09 Nov 5 minutes with Trent Loebel: How Torus came to be – and the future of key management
A company’s CEO is its driving force – embodying their company’s values and steering from its helm.
So just who is behind the company that created an unrivalled key management solution?
We sat down with Torus CEO Trent Loebel to learn about his journey to becoming head of a global PropTech enterprise. And how, on the back of a life-altering pandemic, Torus is continuing to adapt to its customers’ evolving needs.
Hi, Trent. Thanks for your time today – let’s start at the beginning. Where was your career at before becoming CEO of Torus?
Before Torus, I was the CEO of Duncan Solutions for 12 years. They created one of the first parking meters back in 1936.
Today, they’re a world-leading technology company that provides integrated IoT parking solutions for smart cities and private operators.
Sounds like joining Torus would have been a natural transition, then. Torus may be a new brand, but it’s certainly not a new business. Can you tell us about the heritage of Torus?
In 2016 Duncan Solutions invested in CIC Technology. We saw that they had a strong pedigree in providing secure and trusted key management solutions to the Australian Department of Defence and other government agencies.
At Duncan, we were pioneers in developing and delivering world-leading IoT solutions. We knew that that, coupled with our passion for exceptional customer service, could unlock the massive potential we saw in CIC.
Right. So what was the reason behind your 2020 rebrand to Torus?
That’s interesting, actually.
When we invested in CIC, we knew that the KeySecure (SCEC) range of key cabinets was the traditional core of the business. We invested all our energy into building the most useful solution possible; one that would transform key management in all workplaces – beyond the government and defence sectors.
So we decided to create a new identity to take the brand to the world. Which is, of course, Torus!
But the CIC brand had built so much trust within government and defence over the years. So we decided to retain it – specifically for those sectors.
Now, CIC provides the only key cabinet approved for Security Levels 3 and 4 – and is the leading choice for the Australian Military.
OK, so both brands have strong roles and identities of their own. But we’re curious: What’s the origin of the word ‘torus’ and why did you choose it?
Torus has a couple of meanings in different contexts – both of which capture the concept of our solution well.
In geometry, it’s a ring-shaped surface that’s formed by rotating a closed curve. And in architecture, it’s a convex moulding that usually sits at the bottom of a column’s base.
And our product features a secure loop of communication between the physical cabinets and the software platform – which is what controls the security and remote management of the cabinets.
How is Torus different from other electronic key management solutions?
Well, for starters: Torus is elegant, easy to use and scalable, not just across multiple sites, but multiple regions too. That makes it ideal for global organisations.
It’s also a beautiful product, but not at the expense of utility. It’s seriously robust!
With Torus, workplaces don’t have to install or manage any software. It’s the ultimate ‘plug and play’ solution that works across one or thousands of sites.
There isn’t a simpler alternative.
It’s hard to talk about anything right now without touching on the pandemic. The last two years have been challenging for every workplace. How does the Torus solution fit with the way we now work in a COVID world?
Torus delivers remote management and monitoring of access to keys, tags and other items.
With Torus, staff don’t need to issue out and receive back keys from other staff, contractors or visitors. Instead, they can access keys using a PIN, access card, or biometric readers such as fingerprints and facial recognition.
This means people don’t need to handle keys nearly as often – which is essential for hygiene.
Using Torus also means having multiple copies of the same key is no longer necessary, so it allows workplaces to remove many redundant keys.
And we can’t claim to have planned this, but the fact that no IT skills are required to install Torus is a serious advantage in this age of remote work.
Torus only requires someone to ‘hang it on the wall’, turn on the power and input an activation code. Job done!
Torus adds value to many different industries. Looking to the future, in which sectors do you think you’ll see the most growth?
Torus is perfect for automation of key security in all workplaces – regardless of the industry you’re in.
The reality is that almost every building and workplace requires keys. And these keys all need to be securely and efficiently managed.
Thanks to its ease of deployment and scalability, Torus is especially appealing to organisations with a lot of buildings across cities, states and countries.
Torus has a strong channel partnership network. What’s your philosophy when it comes to building and maintaining successful partnerships?
Our channel partners are experts in selling and delivering a range of security products.
They’re either distributors or integrators of security products, which include everything from access control systems, to cameras, to keys and locks.
We also have a growing number of technology integration partners. They’re generally access control and visitor management providers who enable Torus to deliver a single source of truth. That, and a single point of management of user information and activity alerts.
All of them have wide and deep relationships with workplaces around the world, and we depend on them to distribute our solution to where it’s needed.
It’s our responsibility to ensure that Torus is reliable and delivers great outcomes for the end users. By ensuring that, we help our partners help their customers.
With headquarters in Australia and the US, Torus is fast becoming a global brand. Geographically speaking, where else is Torus set to set up shop?
The Torus team is geographically dispersed across Australia and North America.
It’s still early days for us in North America but we’re growing that team quickly. It’s such a large market with so many exciting opportunities.
And we’re beginning to grow the awareness and uptake of Torus in Asia, the Middle East and Europe via our distributors and resellers in those regions.
That’s really exciting. How does it feel to be at the helm of all this?
Really invigorating. It’s an immense privilege to have the opportunity to establish and rapidly grow a technology products business like Torus.
What do you think the future of Torus looks like? Say, in 5 years? 10?
It’s never easy to predict the future… But I can tell you that we’re all so excited to continually improve everything about Torus – ensuring Torus continues to be the most seamless and secure key management solution in the world.
We’re also keen to continue growing our partner relationships. These partnerships will play a critical role in implementing Torus in all corners of the world.
What do you think the future looks like for keys – and the key management industry generally? What’s on the horizon?
The reality is that physical keys aren’t going anywhere just yet. We’ll be relying on them for a long time. So workplaces still need to manage keys in the most secure and efficient way possible.
At Torus, we’re focused on helping our customers significantly reduce the number of keys they need – and securely automate the management of those keys.
Whatever the future holds, we’ll stay committed to helping our customers move to a higher level of automated access control.