To view a PDF of the complete feature as it appeared in NZ Hardware Journal magazine,
click the download button at the bottom of this page.
Police stats for the first nine months of 2017 show that reported break-ins and burglary attempts grew by 34%.
Despite this, research carried out last year by Google’s Nest division and YouGov finds that almost half of New Zealanders still leave a spare key outside their home, even though one in three has been a victim of a burglary or break-in.
Worse still, Nest’s research shows that almost a third of Kiwis (30%) admit that their homes are insecure against burglary, with half (50%) believing they need to install better home security measures.
Does the intent match the reality? How does this touch the hardware channel?
Well, reports are that there’s been a rise in the quality of front door locks being bought, with digital product seeing growth in demand from both consumers and group home builders seeking to round off their offering.
Craig Patterson at Allegion for one says he’s seeing “pretty strong growth” and will admit that Allegion’s electronic portfolio is now outstripping its mechanical offering.
Happy that Schlage continues to benefit from high brand recognition and a secure track record, in terms of the Kiwi consumer he’s able to confirm that they’re becoming “a little bit more conscious of style and quality”.
What about digital or electronic product?
He says; “Interest from the channel has been particularly high in electronic locks. They are getting requests from their customers and their trade partners for reliable solutions at the right price point. So definitely they see that technology trend and they are reacting very positively to it.”
There’s a massive spread in price points – and, we hear, quality – for electronic products at the moment.
What’s Craig Patterson’s view on the upper end?
“People are willing to pay for that [digital] convenience and, to be perfectly honest, reliability. And technology has meant that the price point [of electronic product] is actually reducing, whereas a mechanical lock still has a significant amount of metal in it.”
STEADY MARCH TOWARDS PROGRESS
With his Gainsborough hat on, David Eeles at Miles Nelson agrees that there’s a firm progression in front doors towards electronic.
“That will continue to grow and grow over the next 5-10 years,” he says, adding the caveat that “With the market yet to move on from keypads, it will still be another five years before fully keyless entry becomes the norm.
“It’s surprising the way people still want the security of a key to open the door, just in case,” he says.
Nick Rutter of GD Rutter is full of praise for his Libra electronic product from Iseo in Italy with its three year mechanical and three year electronic warranties and he’s confident about not having a key back-up.
“It’s the only one we’ll put out our name behind because over the years we’ve tested tens and tens of electronic locks. They all have issues and generally the issue is the seal between the door and the lock.
“It’s one thing to put [an electronic lock] on a hotel door inside an internal hallway, it’s quite another thing to put one on an external door in New Zealand – it’s the old story, you get what you pay for.
“And you know, at the end of the day, if you’re trying to get business just on price that’s probably not a good way to be working at the moment.”
I think everyone will recognise the instance he’s alluding to…
NOT A KEY IN SIGHT
Moving from locksets to electronic security – by which I mean doorbells and now exterior floodlights etc offering video of who’s at the door – I sought out Ring’s APAC Managing Director, Mark Fletcher, to find out how this brand has progressed in the year or so since it launched here.
“New Zealanders are very adaptive to technology,” he says. “So, after the UK, we came down here. So far it’s been a great success.”
Ring started out in 2016 with the Ring Video Doorbell and this remains its biggest selling product, closely followed now by its more recent Spotlight and Floodlight Cam products.
Ring offers both DIY battery-powered and wired product which brings with it greater functionality and Mark Fletcher says as well as its presence in hardware and electronics retailers here, Ring is expanding into Kiwi locksmiths and installers presenting this additional channel an interesting opportunity for them to offer value adds.
(Stop press: Ring has been bought by Amazon.)
HOME, SMART HOME?
Talking of adding value for homeowners, group home builder Jennian Homes, among others, has for some time been presenting electronic entry and solar and smart home options to its customers.
Jennian’s COO, Aidan Jury, says that electronic locks are “pretty much standard – most of our homes come standard with a digital entry lock these days. It’s something that we’re encouraging most clients to fit.”
In comparison, few customers currently take up either Jennian’s solar or smart home options, although pre-wiring most homes at least keeps options open for the future.
Lack of standards and issues of affordability are the biggest barriers to the uptake of solar and smart home technologies, believes Aidan Jury, to the point where, although there’s certainly more being asked for at an early stage, it’s often later cut out because of the cost.
“I think the technology is going to take a rapid leap forward in the next couple years but at the moment it’s relatively inconsistent.”
He explains; “For a national brand [like Jennian Homes] it’s hard to find a national partner that covers the whole of the country. There are different solutions in different parts of the country and that makes it hard to promote a national offer.”
Strikes me there’s an opportunity for someone there…
Bottom line? Beyond electronic entryway products, in terms of integrating in-depth smart home or off the grid style systems, currently it’s hard for the likes of Jennian to make a bottom line through smarter homes because most buyers today place affordability over connectivity.
New “keys” to customer experience
Although we hear year on year about growing consumer and developer acceptance of the benefits of digital entry locks, it remains today that more all-encompassing connected or smart home set-ups are, for Kiwis, a nice to have, rather than a must have.
Take Jennian Homes’ experience which you can read about above.
However, travelling as we do, direct contact overseas with keyless or electronic entry systems will filter through to the point when electronic egress will form just one part of a common whole-of-home system that plugs into the Internet of Things.
Two quite grounded examples of the sort of holistic entry/management systems that can be readily experienced both come from the hospitality industry.
Following its world-first roll-out of digital check-in and room selection through its Hilton Honors app, Hilton Group is now busy implementing its Digital Key across 100 UK hotels and further has announced plans to introduce a “connected room experience”.
Through the Hilton Honors app, guests will be able to personalise and control aspects of their room using the app, which will also act as a remote control, light switch and thermostat, allowing you to turn on the TV, go to favourite channels, turn on groups of lights, set a preferred temperature etc.
In the longer term, Hilton says that it also expects guest rooms to be able to respond to voice commands – as with Google Home Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa – and that customers will be able to save their preferences for future visits.
Personalisation is also the end goal that the Carnival cruise line is after with its Ocean Medallion, literally a medallion-shaped and -sized dongle that’s connected using NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy to a ship-wide network of sensors.
Pre-trip, the Medallion registers food allergies, interests and other key parameters, allows entry to your cabin, acts as a contactless payment system and also as a locator so food, beverages etc can be delivered precisely to where you are.
Able to be retrofitted into any vessel, Ocean Medallion also holds benefits for the operator from an efficiency perspective, like streamlining in-room cleaning, balancing labour needs, eliminating paper and more.
Both Hilton and Carnival will of course use their guests’ preferences both to curate and suggest appropriate treats, trips, excursions or events during their stay and further personalise the customer experience.
Gainsborough goes digital
Miles Nelson has a bevy of new products. At the top of the list is the Gainsborough Digital Entry Lever Lock (DELL).
Specifically designed for DIY installation, it’s now available in Gainsborough’s GR9 key way and can be keyed to matching key in lever product to provide a “one key” system and consistent, home-wide look.
Entry is easy and quick via DELL’s programmable illuminated keypad or by touching an entry tag (two supplied).
Available in Bright and Satin Chrome, up to six user codes can be saved to each lockset and “one-time” user codes can be created for use by tradespeople etc.
Also comes with two mechanical keys. Matching levers include Ambassador key in lever, passage, privacy and dummy sets.
Also from Gainsborough is the URBAN Trilock with its easy single hole installation offering passage, privacy and deadbolt modes. There are passage and privacy lever sets to match.
Different strokes for different folks
The first of two quite different styles of digital lock is the new S-Series by Schlage. The range includes the black-finished S-6000 and S-6800 Touchpad Digital Lock with fingerprint reader (above left).
The S-Series is built tough for the New Zealand environment and has been tested for weather resistance (passing IP54 rating), UV and salt spray, as well as cycle tested to 200,000+ cycles.
S-Series products are simple to program and use, unlocking via keypad, card, FOB or small stick-on patches. S-6800 also comes with a fingerprint reader as seen on some of the latest smartphones.
Other Schlage news is that the Sense Smart Deadbolt (above right) is now compatible with Android phones. Sense uses Bluetooth to quickly pair with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and now Android phones.
Android users can now add and remove codes, lock and unlock the door, and check the lock’s status, history and more when within Bluetooth range of the deadbolt.
Schlage Sense is available in both Satin Nickel and Black, is an easy DIY install and can be updated with the latest features using the Schlage Sense app for iOS or Android.
Still looking for the new black?
Although around the traps there has been much recognition of Windsor Brass releasing window & door products in a new Graphite Nickel finish (see here), it’s sounding like, for the moment at least, that the old black is still the new black.
Craig Patterson (Allegion) – “Black still seems to be the trending colour. Having said that, there’s been a bit of demand for brass finishes which is quite surprising – I guess they all go in cycles. We’re also seeing a big trend in darker nickel colours. And I guess the traditional satin chrome has not done its day, it’s still kind of bread and butter, but people are looking for a little bit of variety now.”
David Eeles (Miles Nelson) – “The biggest thing that’s still happening in the industry is black – it still seems to be going really strong. So we and all the other suppliers are looking to put together a suite of products that means that you can have black door handles and black doorstops.”
Are you ready for the “next generation”?
The first of two new “next generation” electronic products from Baber Lock & Key is the new Electronic Digital 3 in 1 Leverset which offers access via backlit LED touchpad, RFID card, label or NFC mobile phone entry and also offers a key override using common front door keys (above left).
Access codes, RFID cards and phones are programmed through the lock. With a full lever handle on the inside, it fits in a standard 54 mm lockset or deadbolt hole, no additional drilling required.
The 3 in 1 also has a vacation mode to lock out all users, and a double authorisation (card + code) mode is also possible. Requires 4 AA batteries.
Also new is the Carbine Electronic Deadbolt Spin to Lock (CDL-DBSSN) in Satin Nickel, which features an external knob that spins freely unless the correct code is entered into the keypad.
It offers keyless entry keypad unlocking, key override with LKW5 (C4) keyway (5-pin only) and is also pitched as an easy DIY installation.
Three AAA standard 1.5V alkaline batteries have a life of 50,000 cycles, there’s a low battery warning light and tone and the deadbolt has been tested for 400,000 cycles, as well as moisture and salt spray tested.
Brushed brass – the new black?
In recent times black has become the preferred choice for many kitchen designers, making a pleasant change from satin nickel or stainless steel. But now, according to GD Rutter and Sylvan, Kiwis are now ready for the next big colour trend from Europe – brushed brass.
Sylvan has therefore introduced four of its most popular handle and knob shapes in brushed brass, bringing a new warmth and luxury to kitchens and furniture offering New Zealanders an inexpensive way to accessorise their homes.