16th September 2020

The Future Is Now: Alok Jain and Kevin Brown of Quicklert On How Their Technological Innovation Will Keep Us More Safe

Alok: “Success requires effort”. To succeed in achieving your goals one must at least try. A few years ago when I told people that Kevin and I were going to create an enterprise-class software platform that will help us make our society a better and safer place for all, almost everyone told me that it would be impossible to take on this big venture as a small startup without much support. But one thing that kept me going was this, “I must at least try”.
Alok Jain - Quicklert President & CEO and Kevin Brown - Quicklert Chairman and Co-Founder

Alok Jain - Quicklert President & CEO and Kevin Brown - Quicklert Chairman and Co-Founder

As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Alok Jain and Kevin Brown.

Alok Jain is co-founder and serves as President and CEO of Quicklert, the most innovative company in the mass alerts and critical event detection, management, communication, and software applications platform (IAM) and artificial intelligent device platform (QBOX). Alok leads the company mission to create Safe-Smart organizations to keep people safe and business running, especially during emergencies.

Alok has a unique blend of 25 years of experience to innovate technology to solve complex customer needs while keeping things simple. He has successfully led new software products from conception to market by being able to anticipate and understand customer needs under his leadership and vision. The overarching focus of his professional career has always been on delivering a simplified end-user experience with purposeful, fully integrated technology, products, and services to fulfill business needs. As an entrepreneur, Alok’s vision and philosophy are reflected in his work to solve real-life customer challenges with simplified, integrated, complex, cutting-edge technology.

Under Alok’s leadership, several products have been created and commercialized and then acquired and integrated into the acquiring company’s product portfolio, which became some of the most successful solutions.

He co-founded IPcelerate that created the VoIP applications market that brought IP telephony application platform used by over 4,800+ enterprise customers delivering applications on over 8 million IP phones and mobile devices. These products include Unified Communication and Collaboration Applications Platform, Call Recording and Monitoring Solutions, and Social Networking Applications.

Alok’s always focused on bringing teams together and innovate to solve the safety, communication, and security challenges we face in our schools, hospitals, government offices, and business.

Kevin Brown co-founded Quicklert, Inc. with longtime friend and business partner Alok Jain, and is a seasoned executive, with over thirty years in the telecommunications and emergency response markets leading innovation. From the early days of voice and data integration, to networking, to voice-over-IP, Kevin has been selling, designing, developing and leading change and innovations with organizations such as ROLM, IBM, VMX, Intecom, Xerox, Selsius Systems and Cisco Systems. He was CEO for IPcelerate, an emergency response company before handing the reins over to Alok Jain, where they relaunched and rebranded the company as the Quicklert of today.

At Quicklert, Kevin focuses on building strategy to bring new innovations to the market, to customers and partners — helping organizations re-imagine what safety means inside their organization and helping them re-examine their internal policies, processes and expectations.

Kevin is passionate about safety and security, about saving lives in schools, hospitals, government offices, anywhere and everywhere in this new normal in which we all live. With family members who are teachers, nurses, doctors, government workers, his passion is very personal when it comes to safety in the workplace.

Kevin is an established author who has written books on networking, VOIP, and more recently, self-help books to help people achieve their purpose in life.


Thank you for joining us in this interview series. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Alok: Kevin and I had 2 different career paths that collided when Cisco decided to enter the business of unified communications for the enterprise market. In 1990 they acquired a small company that Kevin was a part of, to change the way people thought about our phone systems in the enterprise market by bringing Data and Voice traffic on the same network, which grew to become a 10+ billion market segment for Cisco in a short span of time.

We both looked at the possibility of how this unified converged communication in the world could have a larger impact in society, from saving lives to opening new possibilities to create new applications and revenue streams, particularly in the healthcare and education space.

When Kevin and I got together, our goal was to help save lives and to create safer workplaces, from schools, hospitals, and other institutions which would drive the technologies, products, and solutions we will build while creating wealth for our employees and our shareholders.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Both: We put our technology into an Ohio School that helped troubled youth, where many safety concerns would arise. Our technology allowed the teachers to wear a panic device that geo-located them when they pressed it, calling for help. Alerts would immediately go throughout the school letting the right people know that a specific teacher was at a specific location asking for help. This solution became a tremendous deterrent to negative behavior, to such an extent that violent incidents were greatly reduced. They graduated their largest class that year and asked Kevin to be the commencement exercise speaker. This is a great example of how Quicklert’s safe-smart solutions can greatly impact lives.

Can you tell us about the cutting-edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people? 

Both: Quicklert is going to redefine how we have looked at making our schools, hospitals, universities, government offices, and our entertainment facilities, safer, smarter, and more intelligent places.

For example, we have created solutions that will change the concept of creating a safer school forever — not only in what they do, but more importantly, how they think! When you think about school shootings, and what suggestions and ideas schools are considering, it tells us they are trying to solve the problem with an old mindset. Schools have worked diligently on solutions to notify police and notify responders if shots are fired. They even have active shooter drills to prep students for what to do after shots are fired.

Our thinking is different. If you want to save lives, you have to think smarter. You have to stop the shooter from firing the weapon, or at least limit the number of bullets fired. That’s what we have worked on, and brought to the market. Schools can implement AI-powered cameras that detect guns before a single shot is even fired. They identify where the potential shooter is located. And they provide that information — visually — to the authorities, while notifying teachers, locking down doors, and reinforcing protocols — BEFORE a single bullet has been fired.

Best of all, the technology is embedded in the same speakers they use for bells and announcements. It can also be embedded in exit signs, stairwell signs, elevator signs, in clocks and digital signage throughout the school. This is what we mean by safe-smart: Making schools safer by making them “smarter” and making the technology that they use every day smarter. Smart signs, smart speakers, smart clocks, smart monitors, smart tablets.

How do you think this might change the world?

Both: Quicklert can help to make businesses and organizations safer. With our technology, businesses can find out about dangerous threats and events faster and they can respond more intelligently and faster.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Both: Edge AI combined with connected devices is the key driver for what we are doing. Edge AI network and platforms will enable our engineers to think about creating the next generation of applications and solutions for this network that can detect threats, analyze data, provide alerts, notifications and information to people, while taking actions to improve and save lives.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Both: It’s important that people being to think differently about the new “normals” that we live in, especially as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times. At the organization level, we are capitalizing on the company’s current growth and visibility to create new kinds of partnerships and associations of facility designers, engineers, leaders who will think differently about how they want to create a better, smarter, safer environment for everyone.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

Both: Our approach is to use a combination of marketing, social media, along with some traditional media visibility to gain initial traction and get the word out.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Alok: There are two people in my life that have helped me to achieve my success. My father, he has the amazing ability to to help people, especially even when he doesn’t even know the person he is helping. Folks are just drawn to him automatically when they need help with anything. Also, my friend and business partner Kevin Brown has been instrumental in my journey. I learned a lot of things from him, but the most important is the importance of listening — listening to customers, friends, family, colleagues and partners is key.

Kevin: Mike McGuire. I am a black man. I’ve been in the business since the early 1980’s. It was not always an easy time for a black man in the technology industry. There were many who wouldn’t even give me a chance. And when I did get a chance, I always felt like I was fighting an uphill battle. Mike changed all of that for me with a discussion he had with me back in 1983. He told me how the toughest thing for a business person to do was get attention — to get noticed. But he also told me that I did not have that problem because I was a black man. He taught me that when I go into a meeting, I am not what people expect. They are expecting someone of a different race, with a different face. Now I have their attention. What I do with it is up to me. He told me that they will remember me. If I knock it out of the park, they will remember me. If I fall flat on my face, they will remember me. They will remember me more than anyone else. Because I am not what they expected. That message energized me, and took away any excuse I could possibly have. It changed my business life forever.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Alok: I have a couple things in mind and I am still working on it.

Kevin: My wife and I have started a foundation for single mothers and it is something I am passionate about.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Alok: I wish someone would have shared how difficult it is to build a business from the ground up — from having to work on a shoestring budget with no funding, finding great talents and resources coupled with the many sleepless nights to achieve what Kevin and I have in the last 2 years. However, we are in a great place now and are stronger than ever.

Kevin: I can only really think of one thing that I continue to re-hash in my mind. Be careful about hiring friends. Friends may be highly competent, they may seem to be perfect for the position you have. But there is an axiom I have learned from hiring friends, and that is this: A difficult fire is a dangerous hire. Hiring someone who — if they don’t work out — would be difficult to let go of is a dangerous hire. It can hurt an organization over time, and harm friendships. I really wish I had thought through that over the past decades.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Alok: Bringing the “cool factor” in math and science, making it one of the most desired subjects and activities among school kids, especially among younger girls. Helping parents to learn the beauty, art and creativity in science and math so that it becomes equally important as sports and entertainment in society at-large.

Kevin: My biggest passion is helping women that have faced abuse. Every woman who is hit or assaulted by a boyfriend or husband or whomever, is someone’s daughter. And every woman who is assaulted is looking for a way out and is in need of help. Sadly, far too many women don’t feel that they can ask for help — even from their parents. My goal someday is to build a sanctuary for these women — real homes for them to escape to, and heal. I see a movement of like-minded men and women who will join the cause and want to build homes to provide refuge for these women.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Alok: “Success requires effort”. To succeed in achieving your goals one must at least try. A few years ago when I told people that Kevin and I were going to create an enterprise-class software platform that will help us make our society a better and safer place for all, almost everyone told me that it would be impossible to take on this big venture as a small startup without much support. But one thing that kept me going was this, “I must at least try”.

Kevin: There are two that I use and live by daily. The first is this: You cannot complain about what you allow. The second is this: If you want something you have never had, you must do something you have never done. I am a change agent at heart. I look at problems that exist, and I ask why they exist, and what things would look like if they did NOT exist. Then I look to tackle them. I use this with family dynamics, friends, co-workers, work issues and customer issues.

Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?

Both: At Quicklert, we are helping organizations like, schools, hospitals, and government agencies create a safer and smarter workplace. Quicklert can help to detect threats and critical events by analyzing them, and providing the right information at the right time to improve and save lives. We are addressing a 100 billion-plus market space that has not changed or been touched in the last 30–40 years by introducing end-to-end fully integrated Edge-AI network platform, devices, and applications for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, schools, government agencies and more.