Getting Smart in the Hardware Sector

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Smart tech is a burgeoning market and, in the history of the UK’s hardware sector, this is one of the most exciting opportunities presented to installers to be at the forefront of a technology evolution. In this article for Total Installer magazine, Carl F Groupco’s Managing Director John Crittenden looks at the growth of Smart solutions and the appeal of SmartSecure, the company’s electronic door locking and access control brand.

“Before looking at market expansion, it is useful to define SmartSecure, which is the most pioneering product initiative and biggest development investment we have undertaken in our 50+ years of trading. SmartSecure is a suite of solutions based on the FUHR multitronic 881 door lock kit. 

The electromechanical multipoint locking system, with integrated panic function, is suitable for aluminium, timber, composite or PVCu main entrance doors in residential and non-residential properties. SmartSecure access control options include SmartConnect designed for easy door opening using a Smartphone and SmartTouch, which operates like Smart car technology - all that is needed is a small transponder in the vicinity of the door. Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control. 

Since launching SmartSecure in 2016, we can report widespread adoption across a range of sectors including the fabrication market, social housing / Housing Associations and high end residential clients who recognise benefits across different access control applications. 

In just three years since the launch of SmartSecure, we have witnessed a significant shift in the perception of electronic locking and Smart access control. As we adopt Smart technology in other areas of our homes with lights, heating and cameras, Smart door locks are becoming increasingly accessible. The expansion of the Smart sector is clear and this is supported by YouGov research which, in a Smart Homes 2018 report, indicated that close to a quarter of Britons (23%) own one or more Smart home devices (excluding Smart meters), while one in ten (8%) now have two or more, underlining the growth in the industry.  

Supporting the trend towards Smart tech, Trombé, specialists in architectural design, structural glazing and extensions for high-end contemporary residential and commercial projects, has incorporated 
SmartSecure technology into its minimal frame sliding door system.   Flexibility of the SmartSecure solution was a major benefit to Trombé – the ability to fit the lock into the frame and the keep onto the sash meant the aesthetics of the slim frame design weren’t compromised. 

There are a number of compelling reasons for installers to embrace the changing tide towards Smart tech and champion the new solutions. SmartSecure’s simplicity of use and flexibility of installation has considerable appeal. Security and control advantages are also provided to the user –  the capability of only permitting entry to authorised personnel, and the freedom to provide access ‘keys’,  is extremely empowering.

The Smart Set

Additionally, the incorporation of brand leader technology into the suite of SmartSecure solutions is very compelling. A Smart tech advancement by FUHR means that customers can now use Alexa-enabled devices, such as Amazon Echo, to control SmartConnect app functions. 

It’s incredible that, when we launched SmartSecure in 2016, we talked about being able to use an app to monitor your door and provide access keys. Now you don’t even need to log into the app – you can talk to Amazon Alexa. Because Alexa lives in the cloud it’s always getting smarter which means new capabilities are always being delivered to your device. Using Alexa with SmartConnect is simple and hands-free – just ask, and Alexa will respond instantly.  

The Smart market is a major opportunity for everyone working in the hardware industry. With wider adoption we will all benefit from sector growth and installers have an important part to play in the evolution to new generation locking solutions. We can assure readers that the fitting process is straightforward and we are on hand to help - our technically qualified advisors are trained to provide advice on all aspects of SmartSecure and to assist with any installation questions.”