One of the big takeaways from the FIT Show this year was that smart window and door tech is really starting to take root in the sector now. Brisant Secure launched their Ultion SMART door cylinder. Smart Ready had their product displayed across a number of stands and products, as well as their own. MILA have their Avia Smart Lock. Avantis have Kubu. Yale have their Conexis handle and other products. ERA have their own range of smart home security products.
The list goes on. These are manufacturers that see where the road lies. Technology that provides information, status and data to us is being embedded in almost everything we do daily. We use windows and doors daily, so it makes sense that the line of natural progression takes smart tech there.
But are we as an industry ready?
Yes, we should be
As you would expect, I am running a Twitter poll for the next 7 days to see if the industry itself thinks that it’s ready for smart tech. The question here is key. I could have posed the question: do you think the fenestration industry should have smart window and door tech? But that would have left the door open for tons of people to say no, which would have provided a bit of a moot result considering that the industry is moving in that direction already and won’t be turning back. Rather, the question asks where we are actually ready for it.
This is the poll that is live right now and taking votes:
Is the fenestration industry ready for smart window and door tech?— glazingblogger (@glazingblogger) June 3, 2019
Smart tech is coming to windows and doors whether you like it or not. The world is now used to being able to check on the status of something via their phones, and considering that windows and doors are the first barrier to burglars, home owners are likely to appreciate being able to reassure themselves that their doors and windows are indeed locked.
The industry needs to be ready for that. It may well be that the poll comes back this time next week with more people saying we’re not ready. If that is the case, then we need to be stepping our game up quickly. This change is coming, and we as an industry, especially fabricators and installers, need to be wise to the USPs and appeal this sort of stuff has with home owners.
Our industry is notoriously difficult when it comes to having to adapt and embracing something new. But smart tech is far bigger than our industry, and is already in use via so many other products we all use daily. So we cannot avoid it.
Being ready for the arrival of smart tech means understanding what people are going to want to use it for.
Understand the purpose
As with any product, not just windows and doors, the buyer and indeed the seller need to understand what the purpose of the product is and the benefits it would bring to the person buying it.
Many of the smart tech products being introduced to the industry right now are rightly all about security. Smart Ready, Ultion SMART and the rest are all based around home security. That is the purpose of these products. To be able to give home owners live security status of their windows and doors. It’s not just about the product being able to physically lock a window or door, although some I mentioned in the top paragraph do actually do that. It’s about giving peace of mind to the home owner who might be on the other side of the world on holiday that their doors and windows are safely in the locked position.
That scenario will be familiar to many of us, including myself. That churning feeling you get when you get in the taxi and halfway to the airport when you suddenly start questioning yourself as to whether you remembered to lock your door. Smart tech products can give you live updates of your door or window’s locked status. It can instantly reassure you that you did remember to lock it. Or, if by some chance you didn’t, many of these new products allow you to give temporary permissions to family members or friends, who can then do you a solid and go and lock your window or door for you.
This is the purpose of smart tech. Yes it’s bringing a whole new way to lock your windows and doors in the physical sense. But it’s the software side of things that brings the party. The Ring video door bell is a good example of this. Something as simple as a digital door bell, with embedded camera, audio and alarm is changing the way home owners secure their property. Someone sat on a beach thousands of miles away can be alerted when someone is at their door. They can see them. They can hear them. They can tell them to bugger off if they don’t like the look of them. And even if a burglar is brazen enough to ignore it, the recorded footage stored on Ring’s cloud means you have a better chance of catching the b******s. It’s not the product, but the services it brings which is the key factor here.
That is what smart tech is going to bring to windows and doors. Yes there are going to be products to buy and install. But the USP for installers and home owners is going to be the things they do and provide. This isn’t a fad. This isn’t going to go away. Smart tech is going to be common place within our sector, I’d say in a decade or so, perhaps less. We need to get on board with it now, understand the benefits, and make sure we’re all able to make the most of what is going to be a profitable and beneficial opportunity for all involved.
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