Just in time for the end of Veganuary, we meet with Oracle Vision’s co-founder and all-round health fanatic, Chris Lakin. In this short interview, he talks about all things Oracle – his passion for the business and the team. Learn more about his vision for the organisation, and what he gets up to in his spare time.
What does your job at Oracle involve?
Within the structure of the business there’s myself and Tim as directors, although we both have
different responsibilities. Mine stretch across the whole business, but my main focus is on sales
and marketing, and working with our customers.
How did you form your role?
Tim and I founded the business in 2004. Originally, it was a consultancy, to advise customers
on their security systems. However, we started to realise that contractors weren’t working to the
level we’d like. Instead we wanted to offer that service, and as a result, we moved away from
being solely a consultancy to becoming a full-service partner to our clients.
What drew you to build Oracle Vision?
I’ve always worked in the industry – I started out as an electrical engineer. About 20 years ago I
spotted that local authorities were putting more CCTV in town centres. So I capitilised on that
and grew my skills in installing and repairing those systems. I knew I wanted to be more
influential in product development, so I got a job in manufacturing. My employer was a bit of a
trailblazer in CCTV. As I worked my way through the ranks, I saw all the new ideas turn into
delivered products – it was a great place to work. In many ways they really were creators of the
industry, in terms of CCTV and HD CCTV. I spent some time with other manufacturing
companies, but after a while I wanted to take some time out and start focusing on something
that I could call my own, which turned out to be Oracle Vision.
As part of that CCTV journey, we also saw that access control plays a huge part within security.
So as part of our CCTV offering, access control and intruder alarms became part of our services
too. We then began to offer wireless solutions, that not only link the Oracle Vision systems
together, but also link commercial systems together. These solutions take a lot of precision –
you’ve got to get it just right and it needs to be seamless the first time.
What makes Oracle Vision special?
Oracle doesn’t deliver products that are any different to our competitors, but we see that as a
strength. Anyone can provide products off the shelf – we have to be at the top of our game with
our service. All of our processes are geared towards positive customer service and making sure
that it’s something we can maintain. We’re passionate about good customer experience, and
not just in terms of delivery. The service has to be friendly and make our customers feel
Our uniqueness is also in our people. There’s only one set of us – you can’t buy us. What makes
us different is our approach. Customers come on board with us because they know we’re
different and it’s purely delivered by us. If they already have equipment installed it doesn’t
matter, because we’re service-specific, so we can add an Oracle Vision layer on top.
How would you describe the company in three words?
Trustworthy, competent and friendly. Oracle Vision has a friendly feel so people know we’ll get the job done – but we like to have fun too. We know we’re not the cheapest, but we don’t profess to be. We offer a premium product but we know we’re offering great value.
What do you enjoy about your work here?
It’s the camaraderie, and having confidence that you know things will get done. I don’t have to
second guess and it’s all about the teamwork. When you reach out to the team, you’re only one
call away from anyone who matters in the business and that’s what I like. Everyone is
accountable and wants to contribute. They’ll get praise and support because we’re all on the
same page. It’s quite a nice feeling.
I get a kick out of seeing people progress from entry-level positions up to management roles, we
all enjoy that. That’s not just the business that pulling them through, they want to do it and grow
and develop in the team.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not here?
I’m a big family bloke and really love being at home with family. I do genuinely like spending
time with them. When we can go out and about, once Covid is over, we do enjoy it. We have lots
of generations in our family, so there’s nothing better than getting everyone together and having
a cup of tea, laughing, shouting, pulling each other’s legs.
More recently, I’ve been getting into fitness. I’ve been going out for a run every day since
lockdown started, It’s something I’ve only just learned to enjoy.
If you could spend the day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would
It would have to be Winston Churchill and we’d just walk around his garden. I’d love nothing
more than just having a natter and every now and again, sit down with a cup of tea. I’d just let
him talk until he tired himself out. I’d let him tell me anything he’d want to tell me.
OK, time for the all-important quick-fire round:
First gig? It was a band called Wonderstuff. My drama teacher at school knew the lead singer
Miles Hunt, so she convinced them to come and do a gig at the school.
Last gig? It would have been the Foo Fighters in Manchester
Favourite food? Pizza. As part of my keep-fit regime I’ve actually decided to go Vegan. I love
cooking pizzas on a Friday and since going vegan I’ve been exploring lots of different flavours.
Favourite drink? Yorkshire tea. A proper brew
Favourite place in the world? Apart from home, we like going to National Trust sites and used
to go every weekend. Wherever we go in the country, we’ll plan the whole day out and include a
National Trust site. We also love going to Northumberland, especially in the winter.
Favourite film? It’s got to be ‘About Time’
Favourite TV show? ‘Escape to the Chateau’ and definitely ‘Repair Shop’, I can’t watch it without
Favourite book? I love QI 2024 facts. It’s one of those books that you can pick up and put it
back down and is full of trivia.