The paradox behind AviaSmart hardware

It may have its roots in the traditional timber market, but Mighton is now leading the way with smart home security. We talk to chairman, Mike Derham, to find out more.

This year Mighton Products celebrates its 40th year in business. The company was started by Mike Derham, when as a manufacturer and restorer of period box sash windows, he found that the hardware and components he needed were difficult to obtain, expensive and poorly served by the firms that supplied them.

Mike, who is now chairman of the company, felt he could do better, began sourcing his own products, supplying them to others and the hardware business soon overtook the window repair business.

Mighton has, for some years, been one of the leading suppliers of hardware, components, coatings and paint, predominantly to the timber window and door industry and in particular, for box sash windows.

A particular success for the firm has been its Angel Ventlock, a child fall-prevention device that sells in thousands globally and especially in the United States. While he has remained in touch with the home improvement sector, Mike has always maintained a strong focus on the timber window and door industry.

Until around four years ago that is when he launched a highly advanced, Apple HomeKit compliant, smart doorlock for multipoint-equipped doors; composite doors therefore, manufactured for the home improvement market.

Mike picks up the story: “I have always been passionate about period windows and doors and historic buildings generally; to my great cost I live in a Grade 2 listed property full of the original box sash windows that I used to repair and replace. And yet I am also fascinated with new technology.

“I am immersed in window and door hardware and I have close ties to the home improvement sector, and it occurred to me that there was little or nothing out there, back in 2018 when I started down this route, that brought door security into the 21st century: locks remained pretty much as they had been for centuries,” recalled Mike.

And thus the Avia Smart multi-point door lock was developed and launched at the global shrine to tech, the annual CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: if you’re going to get involved, do it right!

In advance of the global launch of the Avia Smart door lock at CES in January, it was proclaimed global winner of the ‘Smart Lock Product of the Year’ award in the 4th Annual IoT (Internet of Things) Breakthrough Awards Program. Mighton’s transformation to a leading-edge tech company, was rapid and decisive.

Just over one year after the launch of the Avia Smart door lock, Covid hit: “That changed priorities for many companies,” explained Mike. “But after things stabilised, we continued our journey with Avia and developed a range of products that were complementary to the door lock, including one designed specifically for US markets, where we have a strong presence.”

The result is a suite of complementary window hardware and other connected products, including an ‘intelligent’ casement window handle, and a window and door sensor that allow users to tell, at a glance via their Apple devices, the status of their windows or doors.

The Avia range also includes a smart socket that can be used in conjunction with Apple Home Automation to give complete control of household appliances; and a high tech, motion sensor PIR camera that can detect movement up to 10m away.

All products have at their core, Apple HomeKit tech, simplicity of installation and operation, and a subscription-free model. Mike explained his insistence on the latter: “Whilst sales of smart window and door security products are growing, the market is still developing and we strongly believe that having to commit to a subscription complicates things, and especially for salespeople that don’t want their pitch complicated. We need to keep things simple if we want to sell lots of these products,” added Mike.

As Mighton approached its 40th year in business, one product within the Avia range cements the company’s traditional foundations and high-tech futuristic products: a smart sash lock for vertical sliding, box sash windows, one that is believed to be unique. Perhaps Mike Derham was the only person capable of creating that paradox.