Timon Padberg
Timon Padberg
Global Clients Manager

Believe it or not, this year’s ASIS 2023 conference in Rotterdam welcomed approximately 850 attendees, nearly double the number of people from ASIS Europe 2022 in Prague (which saw 450 attendees). But that’s just one reason why this year’s event will not soon be forgotten by the team from Nedap Security Management.

It was one of the first times in a long time that Covid did not create an obstacle to the visitor experience at ASIS Europe. You could see and feel the sort of “freedom” and real enjoyment that people had in talking to each other again. I can only hope that we never take it for granted again. After all, that’s what this conference is supposed to be for: Fostering many new relationships and strengthening existing ones!

So, it’s my pleasure to share with you my top 7 highlights from the event:

1. Hosting the Security Leaders Networking Dinner

This was a first for us as an organization. In past years, we were honored to host the Welcome event in Nedap-style. This year we had the privilege to hold space for a special and more intimate affair—the Security Leaders Networking dinner.

The evening proved to be as spectacular as the views of the Rotterdam skyline atop the Euromast. To add to the fun, we were delighted by cartoonists who made the rounds to draw caricatures of each of us on the back of our drink coasters.

I mean…how can you not love a drawing with all your facial features in exaggerated proportions, right? It was certainly a guaranteed way to break the ice and compare your drawing with the person next to you. Many laughs were shared among us!

And so the dinner was a highlight for all of us who were there. There’s nothing like leaving behind a jam-packed day of events to be around like-minded (and fun) peers from our industry by night. Sharing a meal and light conversation isn’t just about eating…it’s about making memories and building bonds with the person to your left and right.

The evening came together perfectly, and we can’t thank our guests enough for sharing the experience with us. We welcome you to view our gallery of pictures.

2. Emphasis on collaboration

From the very first opening session by the ASIS president—on the topic of enterprise risk and sustainable security for the future—and one very powerful question posed by the Chairman of ASIS International, “How can I help?”

This one question truly set the stage for the remainder of the event. There was an overwhelming feeling of cooperation, sharing knowledge and networking among security professionals was powerful. Oftentimes, we’re caught up in our own list of to-dos and forge that we can probably do something so simple to help someone out. So, the question of how I can help is one that I’ll be sure to include going forward in my conversations with colleagues, partners, and clients.

3. The caliber of presenters taking the stage

The opening keynote session from Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl (Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE, and former member of the Advisory Group to the Secretary General of NATO) was particularly inspiring.

A very important point was raised: In Europe we speak many languages: but do we understand the language of our collective software platforms?

Taking a more active role in the way we interact digitally, with our platforms, is increasingly important as we navigate the “cyberworld.” And as a unified front in Europe, we should continue to invest in our library of knowledge and cooperate with each other, so we do not fall behind (e.g. software innovations, AI, etc.)

As an organisation, we can even say that Nedap strives to invest in both our our people and in our technology…to really understand our technology and not just “use it.”

4. Continued focus on cybersecurity

So, speaking of the “cyberworld,” one particular keynote session covered the topic of “Cyber Security Essentials for Physical Security & Business Managers: Key Questions to Ask.”

Rinske Geerlings called for realistic approaches to cybersecurity. Instead of striving for 0 incidents, that the better question to ask is, “How much would we like to improve,” and then set a percentage for this goal. In essence, every organisation should light a fire under themselves in an effort to mitigate possible cybersecurity risks. But how quickly should teams be moving? Well, Rinske Geerlings shared one particular slide, of a bear chasing a group of people, that will forever be etched in my memory.

The answer to the question of how fast you need to be: Faster than the slowest guy (as illustrated above). Breaches are not just an “IT thing”, but I believe we all know this already. Now, it’s up to us as an industry to affect some changes.

5. ASIS Morning Run

The next best thing after sharing a meal with one of your respected peers, is probably getting up early on a rainy morning and running 7 kilometers with them. Or is that just me?

Well, that’s exactly what we did on the second morning of the event. All 20 of us who came out really committed to pushing each other from start to finish.

The theme? “Stay fit and network at the same time!”

There’s no doubt that the experience was an unforgettable bonding experience. The route we shared took us down the Coolsingel long the Maas River, and over the Erasmus Bridge and back over the Willems Bridge.

We’d like to send a huge thank you to Godfried Hendriks, Past President of ASIS International, for selecting the route and leading our pack safely through the city!

And as you can see from the pictures, our fellow runners were unified in their Nedap-branded running shirts.

For anyone out there in Rotterdam, we highly recommend taking our running route in the wee hours of the morning. The city’s landscape comes to life as the sun rises. And we guarantee the rest of your day will feel energized!

6. Our very own Daryn Flynn speaking on the Innovation Track

In line with our theme at ASIS this year—Obsolete systems lead to broken hearts—our Client Account Manager, Dayrn Flynn, PSP, took the stage to talk about the need for a “new relationship.”

What relationship is that? Well, it’s the relations between you and your access control system.

“Because setting expectations, and having a good relationship with physical access management, creates a future-ready foundation for security to be more than security.”— Daryn Flynn, PSP

Furthermore, Daryn shared that global security trends actually create the challenges and opportunities for innovation. This results in security professionals playing even more important roles within their organisations. He truly believes, and we agree with him, that security systems can no longer “just” be for security. This is very much in line with the sentiments of many of the speakers this year.

As an industry, it’s up to us to think of new ways (and new relationships) to work together.

7. Our very own Jeroen Harmsen speaking on the Innovation Track

How much would you say you know about “digital twinning?”

This is exactly the topic that our Jeroen Harmsen, Team Lead of Global Business Development at Nedap, addressed during his time on stage: Organizing your workforce mobility using digital twins.

And his message came across loud and clear, “Forward-thinking organisations are looking to achieve seamless and secure mobility for their workforce. Unnecessary hindrances and delays should be a thing of the past. At the same time, cultures of productivity and trust should be fostered without compromising the safety and security of employees, visitors, and contractors.”

The audience was happy to get practical solutions and possibilities from Jeroen, now available through digital twin technology, policy automation, and connected workflows.

(Coincidentally, the idea of energy resilience was prevalent in Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl’s keynote mentioned above, during which she shared that we could see reductions in energy consumption of up to 40% with digital modelling and digital twinning.)

If you’d like to learn more about this important subject matter, please don’t hesitate to reach out. In the meanwhile, the team at Nedap Security Management will be counting down the days in preparation for the next ASIS Europe event, happening in Vienna from 20th to 22nd of March, 2024.

And if you have a highlight of your own to share with us, then please do let us know.

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