John bringing security
For the past five years, he has been providing security options for thousands of individuals and businesses across the island.
And with the perception that break-ins and other petty crimes are on the increase, owner of Intelligent Defense Systems (IDS) Jason John says more Barbadians are taking their security seriously.
“Before, we used to think that only the rich and famous could have an alarm system.
“Growing up in Barbados, I have never seen any of my friends have alarms or cameras at their homes. But in this day and age, where crime is up, the economy is down, there is a lot of petty theft and burglary going on, people are starting to feel threatened and . . . they are reacting now and the average person is turning to solutions like what we have,” he said.
But if you had asked the Trinidadian-born John six years ago if he would ever think about getting involved in the business of helping to protect thousands of Barbadians, he would have probably said “no”.
“I never did see myself getting into security,” he said.
“I have a lot of respect for where my life has come because I would have never thought I would have been where I am today and providing the services I currently provide to people.”
It was about five years ago, while doing work for the US-based alarm company, alarm.com, that the opportunity came for the Information Technology consultant to start his own company here.
“I was doing some part-time contract work for them and they asked me if I was willing to get into security and be their distributor here in Barbados. At first I was hesitant because I never saw myself doing security,” he recalled.
“But as time went on, I said I would try it, and I started to push the alarm system, and from there somebody else wanted CCTV and somebody else wanted access control, so then I decided, ‘you know what? It is best that I form a company completely based on security and focus on that’. And I put my IT consultancy behind me.”
Intelligent Defense System, which is a 24/7 operation, offers a range of security options including access control and alarm systems with mobile app offsite monitoring capabilities.
The company currently employs four technicians and a sub-contracted 24-hour monitoring centre with about 20 people.
The alarm system is the flagship product, consisting of various features, including touch screen monitors and daily notifications to customers’ smartphones.
John explained that his intention was to bring a higher level of sophistication to the security industry here.
“I wanted to take security to another level. Most security companies focus on the basic guards. What I wanted to do is take security and make it intelligent and make my products based on that.
“So, if your wife comes home with the children at 3 o’clock in the afternoon it will give you a notification saying that they are home. You can also use it to send you a notification if doors are opened for too long,” he explained.
The father of two daughters also explained that the system operated independently of Internet and electricity providers because of its “unique alarm infrastructure”.
“So, if electricity goes off you can still communicate to your home. If there is no Internet at your home you can still turn on and turn off the alarm system. It would still give you a notification because it is independent of your home. That is one of the major advantages that we have,” he said, adding that about 95 per cent of his business came from word-of-mouth.
John also pointed out that his firm stood out from the rest of the competition because it was able to provide a solution to fit each individual’s need.
While he is happy that his business is doing well, the Christ Church resident told Barbados TODAY his hope for the country is that burglaries would decrease.
And although he is especially saddened when an employee is caught on camera stealing from their employer, his greatest joy comes from the fact that he helps provide the protection businesses and individuals need.
“I feel accomplished when people feel satisfied with the product I have sold them. It gives me great satisfaction when my cameras catch thieves at businesses, or when someone tries to break into someone’s home and the alarm prevented that,” he said.
John, who faced challenges getting the critical seed capital he required to start his operations, said his advice to anyone wanting to start their own business was simply “go for it”.
“It may be a little challenging at first, because most entrepreneurs are afraid to move away from certain to uncertain,” he said, acknowledging that while it can be satisfying to own your own business, it was not always smooth sailing.
John added that he was satisfied with the growth of entrepreneurship in Barbados, given that a number of small businesses have been “popping up” over the last few years.
“People are moving away from just being an employee to an employer and doing their own thing. I think that is a good push in the right direction,” he said.
This entrepreneur describes himself as an “easy-going, regular guy” who is very determined.
“One of the main things I do for myself is to set goals. That is really important, because without setting goals for yourself you tend to just roam around,” he said.
John has no immediate plans to expand his operations outside Barbados, but said he continues to upgrade his offerings and is working on bringing “a lot of new technology” to the island.
(you can visit www.idsbarbados.com for more details)