The ‘Innovation Corridor’

Assa Abloy’s Door Security Solutions offers a test drive
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn.--For members of the New Haven Manufacturers Association, it is now much clearer why Assa Abloy chose just that shade of aquamarine for its electroluminescent tape, which guides people to exits during smoke or fire emergencies. Standing in the entryway to the Door Security Solutions division’s Innovation Corridor, installed here at the Sargent manufacturing plant, they are quickly buffeted by thick clouds of stage smoke and forced to peer through atmosphere that is increasingly opaque.

Not surprisingly, the strips along the floor are easily identifiable, as are the exit signs on the doors. But then tour leader Garrett Lovejoy, an electromechanical applications engineer for Assa, flips on the new Beacon product, and from the far door’s crashbar they are assaulted with bright flashing strobes, impossible to ignore white noise, and a tunnel sculpted from lasers that guides them to the exit. If an end user has this system installed and still suffers a fire-related tragedy, then that tragedy was simply unavoidable.

Driving this point home for end users, said Stacey Callahan, director of marketing for Assa Abloy Door Security Solutions, was one of many reasons Assa Abloy invested in the new demonstration area. Visiting integrators will notice it bleeds into a training center to support the company’s new authorized channel partner program, which has been made necessary by the company’s new focus on electrical access control in addition to its traditional strengths in door hardware. As Assa’s products become sophisticated, she said, “we realized we could do better working with the channel.”

In addition to the training and demonstration area, the company has also hired six new sales engineers, the Integrated Solutions Support Team, to help integrators in the field. And while some of the products in the Innovation Corridor are still in beta phase and not ready for print publications to write about them, be assured that Assa Abloy has products that will require that support from time to time.

The total package of innovation, both corridor-related and not, is part of an effort to consolidate the Assa Abloy brand as well, said Callahan. “People don’t know Assa Abloy,” she said. “People know Securitron, they know Sargent - that made us realize we needed to change the way we do things.”