From thermostats to speakers, routers to light switches, the products you sell to your customers have become increasingly better looking. While it’s natural to attribute the shift to a style pioneer like Nest, the designers at Kwikset believe that aesthetic improvements are a natural evolution in any successful product’s lifecycle.
“The smart home industry tends to focus on performance enhancements and technological innovation,” says Kwikset product manager Jason Tu. “These facets are certainly critical, but aesthetics are as important as the performance and technology.”
Over the years, the locks that comprise Kwikset’s massive product portfolio undergo constant refinement, and this has always included tweaks to the products’ cosmetic features. Recently, though, it’s become a bigger focus at Kwikset, given the trend toward products of more modern, streamlined designs.
“TVs started out looking like pieces of furniture,” Kwikset lead industrial designer Elliot Schneider offers as an example. “Today, with the popularity of flat-panels, consumers are celebrating the TVs as a slick piece of technology. Smart locks are moving in the same direction. Historically they have looked very traditional, but are now becoming more contemporary and sleeker in their appearance.”
Kwikset demonstrates its commitment to staying on trend cosmetically with the introduction of several contemporary-style products like its popular SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt, and more recently the Obsidian (available in 2017).
“Modern and minimalist, they fit the style that our customers tell us they want,” says Schneider. “The voice of the customer — homeowners, builders, architects, interior designers, home systems integrators, even retailers — has always influenced our product development.”
One of the most noticeable design elements on these two new smart locks is the absence of a keypad. A touchscreen is employed instead, giving integrators a selling feature that is both cosmetically and technologically attractive to consumers.
The built-in touchscreen suits homes of contemporary design and provides users with an interface that’s fashionably sleek and modern, and just like the touchscreens on their phones is intuitive, high-tech, and easy to operate.
What’s more, the touchscreen actually makes the lock a better, more reliable product. In the case of the Obsidian, the removal of the keyway results in an electronic lock that eliminates the risk of lock picking and lock bumping.
Moreover, the Obsidian’s SecureScreen technology (also available on the SmartCode 916) can help mask smudge attacks, in which passcodes can be potentially jeopardized by detecting frequently used numbers from the oily residue on the touchscreen surface.
Aesthetics, technology, and performance are three elements of product design that Kwikset says integrators should always promote to their customers. And they shouldn’t stop at the front door.
“To get the true value of a smart lock technology, all of a home’s exterior doors should be automated,” says Tu. “Talk to the customer, look around his or her house to get a feel for its style, and don’t assume that just because the existing locks are of a certain style, that it’s a style the customer likes. It could simply be that these locks were on the doors when they bought the house.”
Certainly, during discussions with your clients they may gravitate toward a lock like the Obsidian and or SmartCode 916, but with more than 100 styles and several finishes available, there are plenty of options from Kwikset that will look great on every house, door, shed, garage, and other building, regardless of its style.
Couple the availability of many styles with Kwikset’s rich heritage of developing innovative, high-performing products, and dealers can feel comfortable offering smart locks to homeowners of a wide range of residences — big, small, new, existing, contemporary, and traditional.
As smart locks have become a more familiar technology among consumers, being able to present them with a range of choices will likely inspire them to explore opportunities beyond the front door.