Home security forecast

Winlock Security’s managing director Alan Parker discusses the future of hardware, including emerging trends and their potential industry-wide impact.

Mobile technology will continue to drive innovation in the home security sector. We’re already seeing more apps and electronic products with mobile interfaces for the tech savvy; with development being done in order to provide mobile-ready door and window locking systems.

Whether the majority of homeowners adopt mobile technology is, however, still up for debate. According to YouGov’s 2018 report, 23% of UK homes have at least one smart device (of which only 3% are smart security devices) but 76% of those who don’t currently have any form of smart home device, are not interested in buying one.

The hardware industry also faces a number of major obstacles, namely how the bulky mechanical interface will work and fluid functionality is achieved without sacrificing the all-important aesthetic.

The first company to solve this conundrum will certainly win big. Installers will also increasingly compete with alarm and consumer security sectors as the major alarm companies already have app-enabled systems, which tell you if a door or window has been opened and will raise an alarm if appropriate.How will this limit the potential for door and window installers, and how can they compete with the ADT and Chubbs of this world remains to be seen. Will the alarm companies decide to move into door and window installation?

The introduction of Document Q guidelines in 2016 had a major effect on the new-build sector, and the domestic refurbishment sector is now under pressure to meet this same specification (rumoured to be the government’s long-term objective). Until recently, products in the domestic refurbishment market were generally better, or of higher quality security, than new-build, but the introduction of Document Q has reversed this situation.

Many products sold into domestic refurbishment would now not be allowed on new-build homes and consumers are currently being sold ‘high security’ doors and windows that are nothing of the sort. Developers are already reporting that their customers are increasingly asking for ‘Doc Q’ or ‘PAS024’ windows and doors, and it is inevitable that this demand will only increase.

It should become the norm to expect that replacement windows and doors are built and installed to the latest security standards. The overall impact of this is that hopefully homes are better protected, burglaries will be reduced, insurance premiums will be lowered (but don’t hold your breath), security standards in the private sector will be improved, and house buyers will get better information as to the standard of security on the house they purchase.

In the past the insurance sector has driven minimum security standards in the residential market, but they can’t monitor what is fitted into private homes. Potentially, the simplest method of supervision is to have enhanced Fensa registration that confirms compliance with PAS024, so that when a house is sold it can only be sold with the appropriate Fensa certification, either at the time of installation or at the time the house is put up for sale. The enforcement of this will probably happen in due course, but with a preoccupied government it may not happen by 2020.

While these trends will mean more choice, possibly more complex purchasing decisions, and greater cost for the end consumer, ultimately security standards and effectiveness will be hugely improved.

It will create new sales opportunities and increase the average selling price, but those companies not offering high security solutions or who don’t have the skill sets required to take advantage of them, will fall behind.

Specifically for Winlock these trends will continue to drive our product development, and we also expect significant take up of our Stronghold Security Guarantee. Our aim with this guarantee is to encourage our customers to make their doors and windows PAS024 compliant.