Last week, Alex Dutton from Brisant Secure came to see us at our place to begin our journey with Ultion Nuki. This is Brisant’s newest iteration of smart lock and one that has been designed to be even more installation-friendly, and provide more compatibility with a range of existing smart home systems.
I will be reviewing the product in full in the next week or so. Needless to say, I am very excited about it. But it did occur to me whilst discussing the product that the general state of smart window and door technology needs to be far more advanced than we are.
Advance with society
UK fenestration is notoriously conservative when it comes to new ideas and changes in direction. Whether that is down to the demographic within the sector, stuck in their ways, or other factors are up for debate. But the fact is that in many areas we’re not as advanced as we should be.
Smart window and door technology are one of those areas. The idea of smart window and door tech is not new. It’s been around for a fair few years now. There have been many hardware manufacturers bringing out various different solutions to partner with either doors or windows. Some have been successful, and some have been rather the opposite.
That being said, smart tech for windows and doors is not going anywhere. In fact, it’s only going to become more embedded in the products we all sell. Most major hardware houses in our sector have a smart solution now. The number is less so for windows, but I believe over time the number of companies offering a smart window solution will grow too.
This isn’t a fad the industry is trying to force upon customers. This is merely the sector trying to move along at the same pace as wider society.
Smart tech is integrating with almost all other aspects of our lives. Millions already have smart home systems such as Alexa, Google’s Home Hub, Apple’s HomeKit and others. Millions also have video doorbells and smart alarm systems that integrate into each other such as Ring. We have smart fridges that tell us what is left in them and what we need to order next. We have electric cars that have amazing app controls to find the nearest charging stations, that set the seat warmers to come on just before we get in them and that can tell us where we parked the car in massive car parks!
The point here is that in almost every aspect of our lives we are already living with a great deal of smart tech. Has it turned life upside down and totally changed humanity as a paradigm overnight? No. But smart tech, with each little innovation, with each new product and new level of integrations, more aspects of our lives are becoming connected and made a little bit more convenient.
Don’t be like we normally are
Almost every other sector is moving fast towards integrating smart tech to make their product offerings to consumers more attractive. We really have to stop being typical fenestration, accept life has changed and learn to accept that smart window and door technology is here and will over time become more and more integrated into what we do every day.
The frustration for me is that earlier adoption of smart tech by our industry could have presented more sales opportunities with homeowners than we have currently. We have been our usual selves, resistant to change and anything we don’t recognise. By being like that we shut the door on new opportunities and revenue streams. In the meantime, the rest of the world passes us by in technological advancements.
All that being said, I do feel like we’re perhaps turning the corner now on integrating smart window and door technology into the wider sector. We’re nowhere near a point where we can say it’s been widely adopted. We’re years from that yet. But we’re not at the start of the cycle anymore either.
There are a whole host of hardware companies now with smart product options, whether they are for windows, doors or both. What needs to happen now is installer-level demand is required to blow the whole thing wide open. A supplier going alone trying to sell the benefits to the entire supply chain won’t work. However, if installers can get really plugged into the products, understand the opportunities and begin to shift units with clients, then from there you can grow sales and demand naturally. At that point, suppliers can step up marketing and give installers more tools to grow sales further. But that belief and adoption have to come from the installer level.
The next 3-5 years I believe are going to see major advancements in adoption, innovation and product choice when it comes to smart tech in fenestration.
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