Armed with a dual degree in science and English and the unfiltered enthusiasm of a recent college graduate, John Wolfe headed from his Ohio home to Washington, D.C., and dreamed of becoming the next Bob Woodward.
Things didn’t quite work out that way. Wolfe made a career in reporting on the telecommunications industry before moving into representing it as spokesperson for the National Cable Television Association on public policy. That led to a public affairs position with Times Mirror Cable Television, which was acquired by Cox Communications in 1995.
Now, as general manager of Cox’ Northeast operations, Wolfe is responsible for 1,400 employees in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Ohio, and the December 2012 roll out of Cox’s Home Security in the region.
PBN: How did Cox identify that there was a market to move into home-security service?
WOLFE: It’s an extension of the relationship we already have with our customers. We have things that protect them online. It’s also an extension of the robust broadband network we’ve built throughout Rhode Island. The home-security product service rides on our broadband network. It’s an opportunity for customers to buy a home-security product [from a provider] they already have a relationship with, that they already trust, and to be able to combine everything in one bill and have one place to call for your voice, video and home security.
PBN: What sets the Cox Home Security product apart from other services?
WOLFE: The neat thing about our home security is that it uses smartphone technology. It’s very intuitive for customers to use and it uses the cellular system as a backup. If you were to lose power, your security system automatically switches over to a wireless backup. It’s very reliable. Instead of a panel stuck on a wall, we provide customers with something that looks like a small iPad and you can use it for all aspects of home security – utility monitoring, turning your lights on and off, setting your thermostat. The neat thing about the interface is that it comes with a stand. When it’s not being used for home security, it can act as a digital picture frame. Using your smartphone or iPad, you can check your status while you’re away. You can turn your lights on and off while you’re away. It’s a smart home-management product.