I get to meet with people and go to places I would have never dreamed of.
24 September 2016
Author: Security Talent

I get to meet with people and go to places I would have never dreamed of.

That the security domain is so diverse becomes aptly clear when we interview Jan Wouter. He works for Aerialtronics, a company that builds drones for a variety of applications. One of them being security. We sat down with Jan Wouter to find out what he does on a daily basis.
Jan Wouter Kruyt
Vice President Strategic Partnerships

Aerospace Engineering (Bachelor and Master) at Delft University of Technology.


Vice President Strategic Partnerships, what does that mean?


It is my responsibility to find new partners with whom we can develop custom made technical solutions to accommodate new markets. For example building partnerships to develop ways to use drones in the field of safety and security. This could be with large companies such as IBM, Nokia or NVIDIA but also smaller companies who possess a specific expertise. Before I was the Head of R&D. In my current position I can combine the technical expertise with more commercial work, which I really like.




What kind of projects are you involved with?


For example, recently we teamed up with IBM to explore the possibilities of connecting our drones with the cloud. This makes it possible to collect data with our drones and make it available for analysis in real time. It’s especially cool for us as a small company to work with such renowned companies that has been at the forefront of international industry for decades. Our engineers worked alongside theirs to work on connecting our drones with the cloud services of IBM.


In the field of security this collaboration could lead to more applications for drones. Think of surveillance by drones to detect changes in an area, for example the arrival of an extra car or an abandoned suitcase, facial recognition or detection of suspicious behavior in crowds. Traditionally the images have to be collected and reviewed afterwards, if you automate the process of data collection through cloud services you can review the data in real time. Making it a more direct and useful tool.




Why did you pursue this career?


Before I was doing scientific research at a university. That was very interesting but I missed working in a team. I also like to see tangible results and to be in touch with other companies in the market. In my job at Aerialtronics I found both: the research related aspects and the more commercial way of dealing with innovation that appeal to me. Also with my background in Aerospace Engineering the drone industry is one of, if not the most exciting industry to work for at the moment.


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Can you name a milestone in your career?


There are so many, it’s hard to name one in particular. Something I really like about my job is that, because we’re in such a new industry, I get to meet with people and go to places I would have never dreamed of. There is a lot of attention for our products. For example, a while ago we sat down with companies like Google and Amazon during a meeting organized with the Small UAV Coalition (a drone lobby organization for the US), and last week we visited a company that builds fire trucks and is very interested in incorporating drones in their future fire trucks.




How will your industry or job in particular change over the next few years? How do you keep up?


My job will still exist in the future. The drone industry will undergo some major changes in the coming years as the industry matures. Once effective laws and regulations are passed the use of drones will drastically increase. Also the continuing evolution of drones and shift to autonomous flight will lead to more applications for drones. For a lot of people in different industries drones will become a permanent addition to their toolkit. For us it’s important to stay ahead of competition through anticipating early and find new opportunities. For example the new applications in security the automated flights offer.


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How did you end up here after completing your study?

I began by doing research at a university after I graduated. After gaining some experience and with some luck, coincidence and detours I ended up working for Aerialtronics. It all went pretty natural, you just roll into it once you get some experience in the field. At Aerialtronics my growth was natural too. In smaller start ups your job is less defined beforehand. This means you get more freedom to fill in your activities. Nobody is going to stop you if you want to pick up more or want to work out a new idea you came up with. This helped me grow with the company and create the position I hold now.




Do you have any tips for up-and-coming talent?

If you know what you like it really helps if you spend time on that outside of office hours. In our business there are a lot of people who are intrigued by drones. But sometimes we sit down with them and notice they haven’t found out much about it on their own. If you have experience with drones, for example you build some application for your hobby project, you are much more interesting for us. We are always welcoming applications from people who engage with drones because they’re passionate about the technology.



[Images by Frisse Focus]

I get to meet with people and go to places I would have never dreamed of.

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