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.
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 Cars have been unlocked using key fobs for many years and are even being superseded with keyless entry systems.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.