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Smart hardware: The future for fabrication?

Throughout 2020, home monitoring and security systems, lighting and thermostats accounted for the biggest proportion of growth for the European smart home market*. Here, Kerry Blackford, Head of Product for ERA, discusses how advances in connected home technology are helping fabricators meet increasing consumer demand for smart home systems and creating new business opportunities.

Smart devices have evolved significantly over recent years. Now commonplace, voice-controlled smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are being used by households to control an ever-expanding portfolio of smart systems that are ingeniously designed to help individuals streamline their daily routines.


Homeowners are becoming increasingly comfortable with managing different aspects of their property via an app or by simply asking Alexa, whether it’s controlling heating, scheduling lighting, or setting their security alarm. Across more and more product categories, householders are expecting to see smart home functionality that makes their lives easier, more convenient and providing the freedom and peace of mind to manage their property from their phone.


With regard to security in particular, developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) are creating new opportunities for fabricators to stand apart from competitors and meet this growing demand for home automation with smart hardware options.By bolstering their existing door and window offerings with new wireless security systems, fabricators can meet the needs of customers who are either looking to add more connected technology to their homes, or those who are making the first step into the smart home world.


For the latter group in particular, there is the potential for fabricators to create new revenue streams if the smart hardware forms part of a wider eco-system of app-controlled security products, which they can also offer to customers. Wireless, smart hardware can be fabricated into the door or window at the point of manufacture, allowing the customer flexibility on when to activate the technology and integrate it into a wider smart home system to suit their lifestyle, budget or home renovation timetable.

For example, smart window sensors, such as ERA’s WindowSense, can be discreetly fabricated into the eurogroove of a wide range of PVCu profiles, yet the technology can be activated once the homeowner is ready, whether at installation or a later date.


Once activated, the integrated window sensors provide customers with the ability to remotely check the status of their windows in real time via an app, giving them peace of mind when they are away from their property.


Smart window sensors can also alert homeowners of any attempts made by intruders to gain entry to their property via the windows, as the sensor is wirelessly connected to the smart alarm hub of ERA’s smart security offering, ERA Protect. This automatically triggers the alarm system and sends notifications direct via the app if the link between the window sensor and the accompanying contact is broken.


Window security technology like this brings traditional hardware right up to date, delivering advanced security but with added convenience and real-time notifications that can deliver greater peace of mind.

The level of protection can be enhanced even further when window sensors are used to form part of a wider smart security eco-system that includes devices such as video doorbells, and indoor and outdoor cameras. Many higher-end smart home systems are modular, giving homeowners the option to customise the system, adding new devices to suit their needs and budgets. This flexibility is beneficial for fabricators too, as they can not only recommend smart window sensors at the point of manufacture, they can also cross-sell the wider eco-system as part of a window replacement programme or at a later date.


Offering smart hardware gives fabricators the opportunity to benefit from the connected home revolution in a way that fits neatly into existing manufacturing processes, with the potential to expand into wider smart home security too.


Part of the growing ERA Protect eco-system of app-controlled security products, WindowSense is a wireless integrated sensor that alerts homeowners to any attempts made by intruders to gain entry to their property via the windows, when connected to the ERA Protect alarm hub.


* https://www.telecomtv.com/content/tracker/european-smart-home-market-reached-the-best-performance-of-the-year-in-4q20-says-idc-41228/