In each issue of SP&T News, we will be highlighting a different alarm dealer. We recently spoke to David Wilson, president of Halifax, N.S.-based Wilsons Security, to learn more about how the company has grown, the impact of technology and market trends, and more. Read the full Q&A below.
By Neil Sutton
SP&T News: How long have you offered monitored security services?
David Wilson: Wilsons Security is approximately 10 years old. It is a subsidiary of a 100-year-old Nova Scotia based [fuel] business. We entered security to complement the traditional business, and then quickly decided it was a business we wanted to get good at. We set about acquiring other security dealers and building an experienced team to grow organically as well. We service customers across the country and are probably the largest independent security dealer in Atlantic Canada.
SP&T: Residential security seems to be changing dramatically. Is that your experience?
DW: Yes, I think it has changed quite a bit. In our market, there are a lot fewer owner-operated businesses now than there used to be… partly because of the evolution of the industry, changing technology, entrance of the cablecos and telcos into this space. It’s evolved quite a bit over 10 years. I think from our perspective, though, what we’ve really seen is the important role of the professional security installer. We just don’t see that changing. Not all security systems are the same… there will always be a role for the professional installer, in our minds. Now, some portions of the market can be addressed more efficiently using different go-to-market models, but when things don’t work, there’s got to be someone you can call.
SP&T: Are you seeing your customer demographic shift as Millennials and younger people are becoming home owners and thinking about security more seriously?
DW: Being able to provide the solution, independent of generation — you have to be able to deliver the solution for the customer. There will always be a portion of the market that will always demand that level of service. I don’t feel that some of the other players can offer that level of service. It doesn’t mean the traditional security dealer will dominate, but there will always be a role — and a meaningful role.
SP&T: Do you offer security solutions other than alarm monitoring?
DW: We offer a full breadth of solutions for residential customers. We actively encourage them to leverage the capabilities of the alarm system to help them manage their lifestyles. Remote access to the security system and to the home is a really valuable capability.
SP&T: What types of questions are you getting from customers? Are they talking about systems or solutions they’ve seen at retail?
DW: In some ways the distribution through mass market retailers has helped create awareness of what the capabilities are. We have customers who will try to do things on their own and then they’ll call us and say, “I like this, but I can’t make it work. Can you do it for me?” That, in some ways, has been very positive for us. Our penetration of enhanced systems — everything that’s more than just a traditional security system — has increased significantly, even over the last five years.
We were an early adopter of advanced services, but it felt like we were pushing water uphill six or seven years ago. Now customers want to listen. It’s not for everybody, but the mix has changed significantly. The majority of systems have advanced capability.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018 issue of SP&T News.