Telus exec outlines road ahead following ADT Canada deal closure
By Neil Sutton
Telus announced the closing of its $700-million acquisition of ADT Canada on Nov. 6. The executive responsible for Telus’s security business said the company is poised to take advantage of its new assets and offered a glimpse of what the future might look like under a combined organization.
Telus kicked its security division into gear last year with the acquisition of AlarmForce’s western assets (BCE currently owns the remaining AlarmForce assets). The company subsequently launched a consumer security division called Telus SmartHome Security and Telus Secure Business for its small business customers.
Jason Macdonnell, president of security and automation at Telus, said that the addition of ADT will enable the company to broaden its reach across Canada. It will also bring to bear ADT’s longstanding assets in Canada including three central stations and a dealer network, along with its heritage in the market and brand awareness. Telus had more than 100,000 security customers at the time of closing, according to Macdonnell, and added about another half a million via the ADT deal.
“For us, there’s an opportunity to take the structure, the experience and the professionalism of the ADT organization and really build around it,” he explained. “At a high level, in terms of integrating the two organizations, there’s a lot more that’s complementary than redundant. For us, we’re really going to leverage the brand, especially as we look at central and eastern Canada, wrap our arms around the organization in terms of our marketing and pricing prowess and value in the marketplace.”
The company plans to go to market under the brand “ADT by Telus” in the immediate future but that could vary region by region or business unit by business unit, said Macdonnell. “We’ll keep our options open as we go forward.” Telus will also be contacting ADT Canada customers with “an extensive outreach program… it will involve heightened levels of value opportunities to the broader ADT customer base.”
Macdonnell stressed that the scope of the company’s security business is about to get much bigger. It will offer a broad portfolio of security services that includes ADT as well as Telus’s hosting, cybersecurity and emergency management businesses, and communications infrastructure. “There’s a number of complementary capabilities that we can bring,” he said. “Think about the importance of video verification riding on a world-class reliable network and the importance of both fibre and wireless in that regard.”
In addition to the dealer channel that has expanded via the ADT acquisition, Telus will utilize other avenues available to grow its security business including online and retail. Likewise, ADT dealers could become a channel for Telus’s other product offerings.
“We look forward to being able to leverage that dealer organization for our broader breadth of services like cybersecurity and IoT and our health services,” he explained. “When you look at the long-standing relationships between ADT and their dealer network, I think that’s a fantastic asset for us to be able to leverage — not only for security as we broaden our positioning in national and commercial accounts, but also as we give them the opportunity to sell other products of value to the marketplace.”
Telus offers a mix of home security options, including professional monitoring and self-monitoring packages for customers and will continue to assess its product roadmap, said Macdonnell, with ADT now in the mix. (Telus currently utilizes a Qolsys panel and Alarm.com.)
A major driver for Telus is its home health business — a point that was stressed in the initial announcement regarding the ADT acquisition and again upon closing. The company launched its LivingWell Companion product — a wearable device with GPS and cellular enabled and with features like two-way voice and fall detection — following the AlarmForce acquisition. It also offers a remote video service called Babylon by Telus that connects patients with doctors via their smartphones.
“There are a multitude of ways we can pair the technology we have at Telus and the technology at ADT and the services there and bring those to bear to solve some very challenging problems that we’re facing as Canadians,” said Macdonnell. “One of them certainly is being able to extend people’s time at home to improve their quality of life. Being able to make sure they can be in a home or in a residence that is safe and keeps them connected with family and loved ones.”
He said the company has also piloted biometric monitoring options for home health users. “You’ll see that come to the forefront more.”
Macdonnell also noted that ADT Canada customers will now be served by a Canada-based business in Telus. “For me, it’s as much a cultural and Canadian event, if you will, as it is one that’s both strategic and tactical,” he said of the acquisition. “It’s not very often where we get the opportunity to repatriate Canadian businesses.”