In this article for Total Installer, John Mitchell, Technical Manager for Carl F Groupco answers questions about the company’s SmartSecure electronic locking and access control brand.
Q: SmartSecure was at the forefront of Smart Tech for the hardware industry when it was launched in 2016, why did you take this initiative?
A: SmartSecure has been the most significant development in Carl F Groupco’s 50+ year history. Designed to support the emerging electronic locking and Smart access control market, the initiative - which drew on our heritage in the hardware distribution market - positioned us as a lead brand for new generation Smart solutions. It was a significant opportunity and, by spearheading SmartSecure, we established Carl F Groupco as front runners for Smart Tech in the fenestration market.
As a technology led, service focussed organisation we were ideally placed to take Smart locking forward. We also have a long-standing partnership with the German lock manufacturer FUHR and this was central to the introduction of SmartSecure. At the heart of the solution is the FUHR 881 electronically operated, multipoint lock endorsed by Secured by Design: this offers Smart access options plus automatic motorised locking and unlocking. A retrofit route can also be taken using Yale’s Smart locking handle where a Smartphone replaces the traditional key – the door’s existing design features remain intact and mobile keys, distributed via an app, provide access as required.
Q: What are the SmartSecure variants?
A: SmartConnect: Designed for easy door opening using a Smartphone, this intelligent, WLAN-based system offers keyless operation and monitoring. Management of multiple users and allocation of specific entry times is enabled. The system also logs an audit trail reporting on who accesses the property.
SmartTouch: Activated by movement and operating just like Smart car technology, all that is needed is a small transponder in the vicinity of the door. Fitted into a sensor or pull handle, access control is hidden with this discrete and stylish solution.
Other options: Radio-based access control systems are also available including a radio keypad, transponder and fingerprint scanner for keyless biometric access control.
Q: How easy is it to fit SmartSecure?
A: All SmartSecure variants are straightforward to install. The product looks good and, because it is easy to fit, it has ‘clean’ design lines… it also offers practical advantages of access control. Taking SmartConnect for example, no cables are required and a user-friendly app controls a door from any location. With the Yale Conexis Smart Keyless Locking Handle any 92mm PZ door lock can readily be upgraded to incorporate the system, whether retrofit or new door. A number of access control methods can be used including key cards, key tags, phone tags and an app.
Q: Who is using SmartSecure?
A: There is significant demand from the aspirational domestic sector through to social housing and Housing Associations. Smart Tech, which provides convenience in the domestic market, is ever increasing and this growth trend is reflected across other sectors. As awareness increases, fabricators and installers are more willing to adopt the new technology and differentiate their offer.
Q: How do you address home-owners’ preconceptions regarding Smart Tech?
A: There can be a preconception that Smart tech will be complicated and not intuitive to use. This is a misconception… if someone is looking for state-of-the-art electronic door locking and access control to upgrade their home, SmartSecure combines style with simplicity. For anyone that has mastered their car’s automatic ignition or keyless entry, this is no more complicated. Security can be another query, but there is complete peace of mind with the monitoring features and control of ‘keys’ for both the full multipoint and Yale handle options, both solutions are also supported by PAS 24 accreditation.
Q: Why is it important to buy Smart Tech from an established supplier?
A: As with any technology purchase you need to buy from a reputable organisation with an established history – you want to be sure the company will be there to provide support as your system evolves. You also need a technically competent supplier that offers comprehensive, practical and accessible support.