Industry Vertical

All Doors Not Created Equal

You might not give a second thought when you enter or exit a secure facility; it may just seem routine. But, that’s not how Martin Huddart and the team at ASSA ABLOY see it. Their take on a secure facility is one door at a time, measuring convenience against risk.

With its Americas headquarters located in New Haven, Conn., ASSA ABLOY is a leading provider of security and life-safety solutions, including those from well-known door hardware brands Corbin Russwin, SARGENT and Yale. With this broad offering, ASSA ABLOY plays comfortably in the commercial and institutional markets, as well as the residential space.

All three brands are supported in New Haven, or a nearby facility in Berlin, Conn. Along with engineers in the United States, ASSA ABLOY locks are designed by engineers in Mexico, South Korea, Stockholm and Poland. “As a $9 billion global company, we are able to leverage the best technical minds from ASSA ABLOY around the world,” Huddart said.

The business intersects two multi-billion dollar markets: the traditional lock and hardware world and the electronic access control world. While there are more choices in lock technology than ever before, up until fairly recently, security decision makers had only two choices to secure an opening—mechanical locks and keys or traditional online access control. Due to advancements from market leaders like ASSA ABLOY, there is now a solution for every type of door and for every budget.

Taking an expansive look at ASSA ABLOY Americas, the division offers a wide variety of new and traditional products to address an array of environments and applications. The organization manufactures a wide range of security products including access control components, perimeter fence and security products, doors and frames, high security mechanical and intelligent key systems, architectural accessories and door controls products plus residential locks and hardware.

Zooming out further, the global ASSA ABLOY organization offers identity management solutions through HID Global, a variety of entrance automation solutions, and a multitude of door, lock and hardware solutions in most markets around the world.

ASSA ABLOY is a regular member of the FORBES Most Innovative Companies list, and has many new technologies designed to improve building security and convenience.

Mobile Access

One of the most significant factors in the changing access control landscape is the proliferation of the smartphone. Just as we manage nearly every aspect of our lives with mobile technology, we now have the same convenience for unlocking doors. While this may have been merely a concept initially, mobile access is now gaining traction quite rapidly due to increasing comfort levels with this type of technology. This is reflected in the growing use of applications like cashless payments in banking, retail and vending machines.

In the world of access control, mobile access is possible thanks to innovations like HID Mobile Access powered by Seos. ASSA ABLOY’s Seos technology is a next generation credential technology that enables the first multi-platform ecosystem for issuing, delivering and revoking digital keys and other identity data across a broad range of smart devices, including mobile phones, micro-processor cards and wearables.

Providing the ultimate in convenience and flexibility, Seos offers the ability to unlock doors with iOS or Android mobile devices, with support for both Bluetooth Smart and NFC technology. Seos also addresses one of the biggest concerns with mobile access, which is security. Best-in-class security and privacy protection safeguards identity data and ensures that over-the-air communications between the mobile device and locks is completely private. With these two barriers removed, mobile access will likely become more and more popular as a complement to traditional smart cards. ASSA ABLOY offers a broad range of access control locks that support HID Mobile Access, giving you even greater flexibility in how you deploy it.

Aperio Wireless Technology

“We want to make it easier and more affordable to bring access control to more doors and more applications,” said Huddart. “We’re able to do this by allowing customers to leverage the systems they already have in place.”

ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio wireless technology eliminates the greatest cost and inconvenience of traditional access control by using wireless communication between the lock and a hub that is connected to the access control panel. “Many facilities have extra capacity on their access control panels, giving them the option to expand their access control footprint at a much lower cost,” notes Huddart. “Aperio really offers the best of both worlds – the convenience and flexibility of wireless with the real-time communication of online access control.”

Aperio also addresses the growing need for access control in applications beyond the traditional door. With a complete range of lock types, including locks for cabinets, drawers and server racks, you can deliver the higher level of security, accountability and control that is increasingly becoming a requirement for many facilities, especially healthcare and data centers.

IP-Enabled Solutions

Facilities can leverage their existing IT infrastructure to expand their access control footprint using IP-enabled WiFi orPoE locks. WiFi locks offer the lowest infrastructure costs, because it is truly as simple as installing the lock on the door and configuring it to communicate with the access control system using the building’s WiFi network. While there is a slight tradeoff in communication frequency, the total installed cost can be as little as 20 to 30 percent of a traditional wired solution and is ideal for openings that would otherwise be too difficult or costly to secure.

PoE locks use a single network cable for both power and data, offering online access control at a much lower cost than traditional solutions. PoE locks are also highly efficient—they significantly reduce standby power consumption and use less materials by combining several separate components into a single lock.

At security conferences in the North American market, ASSA ABLOY is showcasing these technologies and others in the context of some important vertical markets including:

Residential and Multi-Family

As the home automation market heats up, ASSA ABLOY has many software partners which is also true in the commercial market. ASSA ABLOY is also addressing the rapidly expanding multi-family housing segment with a new cloud-based solution from Yale that makes managing access for multifamily facilities easy and affordable.

Education

“One of our biggest concerns in the security business is the school vertical,” Huddart said. “Lockdown procedures are now a critical component of every school safety plan, but as schools evaluate these plans there are a couple issues they need to keep in mind. First, we want them to realize that the same strategy may not be best throughout the school or for every circumstance. What works well for the perimeter may not work well for classrooms, so an application- appropriate solution is often the best course of action.

It is absolutely critical that regardless of which lockdown strategy they implement, students and staff must have free egress at all times. Though mandated by fire code, there are unfortunately many solutions available that lock doors so they cannot be opened at all, trapping students inside the building. Including the right team of people in the school security evaluation process helps ensure that all needs are met, including code compliance.”

Customized for the Environment

ASSA ABLOY fully understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to security. Which is why, amazingly, no matter what technology is involved, they build each order specifically to the customer’s specific requirements, even if it’s a single lock. Huddart said, “Because doors and locks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, we make almost all our products to each customer’s individual requirements in a short period of time. We are proud to be making security products in efficient U.S. plants close to most of our customers.” It is nice to see a leading innovator in the security space still have a commitment to manufacturing in the U.S.A.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Security Today.

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