Being Smart with security

Gio Laporta
Gio Laporta

Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, talks to Smart Ready’s Giovanni Laporta about the perils and pitfalls, but also the opportunities available in the emerging smart market.

We’re all aware of the recent rise in keyless car attacks, where car thieves have increasingly targeted keyless entry vehicles by breaching the computer systems that are built into the cars’ communication network.

And if you can hack into a £100k high end vehicle, windows and doors costing a fraction of that have no chance, right? We don’t want to be left scratching our heads questioning where it all went wrong after install – there are lessons to be learned so our sector doesn’t make the same mistakes.

Luke Wood (LW): We’ve seen a lot of ‘smart alarms’ come onto the market, but how are smart alarms and in particular alarms that are linked to smart lock monitoring, different to a standard alarm system?

Giovanni Laporta (GL): The current standard alarm market, worth billions, focusses on motion sensors inside the house to raise an alarm. Once the alarm sounds, whoever is trying to break-in, is no longer trying, the person is already inside the property.

Smart alarms – which know when a window or door is locked/unlocked – are a completely different ball game. They can raise the alarm prior to any entry and it can all be done through a user friendly app via a three stage alarming system.

Monitoring is key at point of entry – knowing when someone is trying to break in as opposed to after entry has already taken place. If smart monitoring locked/unlocked sensors don’t have even just a basic alarm, then in my opinion, the smart sensor is useless.

LW: Are consumers actually investing in smart?

GL: I hear the initial uptake of smart technology for windows and doors is less than 0.8%. That’s down to three main factors: First, the marketing on existing smart sensors to date hasn’t been done very well, second, the product offering is flaky and third, there is no clear advantage to the homeowner with regards to security. There needs to be a clear, positive advantage.

LW: Some installers are reporting that factors such as energy efficiency and style are bigger priorities for homeowners – would you agree?

GL: The mixed messages and misinformation mean that homeowners don’t understand the offering fully and therefore don’t see a clear advantage to making the switch to smart windows and doors.

When you compare it with something like energy efficiency, the homeowner is completely on board as environmental issues are at the forefront of the consumer considerations and they understand the benefits. We will see that shift with smart safety too, once consumers understand the clear benefits.

LW: How will your smart tech be different to what’s out there at the moment?

GL: Smart Ready doesn’t sell products, its sets the standard for minimum features and preparation.

We’ve invested heavily in working with Hug, a Smart Ready tech partner, in order to develop technology which means fabricators don’t have to change the locks they are using, which makes the decision to adopt Smart much easier.

Working with hardware partner, SAC, we have developed a carbon friendly lock, so it’s not only Smart, but energy efficient too, to help engage the consumer. So, there will be a lot of difference.

LW: What do you think smart tech in fenestration will look like in 10 years time?

GL: Smart will get cleaner, simpler, and will all be voice controlled. It will also be as common as washing machines, fridges, TVs and any other home appliance you can think of that we see as everyday technologies.

That may seem a stretch now, but once the pace picks up, it will be surprising how quickly the market shifts and consumers adopt this new technology.

LW: Why should fabricators and installers be thinking Smart?

GL: We wanted to give the industry an easy, cost effective (if not free) way into the smart world which removes any technical responsibility from the fabricator and installer, and to future-proof every single window and door in the market which allows consumers to upgrade at their leisure and that’s what we’ve done.

It’s fabricators and installers that are willing to embrace innovation and don’t see it as a dirty word. So often, when push comes to shove, companies that have touted ‘innovation’ as a slogan, are frequently unwilling to put their money where their mouth is and invest.

It takes bravery to do that and it’s those companies who are moving this industry forward. This is a real opportunity for our industry and I’m happy to talk to any fabricators and installers who may wish to be an early adopter of this next wave of innovation.