ESSENCE IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
PERS Insider spoke with Essence’s VP of Sales, Josh Locke, on everything from the 3G transition, his biggest tip for PERS dealers, to the opportunities and challenges facing the PERS market.
Here’s Josh in his own words:
On Essence’s elevator pitch…
“Essence is the most innovative. We invest heavily in our roadmap. We were the first to launch voice activation – it all comes back to the control panel. You're only as good as the communication power.
We were the first in the industry to launch 4G LTE and we did it the right way.
There were some manufacturers that claimed that they had a 4G unit and it really wasn't, and that's bad. That means the customer has to buy another unit.
We do things right. We do it usually first in the industry. We spend a lot of resources on the roadmap.
Our partners really value that because ultimately what they can provide goes back to what their manufacturer can provide. That's where we shine.
Also, the main difference is our value proposition – saving money in other places other than sacrificing it on the hardware itself.”
On supply chain issues…
“There is a lot of concern from PERS providers about supply chain issues with manufacturers. We do not share in this issue.
Given the size of our overall business and the necessity to maintain business continuity with very large providers, we prepared a year ago to keep our supply running almost a year in advance.
What this means for our PERS customers in the States is that many were able to pull double their forecasted demand for 2021, and several have taken advantage of this.
It’s a unique position in the current climate that I am thankful to be a part of such a talented team.”
On Essence products…
“Today it's a control panel, which is in the home. It's the hub. It's got an emergency button on it that is powered by 4G LTE.
We are launching our 5G IoT hub control panel, which is really exciting for us because it is on the AT&T network (although it can be any network).
AT&T has a brand called FirstNet which is dedicated to emergency devices. It's going to get the best coverage anywhere on the exclusive Band 14 frequency.
We're excited about the power of 5G, which brings along our remote patient monitoring solution, which we're launching this year. Ultimately it’s connecting Bluetooth, vital signs, peripherals, and transmitting the data to either our platform or to an existing repository. That's an integration.
The other thing that 5G does for us this year is we're getting into mobile PERS. Mobile PERS is a pretty big chunk of the market these days. I've heard numbers as far as 60% of new sales is a mobile solution. It's going to be the smallest device ever available. I'm sure it's going to get smaller in the future, but for right now, it's going to be the smallest by far.
On being a manufacturer during the 3G to 4G transition…
"To be a part of a very, very price-sensitive transition, it's been challenging.
We've had to tweak and actually provide and create a whole different panel. One that isn't capable of anything cloud-based because what we're told from our existing customers and ones that we're bidding on is, ‘I just need it to work. I don't need it to do anything special. I don't need something that is considered over-engineered for the swap. I just need a box and a button with fall detection.’ That's pretty much the majority of the need.
We've had to go back and rethink what we're doing and basically cut some cost out and make sure that it meets and exceeds our competition, but we need to be within 5% if not matching the price of our competitors, which we've been able to successfully do for the most part, and be able to show more value through our fulfillment process and custom manufacturing.
It's been a challenge, but also 2020 was our biggest year to date. I expect 2021 is probably going to be an even better year than 2020. There's a big need for this. We're marketing still around a 3G transition and to challenge your current solution: take this as an opportunity to advance on your products, not just do a one-for-one, just 3G swapping for a 4G that just works. Let's add on some innovation and let's see if we can get close or match your current vendor to see if it makes financial sense to do so."
Three unique things about Essence…
“The people. We have a lot of talent, a lot of tenure in the PERS industry. Collectively, just the three salespeople, it's over 50 years. We've got a ton of experience in the industry.”
“Our innovation. Our engineers are extremely talented. We bring innovative products to the industry. A lot of times we're the first ones to do so.”
“Quality is monstrous. We only need one resource to manage all of our customers. That says something right there. If we had six of them that are overloaded, we've got problems. Quality is key. Made in Israel. That comes with a price, obviously. It's not the cheapest place to make products, but we have good partners in manufacturing that are very quality controlled.”
On the most exciting development in the PERS industry and the biggest challenge…
“I think that's actually the same topic.
Remote patient monitoring is back.
I've been in the industry long enough to know it's been, 'This is going to be it. This is going to be it.' That was 10 years ago.
Then it just goes down and then the pandemic hit.
That's what really drove some aggressive telehealth companies to come up. Just the challenge of that is trying to figure out where every industry fits in there. What does it need to do?
There's a whole social determination health aspect of it that needs to be incorporated. How are we going to incorporate that? Via tablet with these apps on there for social determinations of health, meals, environment, and connecting socially?
Or is it better to have it through our hub and have those social determinants of health pieces done by an actual call center, like a concierge-type?
Those are all questions we're working closely with our partners to find out what do they need to get into this market and to be partners to it.”
A piece of advice for a PERS dealer…
“Don't shy away from innovation.
In any type of company that's selling a consumer good, you’ve got to be able to offer the whole ball of wax in order to say, 'Oh, yeah, and we do this, of course,' especially when they're reselling to healthcare partners.
If they're selling to a hospital system or home care system, they need to be able to show we've got this whole ecosystem.
Whatever your patients need, we can provide, but of course, we do just the box and a button.
We have the most advanced fall detection that has the least amount of false alarms. It's algorithm-powered.
Giving them the pitch to be successful because it all goes downstream. That's usually what I tell folks. You can provide a 'Me Too' product if you want, but why wouldn't you want something that's capable of much, much more?”
What customers say about Essence...
“As a national company, a big part of what we do is look for unique solutions that are technologically superior to those currently available in the market to provide the best services to our clients and maintain a strong competitive edge. Partnering with Essence checks all our boxes. Essence is delivering the next evolution of product offerings in our industry, providing a completely new depth of insight about senior activities.” - Geoff Gross, CEO Medical Guardian
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