Abloy: Security seal of approval /Abloy/AbloyCOUK/News/Abloykyltti-524x224.jpg With so many different security products available on the market, it's hard to differentiate between a quality item and one that's inferior. Some would argue that you can tell a lot about goods from where they originate, and this is a good indicator of whether they will be made to a high standard. But should it matter where in the world a product hails from? Jon Burke, Marketing Manager at Abloy UK discusses why history does matter and what value it can add for security products. Previous research has shown that the country of origin can have an effect on a consumers' evaluation of merchandise. A number of studies showed that people make predictions on what a product's performance and quality will be like based on the country where it is designed. For example, champagne is known around the world for being a high quality sparkling wine. But to be labeled as champagne, the wine must have been produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. This is a great example of a product's birthplace being a signifier for quality. So, what about products that people rely on for security? The quality of locks and keys is especially important, as people depend on them for safety. That's why, as a security expert, Abloy UK is proud of its Finnish heritage, which aids its existing reputation for leading the way with security innovations for over 100 years. What difference does the country a product is made in make? Finland is a small country that has a harsh environment, and the people who reside there have had to be very resilient to prosper within this climate. Some would say this resilience has had an effect on the design style that Finnish products are known for. The quality choice Abloy's products are produced using excellent materials and quality craftsmanship, a combination that sets them head and shoulders above the competition. With them being designed and developed within the harsh environment of Finland, the products are built to withstand the toughest weather and treatment known to man. The products are made out of distinctive metals - such as stainless steel and boron - that other manufacturers do not use due to the expensive price, although the quality ensures that they're second-to-none. This reputation for quality is confirmed by the key flag logo that appears on Abloy UK's packaging, which shows that the products have a Finnish origin and have been endorsed by The Association for Finnish Work. Where it all began Emil Henriksson, who was an office machinery mechanic, invented the unique Abloy lock and key in Helsinki, Finland, in 1907. He was repairing a cash register when he noticed that the rotating cylindrical disks of the machine would be perfect for use as a lock mechanism. Just two years later, the first Abloy locks went on sale, and in 1918 lock production began at Ab Låsfabriken - Lukkotehdas Oy, where Abloy gets its name from. Even after all those years, new locking cylinder generations are constantly being developed from Emil's original innovative design. In 1978, Abloy was the first manufacturer in the world to develop an electric lock. The lock was created for the Bank of Finland, to offer the highest levels of security possible in its banknote production facility. Abloy subsequently launched electric locks in Sweden and Germany, notably in the Museum of Cologne. On the pulse Abloy knows that the voice of the customer is key, and so it employs a six-step gateway process when undertaking any new product development. These steps include pre-study, definition of the customer's requirements, specification selection, product and process design, industrialisation and market preparation, and finally the launch. The six 'gates' that have to be passed from idea inception to launch ensure that Abloy's standards stay high and they can continue to deliver new innovations regularly. Abloy knows the importance of keeping one finger on the pulse when it comes to upcoming trends, and is also involved in creating environmentally friendly products and championing sustainability. Some of the technologies and areas it has focused on include electromechanical products, battery-powered products that don't rely on external power sources, and Near Field Communication (NFC) and identification technologies, such as the Cliq Remote. It's not just about mass-producing products; it's about ensuring you provide the very best solution possible. By keeping abreast of these upcoming trends and bearing the needs of the customer in mind, Abloy will continue to provide revolutionary security innovations and stay one step ahead of its competitors.