A couple of weeks ago, I ventured to New York for the first time in my 37 years, and let me tell you, it was quite the adventure.
I arrived at La Guardia, in which I hate to say, I was not too impressed. I was saddened by the fact that this could be such a delightful, historical place of aviation; however, with dilapidated walls and boarded up windows, it was quite the eye sore.
I boarded a shuttle bus with other security magazine editors and went to the hotel, ready to get settled in. But, what I was really excited about was riding a ferry across to Fire Island to indulge in cuisine I affectionately call, “sea critters,” as my boss so fondly likes to remind me.
The Speco Technologies event, “Handshakes to Hugs” was well underway. After a night of food, fun, laughter and sand between my toes, I returned to my hotel room to get some rest, anxious to learn what Speco had in store for us.
The next morning, we traveled to Speco headquarters where we were greeted with a friendly Speco “hello,” New York bagels and homemade cream cheeses, and of course, coffee, the drink that gets me moving. While indulging in this baked delight and sipping on java, Todd Keller, owner of Speco Technologies welcomed us.
Started in 1958 in the speaker/audio market, this privately-held company had two rules:
- The customer is always right.
- If there’s an issue, see rule #1.
And, to this day, these two rules are what Speco bases their business upon.
All security manufacturers must market what sets them apart from others to make a place for themselves in a rather flooded market of analog and IP cameras. Speco has done just that.
The people who make up Speco pride themselves in achieving excellence. They believe in doing the right things and they believe in what they’re doing, so they are extremely engaged as a company (employee retention is high on their list), with customers, within the industry, etc.
“Speco has the ability to get really close to our customers and make them a part of the Speco family,” explained T.J. Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing, Speco Technologies. “We take care of our customers and in return, they take care of us.”
Needless to say, Speco’s number one differentiators is the human connection.
On the technology side, however, Twitter offers the differentiator as it is built into Speco cameras, enabling users to see what the camera sees, watching the action as it unfolds before their very eyes. This empowers the user to be an active participant in monitoring their spaces that are under surveillance. All this simply by using a tool that is readily available to create an alerting platform.
“This is one way Speco incorporates common sense into our devices,” said Keller.
Two-way audio also helps by creating a “digital deterrent,” giving the user the ability to talk directly to the person being recorded by the surveillance camera as well as hear on the recorded side. With the ability to simply say, “Stop!” a would-be criminal just might be prevented from carrying out a malicious deed.
But, Really. Why Speco?
I truly believe it’s the way in which Speco treats their customers. Anytime someone calls Speco’s in-house customer service or needs to talk with a technician about an installation issue, the average hold time is less than 30 seconds. This is amazing for installers who are actively in the field and need answers immediately.
Speco also boasts that their products are “easy to install,” but in order to claim this, they actively listen to their customers.
“We listen; we don’t just hear the installers,” said Dickson. “This allows us to implement what the customer says.”
In addition, Speco offers the following:
Interactive training experience. Entering the classroom filled with computers, cameras and tools, each student gets their own station in which to learn. Led by a Speco trainer, students actively engage with each product, learning exactly what to expect in the field. Students can ask questions and get answer in real time from Speco experts.
“Handshakes to Hugs” program. By the time 2014 comes to an end, over 100 of these programs will have been offered in the U.S. and Canada to 10 different distributors and 40 independent integrators. Offered at Speco Headquarters or on the road, program participants are fully trained on Speco’s full line of products, receive full support of personnel and discounts are offered.
West Coast warehouse. Delivery of product was becoming too time consuming and expensive for Speco customers who weren’t located on the eastern side of the United States. So, Speco opened a facility in Reno, NV that contains about $3 million worth of inventory at any given time. There is a “will call” area for local product pickup and what used to cost $35 to ship a DVR via UPS now only costs $8 and takes 2-3 days, thus, saving customers time and money.
Marketing. The focus here is on how Speco can help the customer become a true partner with them, so business plans are discussed, all marketing material is printed in-house, email campaigns and rebates are offered as well as ongoing assistance.
“We help make businesses simply unique,” said Dickson.
Speco Leaps into the Future
This company was born from concepts and ideas, and they offer cameras with unique features that other manufacturers do not have, such as split-glass technology, which eliminates IR reflections.
One of the company’s successes is with their Intensifier camera, an analog camera that gathers as much light as possible and produces a detailed, colored image in low-light.
“The goal of security is to identify,” said Keller, explaining that without details such as the color of someone’s shirt or hair color captured on a surveillance camera’s video feed, identification would be limited or even impossible.
Speco has decided to take their Intensifier brand a step further to offer an alternate solution, Intensifier IP, an IP camera with the same capabilities as their original Intensifier. Slated to be revealed to the market in September, this camera will provide the ability to see clearly and in color in extreme low light.
“We offer color in low-light IP,” said Dickson. “There is only one other company offering low-light color IP at this time.”
With all this knowledge under my belt, Speco fed all the magazine editors lunch, New York-style pizza, of course, and, then, we were shuttled to the airport to fly to our perspective areas of the United States.
As I walked into the airport, I had a smile on my face. I had conquered yet another part of the United States that I had not had the opportunity to visit, and I held and still hold a little Speco secret. My lips are sealed, but here’s a hint: do NOT miss out on Speco’s marketing of their Intensifier IP HD camera in September.