players as they compete to fulfill consumer demand for safety and security. Connected products also provide a layer of competition as consumers must decide whether having category devices such as doorbell video cameras, networked cameras, and other products suffice for their security. Increasingly competitive landscape Smart home services can provide additional revenue streams for the security industry For instance, IP cameras are a highly popular smart home device rooted in security, and Parks Associates estimates 7.7 million standalone and all-in-one networked/IP cameras will be sold in the U.S. in 2018, with $889M in revenues. Product owners may feel their security needs are fulfilled with this single purchase, as such dealers and service providers are under increasing pressure to communicate their value proposition to consumers. Categorically, each type of player is facing competition uniquely—national, regional, and local dealers all have a different strategy for overcoming the increasingly competitive landscape. Smart home services can provide additional revenue streams for the security industry. In Parks Associates’ 2017 survey of U.S. security dealers, 58% report that smart home service capabilities enable extra monthly revenue. Almost half of dealers also note they have to offer smart home devices and services in order to keep up with their competition. While white-label devices are acceptable in some instances, dealers need to integrate with hero products whenever possible when those exist for a category. For dealers who have added smart home devices and services are all potential benefits and good for business Improved customer engagement That 2017 survey also revealed 36% of security dealers that offer interactive services report security system sales with a networked camera and 16% report sales with a smart thermostat. For dealers who have added smart home devices and services, enhanced system utility, increased daily value, and improved customer engagement with the system are all potential benefits and good for business. Security has served as the most productive channel for smart home solutions, mainly because the products create natural extensions of a security system’s functions and benefits, but as smart home devices, subsystems, and controllers expand their functionality, availability, and DIY capabilities, many standalone devices constitute competition to classical security. Particularly viable substitute devices include IP cameras, smart door locks, smart garage doors, or a combination of these devices. Products that are self-installed offer both convenience and cost savings, and these drivers are significant among DIY consumers—among the 6% of broadband households that installed a security system themselves, 39% did it to save money. Enhance traditional security Self-installable smart home devices may resonate with a segment of the market who want security While many security dealers believe substitute offerings are a threat, some dealers do not find such devices an existential threat but instead view them as another path to consumer awareness. They argue that the difference between smart product substitutes and traditional security is that of a solution that provides knowledge versus a system that gives one the ability to act on that knowledge. A common theme among professional monitoring providers is that a homeowner who is aware of events happening in the home does not necessarily have a secure and protected household. For example, a Nest camera, a DIY product, notifies a consumer via smartphone about events in the home when it detects motion, but only when the notification is opened and identified will a consumer be able to act on the related event. Self-installable smart home devices may resonate with a segment of the market who want security but are unwilling to adopt professional monitoring; however, providers can leverage these devices to enhance traditional security features and communicate the value of professional monitoring. Smart home devices and features, while posing a threat to some security companies, are a potential way forward to increased market growth Increased market growth A key counterstrategy for security dealers and companies is to leverage their current, powerful role as the prime channel for smart home devices. Many security dealers now include smart home devices with their security systems to complement their offerings and increase system engagement. For example, as of Q4 2017, nearly 70% of U.S. broadband households that were very likely to purchase a security system in the next 12 months reported that they want a camera to be included as part of their security system purchase. In response, many security system providers now offer IP cameras as optional enhancements for their systems. Smart home devices and features, while posing a threat to some security companies, are a potential way forward to increased market growth. Security dealers have an opportunity to become more than a security provider but a smart home solutions provider rooted in safety. Provide status updates Comcast has entered both the professionally monitored security market and the market for smart home services The alternative is to position as a provider of basic security with low price as the key differentiator. Comcast has entered both the professionally monitored security market and the market for smart home services independent of security. It has discovered that monetising smart home value propositions through recurring revenue becomes increasingly challenging as the value extends further away from life safety. Since the security industry remains the main channel for smart home services, security dealers are in a unique position to leverage that strength. Value propositions must shift from the traditional arming and disarming of a system to peace-of-mind experiences that builds off the benefits of smart devices in the home to provide status updates (e.g., if the kids arrived home safely) and monitoring at will (e.g., checking home status at any time to see a pet or monitor a package delivery). These types of clear value propositions and compelling use cases, which resonate with consumer and motivate them to expand beyond standalone products, will help expand the home security market.

State of counter-drone regulation for public safety and physical security
State of counter-drone regulation for public safety and physical security

In 1901 New York state made a pioneering regulation move and became the first US state to require automobile owners to register their vehicles. This marked the beginning of regulation on modern traffic, which - following decades of development - resulted in a multi-layer concept of regulation relating to vehicles and driver’s licenses, traffic signs and insurance mechanisms that we are all familiar with nowadays. While certain parallels can be drawn between the early days of cars and our contemporary experience with quadcopters, we are facing a new challenging era that is far more complex to organise and regulate. Integrating drones in existing regulatory ecosystem Similar to other pioneering technologies in the past, drones need to integrate into a long existing and well-balanced ecosystem, the rules of which have first been drafted some one hundred years ago and have evolved without taking vehicles such as drones into account. Yet the safety risks related to aviation hinder the quick integration of drones into that ecosystem, broadening the gap between existing regulatory landscape and the exponentially growing popularity and ever-advancing technology of drones. The safety risks related to aviation hinder the quick integration of drones into the legislative ecosystem For the past several years, governments and legislators have been trying to tackle this problem by trying to answer two questions: how to properly integrate drones into the airspace without creating a hazardous impact on existing airborne operations, and how to enforce regulations in order to prevent the side-effects related to careless or malicious drone flights, taking into consideration public safety and physical security. Counter-UAS measures and regulations Up until 2018, legislators tried to tackle these two questions as a whole by introducing bundled legislation drafts covering the entire landscape of gaps they needed to address, which resulted in multi-parliamentary committee efforts both in the US and abroad to review and approve each bill - a process that is very slow by design. It was only in the beginning of this year that the issues were starting to be addressed separately: legislation related to limitations and counter-drone measures on the one hand, and legislation related to integration into airspace on the other. Let’s take a closer look at Counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) measures and what makes them challenging in terms of regulation. Over the past years, various counter-drone technologies have been introduced to enable control over rogue drones in order to either stop them from achieving their flight purpose or prevent them from creating safety hazards to people or property. These measures can be grouped into 3 types of technologies: Military grade solutions - including lasers and surface-air missiles Kinetic solutions - including net-guns and autonomous drones set out to catch the rogue drone and disable it airborne Non-kinetic RF-based solutions - aimed at either disabling, disrupting or accessing the drone’s communications channels in order to trigger a return-to-home function, or guide the drone into a safe landing route Aside from combat military operations, the legality of using the above technologies is questionable as they tamper with an airborne aircraft, might be considered as wiretapping and/or violate computer fraud laws. Therefore, one can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenceless from and vulnerable to rogue drones.  One can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenceless from and vulnerable to rogue drones European c-UAS legislation Next, let’s look at the state of c-UAS legislation in both Europe and US to better understand different legislative ecosystems and how they affect the possibilities of using counter drone measures. In the European Union, there is currently no uniform legislation, and the member countries rely on their own existing legal infrastructures. Roughly speaking, most countries use a method of exemptions to the communications and aviation laws to allow the use of counter drone measures after a close examination by the relevant authorities. Such exemptions are approved under scrutiny to particular sites, which provide some relief, but they do not allow broad use of countermeasures. Further discussion regarding a broader regulation change, on a country level or EU-wide, is only preliminary. US c-UAS legislation Preventing Emerging Threats - provides an initial infrastructure for counter drone measures to be used by various DoJ and DHS agenciesUnlike the EU, in the US exemptions are not possible within the existing legal framework, and the possible violation of US code title 18 means that the hands of both the government or private entities are tied when attempting to protect mass public gatherings, sports venues, or critical infrastructure. Therefore, it was more urgent to introduce legislation that would allow countermeasures to some extent. In September, US Congress approved the FAA-reauthorisation act for the next 5 years (H.R. 302), which was shortly after signed by the President and came into effect. Division H of the act - Preventing Emerging Threats - provides an initial infrastructure for counter drone measures to be used by various DoJ (Department of Justice) and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) agencies under strict limitations. However, the act avoids determining which technology the agencies should use, yet it requires minimal impact on privacy and overall safety in order to strike the necessary balance. This is the first profound counter-drone legislation and is expected to be followed by additional measures both in the US and in other countries. Updating counter-drone legal infrastructure In summary, 2018 has been a pioneering year for counter-drone legislation, and while technology already allows taking action when necessary, legal infrastructure needs further updates in order to close the existing gaps: covering additional federal assets, state-level governments, and private facilities of high importance, such as critical infrastructure sites. Legislators in the US and around the world need to continue working in a rapid tempo to keep up with the growing threat of drones. As with cars a century ago, the number of accidents will rise with the increase in time taken to regulate.

Unlocking profits for integrators in the ever-evolving world of access control
Unlocking profits for integrators in the ever-evolving world of access control

Whether you are a veteran in the access control world or have never installed a card reader before, there are always ways to increase profits in the ever-evolving world of access control. The hope is that by considering a few key focal points, you can find ways to increase market share. Whether we are releasing an electronic lock through a simple intercom button or using biometric and multi-authentication based on a database; the tactics for bringing on more revenue is the same. Learning to focus on a few key items can help open up opportunities. Business access controls Understanding vertical markets is a strong strategy for success in increasing your profits with access controlIf you are new to access control, it’s important to determine the right product offerings for your business model and experience level of your team. Mistakes in estimating or installing can be costly and complex. Take advantage of manufacturer training both online and in the classroom for both your sales team and installation department. It’s important to understand the fire and building codes in your area to make sure you design the proper solution for your customers. Furthermore, understanding the products, components and proper wiring can save you money in labour and materials.  Today we will look at four focus points: vertical markets, cloud-based access control, technology upgrades, and preventative maintenance and service agreements. These four focal points are simple to implement and can be easily added to your current operation. Vertical markets Understanding vertical markets is a strong strategy for success in increasing your profits with access control. The concept is that understanding a certain vertical and their security needs can increase your sales team’s marketability. If you spend your time focusing on the healthcare industry, for instance, you will see that HIPA requirements open doors for selling access control. Getting to know the regulatory concerns of different verticals is a great strategy for more effective sales Having logs of who entered your HR files room or patient records storage is a crucial part of addressing privacy concerns. Getting to know the regulatory concerns of different verticals is a great strategy for more effective sales.  Another example could be apartment communities or other multifamily dwellings. In this competitive marketplace, these complexes are looking for ways to stand out in their market. Knowing this and being able to offer amenities like secured locks with Bluetooth credentials that tenants can open with their smartphones is a selling point for you and for your customer. Building on each customer you contact within a vertical is like free sales and marketing training. The more you learn from each potential client, the more you increase your conversation starters for the next potential client. Cloud-based access control With the growing cloud-based access control market, integrators can find more opportunities in small businesses and vertical markets that typically wouldn’t be on the radar of your sales team. A typical card access system often makes the move from the traditional lock and key systems to electronic card access cost prohibitive. This is due to the large upfront costs for a server, software and annual licensing. With cloud access, integrators can offer less expensive upfront costs with low monthly subscription fees that cover all software updates, database backups, security patches and more. The real benefit for the integrator is the reoccurring revenue. By helping our clients save money on server, software and IT infrastructure costs, we are securing reoccurring revenue for our companies that increase our profitability. Building reoccurring revenue not only provides cash flow but also keeps your name on the top of the minds of your customer and that leads to additional sales. By helping clients save money on server, software and IT infrastructure costs, we are securing reoccurring revenue for companies that increase profitability Technology upgrades Another often overlooked opportunity is technology upgrades. Training your sales staff and even service technicians to watch out for clients with older technology can reap major benefits. When you bring new technology to your clients, you show another value that you bring to the table. Even if your client isn’t ready to make an upgrade, you can easily plant a seed that will get their minds and budgets rolling. An easy example is a customer with an older intercom door access system An easy example is a customer with an older intercom door access system. This may have met their needs 10 years ago when it was installed, but the office has grown and perhaps an integrated card access intercom system is a great technology upgrade. Bringing this to the customer will once again show that you are the “subject matter expert” and your customer will be more apt to refer you to their friends and colleagues. Another easy way to find technology upgrades is to dig through your ageing client list and build a list of potential targets that you have not visited lately. If you keep records of what was installed previously, it will make it easier to plan ahead and bring solutions to your next visit, saving your sales staff time and again building confidence with your clients. Preventive maintenance and service agreements One thing that sales teams often miss is the opportunity to add service agreements and preventative maintenance agreements. Even if a customer already has an access control system, they may not have a service provider and may be interested in securing a service agreement. Typically, a service agreement can be written to cover all parts and labour or just labour for an annual feeShowing the value of a service agreement is paramount, adding annual or semi-annual preventative maintenance to your service agreement is one way to add value. Inspecting locking mechanisms, request to exit motions and buttons, door status switches, headend equipment, batteries and power supplies, can save your customer from a costly after-hours service call or the inconvenience of a non-functioning access control system during business hours. Additionally, checking computer hardware and software logs for errors can save a customer from a catastrophic failure.  Typically, a service agreement can be written to cover all parts and labour or just labour for an annual fee. It is helpful to come up with a percentage of the install value that makes sense so that your sales team can easily quote a service agreement for your customer. Offering several levels of service also opens the table for negotiations. You can offer an “all parts and labour 24/7” or a “parts and labour M-F 8AM-4PM”, as an example. Offering guaranteed response times can also be a marketing strategy. Critical area access management Checking computer hardware and software logs for errors can save a customer from a catastrophic failureA 24-7 facility that has 200 employees moving in and out of critical areas may be a great potential customer for a high-level service agreement with semi-annual preventative maintenance and a guaranteed 4-hour response time. Where a small office that is only open during standard business hours may be better suited for a labour only M-F with annual preventative maintenance inspection. The point is that a creative, intentional, and focused approach to access control can yield the fruit that brings long-term success to your team. Building a plan and learning from each prospect, sale, and installation will develop a process that brings results. Attending a trade specific expo like ESX will give you the opportunity to meet with manufacturers and other integrators that can help you implement a product offering and strategy for success.