Our IoT Heroes: Hartmut Schaper - CEO
Together with the management team, Hartmut is responsible for the development and success of Azena. In this interview, he tells us how it feels and why it is pure fun.
What were your main reasons and motivations to join us?
After having worked for many years as a manager in large software companies but also as CTO and a member of the supervisory board in start-ups, I often wondered what a real highlight in my very exciting and varied career could be. I found the answer at Azena: here I have the chance to turn an entire industry upside down with a groundbreaking product, which is an everyday highlight for me. It's very exciting to start from scratch and to build a new company together with a great team.
What are the central values in your working environment?
At Azena, people from almost 30 nations work closely together on a common vision. This is because we regard diversity as a key strength of our company, which requires that everyone is given the freedom they need to fully develop their individual abilities. In this respect, individual freedom is a fundamental source of fun and self-fulfillment at work and therefore critical to success. My aim is to create appropriate conditions for this.
“It is my goal to take as many people as possible on an exciting journey.”
What superhero power can you draw on when you need it?
My strength is to understand situations quickly and find pragmatic solutions even for extremely ambivalent and complex business challenges. I try not only to treat symptoms but always to get to the bottom of the underlying causes. This also applies to the interpersonal level in the team, where there are also often hidden causes that can either motivate or hinder employees. A lot of my time I spend with the team, not only in official meetings but also in casual coffee breaks or we celebrate together what we have achieved.
What are the most interesting topics you will work on and what will be the hardest tasks to solve?
We are currently working on making the transition from a start-up to an operationally successful company. To achieve this it is critical to convince new customers and business partners that our open IoT platform opens doors to more business and enables them to make their business future-proof today. This is sometimes hard because many companies prefer to stick with their previous business models, which are based more on hardware than on software. But I'm sure they'll understand the odds.
"It is our duty as innovators to always get the best out of technology for people.”
What do you see as the main trends in IoT in a business context and from your perspective as a CEO?
First, edge devices are becoming more and more powerful, which is an important prerequisite for complex software applications as well as AI to run directly on the devices in IoT. Second, 5G will allow very large amounts of data to be transmitted and processed in near real-time where it is most appropriate. AI, neural networks and other technologies will massively accelerate this evolution. Our task as innovators is to constantly balance opportunities and risks of new technologies and bring out the best for people. That's what we work on every day.
Hartmut, thank you very much for the chat and the opportunity to get to know you better