Speco is ‘Giving You More’

As much of the industry is focused on low price and high volume, Speco is adding more value
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

AMITYVILLE, N.Y.—When I asked T.J. Dickson, Speco Technologies VP of sales and marketing, what the message was behind Speco’s new tagline “Giving You More,” he noted that the phrase has a much deeper meaning than what appears on the surface, as it relates to how the company is responding to the current price pressures going on within the video surveillance market.

The following is an edited version of our conversation:

SSN: What exactly does “Giving You More” mean to Speco?

DICKSON: As you know, the market over the past several years has become a very price-driven, commoditized market when it comes to video surveillance. It has become increasingly difficult to effectively communicate a value-added message over a price discussion because more overseas manufacturers have come in and, truth be told, are selling equipment at extremely low prices and have captured a share of the day-to-day business of some of the larger distributors and dealers. What we are finding now is, because of this high volume of product that is out there at low cost, there is a sacrifice that is made with that. As a result, installers and dealers are coming back to suppliers like Speco Technologies who are providing added value.

So, when we say we are “Giving You More,” it means a couple of things. First, we are taking it back to the golden rule that relationships always earn the business, not price. So what we do with our customer base is vastly different than what a lot of companies are doing when they are selling on price. Their margins are probably thinner and they are just looking to sell a product at a certain price but not adding much beyond that. We value our relationships and, like all relationships, we take the time to grow and enhance our partnerships for the long-term.

What we’re doing as a company when we say “Giving You More,” is we are providing more features and benefits in our products without adding additional costs. We’re emphasizing things like our U.S based customer service, and technical support, which provides customers assistance 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. We also provide a free DDNS web service, which is also U.S.-based, so there is no phoning home to China. This is how it has always been for us but I don’t think we really emphasized it in the past. We retain complete control over our servers and we know our partners are concerned with where the data of their customers is being securely stored.

We are a value-add manufacturer that is here to truly partner with our dealers and integrators in the industry and we genuinely mean that. We want to do everything we can to help them grow their business. Again, all at no additional cost.

SSN: What are some value-added services that you offer?

DICKSON: From a training perspective, we offer Speco University, www.specouniversity.com, which is a series of 10 different online CEU courses that we provide to all of our loyal customers at no charge. They can become Speco-certified installers and they are earning CEU credits simultaneously. Most owners from the integration side really value training and see it as a bonus for them, because typically they would be paying for each of their installers to go through this type of training. This complimentary service saves approximately $400 per technician. All Speco University courses can be taken online, in-person or on any mobile device.

We also create custom marketing materials for our installers and integrators that include brochures, door hangers, and website content where we customize it for our dealers with their company messaging, and the artwork is designed at no charge. We even offer some of the printing at no charge depending on the customer and the size of the job. This is a way that we take it back and personalize the relationship with the customer.

Every company wants to know the products they are purchasing are of the highest quality and if there is ever a problem they will be covered. On the product side, what we have done recently for our entire video surveillance line including all IP cameras, HD over coax cameras, standard analog cameras, DVRs and NVRs, with the exception of PTZs—is offer a five-year warranty.

Another way we are leading with value is by providing cameras that are UL listed. In a lot of cases, when we have higher-end integrators, who may be installing at a bank, for example, most financial institutions require that products are UL listed. Most of our products are UL listed and we are working toward having the whole line be UL listed in 2018.

We are also including a junction box, in each box, with most of our cameras, which is a huge convenience for the installer. This avoids costly trips back to the warehouse or local distributor and the package is still at a very competitive cost.

SSN: What you are doing internally to support the growth and vision of the company?

DICKSON: We’ve really grown our team and have brought on eight new people in the last four months. We have a new director of national accounts, Dave Williams, who is responsible for our largest national integrators. We have also hired a 16-year veteran of a major surveillance manufacturer, James Hoang, who is our partnering and integration manager. To continue our aggressive push from the marketing side, we have hired Rebecca Brady as director of marketing. We also have a new product manager, two new inside sales people and a graphic designer and are adding several more tech support and design reps as additional resources for our customers.

We are really beefing things up internally for our customers, to make sure that we have the right people and products in place and to ensure we can get products out to them in a timely fashion. We are also in the process of renovating and updating our headquarters with the latest technology, while creating a better work environment for our employees.

We feel all of these moves are going to make a tremendous difference for Speco not only in our sales but also to help us support our long term vision of continuing to grow our business and the business for our customers as well. Our foundation is our people and we are confident in our growth projections.

SSN: Can we talk about what you are focusing on products-wise?

DICKSON: Everything we are doing now is all HD, at minimum of 1080P, up to 4K, and we will continue to drive toward the higher resolution cameras. Many of our cameras come with a motorized auto-focus lens, which saves a ton of time on an install, as the installer does not have to manually focus each camera. Everything is operated remotely and you can log in and zoom in and out, and the camera focuses itself, providing the perfect image.

As every new camera comes out, especially with 4K and higher resolution cameras they will be selectable as H.265 or H.264, and our recorders will record as such. We also have SecureGuard VMS, which will accept H.265 allowing you to bring it down to a server in H.265 to make the compression incredibly efficient.

On the VMS side, one of the huge advantages of using Speco cameras on the Speco SecureGuard server is that there are no licensing fees. There are still several competitors that charge either a one-time fee or a yearly fee which can really add up. That is not the case with Speco Technologies as we offer a tremendous savings by eliminating these fees which is a huge advantage for our customers when quoting against their competition.

We also have a full line of specialty cameras, 360-degree fish-eye cameras, and we are introducing a thermal imaging IP camera in early Q4. We also have license plate recognition cameras in HDTVI and IP.

One feature on the cameras that has helped to drive our success over the years is our Intensifier technology, which is color by day and color in extremely low light. Even with light levels as low as .0002 lux, we can maintain a color image. We have coupled that with IR, so we have what is called Flexible Intensifier Technology, where if the lighting gets too low and it can’t maintain a color image, it automatically goes to a monochrome image; if there is still not enough light, it will then switch to IR, which provides a black and white image in a zero lux. This technology has really elevated Speco as a go-to provider for cameras that solve any lighting challenge imaginable.

SSN: What are you doing on the cybersecurity front?

DICKSON: Cybersecurity is a priority for us. We are still in the early stages of it, but we are the manufacturer leading the charge with Underwriters Laboratories for a UL Cybersecurity certification. We are putting our cameras through intense testing and beating them up to make sure that they are truly locked down according to UL standards. Long term, every product, including our servers, will be UL-certified for cybersecurity.

We are going to continue to push the message that we are a technology-based company, enterprise-level with our servers and that we maintain the highest level of cybersecurity.

SSN: Anything else that you would like to add?

DICKSON: One of our biggest advantages is that we are a family-owned company for over 60 years, and we are always going to do the right thing by the customer, which in today’s market is becoming a lost art. We are earning the business of some of the largest integrators in the industry with our value-added offering. These large companies understand that is about being a true partner rather than just selling more products to them. The ones who are growing their business are taking advantage of our custom marketing, what we can do to help their website and social media, and take advantage of the services we can provide like priority tech support and first-class customer service. These are the things that they look for to assist them in their everyday business.

Some larger manufacturers are so large that they have difficulty forming the same relationships that Speco can. Our ultimate goal is to make every customer of ours feel as though they are part of our family. You get treated differently at Speco and this is how we will continue to differentiate ourselves from other manufacturers for what we hope will be another 60 years.

Keep your eye on Speco Technologies, as we will continue to give our customers more—more attention, more technology, more features and more support.