This is my own personal list of items within the UK fenestration industry that I think we should all be keeping an eye on in the coming years. These are set in no particular order, and they’re not brand specific. I’m just focusing on the technology itself and how it could benefit us in the coming years.

1. Keyless Locking

We’re already starting to see this sort of technology creep into the market place. Companies like Yale were the first to blaze the keyless door locking trail a few years ago:

Whilst this handle was a good attempt (and we should know as we have sold them since they became available) the idea of locking and unlocking a residential door with the use of either a fob or a keypad never really caught the imagination of the general public. Despite a TV advertising campaign and dedicated push from Yale, sales have remained disappointingly flat overall.

But all is not lost for this sort of technology. We have all probably see the Winkhaus version of a remote door lock. And a certain Austrian hardware company are developing their own version of keyless door entry. Borg also has a version out also, although it does look rather industrial. It does use fingerprint technology though.

And that is where ultimately this technology will lead. If you look at phones for example. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has fingerprint recognition to unlock the phone, following in the footsteps of the latest iPhone from Apple. And you can bet your last quid that other phone and tablets makers will be incorporating this into their new products. This is where the crossover is going to come with the current crop of door technology out there.

Whilst there is a novelty to pressing a button to unlock your door, surely the use of a thumb print is even more convenient? Now, if they can just work out how to stop the iPhone an S5 from being hacked via fingerprint…

2. It’s All About The Colour

As many of you will know, I am a massive fan of colour. Firstly, because I hate plain white doors and windows. They’re boring and don’t make our industry look any more creative than a baked potato. But I’m also a fan because of how much the average consumer is buying into the idea of individuality, especially with entrance doors. Take a look at this golden beauty we have recently fitted:

This door in particular was supplied by John Fredericks, with replicated triple glazed leaded units from Classic Door Panels in Dewsbury, with the frame sprayed in Bradford. This client was determined to copy as much of the old door, side lights and top lights as close as possible to the original. This meant the door also had to be coloured.

That example was an extreme one, but we are seeing all the time online of weird and wonderful custom door colours:

With doors, colour is now very much established and will continue to become more diverse. But the thing to watch coming soon is the crossover. Soon, homeowners on mass are going to become very bored with plain white windows as they have done with plain white doors. The key then is our industry being able to provide that demand and do it well. There’s money to be made here, lets all be ready for it! If you’re looking for a company to take care of your spraying needs, why not check out Kolorseal?

3. Composite Windows

We’re not talking about the same stuff as composite doors, but rather the type of of composite windows that mix together timber, PVC and aluminium.

Increasingly we are seeing a whole new range of composite windows that are either timber or PVC clad with aluminium. Mostly though it is timber clad with aluminium. Major manufacturers are spending increasingly large amounts of money investing into new composite products such as windows, to try and bring the benefits of both materials together. And why not?!

Take a look at this timber/aluminium window section from Rationel:

As consumers become more educated about what options exist out there, it is products like these which are going to attract more attention. The time of single material windows might be drawing to a close. If composite windows want to break through into the mainstream though, price might need to be considered. Make it too expensive and it will remain the niche of high spec self builds and commercial buildings.




4. Timber Alternative

You might think the timber alternative market is already a hot market to watch. But mark my words, it’s going to become even more fierce in the coming years as demand for timber aesthetics booms once again, but using PVC as the main product material.

Evolution was the first to introduce real timber alternative PVC to market, with others like Residence 9 and Prestige following suit quickly. Since then, there are a number of smaller independent manufacturers also trying to get into the market quick before it becomes overpopulated.

As competition in the market grows, the need to innovate and develop products will become more intense, with the end result producing some absolutely outstanding products that homeowners will find very difficult to turn down. Will make the job of selling easier!

5. Smart Glass

I don’t mean smart double glazing, which was a phrase which came up at the Triple Glazing Question debate, but rather smart glass.

There is research going on right now by Asian and European companies to make glass work harder for us. I know some European countries are working on glass which has a genuine solar capacity. I think there is also a Korean glass company also working on advanced solar control. But not only that, commercial companies are looking at how glass can help us in the home:

With the amount of research and development ongoing in this field right now, I genuinely believe that smart glass won’t be that far away from the home. It won’t be an easy sell to us British public at first, new things never are. But trust me, it’s on it’s way!

Missed something?

These are just my thoughts, and I am sure I have missed some other hot products we should be watching out for. If you think I have, please leave them in the comments section below!