Afshin Riazi, general manager at audio visual technology company Specktron Middle East, talks about the company’s solutions offerings, plans for 2016 and why partners need to be upbeat about the year ahead.
Briefly outline what Specktron is all about and explain the products you are offering in the Middle East?
Headquartered in Dubai with business operations across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, CIS and Russia, Specktron is a manufacturer and supplier of pioneering audio visual and ICT products. Specktron has championed the use of interactive touch technology for education, corporate, government and hospitality sectors. In addition, the company offers innovative products including laser projectors, interactive LED displays, interactive whiteboards, point of sale solutions (PoS) and portable visual scanners.
What are the key trends shaping the AV sector?
At the moment the region is witnessing sweeping changes in the way communication is being delivered in the education sector. In classrooms, for example, we are seeing a shift from the conventional, one-way communication to a more engaging, collaborative, two-way learning process. Institutions across the board are investing in upgrading their systems so as to incorporate interactive technology to enhance productivity and learning experiences. Technology is also enabling the ease of use, while opening up possibilities to optimise the use of existing resources.
How is the company building its businessin the Middle East?
As one of the pioneers of interactive technology in the region, Specktron takes keen interest in anticipating customer needs, creating demand and offering the right solutions that meet these needs. We ensure our products set a benchmark in terms of quality, reliability, backed by competitive pricing and superb after sales service. For efficient channel management, we undertake knowledge sharing and training sessions, so that partners are always abreast of new trends and well placed to advise end users on how Specktron can provide solutions that cater to their needs.
What products and solutions does Specktron offer the regional channel?
Specktron offers a wide range of products including interactive led displays, interactive whiteboards, projectors, visualisers as well as a variety of AV accessories. These products are designed to serve educational institutions, corporates, government and the hospitality sector. By delivering cost effective solutions, we seek to make visual technology more accessible to institutions. Complemented by intuitive software and robust product quality, we want to open up these technologies to newer target audiences in the region.
Are organisations in the region warming up to audio visual technology and the benefits these solutions bring to businesses?
Specktron creates and encourages an environment for organisations to benefit from the sweeping technological advancements in the region. We strive to enhance the overall experience for our customers by increasing productivity, ease of use and promoting the sharing of knowledge and information. To this end, we see a healthy trend, where clients are willing to migrate to newer technologies.
What technology and business trends are creating immediate and recurring revenue opportunities for channel partners in the audio visual technology segment in the Middle East?
The synthesis of interactive technology and inter-device collaboration lies at the heart of Specktron’s core offering. Through our state-of-the art solutions, we ensure that our solution provider partners benefit from a niche set of products that will meet the demands of their customers. Specktron has been instrumental in helping partners shift from box-moving to selling true value to customers, thereby growing a healthy margin business and that’s where we see a bigger opportunity for the channel.
Does Specktron have a channel programme for its partners in the region?
Currently we are focussing on building relationships and getting as many partners on board as possible so that Specktron is reachable and accessible to more customers. Given the decidedly favourable outlook for business, we are eager to reach out to new channel partners and incentivise them as we grow. We shall devise a programme for our channel going forward.
What new products can your channel partners expect from Specktron in 2016?
We recently did a soft launch of our new line of flexible and high performing PoS solutions for retail and hospitality sectors. As we begin 2016, we want to build, focus and grow this vertical as this category has huge potential for us in the Middle East. We plan to launch multiple products under this category. With this, we have broadened our portfolio and we will continue to promote these new products in the market.
To what extent has software become a vital component of audio visual offerings in the regional market?
Software no doubt plays an important role in providing audio visual solutions. However, we see devices getting smarter and more intelligent by the day. To this end, Specktron offers products that come with pre-installed software, which makes them ready to use. Customers can plug-and-play the devices without installing any additional software, making life easier.
How can channel partners ensure that they have the best solutions portfolio in such a fast evolving audio visual solutions market?
In a dynamic ICT market characterised by rapid changes in technologies, channel partners must strive to update themselves with knowledge and be market-savvy in order to stay ahead. Given the current healthy outlook of the AV industry, they could be well served to align themselves with the trends and demands of their customers and supply them the right products and solutions. In keeping with the trend, Specktron has advanced from offering projectors to investing in interactive technology and our partners stand to benefit by following suit.
What skills should channel players be investing in to in order to meet the needs of their customers in the AV space?
To grow business, the traditional box-moving strategy is no longer the only means. Hence we recommend to our channel partners to generate value for customers. We conduct partner training programmes to enhance product knowledge, which enables them to customise the delivery solutions for their clients. We promote knowledge sharing so that the channel stays up-to-date to current industry and technological trends. This way, Specktron believes in empowering and engaging with the channel community extensively.
What kind of margins can proactive and market-savvy channel partners expect to achieve with AV solutions?
Needless to say that we believe healthy margins are an important criterion to encourage and engage with reseller partners. Since we are a fairly new entrant into the Middle East market, our pricing is very competitive as we are looking to grow our business aggressively.
What trends will influence the audio visual technology market in 2016 and what is Specktron urging channel partners to focus on in the next 12 months?
As technology is changing fast, customers will also move fast. We foresee an upswing in demand for large format panel displays and believe it is a category with huge potential for us and our channel partners. We are expecting steep growth in this vertical and we urging our reseller partners to collaborate with us to fulfil the demand.
Which countries and verticals will drive growth for Specktron in 2016?
Our focus remains firm on markets in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, CIS countries, Russia and Asia. The shift in technology and trends will continue to drive growth across all sectors and specifically, we will continue to focus on education institutions, corporates, government and hospitality sectors.