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“Buoyant” is the word used by many in the industry to describe how things are going in the security market with the obvious spots of Auckland, Wellington and to a lesser degree Christchurch now all providing good sales for players into this category.
Despite this, many players with overseas experience share tales of being horrified by how New Zealand matches up with other countries in terms of our levels of security.
GD Rutter’s Nick Rutter for one is concerned that, even with the best lock, security can’t be ensured in New Zealand due to the quality of the doors.
The cedar doors popular here are generally used only for interiors in other more safety-conscious nations. This creates particular problems for electronic locking units.
Says Nick Rutter: “Unfortunately, good old Kiwis go ‘she’ll be right, we’ll put this on the front door and hope for the best’. And with tongue and groove doors so common in New Zealand water gets in behind and stops the electronics and you can’t stop that.
“It doesn’t matter if you put a rubber boot round the lock to try and stop the seal, water can still get down there.”
It’s for this reason that Rutter makes a point of its 3 year warranty on electronics and takes issue with other units on the market offering 10 year warranties but only one year for electronics in the small print.
“I think that’s criminal. And unfortunately many of the mass doors that are being put out by the group builders are still going for the cheaper systems. And yeah, I don’t know what’s going to happen in time with those.”
“SHE’LL BE RIGHT” – WRONG?
Coming at the same issue from a different perspective, Murray Baber of Baber Lock Lock & Key NZ feels that more attention needs to be drawn to the common keyway shared by the majority of houses that can easily be copied.
“Around 90 percent of houses use the common C4LW4 type key and get them cut at a local locksmith and there’s just no control,” Baber says.
“So, if you take a car to a local panel beater and leave the keys, they can easily duplicate that key at the local hardware store and there is a significant percentage of burglaries that occur where there’s no actual sign of break in.”
Murray Baber points out that secure keyways and restricted keys that require authorisation to be copied by a locksmith are an easy option but a lack of education and awareness in Kiwi consumers has limited their uptake.
New Zealand’s “she’ll be right” attitude may be changing though. Kate Jacobi of Doberman Security has seen the company’s range of standalone wireless home and personal alarms continue to do well in the last 12 months.
Part of this growth she attributes to growing concerns around increasing crime rates as they are reported in the media.
But that’s just part of it. Kate Jacobi has had good responses from tradespeople and community groups wanting to protect their tools or shops with affordable standalone systems and Doberman has gathered enough steam to introduce a phone linked system to its range of self-monitoring equipment.
SHARING ECONOMY HELPS TECH UPTAKE
Has some of this increased consciousness around security translated into the purchase of smarter products though?
All of the players spoken to for this feature admit that basic mechanical options still make up the vast majority of sales but at least one player said that levels of enquiry and sales of digital, locking units and smarter linked systems have more than doubled in the last year, admittedly off a small base.
AHM Business Unit manager Adam Pogson reports: “This time last year we were selling a handful of smart products in a month in terms of sell out from the retailers and not hearing much. But in the last eight weeks I have spoken to more than a dozen stores and probably twice that in customers just calling up to find out about it.”
The motivation for this upturn may not be coming from a wave of security consciousness however.
Both Murray Baber and Adam Pogson have received interest in remote operated systems for the increasing number of people renting out properties through sharing economy services like Airbnb.
The ability to email a temporary key code so visitors can use their phone as a Bluetooth enabled access point seems to be the major draw card in these scenarios, not to mention the owners being able to see when people enter and leave their property.
The real catalyst for smart security systems becoming mainstream however could be the drive towards smart home technology being shown by US tech giants Amazon, Google and Apple.
Each has their own interactive smart home hub/loudspeaker and these are now available in the US market to link to cloud-based security and home automation systems.
While this race could be great for suppliers of security hardware, it remains unclear who if any of these tech giants will emerge on top.
This quandary is something Allegion’s Craig Patterson is well aware of: “It is hard to back the right horse and obviously a lot of those technology leaders are pretty powerful but I think Allegion is in a good position because we’re such a global brand and have such a good brand presence and channel support here in New Zealand and America,” he says.
Looking further out, Craig Patterson is however positive about smart or tech-enabled homes and security.
“My prediction is that the hardware industry is going to see a lot of technology alliances and that the electronics component of security is going to become more of a standard as we move from single family towards multi-family using cards and credentials to get into communal spaces.”
Time will tell which horse wins the race.
Doberman at the ready
The Doberman Window/Door Alarm Kit offers excellent value, making home security affordable for everyone. The kit consists of 4 compact, battery operated alarms which can easily be attached to any door or window. They each have a loud 100dB alarm which is activated by the door or window being opened.
New joint venture for Baber Lock & Key
Murray Baber of Baber Lock & Key is happy to announce a new joint venture with supplier Lock & Key Pty Ltd of Sydney.
Lock & Key is part of the Davcor Corporation owned by Marc Cohen that has supplied Carbine and other brands through Baber Lock & Key in New Zealand for the last couple of years.
The new joint venture company will be Baber Lock & Key NZ Ltd and it commenced operating from 1 July 2017.
Murray Baber says the new venture will offer customers a long term commitment to the New Zealand market, continuous new product development, and comprehensive customer service including technical back-up.
For example, a new website with customer-orientated information will allow online ordering as well as current account and order status and stock levels.
Spark enters home security and automation with Morepork
Looking beyond the hardware channel, if you needed any more proof that smart home security and automation is a growing category, Spark is increasingly active in this arena with its Morepork DIY smart home service that allows users to monitor and control their home remotely from their mobile.
Spark partnered with established US security platform Alarm.com to bring the Morepork service to New Zealand in December 2015, allowing users to pay monthly fees for self-monitoring or professional response plans that include data usage, cloud storage and added users.
Account holders receive a starter kit of hardware controlled by the Morepork app on their phone that includes a control panel, door and window sensors, a motion activated still camera and indoor video cameras.
Morepork also offers a range of add-ons direct from its website including connected smoke alarms, video door bells and outdoor cameras and has entered the home automation area with smart light bulbs and power switches.
There are also compatible devices sold elsewhere that can be controlled by the Morepork app including the Yale Touchscreen Deadlock allowing users to lock and unlock their door with a press on their mobile.
Morepork’s Sales & Marketing Manager Sara Eichmann is pleased to report that, considering this technology is very new for New Zealand, Spark is “happy with how things are going so far.”
Of course big players like Amazon, Google and Apple are also making major moves in this market. Looking ahead, how does Eichmann feel Morepork fits into this picture?
“Most of those things aren’t actually available in New Zealand at the moment and we don’t know when they will be, or even if they will be.
“So our view is that we will wait and see and keep focused on delivering the best service possible that we can to New Zealanders.”
New brand campaign from Schlage
Schlage’s new “Open possibilities” brand campaign has been developed to support the brand’s long-term goal of “shifting consumer perception of door hardware, and bringing it to the forefront as an accessory that can complete or enhance the look of any room”.
“We are excited by the possibilities this campaign will bring our channel partners and consumers”, says Craig Patterson, Allegion’s Marketing Manager.
“It is great to see the Schlage brand build on its strong history in the New Zealand market, and continue to evolve to meet the needs of both our business partners and end users.”
Sylvan’s Sleek Stainless
GD Rutter continues to expand its offering. The latest to the stable are the Stainless Steel lever handles and cavity sliders produced from 304 grade stainless steel. The Sylvan Levers are available in passage privacy and dummy functions have a 60mm backset. The privacy and passage functions also include a 60mm latch. The Cavity sliding door pulls are easily installed and produce a clean, flush look. They suit door thicknesses from 32mm to 42mm.
Brio Open Bar Rail
Brio’s new flat bar system for their Open Rail Range offers a barn door solution for panels up to 80kg in weight and 1.25m in width. The easy to install system uses a precision bearing and nylon tyre which rolls smoothly over a flat bar rail. The face fix straps and rail are available in stainless steel with a brush satin finish or in mild steel with a textured, matt black powder coat.
Standard kits include length of rail, hangers, door stops and guide for single panel applications. A joining bracket is available to dress bi-parting applications where two door systems are used. The Open Bar Bail is the latest addition to the Open Rail Series which also features the Timber Face Fix, Timber Top Fix, Round Rail Glass and Square Rail Timber options.
The Key to Successful key cutting ... is the right machine for the job
Word around the key cutting industry is that many hardware retailers could benefit from an upgrade in their key cutting machines.
In today’s risk- and safety-conscious workplace you need to stay up to date with potentially dangerous machinery.
There’s also nothing worse than cutting a key for a customer only to have them come back the next day and complain that it didn’t work.
Machines like the new generation of Silca Bravo Professional machines are ideal for hardware stores with bustling key cutting operations and can help with improved safety, compliance, accuracy and profitability.
Ring comes to NZ
Ring, a leader in outdoor home security in the UK and US, has launched in New Zealand with the Wi-Fi connected Ring Video Doorbell (and free accompanying app).
The Video Doorbell uses night vision and motion sensors to alert homeowners of suspicious activity outside their home but can also be used to communicate with couriers and the like when dropping off a package.
The Ring Video Doorbell is available from Ring.com and selected Mitre 10 stores. There are a range of additional products and services also available at Ring.com including Stick Up Cams, chimes, yard signs, and cloud recording services.