Consumer confidence crucial in safety and security

ASSA ABLOY not only remains innovative with its new product releases, but also continues to raise the bar in the safety and security segment by producing only high-quality products for its customers, according to the company. This ensures that the company’s products not only meet, but often exceed any relevant Australian standards because the products undergo many hours of testing on features and durability. 

This also ensures that when a product reaches the shelves, consumers can be confident that they are of a high standard, ASSA ABLOY Senior Product Manager, Eric Sindel said recently.

“These standards are then communicated to our customers via marketing material such as websites, catalogues and packaging, focusing on the key features of security and durability, while guaranteeing consumers know the key features of the product straight away,” Mr Sindel said.

This year ASSA ABLOY launched several new, high quality products including the Yale Assure Lock SL digital deadbolt, which boasts a variant compatible with Apple’s Homekit ecosystem. 

“After focusing on a growing trend of consumers who wish to control their digital products remotely, the Assure SL with iM1 were developed to be integrated into an Apple Homekit alongside other Apple products in the suite. We have also expanded integration with Amazon Alexa via our ZigBee Network Module for our Yale Assure range of products,” he said.

However, as user awareness and adoption rates climb, the market is becoming increasingly competitive, just like all digital and connected products on the market today, according to Mr Sindel.

“Whilst larger brands continue to compete in the space, there are also a number of new brands entering the market that are creating a diverse spectrum of offerings and applications.”

“Overseas websites are one such competition that continues to create challenges in the digital lock space, with many low-cost imported products making it onto Australian doors. The issue here is that these products may not be certified and tested according to Australian standards, or the digital requirements and safety level your everyday consumer expects,” he said.

Despite the ongoing competition with cheaper, online products, Mr Sindel believes traditional locks will always be a market requirement.

“With consumer awareness growing on digital and connected products for the home, we are seeing increased interest on how these products can assist in managing access to their homes easier, while still providing the security expected from a mechanical offering,” he said.

In saying this, educating consumers on how digital locks can still provide the safety and security of traditional locks is a key challenge today, according to Mr Sindel.

“Internet banking was treated as sceptical when it was first introduced but now, nearly every second person is banking via the internet. These things take time and will eventuate which is why we believe digital locks will become a standard on Australian front doors in the near future.”

“As our Yale digital lock portfolio expands, we will provide consumers with a wide range of products suitable to varying applications. Having an increasing range of product offerings will also provide us with a greater point of difference in the market and against our competitors,” he said.

Looking into the year ahead, Mr Sindel said ASSA ABLOY will continue to work on developing several new products to expand its digital range offerings.

“Our expectation is 2020 will be a big year for Yale digital locks, with a number of product launches planned that we believe will raise the bar in the digital locking space,” he said

Global R&D ensures high quality delivered at Delf

Delf Architectural Hardware is another safety and security company whose popular products continue to raise the bar and boost the market. Delf General Manager, Peter Crossley, attributes the company’s ongoing delivery of excellence to its high-quality production process from start to finish.

“The Delf warranty is part of a promise to our customers that our products are top quality. However, it is not so much about what we say; it is what our products do and how they hold up that tells their own story. Innovation, style and quality are what we strive to give our customers in every product they buy from Delf.”

“The high quality of our products all start with the supply chain, design and manufacturing which also ensures that the design, innovation and materials used are all integral to the quality of Delf products. Delf not only has its own very experienced research and development teams, but also works alongside the R&D team of our globally recognised partners, including Kwikset. We only source from factories that are audited and approved. All of Delf’s trade and commercial products are also backed by warranties, which again reflects the quality of our products, processes and partners,” he said.

The Linear Secure Elba SC Exterior is Delf’s most recent addition to the Secure range.

Mr Crossley believes the extension and development of the Delf range is primarily based on research and demand, with its latest range well received by consumers due to Delf’s dual focus on innovation and technology integration. 

“Just some of the latest Delf product releases include the Elba Secure, which is the newest addition to our flagship Delf Secure range and provides an additional design option in this popular range. The recently released Delf Pull Handle on Plate with heavy duty roller bolt is another new release, which may also be matched with any of the Delf/Kwikset deadbolt range, while Kwikset products included into the Delf range are also now all available in seven new deadbolts (including the Uptown and Downtown designs), six new key-in levers, seven new lever designs in both square and round rosettes, as well as lockable cavity sliding sets,” Mr Crossley said.

Delf’s MetroX Pull Handle Smart Home technology solution is set to be launched in early 2020.

“Ongoing development is what Delf is all about. We continually push to remain in keeping with the local market’s needs and demands while also integrating latest overseas trends that inspire many of our products. Our new product category in the smart home/home automation space is extremely exciting with the new, and cutting-edge, MetroX Pull Handle Smart Home technology solution now in place for launch early next year. We also have a bathroom accessories range that will be available from January. In saying this, I believe our ongoing point-of-difference is definitely Kwikset’s technology combined with Delf’s product quality, innovation and style. We believe this is a winning combination,” he said.

Current trends in the safety and security market do remain firmly with the smart home segment as it continues to gain momentum in Australia, including the demand for Bluetooth locks, according to Mr Crossley.

“Digital locks are definitely a product for everyone which is why they continue to grow within the marketplace. That said, ‘digital’ locks are traditionally defined as those with a keypad. Delf has already gone beyond this by providing secure technology (Kwikset Kevo Touch-to-Open) that eliminates the risks of fingerprint ‘smudges’ posed by keypads.”

“In response to this, the industry is moving its focus on mechanical door safety to very high-tech electronic solutions. With Kwikset’s Touch-to-Open and SmartKey technology, Delf is excellently placed to bring its customers some of the most advanced automated smart home security solutions,” Mr Crossley said.

While high-tech solutions continue to pave the way for the strongly competitive safety and security market, it seems competition has become even more fierce in the online space, according to Mr Crossley.

“The industry is struggling with online competition from both local and overseas vendors. While their products often are of lower quality and also untested, they do hold value to the consumer who is price sensitive. These online vendors generally do not have the back-up service offered by traditional suppliers, so they do not have the cost base, but the consumer does not necessarily know this until something goes wrong with their purchase.”

“All electronic security products are not equal, and the varying quality of products is something consumers need to be very aware of. Especially when it comes to electronics. There is huge risk in using some ‘no name’ brand of electronic lock on a front door. We believe this is why there is so much interest in Kwikset – being the number one US brand, our customers know they can trust it,” Mr Crossley said.

In saying this, Mr Crossley believes that if customers are provided with products that prove to be both innovative and of a high quality, these are the products that will continually remain in high demand. 

Allegion delivers new products and technology to the market faster 

This year Allegion has invested in several initiatives to better serve Australian consumers, while also continuing to release innovative and pioneering products, Allegion’s Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Craig Patterson said recently.

“A 50 per cent increased investment in the development of new products this year, with a long-term goal of bringing new products and technology to the market faster is just one example of Allegion’s focus this year. Along with local engineering and product development, we have also made several investments in local manufacturing plant and testing technologies, to ensure the high-quality production of products under the Gainsborough, Austral, Brio and Schlage brands,” Mr Patterson said.

This past year has also seen Allegion consolidate and align various businesses and brands across Australia to ensure there are now single points of contact across all areas of the business, including sales, finance and customer service.

“As we move into the next phase of our customer focus, we are investing in areas to continue our pioneering spirit including platforms to share our knowledge and thought-leadership. Educating all stakeholders is a key focus of our business moving forward,” he said.

Allegion has also launched several new products this year including the new Austral SD9 for sliding security doors, while it has also launched its Homecraft range of hardware to meet demand from budget conscious hardware consumers wanting quality hardware at a low price point, according to Mr Patterson.

“As part of a global company we are in a great position to bring new technologies to the market, like our recently launched Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt with Zigbee. With smart home systems like those from Google, Apple and Amazon becoming more accessible, cheaper and simpler to use, the appetite for smart security has grown,” he said.

“Our portfolio of electronic locks is also set to expand in 2020 with some exciting technologies coming to the Australian market, such as the Schlage Encode Wi-Fi Smart Deadbolt. Next year we are also looking to launch our patented QuickFix technology in Australia, which was finalised for the Australian Good Design Award in 2019.”

“Digital and smart locks are definitely becoming more accessible, reliable, affordable and common. The rise of home automation platforms from Apple, Google and Amazon mean they are continually gaining a higher profile and greater market adoption,” Mr Patterson said.

While Mr Patterson said the economic slowdown and fall in construction for both houses and apartments means a continued challenging outlook for the market over the next 12 months, Allegion will combat this via the launch of its newly released technologies and innovative base products.

High security padlocks grow in popularity

As the value of personal assets continue to rise so too does the need to protect and secure expensive possessions, which is why the trend toward maximum security continues, according to Mayo Hardware. 

It is for this reason that maximum-security products, such as Master Lock Excell Padlocks, continue to grow in popularity as they feature a brass covered laminated steel body built for greater strength and resistance to elements.

The tough cut boron carbide shackle is the third hardest material known to man, behind diamond and boron nitride, according to Mayo Hardware Product Manager, Sean Devlin-Look, who said the patented octagonal shackle is harder to clasp with bolt cutters because there is less surface area to grip.

“The professional grade ball bearing locking mechanism also provides maximum pull and pry resistance. Unfortunately, opportunistic thieves are everywhere, which is why consumers remain vigilant in protecting their assets. This is often through the use of products such as Master Lock’s maximum-security padlocks, which boast high quality, patented features and are available in a number of sizes and weather tough options,” Mr Devlin-Look said.

“There is also a major shift in consumers purchasing combination padlocks. This is because consumers are extremely mobile these days and do not want to carry keys or risk the problem of losing keys. Consumers are also travelling a lot more, carrying expensive products with them, whether they are travelling for work or leisure.”

As the value of assets continues to rise, the trend towards maximum security continues.

“There has been a definitive shift over the years from an entry level brass product towards a maximum-security product. Consumers are willing to pay a little extra for complete peace of mind. This is also the case with basic combination locks because mobile consumers are less likely to carry keys with them, but are carrying extremely valuable products within their bags. For example, school and university students now carry up to $1,500 worth of technology in their bags and lockers on any given day, including laptops, iPads and iPhones, so they either padlock their bag or buy a sturdy combination lock for their locker – or both,” he said.

It seems that the excitement around the smart home environment, smart padlocks and in particular key safes, also continues to grow significantly in interest and popularity, according to Mr Devlin-Look.

“Our Bluetooth Key Safes are growing exponentially in popularity of late, particularly as convenience and sharing access to your properties has become extremely common place. This is particularly apparent with Mayo Hardware’s Master Lock Bluetooth Key Safes, which give users the ability to control access to their home, business or holiday home, right from their smart phones,” Mr Devlin-Look said.

Master Lock Bluetooth Key Safes are available in a portable unit (5440DAU) and a wall Mountable unit (5441DAU).

Master Lock Bluetooth Key Safes also allows users to share permanent or temporary access via a free app or by simply sharing a manual combination code.

“Users simply download the free Master Lock Vault eLocks App, allowing remote access to the Bluetooth Key Safe so it may be accessed by people such as tradies, home care nursers, cleaners or bed and breakfast guests. It also offers a high level of convenience as it allows users to pre-set access dates for the future, which is perfect for Airbnb visitors to use and holiday rentals. The key safes also boast a user history feature, including guest additions or deletions, as well as guest opening and locking activity, which is really important because you can visually see when a tradie or a cleaner enters/exits the property. The home owner does not want to be paying for hours not worked,” he said.

“The general cost of assets is on the rise, hence consumers are more vigilant to protect what they have behind their garage doors, gates and fences. The average household now owns two, three or more cars, and it seems consumers do not even put their car in the garage anymore because they are putting other high value assets in there instead.”

“While there are still some obvious trust issues with technology with some of the older consumers, there is also the understanding that some keyless entry products take a little bit of effort and comprehension and can be expensive to install. Software can also be difficult to download sometimes, with navigation often hard to follow, and there can be ongoing fees or licences associated.  So, the old-school style of security – the key way entry – will not be going away any time soon,” Mr Devlin-Look said.