It’s all in the handle

Last week Warren Simonsen, vice president operations, SimonsVoss Inc., came down from Milwaukee to visit our office here in Chicagoland.  SimonsVoss makes door handles with electronic locks.  The company is based out of Germany and has solid roots in the European market. (For example, the impressive Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, where many World Cup soccer games and festivities were held, uses SimonsVoss products throughout).  Now the company is trying to get established in the U.S.

Simonsen gave a demo and presentation of the SimonsVoss SV1 lock that they hope to introduce to the U.S. market in October.  He explained the product as being the middle ground between mechanical door handle locks and full-fledged access control systems.  The SV1 would be more secure than mechanical locks and look nicer than having an external smart card reader.  As he puts it, "We actually have a door handle that looks nice and functions well."   

There will be two different types of active transponders available for the SV1.  One will be a push-button and the other will be biometric.  Simonsen says that one challenge he faces is getting locksmiths and security dealers to see that the product really is as simple as it looks.  The locking mechanism is inside the handle, and there are "no holes to drill, no wires to pull, no switches to set."  Believe it or not, it's all in the handle.

In Europe, Simonsen says that SimonsVoss products have sold much better to locksmiths than to security dealers.  So far in the U.S. he has found that dealers are still hesitant to sell SV1 because it's less money than the access control systems they're already installing.  However, Simonsen is working to help them find untapped "new markets" of people who aren't willing to pay for a top-of-the-line access control system but still want something better than mechanical locks.

You can read more about SV1 here.  As a security dealer or integrator, what's your take?  Do you see a potentially profitable market for you here?