CSL was founded in 1996 and has provided Critical Connectivity ever since! . The CSL Group is now active across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Iberia and the Nordics; currently employing 180 people. CSL initially pioneered dual signalling in the fire and security sectors, using both wireless (GPRS/GSM) and wired (telephone) communication between alarm systems and monitoring stations.
The company’s ambitions today include the Internet of Things (IoT). In this profile interview, we talked to Hiran Ravat, appointed as the Head of IoT Business Development & Partnerships at CSL a year ago. Hiran shared with us why IoT is important for CSL and how the company is cutting its teeth in this sector.
“The name CSL stands for ‘Connected, Secure, Live’. In the mid-nineties, CSL’s vision was to become the leading provider of communications – something it has achieved in several industries and sectors,” points out Hiran and ads, “Our mission today is to provide our connectivity, combined with our support and fully managed service, to any IoT application or solution.”
With 22 years of experience in the mobile phone networks sector, having worked at big mobile networks such as Vodafone and O2 and specialising in the IoT arena, Hiran is in a perfect place to lead CSL in the B2B sector.
BM: Can you tell us about your professional journey up to now?
Hiran Ravat: I’m one of a lucky few people that has spent more than 20 years in an industry I love, the world of telecoms. During this time, I have worked across frontline retail, operations, commercial, B2C, B2B, and partnerships. However, partnerships are the area that I believe highlights my greatest strengths.
Success here is built on meaningful relationships and clear communication – life skills rather than career skills. These skills allow me to bring who I am into what I do, which has brought me great career success. I’ve received acknowledgements along the way, having been presented with nine major company awards.
My partnerships background has enabled me to work with incredible brands from global tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft to large retail brands such as Argos, Tesco, and Asda. It has also allowed me to work with leading and innovative core IT businesses throughout the world of IoT.
In the IoT world, I have grown a massive passion for digital transformation, creating real-life benefits – beyond just the commercial – to change the world we live in and people’s lives. Having a broad partnerships ecosystem has made most challenges easy to overcome, and the successful IoT use cases I have are limitless.
I’m at the CSL Group for this very reason. We are a critical communications IoT solution provider that offers secure, managed, and resilient communications solutions that are unique and have massive opportunities in all markets. My mission is to help the business grow by leveraging partnerships and working on helping businesses in all sectors utilise communications correctly.
BM: How have your methods for doing business or the product(s) you market changed since the inception of your business?
HR: CSL has expanded from the Fire and Security sector to IoT connectivity for any industry and solution. My role is to help CSL grow into the broader IoT market, finding new sectors and applications that our unique capabilities can enhance.
In the IoT area, we are starting with the Utility companies, which genuinely appreciate our managed services, and we are also focusing on the retail sector that can benefit from resilient and reliable connectivity.
We have innovated our offerings and structured our teams and business to offer bespoke connectivity for any application, from critical national infrastructure and business continuity to small-level data applications – and everything in between.
We are a critical communications specialist supplying cyber secure, managed, monitored and resilient connectivity solutions. Other companies can do part of this – but not all.
BM: Why is cyber security essential?
HR: With the world becoming more connected, the risk of cyber-attacks has grown. There are a lot of costs involved in the risk of a cyber-attack, which can hit very hard on small and medium enterprises.
BM: What are the company’s flagship products?
HR: Our Routers and SIMs both come as part of a fully managed service. This means that ordering, configuration, installation, and service are all managed by CSL.
It means just one contact point to ensure your connectivity is fit-for-purpose and always on. In addition, these solutions are reliable, encrypted, and cyber secure. They are also unique, utilising radio infrastructure from multiple mobile network operators to offer the market the most resilient IoT connectivity solutions.
CSL provides a router proposition with dual SIMs from different network operators to ensure resilience in case of an issue with any network operator. The company also fully manages that connectivity.
For example, in the retail sector, anyone can buy a router. However, these will typically be self-managed. Users would have to log onto a platform and do their diagnostics. This can be complex in the retail space and other sectors, and at the end of the day, their focus is to make more sales, not to try ad sort out connectivity issues. At CSL, we proactively monitor and manage the routers. If anything happens, we can sort it out, and retailers can focus on their bread and butter.
BM: What is the biggest complaint you hear about the industry, and how does your company address this problem?
HR: Unreliable connectivity means downtime in situations where this results in loss of business. For example, downtime could be due to cyber hacks, coverage issues or network outages. We supply a fully managed service that is resilient to these situations.
BM: What strategic alliances, if any, do you have or have you ever had?
HR: We are mobile network operator agnostic. Our strategic alliances are with most network operators such as Vodafone, Three, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Tele2 and many others.
We use the networks for different solutions in different countries, and they all have varying coverage where they operate. We can build solutions incorporating multiple networks to bridge coverage gaps or black spots, using a single solution we manage.
BM: Is 5G the future for CSL?
HR: 5G is the future for all players in the mobile industry. The network has so much capability that, right now, it exceeds the hardware needed to exploit it. For us, it will be a core part of our solutions and transform key verticals such as the CCTV market.
BM: What will be the most significant security trends by the end of 2022?
The adoption of not just resilient but cyber secure communications. A recent study by EY found that in 2021 alone, 49% of SME businesses suffered a cyber-attack. As a result, security is now the number one buying criterion in deploying solutions. This is excellent news for us as an accredited and proven supplier of ‘out of the box’ cyber secure IoT solutions.