Electromechanical evolution: Allegion on the convergence electronics into mechanical door hardware
Jeffrey Bennett, Commercial Leader for Allegion in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, discusses why the door hardware industry is seeing a convergence of electronics into mechanical door hardware, and the benefits of customising door access controls.
‘Electromechanical’ is still quite a new term in the door hardware industry, and the convergence of electronics and mechanical hardware that has given rise to this word’s popularity in the industry has only recently truly taken off.
What we are seeing now is security, facilities and buildings managers valuing this technology, customising their door access controls so it is unique to their buildings and operations, and making it a necessary addition to the safety and security of buildings and occupants.
But why has this perception changed? And exactly what has happened to cause this change in the way of thinking about these products?
The first reason is that technology is becoming more relevant to the vertical markets it is targeting and, as such, an evolution with these products is taking place – in quite a rapid fashion, too.
When electronics first burst onto the scene of mainstream door access and control, they were viewed more as gadgets as opposed to something that offered real substance. The consensus around the market was that it made your building look and feel more aesthetically pleasing if your occupants could swipe through a door with a keycard or transponder, but realistically, mechanical lock and key would essentially do the same job. Mechanical locks also seemed like more affordable options, due to the high outlay of wiring and ‘first systems’ costs.
Cycle forward to today’s world, however, and things are much different. The constant development of electronics married to the take-off of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to real and tangible benefits and solutions, while costs have gone down. Wireless solutions are in abundance, battery life is ever improving and easy retrofitting is the name of the game currently. Return on investment has never been higher – not just in monetary terms, but in security and safety terms, too.
Take for example the SimonsVoss access control systems: They have been developed to give door access at the tap of a button from our web app, timed access scheduling plus remote door lockdown. You can immediately see how electromechanical has gone way beyond just aesthetics and focused more on how to help raise security and control.
The internet and wireless technology has, of course, created new possibilities and that is the second reason why the trend of electromechanical convergence has taken place – there is much greater control and scope for development. Whether access is scheduled or in real time, information can be tracked and security can be reviewed to improve processes. In the event of a breach, that breach can be addressed immediately.
In areas like the Middle East, where security is an everyday concern and buildings (particularly new commercial, public and hospitality buildings) are of high value, it is even more imperative that door hardware intelligently delivers building security.
Access points and panic exit points, such as staff-only entrances, are particularly vulnerable given the number of people that can be cycling through these areas every day. That’s why products like the Briton 571 EL, which brings the two functions of access control and panic exiting together, have been born.
The world is getting more complex, so we at Allegion will continue to lead in electromechanical convergence and innovation. Dave Petratis, Chairman, President and CEO of Allegion puts it quite succinctly:
“Electromechanical convergence doesn’t mean we’re asking customers to completely convert to electronic security products – we’re encouraging them to use electronic solutions to complement their mechanical. We’re discussing both mechanical and electronic to balance the physical security needs with unique applications that are secure, cost-effective and convenient to use.”