CCTV technician installing PTZ - big image, Louis Thorp, Castle Security.

In this month’s interview we speak with Louis Thorp of family-owned security integrator Castle Security about the team’s experience of COVID-19 in Western Australia, including the challenges and opportunities the future presents.

JA: Tell us about the Castle Security business – what sort of solutions do you install/integrate and who are your primary customers?

LT: Castle Security is a family-owned business specialising in the design, supply and installation of residential, commercial and government electronic security systems. Medical security, such as personal alarms, load works, etc, are a growing part of our business, along with our cloud offerings.

JA: How long has the business been going – who is behind it, how big is the team, how many locations?

LT: Castle Security was established/started in 1989 by Bill Thorp in the front room of his house in Ballajura, he saw an opportunity in the security industry coming from an electrical background. We currently have a team of 9 full-time staff members and are on the lookout for another full-time security technician along with an apprentice.

JA: Could you describe the electronic security market in Perth and WA in a paragraph – what are the opportunities, what are the challenges?

LT: The Perth security industry appears to be in full swing from our perspective, COVID has not affected the industry and we have seen an influx in leads. Some opportunities we see over the next few years are in biosecurity and making sure we offer a range of products that help reduce touchpoints. CCTV can play a huge role in this area – particularly when utilising artificial intelligence. One challenge we anticipate is client education. The technology and the industry are moving so fast that having the right sales tactics and knowledge base behind our sales and admin teams is essential.

JA: What has Castle Security’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic been – what have been that challenges, what procedures have been put in place?

LT: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were quick to put procedures in place to make sure our staff and clients remained safe and were educated on our policies. Our technical staff attended a COVID-19 infection control training and each staff member was given sanitizer along with gloves to be worn on each new job site. We also updated our website with our policy, along with sending out monthly emails to our client list updating our policies and procedures. We have found our clients to be amazing during this difficult time.

JA: How has COVID-19 impacted on the Castle Security team at the personal and professional level?

LT: We have been fortunate enough to be relatively unaffected by COVID – we have remained busy through the pandemic and have made sure we continued to educate ourselves on the situation. The main learning curve that has come from this situation for us is to remain vigilant, to keep going, and to prepare for the other side. We have also put strategies in place to strengthen our business, systems and staff communication during this time.

JA: Given Perth is an isolated location, there’s inbuilt geographic protection that must make what’s going on in other parts of the world – Italy, Spain, the UK, the USA – seem otherworldly in terms of the impact the pandemic has had on those societies. How has that experience been for the Castle Security team?

LT: Our team, along with the rest of WA, do feel extremely fortunate to be in the location we are, considering world events. We are still well aware that the situation can change at any time, and we have procedures in place to achieve our aim, which is to help others feel secure and prepare them for what comes next in these uncertain times.

JA: How are you finding business confidence in WA at present – are there plenty of projects going on?

LT: Business confidence in WA is going strong, tenders seem to be coming in thick and fast and there are plenty of projects on the go when driving around town. There is a feeling of uncertainty about what could come next, but other than that, things are somewhat normal over here, minus travelling, interstate or overseas.

JA: What are the opportunities the market is throwing up from a technological perspective – what sorts of technologies are more likely to be chosen now than 6 months ago – hands-free access control, contact tracing software solutions, cloud management and commissioning, something else?

LT: We have been approached regularly over the past few months on thermal cameras. We have installed 2 full setups and 3 handheld devices. Before COVID we had never had an enquiry for thermal cameras, so we see this area continuing to grow along with, as mentioned above contactless access control to keep touchpoints to a minimum.

JA: How receptive is the professional end-user market to cutting edge solutions now?

LT: It appears the professional end-user market is becoming more receptive to cutting edge solutions, however, there is still a lot of client/end-user education needed to show off the benefits of these systems. But we are certainly finding most end users are open to the discussion.

JA: Is Castle Security continuing to grow – what are the company’s plans when it comes to expansion/consolidation over the next 2 years?

LT: Yes, Castle Security is in a growth phase and we have some exciting plans over the next 2 years. We have been making inroads into the medical industry and are very excited to have started a push into cloud offerings. We see Castle Security as a forward-thinking company on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest technology – we will forever be looking for the next best electronic security product.

JA: What message would Castle Security like to give the WA and Australian market?

LT: We are in an exciting ever-changing industry, which up to this point has fared well during the pandemic. As an industry, we can play a huge role in helping Australia get back on its feet in a more secure and safer environment. I honestly believe our industry will be on the front lines of the recovery period – that makes it vital to position your company to be able to help as many customers as possible achieve peace of mind and get their businesses back up and running again.