When a company is researching taking space in a building, one of the first, if not the first, things it will ask the broker about is the cellular coverage. Businesses like Wilson Electronics help commercial real estate owners answer those inquiries confidently by providing a variety of cell signal boosters to fix issues like dropped calls, undelivered messages and slow streaming.
Connected Real Estate Magazine recently spoke with Wilson Electronics Chief Product Officer Jeff Gudewicz about the company’s offerings, how it works with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, how their products can help the CRE industry and more.
Connected Real Estate Magazine: Why don’t you start by explaining what Wilson Electronics does and how it relates to commercial real estate?
Jeff Gudewicz: As a company, our mission is to connect everybody, everywhere. We have a whole line of products for mobile, buildings, consumer and commercial enterprise. We just take the cell phones that are already out there and in challenging areas we provide coverage and a link to the outside world.
Connected: How does Wilson Electronics’ products work with Internet of Things (IoT) devices?
JG: In a lot of cases, for IoT we have products that are specifically for standalone devices, like vending machines and ATMs. ATMs are a big metal box for a reason—they are very secure. Well, that big metal box has a problem allowing the cellular signal inside of it so that the ATM can talk wirelessly. So our line of amplifiers helps overcome that.
We work directly with embedded modem applications. Second, there are a lot of IoT modules and devices in a space like an automated factory. There are numerous embedded cellular and IoT modems inside of a lot of different things. So you’re not really connecting physically to a single device, you’re connecting a whole room or factory full of devices. Our enterprise in-building coverage solutions will provide a much wider, seamless stronger signal to an entire inside of a building. That allows anything that’s connected via cellular like an IoT device that’s moving or something that’s automated in the factory to remain connected in a more reliable way.
Connected: How can people purchase Wilson Electronics’ products?
JG: There’s a lot of different ways. We have our own store site so you can purchase a lot of our consumer products: mobile, indoor or online. All of our parts are available on Amazon. Then from a traditional brick and mortar location, which there are fewer and fewer of these days, we have a big presence in Best Buy at several hundred stores throughout the U.S.
We also have a lot of smaller distribution channels and partners with their own storefronts. So if you just Googled, “cell booster” or WeBoost, you’ll see a number of different venues to purchase online. E-tail, retail we’re both covered there.
On the enterprise side, we have what we call our WilsonPro brand, which is a network of nationwide integrators, installers, general partners—more B2B distribution partners. That network is more of an enterprise B2B play.
Connected: Once someone purchases a Wilson Electronics product, how easy it to install or use?
JG: From the WilsonPro side, it’s professionally installed. We run all of our integrators through that training program so they’re all certified trainers. They handle that whole process: put the sale through, perform a customer walkthrough inside the office, etc.
On the WeBoost side, we’ve been putting a lot of time and attention into an easier out of box experience that is more retail friendly and easier to set up. Our mobile products, you can set those up in just a matter of minutes. It’s very easy. We do a lot of videos to help supplement that.
For in-building there are a couple of options there; it depends on the type of product. It is a little tricky to install because there are cables involved. It’s not a wireless device; you have an antenna that picks up the signal from the outside, a coax that brings them into the bidirectional amplifier that does all the conditioning and amplification and another antenna that broadcasts inside the building or the home or whatever you have. So that install is a little more heavy DIY, but we try to do a lot with installation videos and tips and tricks to do that.
However, one of the convenient things we have now on the customer side that I think we’ll see growing on Amazon is home services. When you go to Amazon, if you really want the product but aren’t really comfortable with installing it yourself, you can have the installation through a third party. So we’re continuing to build that program.
Connected: What separates Wilson Electronics from other companies that specialize in cell signal boosting?
JG: I think what you’ll see in a lot of our products is the breadth of our offerings. So the intention into looking at very specific problems and very specific use cases of what we’re trying to solve is what we dedicate a lot of time to. We’ve always been at the leadership position of having the best performance based on the FCC.
We have products targeted towards RV use. Most people in an RV go out to an area that has weak coverage. So we’ve got products targeted toward recreational vehicles and very specific remote application.
We target first responders and emergency rescue. What I feel Wilson brings is a dedicated product engineering, sales marketing team that can support a wide variety of applications and use cases and then quickly tailor products specifically for that. That use case, whether it be mobile, a one bedroom apartment all the way through a 5,000 to 6,000 square feet home or a small two-person office all the way through a multi hundred square foot campus. We’ve done a lot to have very specific products to cover any need that’s out there.
Connected: What would you like the commercial real estate industry to know about how Wilson Electronics can help it?
JG: WilsonPro has been completely built from the ground up in the last two years with a family of products to do just that. One of the most exciting things we launched this year is our cloud connectivity product. So on the enterprise side and commercial buildings, we put in a system that’s scalable. You can go in and select an area within a building that has a troublesome coverage area. We can be strategic in lighting up very specific areas where you have problems with all the way up to just providing coverage seamlessly throughout the entire building.
The last thing I’d say is that 4G LTE is going to be the dominant connectivity method for a lot of consumers for a long time to come and we’re continuing to expand on that as well as add in the new 5G products and other cellular bands as they become available. As I said, we have a wide variety of consumers in pro products and feel we can meet any need that’s out there.