New home construction boasts digital security
Recent advances in the safety and security category are nothing short of mind blowing, with an increasing demand for consumer convenience seeing more homes than ever installing digital locks. Australian Hardware Journal reporter, Christine Bannister, investigates the latest in digital security.
ASSA ABLOY Australia Region President, David Oliver, agrees that current trends in the safety and security market include an increasing demand for convenient digital locking, with more homes than ever installing digital locks.
“New houses are also starting to have keyless entries fitted and we are seeing a similar trend in the retro fit market as consumer interest in digital locking increases. New innovative design and finishes that offer consumers a greater choice will certainly be part of ASSA ABLOY’s offer in 2016. We will be inviting the retail hardware industry to attend breakfast innovation briefings in Sydney and Melbourne in early 2016, which I’m excited about as this will give us an opportunity as an industry to discuss trends and strategies,” Mr Oliver said.
New product innovation remains the focus for ASSA ABLOY in 2016, with 10 new products to be released throughout the next 12 months, according to Mr Oliver.
“In 2016 ASSA ABLOY will continue to drive consumer brand recognition, particularly Lockwood. This will support our retailers in-store as consumers seek out our products,” Mr Oliver said.
New to his role as Australian Region President, Mr Oliver said his biggest priorities are centred on improving ASSA ABLOY’s safety culture internally, improving delivery and performance for its customers and launching new and innovative products faster.
“Ultimately my focus is to ensure we are a valued supplier to our customers and their customers, now and long into future. We have made some changes already to improve customer focus and improve operational excellence. This includes the appointment of Shona Fitzgerald as our Director of Sales and Marketing. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for our customers,” he said.
“More recently we have also expanded our residential keying production facility located at our Oakleigh plant in Melbourne. This increases our capacity to produce residential house lock keying, with the introduction of an improved conveying and batching system, to improve our efficiency and output.”
“On top of greater capacity, we will also be able to improve the speed and delivery performance across some of our core residential housing products like Nexion, 001 and window locks as well as all of our C4 range across the Lockwood, Whitco and Yale brands,” Mr Oliver said.
72 new SKU’s for Yale
ASSA ABLOY will also significantly expand its Yale range of products across door furniture and padlocks, according to Mr Oliver.
“It’s going to be an exciting year, with 72 new SKUs planned for this launch. Within this we will continue to introduce new digital products across both Lockwood and Yale to further cement our position as the world’s largest manufacturer of digital deadbolts.”
“The retail hardware market is a key area of focus for us and we will continue to provide new and innovative products that will pull forward demand to replace existing locksets in consumer’s homes, particularly in digital solutions. ASSA ABLOY, as the largest global manufacture of digital door locks, will continue to launch new innovative products in this growing sector. Highly innovative secure products are a major focus for us and this supports retailers to increase basket spend with the ability to command a higher retail price for new technology that consumers want in their home,” Mr Oliver said.
One sector that has seen the most significant growth areas are both the retail and the volume home building sector, according to Mr Oliver.
“The challenge for the hardware industry in 2016 is the question of what happens after we hit a record high in housing and apartment starts. How, as an industry, do we continue to drive new demand irrespective of new construction? This is something that we are very aware of within product development and our new products are intended to drive early replacement of product to increase industry demand,” he said.
For now, ASSA ABLOY plans to continue to invest in local capability, particularly with the introduction of two new robotic assembly lines here in Oakleigh, according to Mr Oliver.
“The assembly lines will increase capacity and allow us to run some production through the night without anyone on site. In terms of facilities development, our Western Australia distribution facility is currently benefiting from a significant capital investment that will ensure faster, more efficient distribution to the Western Australian market,” he said.
Home builds drive security category
The residential security market remains tied to new home construction, which has seen significant growth in the last year, according to Allegion Marketing Manager (Australian and New Zealand), Craig Patterson.
“While the renovation market still has influence over the door hardware category, new home builds are the main driver. The rise of apartments, including huge growth in apartment construction in the last 24 months, has seen a shift in demand for hardware, from locksets to door furniture and has changed the product mix,” Mr Patterson said.
“Keyless entry also continues to grow and have influence over the market. There is also a continued move to link to other technologies, particularly phones. Consumers have increasingly become more confident with electronic security including cars, banking, payments and home security. Moving from the safety of a mechanical key to keyless is a continuing evolution,” he said.
Just some of the main issues facing the industry currently include the decrease in the Australian dollar and rise in cost of raw materials, which is also putting an increased strain on manufacturers, according to Mr Patterson.
“Other industry issues include lower quality imports, with products being brought in not meeting the demands and expectations of the Australian market. This has been found particularly in the construction of apartments. Online sales and reference websites, both local and international, continue to have an influence over the market. It is a key area of focus for the industry, as online content has more influence on purchasing decisions,” he said.
In the last two years alone, Allegion has experienced substantial internal change, particularly since its spin-off from Ingersoll Rand and establishing Allegion. However, Mr Patterson said the changes have so far been very positive, with a strong global and local strategy strengthening Allegion and growing the family of brands, of which there are now 28. Allegion’s acquisition of Brio in May this year, has also seen a lot of synergies and collaboration between the two businesses with positive outcomes.
Allegion’s recent launches
This year Allegion has introduced several innovative products onto the market including Schlage Touch Keypad lock sets and deadbolts and has already received positive market feedback on the product’s style, finishes and functions.
Also launched this year was the Schlage 7000 Series lever sets, including new lever designs in the popular 7000 Series stainless steel range that meet current Australian accessibility codes.
Schlage Regent Austin lever sets were also introduced early 2015, with the Austin lever expanding choice in the popular Regent Series.
Exciting plans are well in place for Allegion in 2016 with several new products planned including the Schlage F Series and B Series in matte black. The market already has a black theme developing throughout the home with light fixtures, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and now door hardware.
Allegion will also soon release the Schlage F Series Latitude lever sets and B Series deadbolts in matte black, with the series boasting a lifetime warranty on both the finish and mechanics.
“To meet the changing needs of the market and our products, we are refreshing the brand messaging to encompass what door hardware really means to our customers. It’s an exciting direction and a great way to continue to modernise the segment,” Mr Patterson said.
Gainsborough goes back to black
Gainsborough Hardware also continues to launch a series of new product ranges in the next 12 months, according to GWA Door & Access Systems marketing and communication manager, Josephine Evans.
“Gainsborough’s Trilock Omni Back to Back is a stylish new addition to our renowned Trilock range. The architecturally designed Trilock Omni Back to Back features 600mm pull handles, with a cleverly concealed lever on both the interior and exterior of the door. Finished in either a premium stainless steel or polished stainless steel, the Omni’s sleek design is functional and reliable, while effortlessly meeting the aesthetic demands of modern, minimalist architectural style,” Ms Evans said.
“The hidden lever is ideal for quick, easy access and is particularly accommodating for busy lifestyles and lively households. It also minimises grime and dirt build-up on the primary handle, allowing family members and guests to pass through without leaving a mark. It also features our award-winning, world renowned three in one Trilock technology for safety, security and convenience, and all in the one lock.”
“Trilock’s lockset function allows for a quick escape in the event of an emergency, without the use of a key. In this mode, homeowners can exit by simply turning the interior lever, while the door remains locked on the outside. The deadbolt is key-operated from both sides on double cylinder versions, or by a turn-button from the inside and a key from the outside on single cylinder versions. The heavy-duty feature includes a 20mm throw, providing top security and protection against lock-picking or forced entry. When Trilock is un-snibbed, it operates as a standard passage set, allowing free access in or out of the home,” she said.
The Trilock Omni Back to Back range also includes a five year tarnish resistant and 10 year mechanical guarantee, and is available in polished stainless or stainless steel finishes.
At the forefront of style and innovation, Gainsborough’s Matt Black Range also provides a blend of contemporary and chic, perfect for homes looking to showcase the latest trends, Ms Evans said.
“The Matt Black Trilock highlights contemporary design at its best. Featuring concealed fixings, the Trilock provides a sleek, modern finish and features a 68mm square rosette. The Matt Black Leversets coordinate perfectly with the Gainsborough Matt Black Trilock for a bold design statement and the leversets are available in passage, privacy and dummy functionality,” she said.
Digital entry lever lock
In keeping with emerging trends, Gainsborough is also launching its digital entry lever lock throughout November and December, which will offer the ultimate convenience and access to homes without compromising security, according to Ms Evans.
“Entry is made quick and easy utilising the illuminated electronic key pad or by tapping/touching your RFID entry tag. The lockset also comes with a traditional set of keys for manual key override, giving users complete peace of mind. The DIY electronic entrance sets are easy to install (even for the DIY market), retrofittable on standard 54mm holes and are available in satin chrome and bright chrome finishes.”
“Gainsborough is well advanced in the development of its next generation digital products as well as the latest styles in door furniture. Expect to see new releases in both areas from the business in 2016. At Gainsborough, we pride ourselves on our style and innovation that sets us apart from our competitors. For over forty years Gainsborough has built our reputation on developing and producing leading-edge door hardware – innovative levers and locks that work silently to reflect your style and needs,” Ms Evans said.
Digital leads the way
Digital, digital, digital is the current talking point of the industry, particularly in safety and security, according to Trio.
“The talking point of safety and security is all about digital innovations arising across the globe and it is evidence of how our industry is evolving and the product drivers are working towards new mind sets,” Trio recently reported.
Trio’s first step into the digital era is The Quicklock, a digital padlock that not only offers security but much more.
“The point of difference for The Quicklock is the innovation in the key, which has been replaced by two digital forms, NFC and Bluetooth technology. The NFC ‘keys’ take the form of a card, FOB, label and even a programed ring. The Bluetooth connects with a smart phone, both the IOS and Android. That’s the beauty with technology. It allows something traditional be re-invented into a new form that gives it so many benefits.”
“By all means the numbers have lifted and depending who you ask and what reports you read will determine where people are on the adoption curve of domestic keyless entry solutions. One thing we can agree on, it has most defiantly lifted the entry solution game. When you have well known TV brands now doing front door locks, you know they are in it for the long term,” Trio reported.
Trio also said it predicts that cheaper product versions will come and go no matter what the industry but it is the brands that understand the Australian market that help to grow this space.
“With every growth stage of a product life cycle comes many challenges. The one that is always inevitable is the price. We cannot escape this factor no matter how great the product is. The Australian people demand a value for money product within their means. What I find ironic is when digital products first came onto the market, it was all about convincing the customer to invest more into a safe product with greater benefits. Now as history tells us, suppliers are going to launch even better products at a cheaper price. This is when things get tricky. How do you put a value on someone’s home with a door lock that is dropping in price and quality?”
“Customers want choice at the best possible price, but the size of our market and population greets us with a conundrum. We don’t have the mass volume of other markets such as USA, hence the reason why we pay so much more compared to Americans,” Trio recently reported.
Reliable digital security
LSC Marketing Manager, Scott McLean agreed that the market is seeing an emergence of customers wanting connective, smart app based security products.
“There is a battle between products that are convenient, like keyless, but still offer the highest level of security. Connective, smart devices will be coming in a big way in 2016 and beyond. Things are always competitive, that’s what makes working in and being a consumer in the hardware industry so interesting,” Mr McLean said.
This year has been busy for LSC with the addition of new products into Masters, as well as developing its door furniture offering and development of electronic products.
“We have some exciting products coming very soon, so watch this space,” Mr McLean said.