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Sudhakar uPVC Windows and Doors

Digital Disruptions in Hardware Industry

By: George Philip, dormakaba

I always felt that the mechanical hardware industry has been very slow to adopt digitisation. Historically, hardware has always been about products. On the contrary, In the modern world, data is the product. We need to change from “hardware” (door hardware / Iron Mongery) to “digiware”. Hardware should be just an accessory. Let it sink into our brains, that over the years due to a lack of innovations, end users find it difficult to distinguish between locks of different brands. So, we need to expect the inevitable – that hardware will become a commodity.

Digital platforms (Amazon, Uber, Facebook) do not apply to our legacy industries of ours like mechanical hardware as they are (currently) two different industries. One is platforms, and the other is products. We need to find ways and means for Data flow, allowing an interface between the digital world and analog world, between products and the user, without physical proximity.

Architectural Hardware Industry going digitalLet me give a simple example of the yawning gap between the current situation and where we should be in the future. For instance, let us compare the experience of buying a book in a physical store and an online platform. You go to Kinokuniya (my favorite bookstore in Dubai), spend 2 hours, and buy a book. What data has Kinokuniya got from those 2 hours I spent there? – Well, George Philip, holder of card no XXXX has purchased a book “ABC” authored by XYZ.

Now imagine, I was browsing for 2 hours on Amazon before I selected the same book. What data has Amazon gotten from me? So much, from my search engine requests, the time I stayed at each book I explored, the subjects I like, etc. The data I shared, compared to the visit to the bookstore, is huge. In the whole process, Amazon understood me better (and gave me invaluable suggestions) and I as a user, could get more information out based on my interests.

Products (aka hardware) should generate interactive data (and not one time or what is called episodic data), in the same way as you would have given when you went browsed in Amazon. How can both the user (the buyer of the hardware) and the seller (hardware suppliers) benefit from such a digital transformation? Quite a challenge, right? Ok. Let’s see where we are, as an industry. For this, we need to go through the cycle of how hardware is selected, and finally commissioned, from’ Design to Delivery ‘and beyond, through the lifecycle of the building. It’s all about how we can digitalise the door, get interactive data, and add more value to the customer, far more than delivering a product.

One such initiative, moving in that direction, is EntrWorX from dormakaba. It is an innovative platform that in conjunction with an integrated product and solution portfolio can support smart planning, simple and efficient installation, and effective management of the openings in the building. EntrWorX is not a single product, but a platform that helps to put together the conditions and the solutions that a door needs to solve. And deep diving further, which products must be selected from a basket, to give those functions. It then goes deep down to see what information, in real-time, can be taken from the door to make useful decisions.

Entriworx ecosystem and installationSo, every door is a combination of products (Mechanical, Electro-Mechanical, and Software) around the door to achieve the required functions. These products could be grouped, with all details extrapolated into the opening – everything from catalogues, installations sheets, BIM, and wiring diagrams that then can be available with a press of a button. Let’s take the example of an entrance door and how EntrWorX interacts with the stakeholders involved at each stage.

Architect: 3D Visualisation of the building, the entrance including the doors, its functions, dimensions, relativity to other trades like walls, floors, ceilings, “plan to build” information, compliance to codes, specifications (now that is a lot!). Contractor: The contractor will get information on the list of components (hardware products) in the door, installation instructions, wiring diagrams, and 3D drawings to enable seamless integration on/ into the door. These include all information that the door manufacturer needs for constructing the door with hardware.

Installers: All data, from installation instructions, and interaction with details to other trades, the possibility to check these settings and health checks remotely, having plug-andplay options with the products on the door, commissioning of the door, and handing over the door. Facilities Manager: Everything that is needed to maintain the door, is automatically at his fingertips, including article numbers, and contacts. Etc. Most importantly, they get the health of the door, from a number of cycles, errors of the door, (all live and without being in the proximity of the door), and finally, the diagnosis and the troubleshooting recommendations.

The contribution of platforms like EntrWorX, from planning to execution is invaluable, as it solves the problems of MANY. Let me step back and look at the situation where a customer goes beyond the ‘Explore’ option and now wants to step on to ‘Exploit ‘. I will also put myself in the shoes of the facility manager, who is the longest stakeholder in the building. What can we do for him with this platform?

  • All products in a door talk on a ‘platform’ via interactive data.
  • All doors in a building talk to each other, making the openings in a building more ‘dynamic’ and ‘proactive’.
  • Endless possibilities – from seamless people flow, adaptable levels of security, predictive maintenance, remote monitoring of the health of each door, measurable sustainability (external doors can have shorter hold open times during summers, and even higher closing speeds), air conditioning can be adjusted based on the opening frequency of doors in each space, profiling for each type of door, that has similar functions and opening cycles and need similar maintenance, dynamic profiles (doors need to have longer hold opens between 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM and evening 4.00 PM – 5.00 PM) and so on…

The more meaningful data you generate, the more meaningful “profiles” and “situations” can be handled proactively, making the building more efficient, healthier, people-friendly, and sustainable for all stakeholders. Of course, as I mentioned, the ability to “exploit” is endless, and if you want even more, there is always Chat GPT.

George Philip, dormakaba

Deputy Vice President

George Philip is the DVP for Business Development, Product Management, Competency Hub, and Marcom, for dormakaba MENA. He is a qualified mechanical engineer with MBA. He has also completed Advanced Management Program (AMP) from Harvard Business School, and Artificial Intelligence Program from MIT. He truly believes that if you enjoy work, then work becomes play.

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