Aquavision

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Aquavision's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Aquavision is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.aquavision.tv

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
54 | AQUAVISION
Alastair Benn, managing director
Quality, handmade British
technology
Led by Alastair and Susan Benn, Aquavision is a company
that designs and manufactures bespoke, waterproof, mirror
and in-wall television systems – with an extensive portfolio
of high-end clients in a wide range of sectors, including the
residential, commercial and hospitality industries; in recent times
Aquavision have also won contracts within the marine sector,
with their products being installed on luxury yachts around
the world. The factors driving this successful expansion are
described by Alastair and Susan in the following piece.
Beginning in 1997, I (Alastair) pioneered the concept of the waterproof in-wall
television, producing the first one in my home garage. In 2002, I also identified a
gap in the high-end luxury market, namely a lack of televisions that were suitable
for unconventional parts of a residence and the considerable challenges in placing
a television in a bathroom. Seeing this was the case, I decided to offer aesthetic,
custom-made televisions suitable for bathroom use.
This effort paid off and, soon after, I won the opportunity to gain contracts around
the world with major hotels and high-profile individuals. With that, the Aquavision
brand was born.
Since then the company has moved beyond just bathroom televisions, to producing
television systems for kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms and outdoor spaces.
Aquavision also collaborate with the high-end Nordic audio-visual brand Bang &
Olufsen. It is remarkable to reflect that all of this came from a company that began
in the family home with our young children playing a helping role.
FACTS ABOUT
AQUAVISION
»Managing directors:
Alastair and Susan Benn
»Established in 2002
»Based in Stockport, Greater
Manchester
»Services: Design and
manufacture of waterproof
and in-wall televisions, both
residential and commercial
»No. of employees: 13
»Alastair invented the first
waterproof TV in 1997
»Innovative and pioneering,
always ahead of the curve
Aquavision
55AQUAVISION |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Trust at our core
The core value that underpins our
success, we believe, has always
been trust: we must ensure that
our employees and clients trust in a
company that will always have their
best interests in mind. For example,
in dealing with high-profile individuals
such as celebrities and royalty around
the world, an agreement must be
established between us and them
that we will not divulge personal
information about them.
We make it clear that we are genuinely
committed to providing them with this
confidence, and this is what makes
the transaction possible. More to the
point, if we were not trustworthy, our
reputation would diminish rapidly in
such a small industry. Indeed, so niche
and specialised is this industry that
one of our clients bought a mountain
for the sole purpose of using its
marble for his bathrooms to ensure
that it matched; this highlights just
how important it is to attend to these
projects and our clients very closely
and carefully. These are, after all,
projects close to theirheart.
Our staff must also trust that we
will provide them with the support
necessary for them to work well and
happily; indeed, it is not too great an
exaggeration to say that our staff are
like family to us. It is not unusual for
us to go out for dinner together, for
example. From this comes the loyalty
which affords us the stability required
for such a specialised trade.
This core value permeates throughout
our business. Client acquisition and
retention are not simply down to
providing a quality product, but trust
too. For instance, one way that we
keep clients on board is by offering
a “hole-in-the-wall guarantee”,
which provides assurance that
whenever new television models
come about, we can install the new
television into the wall where the
previous unit was fitted before,
without any remedial works being
necessary. Trust also has its basis
in the fact that our manufacturing
takes place in the UK, a country in
which regulatory standards are high.
Aquavision products carry the “Made
in Britain” marque, which lends us a
considerable degree of legitimacy in
the global market.
Moving forward and adapting
Among some of the challenges
we face is the rapid pace of the
technological industry. Hardly six
months goes by without some
great change in the technological
landscape. Naturally, being involved
in this sector requires a close eye
on these changes, something that
Alastair – with his knowledge,
research and innovative impulse –
can keep on top of, and relishes in
doingso.
A challenge that is currently
occupying our attention is further
expansion on an international scale.
Fortunately, we are firmly established
Attention to detail has been
a key to the success story
Client
acquisition
and retention
are not simply
down to
providing a
quality
product, but
trust too
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
56 | AQUAVISION
in the UK market, but work further
afield is still in its infancy – principally,
that of appointing new distributors
around the world. The objective
is to increase exports and attain a
growth rate of over 20 per cent per
annum within an 18-month to five-
year window – something we are
currentlyachieving.
Closer to home is the issue of
employment and how best to
acquire the calibre of talent for this
specialised industry. Fortunately, the
current government has been doing
a lot to help in this area, particularly
with respect to apprenticeship
schemes. In recent times we have
seen a broadening and increased
support of apprenticeships and similar
vocationalschemes.
For example, one of our employees
is now doing an apprenticeship in
accountancy (90 per cent of which
is funded by the government) and
another is taking a master’s level
qualification in manufacturing and
production. This is helping to provide
our business with the skills we need to
compete in a global market.
In terms of the global market, there
have been concerns over the exchange
rate after Brexit. However, for every
up there has been a corresponding
down, and the net effect as far as we
are concerned at present is neutral.
In other words, Brexit has not been
deleterious for ourcompany.
Our hope is that these encouraging
trends continue, allowing us to meet
our growth targets and reach those
markets that we have not yet tapped
into. With trust as our ethos, growth
as our aim and innovation as our
modus operandi, we believe we can
take Aquavision further along this
already successful journey.
We are firmly
established in
the UK
market, but
work further
afield is still in
its infancy
Aquavision televisions
are often installed
in luxury residential
properties

www.aquavision.tv

This article was sponsored by Aquavision. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister