This article is part of a broader discussion between CE Pro and Nick English regarding Kaadas’s entry into the custom integration market. For those interested in the full discussion between English and our Web Editor, Nick Boever, the recording of the discussion has been included with this article.
CE pros right now are all abuzz over the prospects offered by the MDU market, to the point where it seems like it was on cue when Kaadas made the announcement of its entry into North America. Described as the “largest smart lock manufacturer you’ve never heard of” by North American CEO Nick English, the company’s offerings are uniquely catered to the MDU market and integrators at large.
So where has Kaadas been all this time? The company has 30 years of tenure in the field, but all that experience lying in the international market as a predominantly Chinese manufacturer. And so English’s first task is essentially translating that success into the US market.
“As you may or may not know, door hardware in America is much different than it is around the world,” English explains in an interview I had with him as a part of CE Pro’s MDU Deep Dive. “The bore holes are cut differently and deadbolts fit into a North American door differently, so something that works for a North American door doesn’t easily translate around the world, right?
“Being a Chinese based company focused on the Asian market for quite some time, Kaadas has always wanted to expand out from there. The reason for North America—and the reason for the expansion—was simply because it was time to do that from both an interest standpoint and from a capacity and capability standpoint for Kaadas.”
English ‘Eager’ to Start Working with Integrators on MDU Opportunities
Interest is right. Since it’s first announcement back at ISC West 2023, news of Kaadas’s arrival has been met with much excitement, a lot of it coming from English himself, who is very eager to start working with integrators, given his prior experience within the industry.
“With our ability to keep our price points low, I think that’s really where it’s going to benefit them (integrators), as they can bid a project that includes a smart lock instead of just a regular standalone mechanical lock at the front entry door with a competitive bid price,” English says.
“Everything is done in house, from manufacturing the product to the R&D and the engineering. So that allows us to control our quality, control our supply chain, and that means integrators working with us can control all those things for their business as well. That also means they get to control the cost.”
English also has plenty to say to integrators who have yet to get into MDUs: namely, how they can break into the market using smart locks as an offering.
“It’s one of those situations where there’s two or three ways that MDU companies are applying smart locks to their space,” he says.
“In one form—in that it’s kind of the most immediate that integrators can tap into—is taking what has been designed as a single-family residential lock and a smart lock with a back end like Z-Wave and creating a platform so that you can put those locks on 100 or 200 or 1000 doors in an MDU building and manage them all through that back end solution. That’s where we see an immediate play.”
Advice to Integrators: Don’t Be Afraid to Branch Out
Ultimately, the main goal, as English puts it, is to offer a plethora of products so that integrators have a solution for just about every scenario they could encounter working in the MDU market. At the end of the day, he hopes that the amount of options, combined with competitive pricing, makes the prospect of breaking into a new market a little less intimidating for integrators.
“Someone might say ‘Oh there’s 200 doors on that building. I couldn’t possibly do that,’ or ‘I don’t know how I would install that or partition the system.’ If you’re not familiar with it, it could be scary,” he acknowledges.
“But I want to say, don’t be afraid of it. There are a lot of providers out there who can not only offer the back end solution but will actively manage it for you. So if you’re the installer and you want to put that solution in there, go for it, because you have plenty of partners who will help you.
“Explore what your options are, is what I’m saying. Come over and talk to us and we’ll help you make a competitive offer on a project bid. We’ll get you a good price and really, we’ll make it work for the both of us.”
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