As a rule electromechanical products provide higher security than traditional mechanical products because of their greater convenience. Locking and unlocking become simpler while the security of the locked door increases. ASSA ABLOY offers a large range of electromechanical products ranging from electric strikes and remotely actuated door locks to automatic doors and advanced card-based solutions. By exploiting developments in microprocessor and communications technology, future electromechanical products will offer additional control and monitoring functions. There are also great opportunities of incorporating electromechanics in ASSA ABLOY's more traditional mechanical products, and many Group companies are developing electromechanics for this purpose. The Group's sales of electromechanical products are now growing at a faster rate than those of mechanical products.
Simpler installation and operation
The trend is towards products that are simpler to install and simpler to integrate with the other systems used to automate buildings. This is driving the development of more intelligent products with built-in communications. Electromechanical products can now handle a long list of security requirements and are especially suitable for the more demanding security environments found in schools, hospitals, airports, warehouses and museums.
ASSA ABLOY has a world-leading position in automatic doors. There is strong demand for convenience and easier entrance and exit. As customer requirements increase, many store chains and hospitals, for example, are investing in tailored entrance systems that also include service. ASSA ABLOY's broad product range gives the Group a unique abilty to integrate automatic door operation with locking and access control so as to meet customers' demands for simple, convenient security solutions.
Electromechanical locks are another of ASSA ABLOY's fast-growing product segments.
ELVA is an electronic front-door lock intended for the residential market. It has the basic design of a traditional lock but has many new and convenient functions. Thus the door can be locked either with a key or by remote control. The coding technology (using one-time codes) and security between the remote control unit and the lock are the same as that used by banks to communicate over the Internet. A lost remote control unit can easily be barred from use.
Modular platforms are used for electromechanical products too. One example of a modular product is the Signature hotel-room lock from VingCard. The application of modular concepts to production allows the customer to combine different components, with different functionality and design, in creating security solutions. The new product simplifies communication between the electromechanical components and makes after-market services easier.
ASSA ABLOY sells security doors mainly on the American market. In the USA there are stringent requirements for emergency evacuation and fire safety, which leads to a powerful demand for security doors and especially steel doors.
One of ASSA ABLOY's fastest-growing product areas is identification and access control based principally on RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology. One advantage of RFID is that security monitoring and access control take place without physical contact. The need for more secure solutions is further driving the development of 'smart' cards on which personal information about the user can be stored. Service aspects, such as administration of access cards, are growing in importance in identification and access control.
Where there are extra-high demands for security, RFID and personal information can be combined with biometry – for example, fingerprints or iris scans. These products can provide extremely high levels of security. Other techniques that can be applied to raise security include holograms and ultraviolet inks. ASSA ABLOY is also working with the American company CoreStreet to develop a new system for secure identification in electromechanical locks.
ASSA ABLOY is well positioned to claim a share of the growing market for identification and access control.