AiThority Interview with Gregory Blondeau, CEO and Founder at Proxyclick
Tell us about your journey. What led you to the Visitor Management space?
I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. I’ve also traveled a lot over the years and visited many offices. During those experiences, it’s always been a concern that I was welcomed so poorly at the front desk. I’ve also been struck by how limited security was and how my data was often exposed at the front desk.
Based on those observations, and with an awareness that others were certainly experiencing those same problems at the front desk, I proposed a first solution to those issues in 2011. Fast forward to now, we have a best-in-class solution for managing on-premise visits. It’s designed to make the visitor experience seamless and secure, while at the same time respecting visitor privacy. We work with some of the world’s biggest enterprises including L’Oréal, Vodafone, and Airbnb across the globe—and we’re expanding aggressively in the US, our biggest market.
Describe the problem you’re solving? What challenges do enterprises with large corporate premises face today in terms of maintaining visitor security?
For starters, there’s an overall lack of efficiency in the front desk experience and too many wasted opportunities to make a positive impression on visitors. There’s also an alarming lack of security, which given the thousands of visitors and contractors entering offices and production sites every day, represents a major threat to the safety of everyone within the location.
As I mentioned above, personal data is too easily exposed during the check-in process. We’ve come up with a solution that addresses all of those challenges while also ensuring full compliance. We are also helping enterprises project a strong brand/image from the very first office/production site visit.
ML/AI has impacted virtually every industry. How is it specifically Visitor Management?
We are only at the infancy of ML and AI in our field. Mainly because most companies haven’t digitized their visitor data yet. That’s really the first step (digitizing data). Once that’s done more widely, AI will most definitely help companies operate and secure their locations more securely.
You have a strong security and privacy focus unlike other players in the industry, like Envoy. Why is that?
Mainly because we are a Belgium-based company and subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a regulation on data protection and privacy on companies in the European Union and the European Economic Area. You could also say it’s in our DNA. My Co-founders and I have always been worried about protecting people’s data. We believe that getting rid of the paper logbook was and is about data privacy. It is the first thing people see when they visit offices. What does it say about your company if you expose personal data at the front desk?
We are also the first Visitor Management Solution (VMS) to be certified SOC2 Privacy – an auditing procedure that ensures service providers to securely manage client data to protect the interests of their organization and the privacy of its clients.
How would a company use your technology? Give us an example.
I can give you two. A few years ago, a visitor entered a warehouse, signed a paper logbook, climbed into a truck, and drove away with a container filled with $2 million worth of goods.
This robbery was discussed at the following board meeting of this Fortune 500 company. Today, arriving visitors take a selfie on the iPad and are changed to status “checked in.” Not one exit gate is opened by security agents if the visit status is not “checked out.” This customer is now integrating Proxyclick with its Access Control System to allow front gate openings with QR Codes.
More recently, a customer was worried about visitors bringing Coronavirus into his 35 locations globally. Our iPad app allows our customers to ask subsequent questions depending on the answer to the previous one. Eg: Have you been in contact with anyone or a family member of anyone affected by the Coronavirus?
What advice would you have for a budding security professional in the property/premise security space?
Just like other industries before, tech is transforming the security and property world and creating a lot of value. It is critical for security professionals to remain informed about the latest tech available – like Proxyclick.
What are some related technologies out in the market that you are excited about?
I am excited about a world where security is increased, but not at the expense of privacy. I am excited about a world where front gates are only closed to those who don’t comply (eg. License expired) and always open to everyone else to the point that they don’t even realize there is security in place. There are technologies available today that make all of those things possible. It’s a very exciting time.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Several years ago when our product was still in its infancy Apple contacted us for their new elliptic-shaped HQ in Cupertino. I remember the Project Manager telling me that Steve Jobs himself had decided 20 years ago that Apple should have a slick digital check-in on an iMac for visitors. His argument was the same we still use today: you only have one chance to make a good impression.
I’d love to have Steve Jobs’ view on how VMS have evolved!
Thank you, Gregory! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Gregory Blondeau is CEO and Founder of Proxyclick, thethe leading provider of enterprise visitor management software. Prior to Proxyclick, he spent a short decade between Munich, London and Paris, working for the Private Telecommunications Division of Siemens AG and nurturing his interest for European politics, culture, languages and way of living. He returned to Brussels in 2000, working in two start-ups before co-funding Proxyclick. Since then he has been working tirelessly to develop the business first in Belgium, then across Europe and in North America.
The cloud-based software that manages your visitors, from invitation to checkout. Run a smooth reception with a simple cloud-based software that your visitors, receptionists, hosts, IT and security will all love. Our vision is to leverage the power of the web to fundamentally transform the way people are welcomed in corporate offices around the world. Our solution has registered more than 30 million visits in 100+ countries around the world.