Wednesday July 23, 2014 0 comments
By Barbara Hall
GREENWOOD VILLAGE -- It may have all started with his wife's "dream job."
She had always wanted to be a receptionist, says Brad Leiby, CEO of VisitorLink, a virtual online receptionist platform based in Greenwood Village.
Leiby and his first business, Uncommon Solutions, have been working in the software arena for more than 10 years, partnering with Microsoft in a number of applications using unified communications including video, audio, IM and screen sharing.
"I started out building the VisitorLink tool for my own office," he said, "and it grew from there."
Leiby said he began seeing the need for a virtual receptionist program, especially in the security industry.
"My daughter attends Arapahoe High School," he said. Before the shooting at that school last year, he had already considered this application for schools but that incident -- and others -- emphasized the need.
One of his early clients was Western Union, a long-established company with an obvious need to control and limit access to their buildings while also trying to update their look and feel.
"They wanted to provide a good first impression as people came into the office," Leiby said. "Our platform supports integration with many systems: intake ID, door release, card swipe, badge printing, bar codes -- all those things."
"The backend, lookup function is especially important for schools. If the person signing in is on the parent list, that's one thing. If they are on the sex offender registry, that's another."
The look and feel of VisitorLink can be customized to integrate with a client's overall business style and needs.
"VisitorLink is more efficient than a human receptionist," Leiby says. "It provides the discipline and consistency, but computers lack judgment. By connecting visitors via live video to a human being, VisitorLink can provide good judgment too.
"It's the best of both worlds."
One client had spent time in the security industry with the NSA.
"I went into that meeting thinking that security is all about encryption, bits and bytes, and I studied up before my initial meeting with him on all those types of things," Leiby said. "But he said to me, 'I don't do that kind of security,' tapped his pocket, and said 'I carry a gun.'"
Leiby said this type of client appreciates the aspect of VisitorLink that allows them to view a new visitor via their office computer, before pushing the "allow in" button.
"He likes the idea of being able to look directly into the eyes of his visitor, through the computer, looking for certain nuances of behavior," Leiby says. "He watches it live. You can see the visitor, ask them questions, communicate from your office. If they're wearing a ski mask, you're probably not going to let them in."
In its second year of business, VisitorLink has about a dozen clients now, and Leiby hopes to grow that to more than 1,000 in the coming year with the help of channel partners.
While security is a main focus of the application, he is also beginning to develop it for the healthcare industry, allowing physicians to conduct remote sessions with patients.
"This is especially important in places like Canada -- where we are testing this -- where much of the population is so far removed from specialized health care professionals," he said.
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