You may know the VISION brand (it's been around since 2001) but their 2017 New Year's Resolution is to capture the essence of the brand and share that with the marketplace. We talked to Managing Director, Stuart Lockhart, about the brand, its 2017 range and what's coming at ISE 2017.
Stuart, what's on the 2017 agenda for Vision brand?
Well, every brand starts off and then finds itself defined by the market and its customers. We took an inventory last year, focusing on our brand and the brand assets that have developed over time and at great expense. Three core values emerged that buyers expect from us as our brand promise: Smart, Technical and Reliable. We aim for the underbelly of over-priced products-- we bring reasonable pricing along with solid tech and reliability. We think we are "the smart choice" for buyers who want performance at a reasonable price. The key here is not just price but the innovation and the reliability we can provide at a proper price.
Can you give an example of how this brand philosophy works in the market?
We are passionate about what we do. It's our deliberate and methodical effort to make products that are priced right, yet add those small touches that make the difference. For example, there's one product that we know we all source from the same supplier in China as our competitors. Our superior supply chain allows us to offer it at a better price. And when we looked at the product the others take, we noticed the power cord is too short for most of the AV applications. So we offer a longer power card. It's simple but it's the sort of "smart" thinking that makes it better for installers. Think about how IKEA made furniture less expensive and yet clever...
For example, we can also benchmark another one of our key words, “Reliable.” The same factory I just mentioned who supply many of our competitors told us “no other customer overlays such stringent quality control.” They told us this because they are not happy with what they consider our “excessive” testing.
We even pay for the Swiss quality inspection firm SGS to check every batch when our competitors rely only on the factory’s in-house quality control.
So I think we can say “Smart, Technical and Reliable” is our practice, a promise to our customers.
Everybody says they bring “innovation.” What sort of technical innovation can you actual bring?
We have a big range of useful product for installers and integrators. A number of our products have won awards and we have several products currently selected as contenders for 2017 technology awards. Not every product wins an award, but we do our brand due diligence on each one. Is it a smart buy? Does it fulfill the technical requirement? Is it reliable enough to stand up to expectations? I wish we could convey our passion for AV. We're not just making products...we're making good products that customers can depend on, so that they can know what they are getting with the Vision label.
A good example is Freespace – our room calendar display, a product which was recently recognised with an award nomination. This is a very technical product which took a lot of time and investment to develop. Making it work with Google Apps and Office 365 was technically difficult but we did it. So now, with Freespace, meeting rooms can move into the digital future. Imagine, our children won’t know a world where meeting rooms are ever double-booked.
What new products will you show at ISE 2017?
Many of our products will be what I would call "core products," the typical AV products every installer needs. The buyer doesn't want to pay a fortune and wants to know the maker well enough to rest assured of the quality. With Vision, buyers can understand that our core values are serious and every product we touch is thought through thoroughly.
We’ll be showing a new range of office furniture desk mounts, and we have a new motorized floor stand for the growing category of interactive flat panels.
This new floor stand is a very important new product for us. Interactive flat panels are very heavy – Microsoft’s biggest Surface Hub is 130kg!
There are design challenges. First, to source a reliable motor (and motors are not cheap) and to engineer the cost down. And then, of course, to overlay Vision’s smart approach, thinking about every little detail.
I’m going to get a bit boring here, but this is what makes Vision a great partner for installers: we bought motors from loads of factories. We did two weeks of non-stop IKEA-style repetition testing only one motor was still going. It was made by Linak, a Danish company who are the gold-standard in linear drive motors. So we chose to work with Linak to design a drive especially for our new Vision floor stand.
I can’t wait to show this new product at ISE. It nails everything. It’s super-smart, very reliable, and technical.