The daring ambitions of X-Systems: will the next smartphone be made in The Hague?
X-Systems is a company with a special story. Founded in Eindhoven in 2015 by two brothers and self-made entrepreneurs, John and Marco-Alexander Meyers, it moved to The Hague in 2018 with an ambitious mission: to launch “an absolutely safe smartphone”, to be used by internationals, multinationals, governmental organisations and vital industries such as the energy sector. In this interview, John Meyers explains the philosophy behind his company: “We want to make and keep the Netherlands safer.”
Producing your own smartphone? Isn’t that a somewhat risky project for a small company in The Hague? Entrepreneur John Meyers is the first to admit that his ambitions are not very modest. “The Netherlands will soon be the only country in Europe where smartphones are being made,” he says. “Nokia? Yes, but they use Chinese technology. We have developed our own technology.” Meyers does not doubt that there is huge potential demand for a homemade, secure telephone. “We are convinced that mobile communications and the Internet of Things will confront our society with an enormous problem. When all households and existing legacy devices are connected with smart networks in the future, one interruption can take down an entire region.”
According to Meyers, sectors are essential such as the energy sector have a particularly urgent need for means of communication that are not just safe, but also user-friendly . “We have designed our smartphone in a modular fashion. That means the same board can be used as tablet, computer, even television. All you need to do is put it in a docking station and connect a screen to it. So it’s not just safe, but also easy to use.”
X-Systems has developed an initial proof of concept, which “got very positive reactions,” says Meyers. The company gratefully made use of European subsidies made available by the “Kansen voor West” (Opportunities for West) program of the four “Randstad” provinces. Meyers: “A very nice subsidy that has given us a lot of visibility. It is normally awarded to much bigger companies than ours.” X-Systems is now talking to potential clients in The Hague that they hope will serve as launching customers for the product. Meyers stresses that X-Systems will not be aiming at the consumer market. “Our primary target group are the professionals who must communicate securely anytime and anywhere. Within the sectors where eavesdropping and influencing data can have major consequences.”
This is also the most important reason why X-Systems moved from Eindhoven to The Hague: to be closer to its clients. “Here is where the policymakers are, the government, the multinationals.” What is more, says Meyers, the city was very willing to help. “The Hague has a special department to help companies active in the security industry. There is a lot going on in this field here. That makes it possible for us to achieve a lot of synergies.” Being in The Hague, the seat of government, also fits better with Meyers’ wider ambitions. “Our mission is to make and keep the Netherlands safer.”