When it comes to technology and windows and doors, the link between the two has been weak at best. As a tech lover, you can imagine frustration at how slow the industry has generally been in adapting their products with 21st century tech.
So you can imagine my surprise and enjoyment when I saw the amount of technology now being incorporated into window and door products around the halls. Here is my roundup of the tech that caught my eye at this year’s FIT Show.
MACO’s Facial Recognition Lock
Before I explain the best bits, watch this video:
How cool is that! A door lock that opens and closes your door with your face. No key required.
The team on the MACO stand kindly spent some time with me to explain how it works and the best bits of the product. The facial recognition technology being used is more advanced than the iris scanning tech used in airports as the camera 3D maps the contours of your whole face when you register a new person. This means that should you decide to grow a beard, or if you’re covered in dirt from a day at the coal face, the camera is still going to know it’s you when you come home.
You can control how quick the door opens and closes, and it knows when something is in the way of the door so not to crush anything or anyone who shouldn’t be in the way. When the door is closed the battery operated compression locks are charged. You can access the door via NFC if facial recognition isn’t your thing. This lock can also be app controlled. I’m pretty sure it can order a take away for you as well!
This is the high-end self-builders dream door. And because of how the lock is made i.e. not made as only long lock as we’re used to, it allows for doors to be made in shapes other than a rectangle! This product however is a concept. MACO told me that should feedback be positive enough, this product could go into production. I sincerely hope that it does, as this is a product that takes door tech to a seriously advanced and seriously cool level.
Window Ware’s Libra Smart Cylinder
Sticking with door locks, I was pleased to finally see Window Ware’s Libra Smart Cylinder on display on their stand in the innovation zone.
This smart cylinder is thumb turn controlled internally, with the black NFC controlled handle you can see externally. Anything with a NFC chip can be matched to it, but it is expected that most people would pair their smartphones to this cylinder.
As soon as you raise your paired device to to black external handle, the lock releases and you can turn the handle to disengage the lock and step on in. Simple really. Quick too. Recognition should be almost instant which means no waiting around outside waiting for your door to realise who you are!
Window Ware have been early adopters when it comes to door tech. They have been a stockist of Yale’s Keyfree door handle for a while. However, with the ease in which something like this can be used, I do believe that a product like this could start to outsell even that.
It’s a sleek, modern design, and works quite well with brushed aluminium push/pull handles as you can see in the image.
Again, you cannot mention tech in the fenestration world without talking about Sage Glass.
Their electrochromic glass is a product that has made huge waves since being displayed at the FIT Show, and is a product that I believe will have a massive impact, especially in the glazed extension and conservatory sectors:
This product is going change the way glass is used in glazed extensions and conservatories.
Solidor’s new website and door builder
A mention should also go to Solidor’s brand spanking new website, door builder and cloud services.
I was kindly shown around the new developments by Gareth Mobley, who explained the plethora of improvements to the site, builder and cloud all designed to make life easier for installers to order and price, and easier for the home owner to design their door at home.
Naturally it is mobile device friendly, and is a great improvement on the old version. Not that the old version was that bad to begin with! But you know what they say, if you’re not innovating you’re dying.
Ultraframe’s VR Showroom
One of the gadgets there that really impressed me was Ultraframe’s brand new virtual reality showroom. And it’s very easy to use.
You download their new app, which contains brochures, product specification and a plethora of product information and options. Within the app, there is the option to go to their virtual reality showroom. Once you have clicked that button, you put your Android or Apple device into a £20, yep, £20, headset, stick it over your eyes and start to explore the showroom/show house in front of you. If you were there and had a go, I hope you were as impressed as I was.
A virtual reality showroom app is a fantastic idea. It’s great for companies with small showrooms who cannot show everything they do. They can hand this headset over to a client in their showroom and show them a wider range of products. It’s also a great conversation starter if sales people were to take this to a home owners home. How many installers can say they have a virtual showroom on their phones?
Around the halls there were a number of doors displaying keypad operations of one kind or another. There was also the introduction of a new finger print controlled door lock from Winkhaus which I was gutted I wasn’t able to have time to see. But, if anyone from the company is reading this and feels compelled to send me some images and info on it, please email it across!
For those of you who saw Ultion’s two stands this year will have seen their brilliant Keycap and Keyring key innovations. The Keyring is a fob that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and the fob allows you to find your phone and your phone to find your key. Very cool. Very innovative.
App controlled door tech was also prominent this year, with MACO’s openLife access management app really standing out. Easy to use, from anywhere in the world, an app that can give you updates on who has used which doors, it’s a great way to keep tabs on who is coming and going at home. To find out more click here.
In the end, it was clear to see that technology in fenestration is quickly coming along, far quicker than previous years. However it is still very much developing inside the door sector, not so much in the window sector. Will these innovations replace the humble lock and key across all doors? Perhaps not. Those who adopt new innovations quickly will force this area to develop.