The Key to 21st Century Security Is No Key At All

SALTO Systems
Written by Allison Dempsey

The key to modern security may be no key at all; instead, it’s simple solutions in installation and set-up from SALTO Systems: standalone, battery-powered electronic locks for access controls that are reliable and affordable, efficient and easy to use, without the need for complex and costly wiring.

Creating a first-rate access control system has always been the top priority for SALTO Systems. But ensuring the inclusion of valued customer input, coupled with the end goal of complete satisfaction is the company’s ultimate aim.

“What’s unique about our customer service is how we do our product development based on customer input,” says Marketing Director Steve Burk. “We have data-on-card, so we also have data at the door, even in our wireless doors. Data is king right now. Our ability to quickly get data from any door whether it’s wired or not is a real key advantage for us.”

Founded in 2001, SALTO has not only created a superior access control system, but also a number of electronic security innovations, utilizing its online and real-time technology, along with SALTO Virtual Network (SVN) and its XS4 platform. The company’s software and hardware can be networked without wires on every door, providing real-time intelligence and immediate control, while also enabling integration with existing systems to enhance manageability and end-user experience.

From airports to government
The company has reformed access control globally in numerous sectors such as airports and healthcare, education, retail, multifamily dwellings, government and hotels. SVN provides flexibility for an access control system to grow from a small number of doors and users to a large number as required.

“We provide a complete line of access control both from an on-premise software solution to a Cloud solution,” says Burk, who adds that what really makes the company unique is how it manages and operates at a wireless or wire-free level. “Because we have data-on-card, our wireless locks have about 90 percent feature/functionality as a wired lock, however the cost is significantly less. If you think about the cost to run wire to a door, to drill it, pull it through existing drywall, hide it and install it, versus just a couple screws to take the current lock off a door and put a wireless lock on, there are tremendous savings of both time and money,” he shares.

“While our competitors focus on securing the outside perimeter, it is often very expensive for them to provide access control to interior doors.” SALTO solutions cost-effectively secure both the outside perimeter as well as interior doors. “And of course we integrate. There are a lot of companies we’re integrated with and our software and our solutions integrate very well across the industry.”

Every aspect, everywhere
SALTO also offers a full line of products, including locking hardware, readers, control units, and accompanying software.

Ranging from the largest of businesses to the smallest of residences, SALTO has 10 verticals it specializes in with unique value propositions. “For instance, we have a great solution for multi-dwelling units,” says Burk. “Apartments, condo complexes – you can outfit the whole complex with our solution – gates to common areas, secure lockers, secured package delivery, long distance readers to open garages, and of course the resident’s doors, all with one credential.”

Think of a credential as a key, he explains, which could be in the form of a wristband, or a little round credential that you carry on your key chain. It can also come in the form of a credit card you carry in your purse or wallet. And you can set it up so that the person has access to everything with the one credential. “It’s very flexible and very convenient,” he says.

From a landlord’s perspective it means the ability to audit information and know how often people are using a part of the facility.

“As you’re looking to make improvements to that facility or purchase additional facilities, you can analyze the data and know how often the cafeteria or workout room is being used, [for instance], and what’s more appealing to the residents. Therefore, when you build your next building you know to make that room twice the size – or half the size.”

Student housing is another perfect example of where SALTO is a good fit. Every year as new students leave and arrive, last year’s locks with the old mechanical key should be re-keyed for safety and security. This comes at a high cost. With the electronic locks, credentials can be added or deleted from the system with just a couple of keystrokes.

“Another great use case: the SALTO XS4 Original can be ordered with a keypad and based on time of day and/or day of week, the keypad can be required or not. As added security, the lock could be programmed to require both the physical credential and the passcode after, let’s just say, 8:00pm. So imagine a coed is out, someone gets her purse and steals the credential to her room. That person would not be able to access the room because they would not know the passcode. As a father of a couple of daughters, I really appreciate that added security.”

In a work environment, you never really know how many copies of the mechanical key someone might have made. There is added peace of mind knowing a terminated employee loses access to the building and all sensitive materials just as soon as you inactivate their credential.

Roadmap to satisfaction
Regarding future products, SALTO doesn’t generally pre-announce products, but Burk says as a private company it makes significant investments in its R&D. The company has a very robust product roadmap that’s constantly developing in-house, as well as looking for outside ways to expand the portfolio so it’s a full-service provider to customers.

“We have very dedicated support for our customers,” says Burk. “We’ve got salespeople across the country that are ready, willing and able to jump, listen to our customers, not just sell them something but solve a situation for them.”

It’s this ongoing dedication to customer service that has made a name and reputation for the company over the years.

Burk also appreciates the company’s relationship with its employees, which he describes as very much embracing a work/life balance.

“We work hard and play hard,” he says. “We have very high expectations, we drive very hard, but we’re also very caring from the very top of the organization all the way down. The company’s very caring about each and every individual.”

Keeping close remotely
As with every other corporation, the biggest recent challenge of course has been the advent of COVID and ongoing battle against it. When the pandemic started, SALTO leadership announced it would do its absolute best not to let anyone go, asking employees to sharpen their tools and even add more tools to their tool belts so that when the pandemic was over they could come out, both as individuals and as a company, stronger than ever.

“That speaks volumes about the company and the leadership, because there just aren’t many other companies that said that, or were able to execute it,” says Burk. “We didn’t lay anyone off. Worldwide, we didn’t let anyone go.”

While having to deal with inevitable challenges like shipping delays, keeping employees safe throughout was top priority, with employees making the shift from predominantly office work to a remote work environment. An innovation the company found helpful throughout was something called Quaranteams.

“We created weekly meetings with teams via video calls with ‘get to know me’ sessions. Each employee over the course of a few months took 10 to 15 minutes to tell their life story, so we got to hear about – and hear from – people that in pre-COVID times you probably would never have talked to. It really helped us draw together.”

This is just one of the many aspects that Burk feels sets the company apart from others.

“I’ve worked for some very reputable companies, and far and away this is the most employee- and family-oriented company I’ve ever been with.”

This includes getting to know co-workers and customers better even though post-COVID days may bring permanent changes to the workforce.

“As a leadership team we’ve seen some of the benefits of more of a remote workforce, or a work-from-home force,” he says. “Certain jobs that might have been in the office five days a week, will probably be in the office two to three days a week, going forward. We still think there are advantages to the face-to-face talk, though. My boss likes to call them ‘collisions’ that occur within an office. You’re just walking by someone and it sparks a conversation. If you’re both working remotely, you don’t necessarily have that interaction.”

From a travel perspective, he sees more initial sales meetings being made remotely and a more hybrid working environment in the future, one that allows employees more say in where they work.

“Think about a single parent able to work remotely – it not only adds flexibility for them, but now they can potentially save more money because now they only have to pay for childcare two or three days a week instead of five days a week. There’s no additional cost to the employer to do that, but it’s savings for the employee. However, with that arrangement, it is incumbent upon the employee to provide at least as much value working from home as from the office.”

Coming through
From a Canadian perspective, says Burk, despite the challenging past year, SALTO hit the 2020 revenue target that was set pre-COVID.

“So in light of all the challenges we had, the team was tremendous at making sure they were staying in front (personally or virtually) of their customers, helping their customers through the difficult times, and I think that it paid off for us.”

The company is looking to sustain its impressive growth here and around the world.

“We’ve got really big growth plans,” Burk says. “We’ve got a tremendous product, tremendous solutions, and tremendous people. We have to tighten up on some of our processes and procedures, but I am very excited to contribute to making all of those targets a reality.”



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