The humble door lock has undergone a dramatic evolution over the past fifty or so years. Once a relatively simple device comprising a cylinder and a key, today the market is being flooded with high-tech reincarnations that make use of electromechanical and digital components. Fingerprint technology is being introduced to the market, doors can now be opened by mobile phone, and facial recognition is not far away from becoming mainstream. It’s all moving very fast, particularly in many parts of Asia.

“Korea, in fact, is the country with the biggest penetration of digital door locks in residential spaces,” says Magnus Kagevik, President of ASSA ABLOY Asia–Pacific. “Between 70 and 80 per cent of all households in Korea have a digital lock installed on the entrance door. And the rest of the world is coming.”

ASSA ABLOY has made it a priority to invest heavily into this space, and as the largest lock manufacturer in the world it is well positioned to do so. Most of its R&D is done in house, and it has its own engineers working on these fresh tech-savvy solutions.

Where it has to outsource, it cooperates with appropriate partners to integrate ideas and materials. Magnus says that the more technology there is in the lock, the more important it is to work closely with the suppliers.

“When you start to talk about digital products and the solutions for them, of course the suppliers are more important because they become part of the actual solution. You need to have a more strategic relationship with them than you do with the raw-material providers,” he explains. “It is becoming more and more important to take this view when it comes to the new technologies.”