Embracing Automation

In this article for Window News, John Crittenden, Managing Director of Carl F Groupco explains that attitudes in the hardware sector are changing regarding automation.

Ten years ago some capability was offered, but Smart Tech hadn’t been embraced by the UK market and the appetite for electronic systems was embryonic.

Today that is changing, solutions have been created, capabilities are being recognised and people are putting real value on the technology.

Looking at why we are on the cusp of a boom in Smart Tech, John points to three things:

i)    The acceptance of, and confidence in, automation in other areas of our lives
ii)   The move towards Smart Homes supported by initiatives taken by major utility companies and technology providers
iii)   The impact of national media coverage and the lifestyle vision presented on programmes such as Grand Designs

With regard to the first point, we are immersed in automation and it has widely become the accepted way of life. Cars have been unlocked using key fobs for many years and are even being superseded with keyless entry systems. We don’t question this technology: it has become second nature, it simplifies the process and most of us would be reluctant to return to the traditional key. This significantly helps the evolution to electronic based technologies in the door hardware sector.

Smart Homes no longer sound like a futuristic prediction. Many people have some element of Smart Tech in their property and, spearheaded by major utility providers, we are moving towards full control and connectivity of home appliances.

New electronic era

The new era of electronic living is widely presented on television and in newspaper supplements – it is regularly featured in aspirational TV programmes including Grand Designs. It is also a topic that is taking centre stage at both business and consumer home exhibitions.

Additionally, other countries have been trail blazers setting out the stall for the scope and potential of the new technology. Germany, the home of locking specialists FUHR, has been particularly pioneering in developing and adopting the intelligent home and integrating this within their door fittings.

Against this backdrop, and supported by our long-standing partnership with FUHR, in 2016 Carl F Groupco introduced SmartSecure, our electronic locking and access control brand. With our track record working with FUHR understanding the practicalities and the needs of the market, we made the decision to fully embrace this opportunity.

The established FUHR multitronic 881 locking system is at the heart of SmartSecure – this gives all important validity to the solutions and assurance that it is tried and tested technology.

 

The traditional key is replaced with a range of access control options

‘SmartConnect easy’ is an optional access control package using a smartphone. Keyless operation and monitoring is provided via an intelligent WLAN-based system. Complete assurance is given with sensor monitoring of door leaf and bolt positions that enable verification of the locking status wherever and whenever required.

A second SmartSecure option is ‘SmartTouch’. This pioneering keyless access system enables easy entry by simply touching a sensor. Access to the property is gained if an active, moving transponder is within range and the sensor is touched. This means keys can be in a pocket when hands are full and the door will open – so, no more struggling up to your house with shopping, putting bags down, finding your key, unlocking the door and picking up your bags again. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

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

The real value in Smart Tech, such as SmartSecure, comes from the benefits it affords to users, such as easy access when carrying shopping, as described above. The advantages can be value add aesthetics to create a ‘Grand Design’ style home or  practical and pragmatic reasons such as in the care sector e.g. controlled access to authorised nurse or welfare visitors.

Total support and tailored solutions

Total support is essential. Smart Tech can’t be gloss, hype and vapour ware – it has to be a tailored solution, it has to offer real benefits and it has to be supported. The technology is just the tip of the iceberg. Advice and guidance is needed to assist customers as they embrace the new Smart era – our service team was in place from the outset and we appointed a dedicated Business Development Manager. Additionally, all staff that have customer contact are trained in SmartSecure’s solutions.

These are exciting times for the industry where we are witnessing real change and a real opportunity. At Carl F Groupco we firmly believe that you can’t play around on the side-lines offering ad hoc products: total solutions are needed that are comprehensively supported and this is our focus for SmartSecure.

 

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.

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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.

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

Carl F Groupco’s fully interactive showroom showcases the capabilities of SmartSecure’s electronic locking and smart access control capabilities.

Carl F Groupco Showroom Showcases SmartSecure

A fully interactive showroom has been designed and built by Carl F Groupco at its Peterborough distribution centre for its SmartSecure electronic locking and smart access control brand. The facility, which is part of an investment of over £100,000 in SmartSecure, showcases all access control options including fingerprint recognition, transponder, keypad, SmartTouch and SmartConnect easy.

Commissioned to demonstrate the capabilities of the FUHR multitronic 881 hardware that is at the heart of SmartSecure solutions, the comprehensive showroom features eight fully electronic doors and a demonstration area which confirms the simplicity of hardware selection and installation.

Commenting, Phil Rice, Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure Business Development Manager said:

“With aluminium, composite, PVCu and timber doors represented, and a separate area for hands on training where Carl F Groupco specialists illustrate how easy it is to prepare a door and fit the hardware, the showroom is already proving popular with visitors keen to be at the forefront of the electronic evolution.”

Anyone interested in booking a free, no obligation, visit to the SmartSecure showroom should contact the
Carl F Groupco sales office on Tel: 01733 393330.

 

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

Or click on the Access Control options below for more details:

Radio Access Controls

SmartConnect easy

SmartTouch comfort

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

Carl F Groupco’s new video detailing applications of SmartSecure, the company’s electronic door locking and smart access control solutions brand.

New video showcases SmartSecure Solutions

 

With particular focus on access control options, the video enables end-users to visualise the application, and advantages, of a SmartSecure installation in their home. Smart access technologies illustrated in the video include the app based ‘SmartConnect easy’ and ‘SmartTouch comfort’ – pioneering technology which, with an active transponder in the user’s pocket, allows entry by simply touching a sensor.

The video can be viewed on the SmartSecure website http://www.smartsecure.co.uk or via the Carl F Groupco You Tube channel. Designed for sales and training purposes, it is available free of charge for customer use including showrooms to support demonstration products.

A high quality, professionally animated video has been commissioned by Carl F Groupco to promote SmartSecure. The three minute film depicts the capabilities of the company’s state-of-the-art SmartSecure solutions for electronic door locking and smart access control.

 

You can watch the full length video here:

 

 

 

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

Or you can visit our dedicated SmartSecure website for detailed information on the whole range.

 

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: The demographics of distribution

Carl F Groupco: The demographics of distribution

Carl F Groupco is responding to developing demographics with SmartSecure

Carl F Groupco is responding to developing demographics with SmartSecure

An article written for Windows Active, September 2016.

 

In this article, Carl F Groupco highlights the importance of considering demographics, such as an ageing population, when developing a hardware range. The importance of this topic has been reinforced with conferences such as ‘Neighbourhoods of the Future’ which was attended by Windows Active and  Carl F Groupco and addressed issues including smart homes, new financing models and urban retrofitting. 

The evidence of an ageing population is confirmed by statistics that show an increase in life expectancy in the EU. In 1990, the average length of life was 74.1 years. By 2012, our life expectancy had increased significantly to 79.2 years. By 2025 it is estimated that more than 20% of the European population will be 65 years old, or above.

Developing Demographics

Cities need to adjust, architects need to plan and they need to be supported by a fenestration industry that provides products that support this developing demographic.

Responding to this trend, established distributor Carl F Groupco has looked at what the hardware industry can do to enable people to live independently in their homes for longer. Heavy investment in R&D has ensured that the company has its finger on the pulse of developing trends and Smart technology has been identified as a key element in the hardware supplier’s armoury to support developing demographics.

Launched at this year’s FIT Show, SmartSecure from Carl F Groupco is a state-of-the-art solution for electronic door locking and Smart access control. And, while it was breaking news, the solution can be used with confidence – it has established FUHR technology at its heart, it is fully tested and it is proven in operation.

Home security and access issues have been identified by the company as extremely important for older people. As a result, SmartSecure is designed to make life easier for all age groups including the elderly, and to give peace of mind to carers.

Smart access technologies within the range include ‘SmartConnect easy’, an app based access control and ‘SmartTouch comfort’, pioneering access control technology which means that, with an active transponder about your person e.g.  in your pocket, the door can be opened simply by moving towards it and gently touching a sensor.

Importantly, the FUHR multitronic 881 automatically locks all security points by a patented twin drive motor, securely and reliably in just seconds after closing giving absolute assurance that the door has been locked – this is particularly helpful for people who struggle to find their keys, or those who find it difficult to lift a lever to engage locking points. It also means increased protection is provided.

Peace of mind is also afforded as door locking status can be checked at any time. An illuminated light on the inside of the door indicates that the lock is engaged and locking status can be checked using building management systems.  Sensor monitoring of door leaf and locking status is also available with the ‘SmartConnect easy’ app which means that carers or relatives can check to see if the door is secure.

As well as radio key fobs supplied as standard, additional SmartSecure radio-based access control systems are also available. With a strong security benefit, a radio fingerprint scanner provides keyless biometric access control. A radio keypad allows users to open doors with an individually-selectable 4 to 8 digit code and it is compatible with most access controls.

Housing association feedback has included comments that elderly people can be overly trusting, or may forget to lift a traditional lever handle compromising their security and the lifespan of the door. Both issues are addressed with SmartSecure technology.

Simplicity and Sophistication

Any concern that high levels of sophistication bring complications in use are countered by Carl F Groupco who recognise that simplicity is key to success. Commenting, Carl F Groupco’s SmartSecure Business Development Manager Phil Rice said:

“To be truly effective, particularly for older users, Smart access control and locking technology has to be easy-to-use, totally reliable and secure. These requirements have been addressed by SmartSecure – the fob is as intuitive to use as car technology and the FUHR 881 multitronic fully motorised multipoint mechanism has received continued investment over the last decade to ensure that it is a highly advanced, robust solution that can be adopted with total confidence.”

An ageing population is a very real fact of our future and Carl F Groupco is one company that believes in investing in solutions that support this rising trend.

Carl F Groupco advises that, in the constant evolution of the hardware catalogue, the distributor should provide both staple lines and support emerging trends.  As such, it is essential that our ageing population is not overlooked and its needs are comprehensively addressed by the hardware sector.

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

Significant access-control advancements offered by SmartSecure

SmartSecure, an electronic door locking and smart access control brand launched by Carl F Groupco, incorporates state-of-the-art technology which provides strong security and safety features. With aesthetic, practical and technical benefits, the solution is designed to have widespread appeal for architectural, construction and building management professionals across wide-ranging installations including housing associations, the growing retirement-living sector and care homes.

The ’SmartConnect easy’ app based access control, one of the innovative packages available as a SmartSecure option.

The ’SmartConnect easy’ app based access control, one of the innovative packages available as a SmartSecure option.

Commenting on the capabilities of SmartSecure, the latest addition to the hardware distributor’s offer, Phil Rice, Business Development Manager for SmartSecure said:

“The FUHR multitronic 881 locking technology at the heart of the solution automatically locks all points securely and reliably by a patented twin motor in just seconds after closing the door… this ensures effective locking and increased protection. Feedback from housing associations has told us that some elderly people can be overly trusting, or they may forget to lift a lever handle – which is a requirement of conventional multipoint door locks: these issues are addressed with SmartSecure technology.

“All components can be concealed, which reduces the risk of tampering and, for total flexibility, the system can be integrated with existing access control or building management systems.”

 

‘SmartConnect easy’ is an optional access control package using a smartphone: this intelligent WLAN-based system is a significant USP 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.

 
‘SmartTouch’ is a pioneering access system that is another SmartSecure option. Easy entry is enabled by simply touching a sensor. Using innovative technology, access is facilitated if an active, moving transponder is within range. For a stylish, concealed solution, the sensor can also be fitted within a pull handle.

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

 
Carl F Groupco’s trademark service, including comprehensive technical support, underpins the new SmartSecure brand. Fully trained specialists are on hand to advise.

 

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

 

Or you can visit our dedicated SmartSecure website for detailed information on the whole range.

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