This year, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of our AEOS access control system. So we thought it fitting to speak to someone who’s been there from the very beginning and is still with us today. We wanted to find out about some of the key milestones along the way and what the future holds for AEOS.
Eric van der Maarel is a software developer and architect at Nedap Security Management and is responsible for the overall architecture and high-level design of the software we build. He joined Nedap on 1 October 2000 as a system engineer. And his first job was to design the first versions of the embedded linux/java platform that’s used in AEOS and which we’ve come to know as AEpu.
Remote management made a reality
A key milestone for Eric was when he and his team realised the first remote operations for AEOS could enable remote management of access control. He says: “Someone near my desk was starting up the AEOS application and someone on the other side of the office was using hardware when the relay started flipping. It was one of those really exciting moments when we proved to ourselves we could actually provide AEOS remote services.”
Prestigious early AEOS customers
Of course, the first customers who bought into AEOS are also memorable markers for Eric. The very first AEOS customer was a prestigious car manufacturer. They were building a new factory in Germany at the same time AEOS was being prepared for release, so it was great timing.
Not long after this, Eric and his team were handling an AEOS installation for a large bank in The Netherlands. The whole team was there to ensure it went smoothly, but they were hitting difficulties. The security manager suddenly asked for the installation to be reversed, but that wasn’t an option. So the team worked through the night and successfully fixed the problem.
Getting AEOS ready for the future
A more recent milestone memory for Eric is the launch of AEOS Blue a couple of years ago, which simplifies AEOS for us and our partners. Eric says: “This was an important step to help us stay in business – you have to keep moving forward with technology.”
Eric believes another vital step forward for AEOS has been the migration from Enterprise Entity Beans to JPA. He explains: “This has allowed us to continue building, supporting and selling AEOS. From the moment we’d completed the migration, we were ready for all kinds of new developments. If we hadn’t done it, AEOS would have slowly died away because we wouldn’t have been able to offer the security levels, functionality and integrations needed. If the world moves to new technologies, you have to keep up.”
AEOS pioneered web-based access control
Of course, AEOS hasn’t just been keeping up with technological changes, in many respects it’s led the way. It was the first access control system to be based on web technology and managed via a web application. Since then, many other access control systems have followed suit and enable web-based management.
Still relevant, still ambitious
Eric thinks his biggest achievement in relation to AEOS is: “The fact we’ve managed to keep the system relevant for at least 20 years. For any significant piece of software, that’s a real achievement. I’m proud of everything we’ve done but especially the colleagues who develop, support and sell AEOS.”
As a company, we say that AEOS gives people and organisations security for life, so we wanted to know what that means for Eric. He says: “For me, ‘security for life’ is a translation of what I’ve been doing in my lifetime: AEOS has been a big part of my life so far.”
And we hope it will continue to be. Especially as Eric’s philosophy for continuing AEOS’s growth and development is to: “Always work hard and keep on improving and supporting new ideas.”