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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2019

An Interview with Kastle Systems International Leadership: ‘Our Physical Security Heritage Combined With Our Strong Background in Technology Allows Us to Play a Powerful Role in an Increasingly Risky World’

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Imagine a building that can tell you who is inside, using what spaces and at what time for any given moment of day or night – all while you may be checking in from the other side of the world. Now imagine that this building can analyse months of that data to predict how to set optimal lighting and temperature settings for every day of the week based on how the building spaces are used. And what if the building can identify who is and is not allowed access to the building by reading Bluetooth signals from the smart phone of any occupant while it’s still in their pocket? This is just the start of what the next generation of building technologies can do — using the Internet of Things (IoT) to create smarter buildings that cost less to operate and have greater comfort, appeal, and marketability.                                                                          

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Kastle Systems International.

Kastle is a “managed security” service company which means it doesn’t just sell security products but rather it engages clients in the design, installation, operation, and remote management of buildings and office security systems. It offers an integrated portfolio of products and services for commercial and multifamily real estate clients that include web-based security and identity management software; access control systems; managed video surveillance and monitoring; fire detection; sensor monitoring for room and equipment and more.

It features innovative mobile applications of its service such as KastlePresence, an IoT workplace solution that offers mobile access solutions to make spaces for people who occupy and manage office buildings; as well as KastleResident, a similar function for resident living experience in multifamily properties.

The company also offers KastleAlert, a mobile crowd sourced emergency mass communications platform. It serves commercial real estate portfolios, businesses, law firms, education facilities, the government sector, the outdoor sector, and multifamily facilities.

Kastle was established in 1972 and is headquartered in Washington DC. It has additional office locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Sydney; Australia.

Haniel Lynn (CEO) & Mohammad Soleimani (CTO), spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform, Mr. Lynn?

Kastle Systems’ mission is to be our customers’ best service provider by making their spaces safer, smarter, and more convenient. The idea for Kastle grew out of a need expressed by commercial real estate owners in the DC area for an outsourced solution for the management of their security to a vendor with dedicated security expertise so that they could focus on running their core business. Initially, we were focused on servicing the commercial real estate community and their tenants. We have expanded over time to additional verticals like residential multifamily, enterprise businesses, education, construction and more.

Q. What were the grounds on which you have expanded your company and its offerings over the years, Mr. Soleimani?

We have evolved as technology and real estate have advanced. We started as a hard-wired access control company mainly for commercial real estate in the DC-Area only. As technology, especially the internet, improved, we were able to expand and scale our service capability to become an international cloud-based security systems integrator for over 10,000 commercial, multi-family, education, government, co-working, enterprise organizations.

We now offer a portfolio of integrated security services like access control, video surveillance, identity management, fire and life safety, environmental controls and more with all client user data transmitted to four geographically dispersed monitoring facilities to provide backup resiliency to our clients worldwide. Having a cloud-based platform, we’ve been able to effectively scale in customers served and geographic reach.

Q. What do you feel are the reasons behind your consistent growth as an organization, Mr. Lynn?

We solve a consistent business problem that has only become more complex over time – providing physical security for their assets; be they human, real estate, or hardware. Our customers realize that running their own physical security requires dedicated expertise that doesn’t align with their own competencies and find it’s easier, more effective and overall less expensive to hire the outside authority to operate their security function – we do it for them, with exceptional service and incredible technology.

And as technology evolves and security systems become more sophisticated with the IoT becoming more ubiquitous, the physical and digital worlds are beginning to merge – including security risks. Businesses are realizing that outsourcing security to dedicated experts, with great service, is a smart idea. Our ‘managed service’ approach to security is only becoming more in demand over time.

Q. If you must list five factors that have been/are the biggest assets to your organization, what would they be and why, Mr. Soleimani?

Commitment to Service – Our business strategy is based on long-term business relationships – we sell the peace of mind that we ‘own and deliver’ the security of our customer and if we can’t, we fail. This approach attracts exceptional people to Kastle. The sort of people who think nothing of going above and beyond for clients. Our emphasis on service is reflected in our compensation plans, which are tied to client satisfaction scores measured by J.D. Power. Happily, we have earned high marks, on par with some of the world’s most respected service-oriented brands.

Embracing Technology – From the beginning, when much of commercial security consisted of guards with a set of keys, we realized that our underlying strategy, providing security as a remotely ‘managed service’, would depend greatly on leveraging the scalability that only advanced technology could provide. That insight has enabled the company to meet and surpass the needs of clients, in many cases before they realize they need them.

Continuous Discovery – Continuing innovation requires continuing discovery – to stay engaged, energized and informed from top management to the service team. Employees participate at Kastle both as students and teachers. Kastle keeps employees motivated, informed, and inspired to create new security solutions for clients – staff informs Kastle what skills they want to improve, and the company finds a way to provide learning.

Team-Centered approach – We provide end-to-end lifecycle security from the sale, system design, component selection, installation, software set up and training to on-going maintenance, monitoring, data management and even software upgrades. These all require different skill sets but a shared knowledge of the client and desire to serve. This approach can only succeed if you have a high performing team approach with a shared mission.

Great Partners – You can’t be all things to all people and succeed. You need to work with partners that share your commitment to quality to help you deliver on the mission. We don’t manufacture security components, but we have selected an outstanding group of providers to source the equipment that allows us to deliver the security service we for which we strive.

Q. How does your company contribute to the global IT platform and society at large, Mr. Lynn?

As we have already discussed, the realms of physical and cyber security are converging. This presents a global challenge that we are well-positioned to address. Our physical security heritage combined with our strong background in technology allows us to play a powerful role in an increasingly risky world. We are simultaneously striving to leverage the openness of IoT to enable physical access control to be an easier, more open user experience across technologies, cultures and geographies while also using the power of cloud-based computing, robust encryption and data intelligence to make the world more secure.

Q. Do you have any new products ready to be rolled out into the market, Mr. Soleimani?

Kastle Systems has recently extended its capabilities in mobile-based access control. While we have offered KastlePresence®, our mobile-device-based Bluetooth-enabled security solution (think of your cell phone as your office key) to customers for years, we have now embedded that functionality into a Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows Kastle to partner with third-party ‘property experience platforms’ as their access control function.

These providers offer a simple app that can enable residents or tenants to manage daily resident activities from their smartphone like rent payments, package deliveries, maintenance requests, pre-authorized visitor access, amenity usage reservations and more. Our Kastle SDK allows them to plug-in a Kastle Access Control solution into their pre-existing platform to add one more benefit to the resident or tenant experience menu.

Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now, Mr. Lynn?

We will leverage our scalability and open-standards interoperability to expand our capabilities to serve customers by partnering with other smart-building technology platforms, property management platforms, and enterprise businesses with multi-location operations globally.

Leadership | Kastle Systems International

Haniel Lynn: Haniel Lynn is the Chief Executive Office of Kastle Systems International.

Mohammad Soleimani: Mohammad Soleimani is the Chief Technology Officer of Kastle Systems International.

"We solve business problems that don’t ever go away for most businesses – providing physical security for their assets; be they human, real estate, or hardware."