DUBLIN (July 10, 2017) – Todd Graves is Allegion’s senior vice president, engineering and technology. Here are his thoughts on connected security, and what it means for Allegion.
1. What is your engineering team focused on for the next three to five years?
The next three to five years will see an acceleration in the adoption of electronics and connectivity in areas that in the past have been addressed with purely mechanical solutions. As an engineering team, a large part of our efforts will be geared toward developing very power efficient, wireless connectivity capabilities, allowing battery-powered products to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).
2. Are connected and smart devices gaining ground worldwide, or is it a U.S. phenomenon?
Electromechanical convergence is happening worldwide. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are connectivity technologies that work in every region, so our connectivity platforms are easily deployed across our global product lines. The U.S. market is adopting connected electronics faster than many others, but the rest of the world is not far behind.
Our global footprint puts Allegion in a terrific position to drive the convergence. Allegion’s acquisitions of SimonsVoss, Milre and FSH, among others, have been instrumental in accelerating innovation in miniaturization, power consumption, mechanism capability and motorized electric strikes throughout our portfolio.
3. Why the emphasis on connected security?
I’m passionate about accelerating adoption rates of connected security because it’s the best way to improve safety and security while providing even higher levels of convenience and customer value. Security is improved because a connected device can be monitored 24/7, and when it comes to security, knowledge equals safety. For example, if someone props a security door open, the building manager can know immediately. Individual openings can be scheduled to limit access during certain hours, or to allow easy and open access during times of high traffic. At schools, connected devices allow for fast and safe lockdowns, while also ensuring safe egress. And the combination of controlled mechanical operation and electronics allows Allegion to offer quiet solutions for hospitals, where noise affects both patients and caregivers1.
4. How do the fast-growing mobile and cloud technologies affect Allegion and the security industry?
Mobile devices are essentially a powerful computer and a sophisticated graphical user interface, (or GUI) that we all carry with us everywhere we go. Allowing mobile devices to connect to our security products means we can tap into all that capability. So users can program devices, store a credential, or assign access rights to others through their mobile device. Cloud connectivity is a further enabler, allowing this functionality to be done remotely. Now users don’t have to be in proximity to the security device in order to check status, lock or unlock, or even grant access to other users. And making connections between devices, say between a residential e-lock and a connected light switch, is much easier in the cloud. We no longer have to rely on proprietary hardware connections. As long as each device in the network can connect to the internet, we (or our customers) can pull them together in the cloud for an integrated user experience.
5. How important is the appearance of security products?
Our Industrial Design Organization (IDO) provides us with a competitive advantage. Appearance and elegant design are important elements of the buying decision. It is clearly the case for residential products, where consumers expect hardware around the door to match the décor of their homes. But even in commercial environments, design matters. Customers make judgements about the quality and robustness of products based on what they can observe. Good fit and finish conveys a message of quality and reliability. And certain design elements, such as the shape of our Von Duprin exit devices, communicate visually that our customer has chosen the best, most robust, and most reliable device on the market.
1See “Designing hospitals for quiet recovery,” Allegion, 2013.
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