Vertex Standard unveiled its first digital radio portfolio of products at PMR Expo 2012 in Cologne – a year which had earlier seen it become a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola Solutions following a joint venture agreement back in 2008. Which begs the question: how will the two operate without competing with each other?
Paul De Carte, distribution director, EMEA, explains: ‘Motorola Solutions Japan owns Vertex Standard, but we operate as a completely independent company driving our own brand. We do our own R&D and our own manufacturing in Japan. We do our own marketing and have our own sales teams. However, we do make use of some Motorola back office facilities in the EMEA region, such as IT infrastructure and warehousing, and we do use Motorola’s sales force in countries in which we have no representation.’
That leaves the key question of how the two companies overlap in terms of products. ‘In the JV, there was some concern that Vertex Standard’s lower cost products might cannibalise Motorola,’ concedes De Carte. ‘But in fact that wasn’t the case as we have different kinds of customers, although not necessarily in different verticals.’
Doing it better
Which brings up another issue: De Carte is very keen that Vertex Standard is not perceived as a ‘cheap radio supplier’. He points to the company’s latest mantra by way of explanation. “It is not about doing more with less; it is about doing it better.”
De Carte observes that Vertex Standard has a lot of similar products to other manufacturers, including Motorola, but it is a question of addressing different sets of customers (although not ‘lesser’ categories of customer he emphasises) within different market segments.
‘We feel we complement Motorola Solutions very well. No single manufacturer can be the best and cover all vertical markets,’ says De Carte.
He adds that there has been a lot of change since 2008. ‘The analogue radio market is still growing, so we are still producing new analogue products. We have seen seriously high double digit growth with high market share growth for Vertex Standard. We have more than doubled our business and there are not many companies in Europe that are doing that.’
New digital PMR range
However, the big news is that Vertex Standard has developed a digital radio portfolio due to hit the market ‘soon’, according to De Carte, in the shape of DMR Tier II equipment. On show at PMR Expo was its new VXD Series of digital radios including the VX-231, VX-241 PMR 446, VX-450 and the VX-820 series, along with the VX-925 FuG version for German security organisations.
‘We are extremely excited about this market sector,’ says De Carte. ‘We’ll go into the USA first. It’s true that there are a lot of manufacturers fighting at the top end of the digital market, including Motorola with its Mototrbo range. But we are not going there. We will start at mid-tier and work our way up.’
Vertex Standard will attempt to capitalise on the growing migration from analogue to digital radio. ‘As more and more people start to use digital they’ll start to see what they can do beyond push-to-talk (PTT). But not everyone needs GPS or man-down functions. We will position ourselves in sectors of the market that Motorola doesn’t reach and meet their needs and expectations. It does not make sense for us to go head-to-head with Moto,’ says De Carte.
He says Russia is one of the largest markets and parts of Africa and Eastern Europe are growing fast. ‘We are expanding our geographical reach with very strong customer support,’ says De Carte. ‘One of the things we believe we are doing well is establishing a good distribution network, which is providing a high quality of customer services and delivery. We want the experience of buying from Vertex Standard to be a good one.’
Supporting channel partners
De Carte says building channel loyalty through its distributors and their dealer networks is paramount. ‘We have to make Vertex Standard an attractive business for them,’ he explains. ‘We want to provide a first class service, but providing support services for dealers and distributors costs a lot of money. So we’ve developed teams to discover what they really want. We have a lot of infrastructure in place to support our distributors.’
Vertex Standard is not short of ambition. De Carte says the company wants to be No.2 behind Motorola in the PMR market. ‘It’s a tall order, but when I see where we have moved between 2008 and 2012, we’ve gone further than expected. We are even No.1 in a few countries.’
Vertex Standard is developing its own digital products, but until they hit the market it has been supplying re-branded Motorola radios to give its legacy channels some access to digital products ‘so they don’t feel excluded’, explains De Carte. ‘We see a huge opportunity for our forthcoming DMR Tier II products. It will be our big story in 2013.’
DMR is becoming quite a crowded market, but De Carte is optimistic Vertex Standard will establish itself. ‘You have to have good products and approach the marketing the right way,’ he says. ‘You have to pick up a brand and develop a confidence around it by providing fast deliveries, sales, marketing and technical support and just be there in front of people. You have to go the extra mile and you have to understand the economics of the customer.
‘We do have cool, low cost products, but they are not cheap radios, nor are they made cheaply – they are just done better. Sure, the prices may be attractive, but you are buying quality,’ says De Carte firmly.
• Portable radios
• Mobile radios
• Repeaters / base stations
• HF SSB radios
• APCO P25 radios
• Digital TDMA radios (DMR)
• Trunking radios
• Complimentary accessories
Vertex Standard Factfile
1956 Founded as General Television Service Co., Ltd in Ota-ku Tokyo, Japan
1964 Company name changed to Yaesu Musen Co., Ltd.
1973 Established Yaesu Musen USA, Inc., in Los Angeles, California
1998 Acquired Standard Communications Co., Ltd. from Marantz Japan. Established Standard Co., Ltd. as the sales company in Japan
1999 Moved headquarters to Meguro-ku Tokyo, Japan
2000 Company name changed to Vertex Standard Co., Ltd.
2003 Established Vertex Standard (Suzhou) Co., Ltd in Suzhou, China
2006 Established Vertex Standard (Australia) Pty., Ltd in Melbourne, Australia
2008 Joint venture announced with Motorola Inc.
2012 Company name changed to Vertex Standard LMR, Inc.
May 2012: Vertex Standard becomes 100% owned by Motorola Solutions.
Operational reach: 150+ countries with over 1,000 distributors and resellers