Doors Open for Smart Tech

An article written for Glass Times, July 2017.

John Crittenden – Managing Director of Carl F Groupco reports that markets are opening up for SmartSecure, the company’s Smart Tech electronic locking and access control technology.

Representing the biggest investment ever made by the company, SmartSecure was no leap of faith.

The FUHR multitronic twin-drive motor which has the capability of locking and unlocking doors.

The FUHR multitronic twin-drive motor which has the capability of locking and unlocking doors.

The solutions incorporate FUHR’s multitronic door lock – these have been distributed by FUHR within Europe and they are already widely adopted in Italy and Germany. Other European countries are following the Smart Tech trend with Carl F Groupco championing roll out of the technology in the UK.

The traditional key is replaced with a range of access control options. ‘SmartTouch’, where entry is made by touching a sensor, was particularly popular with stand visitors at the FIT Show. Access is simple, it is facilitated if an active, moving transponder is within range – it means that you can walk towards your door with your key in your pocket, touch a sensor and the door will automatically unlock. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

The SmartSecure brand also includes ‘SmartConnect easy’ an access control package using a smartphone: an intelligent WLAN-based system that provides keyless operation and monitoring. Sensor monitoring of door leaf and bolt position ensures complete peace of mind as locking status can be verified from any location, whenever required.

Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

Early interest in SmartSecure in the UK is coming from care homes, residential & Housing Association organisations and this is where the first contracts have been won.

 

Selling Solutions

Expanding on the value of the technology, John Crittenden says:

“The appeal to Housing Associations comes from the safety and access features afforded by FUHR’s multitronic
locking system. This is a very neat product which, although it can be described as hi-tech, it is by no means complicated.

“What we are selling here are solutions. We’re not promoting the FUHR multitronic per se, we are providing an answer to controlled access… this means that only authorised visitors, such as care staff, can enter. And access is easy; the person in the home doesn’t even need to go to the door.

“People reading this might think that all this is great in terms of access and control, but what happens in the event of an emergency escape. That is catered for very efficiently, and very simply, with a door handle over-ride all to
EN 179 and EN 1125 emergency and panic escape standards.

“And, aside from care home organisations, this solution has individual appeal. If anyone is worried about an elderly relative, SmartSecure will give peace of mind. The door lock automatically throws all locking points and fully secures the door on closing, meaning that the door is safe from opportunist burglars.”

Both Carl F Groupco and FUHR recognise that the potential for Smart Tech is huge and that care homes are just the tip of the iceberg.  Around the corner are the ‘Grand Design’ opportunities where, increasingly, people with the aspiration for home improvements are looking for state-of-the-art solutions to advance controls and enhance their door locking technology.

Supporting the company’s promotion of SmartSecure is a permanent stand at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon.  The display presents the solutions, and their advantages, to the self-build, renovation and home improvement markets.

The potential for SmartSecure is such that the brand has become  a major new division for Carl F Groupco supported by specially commissioned marketing materials including a video, website, literature and showroom at the company’s Peterborough distribution and administration centre. The company’s technical and sales teams have all been fully trained in the products to provide the answers and support that are needed to support the electronic evolution.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about our different access control options, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Carl F Groupco’s hands on hardware

Julie Warner demonstrates the Roto / PN System 700 launched to the UK at the FIT Show by Carl F Groupco.

Julie Warner demonstrates the Roto / PN System 700 launched to the UK at the FIT Show by Carl F Groupco.

An article written for Window News, July 2017.

Exhibiting on its largest ever purpose built stand, a wide range of hands-on hardware displays were by presented by Carl F Groupco at this year’s FIT Show. Centre stage was SmartSecure – Carl F Groupco’s electronic locking and smart access control solutions: launched at last year’s exhibition, the company celebrated the first anniversary of the brand and its success becoming established as a smart hardware hub.

Managing Director John Crittenden was pleased to meet Window News to present a display which distilled the company’s range of over 7,000 product lines and highlight a handy hardware selector tool that has been developed in-house – watch this space for a new app based on the selector.

Regarding SmartSecure, first year achievements have included developing a fully equipped showroom at the company’s UK distribution centre in Peterborough which presents solutions in a range of installations. Carl F Groupco has also established a permanent SmartSecure display at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) and supplied doors for a number of customers’ demonstration showrooms.

Not Just a Lock in a Box

Commenting on the interest in Smart Tech, John explained:

“Attitudes are changing. The UK market is starting to put value on locking and control technology. What we are doing here is selling solutions…..this is not just a lock in a box and it isn’t a gadget. The real value comes from ease of access and the ability to check remotely that people are secure. This technology is of huge support, and interest, to the care sector, and this is where we are experiencing early attention that is converting to sales.  With the likes of British Gas heavily promoting its HIVE system, there is growing awareness of the capabilities of smart home technology.

“Electronic locking and smart access control are no longer visionary technologies, they are a practical reality. This market is huge: it represents over 20% of FUHR’s business and we are just starting to tap into its application potential. Italy and Germany are the biggest markets, with the UK and Holland following as major growth sectors.

“We recognise the importance of providing a full range of solutions with comprehensive support. We have never been just ‘box shifters’, we have always backed our product ranges with full technical service and this philosophy has never been more important than in our support for the electronic evolution.”

System 700 Show Launch

Aside from SmartSecure, there was plenty to talk about regarding Carl F Groupco’s mainstay hardware range that is the backbone of the company’s offer. As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, the new System 700 range for reversible windows was revealed. The fully reversible system features a slimmer hinge that works on a 7mm groove. With consistent aesthetics across all window types, widespread appeal is predicted including the new build housing market. Expanding on the product launch, John said:

“Reversible windows are an established market dating back over twenty-five years. What we have with the System 700 is an upgraded version of the PN UNI product that retains the trademark durability and functionality while advancing the range making it easier to fit. The latest product in the PN by Roto series is ideal for timber fabricators and systems companies looking to complement their flush casement window range.”

There was a real buzz on the Carl F Groupco stand with staff kept busy demonstrating products. The comprehensive selection of hardware on display also included Cotswold, Greenwood, Hoppe, Ingenious, Kenrick, MACO, Siegenia and Trojan products.

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock from SmartSecure, please click here.

For more information about the System 700 reversible gearing, click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Opening Doors: Access Control in The Domestic Sector

An article written for Glass and Glazing Products, June 2017.

Access control technology has been adopted in industrial and commercial buildings for decades and has evolved to create hugely complex and effective systems to suit the fast-moving pace of business. What is intriguing is the relatively slow transition into residential property. However, as Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure explains in this article, the potential in the domestic sector is about to be realised.

The domestic access control market offers major potential.

The domestic access control market offers major potential.

“The application of, and confidence in, smart solutions in the industrial sector abounds – everywhere we look in the commercial market we see its adoption.

So, why has the domestic sector been slow on the uptake?

One important reason is perception:  the general public often aren’t aware that access control can be simply incorporated into their front door.

All this is changing, interest in Smart Tech is increasing and this is reflected in the number of articles published on the subject, and the exhibitions that are dedicated to the topic, or incorporate it within their remit. We are all familiar with the features regularly appearing in the national press – a simple google search provides numerous articles on the subject.

Smart Technology is also a hot topic at many current events, not least the FIT Show. Outside the glass and glazing industry, there is the Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Summit, now in its third year in London:  a number of high profile brand names backing the event confirm the importance of the subject of intelligent connected living. And, with powerful influencers like Grand Designs promoting Smart Tech, it is clear that we are on the cusp of its more widespread adoption in the home.

People will always want to ensure only those they trust can enter their home: what is evolving is how access is granted.  And, as we rely increasingly on Smart Home technology, the security of the systems in place is becoming more important than ever before.  

Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s Business Development Manager for SmartSecure.

At Carl F Groupco, we believe that development and simplification of access control are key to meeting the needs of the home owner. Intuitive design and application is essential: this is the way Smart Tech will move forward in the domestic market.

Access control has worked in the commercial sector since the 1960’s and has effectively eliminated the problems relating to the loss of keys and the issues associated with instant barring of access to unwanted visitors. Although ideal for business, entry systems such as swipe cards are not quite slick enough to enhance our experience of entering our homes, and houses aren’t built with the infrastructure required to support and run commercial systems. Addressing this, Smart Tech has allowed access control products normally associated with commercial buildings to be simplified to suit the domestic market.

Domestic Demand

The domestic access control market is in its infancy, but growing fast. The major opportunity comes from the lack of access control currently in residential properties. With 28.1 million houses in the UK and a Government pushing to build 250,000 new homes a year, the scope is clear to see.
It’s also clear that the retrofit market is buoyant, with DIY installs on the up. The first fit market for people buying new doors is expanding too, with more and more door manufacturers offering a ‘Smart’ solution.

As one of the UK’s leading distributors of window and door hardware it’s imperative that we stay ahead of the curve. Our dedication to having a specialist SmartSecure brand means we can provide expert guidance on this developing market, and supply products and services to suit.  We have utilised Smart Tech to offer the simplified solutions that home owners need – the development of access via mobile with the SmartSecure option SmartConnect and concealed solutions, such as SmartTouch, have made accessing homes much more convenient.

For a hands-on demonstration, and to have your questions answered about the latest in electronic door locking and access control solutions, visit the purpose-built SmartSecure showroom and training centre at Carl F Groupco’s UK distribution and administration offices in Peterborough. Alternatively, we have a display at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) in Swindon, the UK’s only permanent venue designed to support the self-build, renovation and home improvement markets.

These are exciting times for the growth of smart solutions: anyone interested in any aspect of the new generation smart access control locking solutions is invited, without obligation, to call our office to speak to one of our technical advisors.”

 

For more details on the FUHR multitronic 881 lock, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Carl F Groupco reveals new Roto / PN System 700 range

System 700, a new range of fully reversible hardware for windows manufactured by Roto/Peder Nielsen (PN), was launched by Carl F Groupco at the FIT Show. As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, Carl F Groupco played a pivotal role announcing the new range on its stand.

Julie Warner, Carl F Groupco’s Roto / PN Product Manager and John Mitchell, the company’s Technical Manager with the new System 700.

Julie Warner, Carl F Groupco’s Roto / PN Product Manager and John Mitchell, the company’s Technical Manager with the new System 700.

Julie Warner, a Product Manager for Carl F Groupco who has worked with Roto / PN for over 16 years explains the importance of the announcement:

“The launch of System 700 at the FIT Show drew significant attention from across the industry. A slimmer hinge, which works on a 7mm groove, makes the product the ideal solution for aluminium and PVCu systems companies and timber fabricators who need to provide a fully reversible option for flush casement windows. The new build housing market will also be interested as consistent design aesthetics are offered across all window types.

“The System 700 retains the trademark durability and impressive functionality that is offered by all hardware in the PN by Roto range.”

Carl F Groupco has a long-standing relationship with PN that dates back to 2001 and which has continued following the acquisition of PN by Roto in 2016. Main lines are UNI top swing reversible gearing with two variants, Standard and Hotel, which complement Carl F Groupco’s hardware range.

 

For more details about the System 700, please click here.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Carl F Groupco’s FIT Show Success

Pamela Wilson (left), a Regional Sales Manager for Carl F Groupco and Marketing Assistant Rebecca Haynes at this year’s exhibition.

Pamela Wilson (left), a Regional Sales Manager for Carl F Groupco and Marketing Assistant Rebecca Haynes at this year’s exhibition.

High quality visits from decision makers, the launch of System 700 – Roto / PN’s new fully reversible hardware, freshly baked cookies and SmartSecure developments showcased on the stand combined to make this year’s FIT Show extremely successful for Carl F Groupco.

 

The show marked the first anniversary of SmartSecure since its launch at last year’s ‘FIT’. As part of the anniversary achievements, Carl F Groupco has achieved its goal of providing a smart hardware hub based on its electronic locking and smart access solutions.

 

Commenting, Carl F Groupco’s Managing Director, John Crittenden said:

 

Visitors to the Carl F Groupco stand at the FIT Show 2017.

Visitors to the Carl F Groupco stand at the FIT Show 2017.

“We are very much about personalised service and support. The FIT Show is therefore the ideal opportunity for us to meet up with our existing clients and showcase our range to potential customers. The exhibition also offers the chance for people to try our products and technology – this is particularly helpful for SmartSecure: once people have seen first-hand how simple and effective our smart solutions are, it is much easier to convey its capabilities.”

 

Carl F Groupco had expanded its stand to 96 sq metres to include a larger number of hands on displays, hospitality and a hardware selector. The company has also secured a place for the 2019 show.

 

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Women In Industry: Clare Crockett – Marketing Manager

An article written for Clearview, May 2017.

 

1. Describe your current role – what do you enjoy most about it and what are the more challenging aspects of it?

As Marketing Manager for hardware distributor Carl F Groupco, I am responsible for managing the marcomms for all our brands, including Carl F Groupco, SmartSecure and Carl F direct. The scope of my role includes planning and strategy. I enjoy the variety of my work, which includes practical implementation of campaigns and close interaction with the rest of the team. As distributors of over 7,000 hardware products there is often a challenge presenting the diversity of the range, but with this comes the satisfaction of successfully showcasing our lines and service capabilities.

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

Clare Crockett: Marketing Manager

2. Explain your previous roles and qualifications, and how they lead to your current job – how has your previous experience benefitted the job you do now?

After graduation from Oxford Brookes University with a BA in Marketing Management in 2008 I became Marketing Assistant for, what was then, Carl F Petersen. I was heavily involved in the rebranding of Groupco and Carl F Petersen following the merger in 2010 which resulted in the formation of Carl F Groupco and that paved the way to my promotion to Marketing Manager.

 

3. What job did you aspire to have when you were at school?

At school I loved Business and Media Studies. For me, Marketing is a great combination of both of these disciplines where I get the best of both worlds. It’s great to be working at the forefront of Carl F Groupco’s strategy including creating the new brand SmartSecure and developing collateral to help achieve our business objectives. The marketing role fulfils the career path aspirations I had at school.

 

4. What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the industry?

I wouldn’t say that there are any particular challenges to face as a woman in this industry. Most organisations have women at senior levels and, as I look around me, 40% of the Carl F Groupco workforce is women, a number of whom are in senior positions.

 

5. Likewise, what opportunities are there for women coming into the industry and would you recommend it?

I would definitely recommend this industry to anyone; there are plenty of opportunities for good career paths. As long as you are passionate, committed and qualified there is scope to succeed.

 

6. What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar career?

My advice would be to know yourself and know your craft. It is also imperative to put customers at the heart of the matter. Be prepared to stand back from your work and be critical – don’t be afraid of inviting comment from colleagues and customers. Gender is not a barrier to career progression.

 

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk
Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure.

Carl F Groupco at the FIT Show 2017: Smart Tech and Hardware Highlights

After winning the most successful visitor campaign at the FIT Show in 2016, Carl F Groupco prepares to return to the exhibition with a bigger stand, more Smart Tech demonstrations and impressive hardware innovations. Managing Director John Crittenden explains why the show is exciting for the company, and for visitors to the Carl F Groupco display:

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco.

John Crittenden, Managing Director, Carl F Groupco.

“We work hard to be proactive and, as we offer one of the largest and most innovative hardware ranges in the UK, our demonstration area always has strong appeal. Our 96 sq metre stand houses exciting new generation hardware in the form of SmartSecure, our electronic locking and smart access control brand, plus a range of industry leading hardware highlights.

With over 7,000 product lines from leading manufacturers, it is always a challenge for us to consolidate our range. But, hats off to our marketing and technical teams, they have devised a stand that is impressive in design, appealing in terms of hands-on displays and comfortable with a large area for visitors to sit down, enjoy refreshments and discuss their hardware requirements.

We will be presenting flagship lines and our fabulous new catalogue will be available that summarises all our ranges. We also have a hardware selector that we are launching at the FIT Show 2017 – we understand the challenges of selecting the right fittings so, with this in mind, we have devised an intuitive display supported by product examples, graphics, information points and a touch-screen catalogue.

Specialist Doors Spotlight SmartSecure

SmartSecure is one of our largest dedicated areas. Working demonstrations will enable visitors to trial the easy-to-use electronic locking and smart access systems. The show is the ideal opportunity for visitors to try out the new technology – it is so much easier to understand how it can be used, its benefits and the simplicity of installation when it is seen first-hand. Visitors can trial the SmartConnect easy access control that opens doors with a smart phone or tablet. They can also try SmartTouch comfort, which uses pioneering active transponder technology and enables entry by simply touching a sensor when the active transponder is in range. Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.

Specialist doors will be featured: designed to illustrate a range of popular applications, high end residential, communal and commercial installations are presented. We know this will be a very popular area but, rest assured, fully trained staff will be on hand to give demonstrations and answer questions.

Once you have seen the technology in use, the applications and benefits are easy to appreciate. Smart Tech is a groundbreaking evolution impacting all sectors. If people are already aware of the concept, we encourage them to come onto our stand for a demonstration and, if anyone is unsure, pop on for a chat – we can explain all the features and de-mystify the technology.

New Roto Range Revealed

As sole distributor of PN hardware by Roto in the UK, we are in the privileged position of showcasing the new System 700 range for reversible windows at the FIT Show. The new fully reversible system with a slimmer hinge that works on a 7mm groove, the latest product from the Roto/PN stable, is ideal for systems companies who are looking to complement their flush casement window range. With consistent aesthetics across all window types, the new system will have widespread appeal, including the new build housing market.

Market Leading Manufacturers

Along with a display of tilt and turn windows, other products on the stand will include ranges from Cotswold, FUHR, Greenwood, Hoppe, Ingenious, Kenrick, MACO, Siegenia and Trojan.

With so much on show, we encourage visitors to hot foot it to stand E40 to sample SmartSecure and have an overview of our hardware highlights.”

 

Click here to register as a VIP for the FIT Show.

Carl F Groupco Limited: Tel: 01733 393330
For more information, contact sales@carlfgroupco.co.uk

Follow Carl F Groupco on Twitter using the handles @Carl_F_Groupco and @_SmartSecure