First Light Technologies

How This Solar-Powered Company Connects With Clients to Light Up the Continent

Victoria, B.C.-based First Light Technologies designs and manufactures the solar lights that illuminate parks, businesses, and cities across North America. On top of saving organizations time and money, solar lights have an environmental impact that makes First Light a company all about hope.

“Although solar light has been around for a long time, it has an opportunity to change the world in a great way,” says CEO Sean Bourquin. That might explain why this small business of 25 people serves clients like NASA, Mercedes, the U.S. Airforce, the City of San Francisco, Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas, and the Pearl Harbour memorial in Hawaii, to name a few.

“Most people have no idea who we are, but we’re kind of everywhere,” laughs Sean. “Where there are people, our lights are not far away.”

Because First Light works with clients all over the continent, staying connected is a top priority. “We need good connectivity all the time, to be able to engage people remotely and not have issues communicating, whether on video or email,” says Sean. “Especially since Covid, where people have fanned out, having the flexibility to connect and engage and do the work primarily through their computers is critical.”

We spend a lot of time on the phone remotely. Being able to do voice communication through mobile or a computer allows us to engage our customers without being hardwired to our desks.

Sean Bourquin, First Light Technologies

First Light has relied on Shaw Business’ SmartWiFi in their two offices to maintain that strong, reliable connection since 2009. Pitching to major clients such as those on their roster means looking professional at all times, especially upon first virtual meeting. “Getting online with key business development people, this is not the time where you want to have a bad connection,” says Sean. “It’s just not going to be a great first impression.”

That desire for a consistent experience is why First Light takes advantage of the additional three access points available to SmartWiFi users, which ensures that every square inch of their business is covered with the same signal strength.

“We’re an IT-light company,” says Sean. “Everything’s Cloud-based and we don't run a bunch of servers, so having a good WiFi backbone for our service powers us to be able to do what we need to do and have a great deal of flexibility.”

That need for a good backbone extends to First Light’s phone service, since the majority of sales are completed through international calls. “We spend a lot of time on the phone remotely,” says Sean. “Being able to do voice communication through mobile or a computer allows us to engage our customers without being hardwired to our desks.”

Because First Light is based on an island, sales reps don’t have the luxury of going door to door, so tools like SmartVoice’s voicemail-to-email and Cloud-based call logs help them keep customer service a top priority. “We want to be responsive,” says Sean. “Any tools that allow us to pay attention more easily—especially working across timezones—is good.”

Purveyors of exceptional customer service, like First Light, recognize the importance of receiving that experience in return. “Shaw Business really stepped up and gave us great service and very fast,” says Sean. “They guided us through things that really weren't part of their scope of work, and that resonates with us because that’s what we do with our customers.”

Providing a product that’s 90% recyclable at the end of its lifespan, with lightbulbs that only need changing once every 20 years is an amazing feat. In 2021 alone, First Light’s off-grid contributions have avoided the emissions equivalent of 19-million miles of driving. Those are the kinds of goals worth pushing towards, and nothing should stand in the way of achieving them.

“As a business that’s growing quickly there’s always a lot of challenges,” says Sean. “Our communications are not a challenge. Shaw Business gives us that peace of mind and allows us to focus on growing our business and making a difference.”

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