INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Navigating COVID-19 and the Changing Physical Security Industry
We talked to Saurabh Bajaj, Founder and CEO at Swiftlane about video intercom and touchless access and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Saurabh Bajaj: We are good, thank you.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Swiftlane.
Saurabh Bajaj: My background is in the tech and software industry. I’ve worked at Facebook, Instagram, and most recently was building out machine learning and computer vision for self-driving cars at Lyft.
Working on both the digital and physical side of security made me think about the security experience as a whole. So, I began to wonder how I could use my background in deep tech to enhance that experience. That is when Swiftlane was born.
How does Swiftlane innovate?
Saurabh Bajaj: We make sure to listen to our end-users and the feedback that we get from the industry. Based on what we hear, we try to create new ways to solve problems for our end users to make them as successful as possible. We are lucky to have a team that is committed to sharing information across all departments to collaborate and get feedback from every possible angle.
Our greatest innovation has been a completely new approach to the physical security industry through cloud adoption. Remote management of physical security seems like an oxymoron, but it has allowed us to create a completely new experience for our end users through touchless access and contactless visitor management.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Saurabh Bajaj: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to remain completely flexible and ready to pivot at any moment. We could be completely immersed in an initiative one week and wind up in a different direction the very next week, just based on the way the industry was moving and what our users needed at the time. Honestly, this has made us a better company. It has made us more open to changes and ideas that will ultimately benefit our customers better in the long run.
For our end-users, the pandemic has completely disrupted the controlled access and visitor space. People are looking for touchless solutions that prioritize health but that will not compromise security. Luckily, there are solutions like ours that exist to close that gap. But, the transition to touchless is a different experience than what users are used to. So, we just need to make sure that we are ready with as much information and as many answers as they need.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Saurabh Bajaj: In regards to the pandemic, our choices weren’t so much hard as they were unexpected. We had to make some difficult choices to go in a completely different direction than what we had anticipated. But, ultimately, this taught us that we need to remain open to change and actively seek feedback that will allow us to change our product, strategy, approach, etc. for the better.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Saurabh Bajaj: We are a remote-first company, and we have always been set up to work from home. So, from a logistical standpoint, the transition has been relatively easy. From a management standpoint, our greatest tool is empathy – empathy for our coworkers, our partners, and our users. Every adjustment to COVID-19 is a unique one and we are committed to understanding everyone’s challenges and using the resources that we have to help solve problems.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Saurabh Bajaj: We come from a very competitive industry. Physical security and access control cover a lot of ground, and a lot of our competitors have been in the game for decades. Some newer, well-known competitors of ours include Kisi, OpenPath, Brivo, and ButterflyMX.
We plan to remain flexible and open to change based on what our end-users want and need. Moreso, we are actively looking for feedback in all aspects of our business so that we can make those changes. Our ability to be agile is one of our greatest strengths.
Your final thoughts?
Saurabh Bajaj: While the pandemic has thrown a curveball to everyone, it’s important to find a silver lining and use your talents and the unique skills your company has to offer to create unique ways to solve problems and help those around you.
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