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One to watch

04 March 2019

The future is bright for Videcon with expansion into the systems market, new products on the horizon and proactive customer service and support. FSM editor Kelly Rose asks owner Andy Croston about the company's growth in what has been a fast-paced decade for the CCTV and security industry.

You’ve been in the security industry 29 years with the majority of that time spent with Videcon, a leading security distributor. How can Videcon maintain and expand upon this position both now and in the future?

Our focus has always been on building and maintaining successful partnerships with our customers. We have always supported customers with manufacturer-level, system design and specification in SME, Professional and Enterprise level applications. To meet the growing needs of our dynamic customer base, we’ve diversified our product portfolio to include fire and have also expanded our range of intruder, door entry and access control products.

In an industry where choice in both brand and distributor has been vastly reduced and pricing has been circulated everywhere, we have stuck true to our core values and this has aided the growth of the company. One major underpinning value we take great pride in preserving is the fact we do not publish our pricing anywhere, in addition, we have next day availability for 97% of our products, a 14-day, no quibble, return policy and three or five-year warranties across our product ranges. We also have an advanced replacement service in place to protect against product failure. From our formation in 1995, right up to the present day, we provide customers with products and services they can rely on.

We are also having great success with our systems division, where we design, specify and supply major projects. We already have systems deployed in large-scale, national infrastructure applications, such as highways and have systems in office blocks, housing developments, retail applications and distribution centres.

Four years ago, you completed Videcon’s management buyout. What has changed at the company since then?

The Videcon management team buyout occurred during a time of transition for both the company and the industry. IP CCTV was still quite new and there was a degree of confusion and cautious optimism around it. Over the last four years, we have seen more and more customers adopt IP CCTV technology, although a strong core of Analogue High Definition users continues, for more traditional applications. Videcon has assisted a vast number of security installers in understanding IP technology and its deployment and helped them make an educated decision on where and when to use IP or AHD solutions.

Videcon’s product offering always reflects the needs of our customers and as a result, we have continued to provide cutting-edge security products in both IP and AHD. Our latest camera product offering embodies this spirit. After hearing installers were experiencing a great deal of frustration when dealing with camera back boxes, we have launched Turret, Eyeball and Compact Dome cameras in a variety of resolutions with internal cable connections inside the camera housing, making life easier for the installer. On top of this, we have offered our customers additional services such as training, systems design and the use of demonstration facilities that are second to none. We have also seen our staff team expand to 70, reflecting the needs of a rapidly growing business. 

How do you feel the company has accommodated technology changes in the industry and how does Videcon stay ahead?

In recent years, Videcon has seen new players enter the distribution sector of the industry, increasing competition. To address this, we have maintained and developed our Unique Selling Points to ensure we continue to stand out. For example, we are always amongst the first to investigate the viability of using emerging technologies and have included many within our Concept Pro product range. For example, we are early adopters of Deep Learning Video Analytics, which is included within our ‘Enterprise’ level, Concept Pro recorders. We may not necessarily be the first to market with new products or features, because we conduct rigorous testing, but we never compromise quality and reliability for a quick buck!

Videcon does not just shift boxes. We are an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) with our Concept Pro range. This is where the products are designed by us to our specification and made in China to keep them competitively priced. We listen to our customer’s needs; embrace new technologies; develop a concept; and design it for efficient manufacture in a production facility we have used for over 25 years. We work closely with the manufacturer to ensure testing procedures and processes are optimised and that all new products are consistent in design and operation with existing products; interoperable with the rest of the range; and sustainable. In practice, an installer who installed a Concept Pro recorder seven years ago would be instantly familiar with our product today, we put immense focus on ensuring our product range evolves sustainably.

How will Videcon accommodate the growing needs and demands of its customer base?

There are numerous examples of Videcon going the extra mile for customers. We are now designing and specifying integrated, national infrastructure level systems. For example, we assisted Graham Firth Communications, an installer of temporary, motorway-based CCTV systems, in the completion of centrally managed and monitored, temporary traffic management systems on the M62 and M27, with more to follow. We made use of our long-standing relationships with highly reputable suppliers such as Redvision, who make rugged cameras, and Digifort, the leading open-platform Video Management System (VMS). This allows us to assist and guide installers through specification to optimise the design of systems.

Training also forms a large part of our customer services. The security industry has many highly capable, small companies that have taken longer to migrate to IP CCTV than some of the larger companies within the industry. To address this, Videcon introduced training courses for IP CCTV, allowing installers to confidently specify, design and deploy IP systems. In addition, Videcon also provides bespoke training courses for installers and engineers on any products available in our range, whether these are Videcon products or those from our third party suppliers.

How will Videcon continue to stay ahead of the curve and provide high-quality, up-to-date services?

Videcon’s latest CCTV range, Aspect, has been launched after two years of intense development. Aspect is competitively priced for SME and residential installations. We know the CCTV market is flooded with low-cost CCTV solutions. By releasing Aspect, Videcon can match the low-cost CCTV solutions commonly available in the industry, but with competitively priced CCTV products that are reliable, consistent and sustainable. Aspect has a highly advanced range of market-leading features that are already creating great interest, such as an affordable suite of video analytics.

What role does Videcon have in the security industry?

I see Videcon as the distributor in the industry that does much more than distribution. We have a proven track record of excellence and of keeping abreast of the latest developments in the industry. We do not trade off the marketing and profiles created by well-known CCTV brands. Instead, we have developed our own market, with our own products, which are not available through any other channel in the industry. For this reason, uniquely, we can offer project and pricing protection for our customers.

Videcon is also a one-stop shop for CCTV installers. We have a wide range of products, spanning all aspects of the industry. This not only includes CCTV, fire, intruder, door entry and access control equipment, but also all the associated network, cabling, storage and support equipment necessary to complete a job.

Andy Croston is owner of Videcon. For more information, visit www.videcon.co.uk