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Safes come out of the closet

Long hidden away in the closet, massive and not always practical, safes are coming out of the closet to occupy other furniture or integrate the room’s decoration. They adapt to the objects they are meant to protect, particularly electronics.

Monolithic, safes are as robust as they are discreet in hotel rooms. Such discretion does not necessarily rhyme with inaction on the behalf of suppliers. This tool that is inseparable from the arsenal of hotel security is changing slowly but surely. Starting with its design. The safe is slowly extracting itself from the back of the closet. SafePlace greets success with its Tiara Top Open model that is made to fit into the drawers of furniture. “The upper part opens completely, revealing all the contents. This helps prevent forgetting things,” remarks Jean-Eric Martin, manager Europe for SafePlace, whose safes are distributed in France by the company Manusec. SafePlace also developed external safes to adapt to the needs of the chain Citizen M. Hanging on the walls or fit under the bed, these safes fit into the innovative design of these rooms with their minimal space. “Now that they are commonplace in the midscale and economy segments, safes are no longer always kept hidden. We have also revised the style and ergonomics, using different materials for a shinier, brighter look. Our three ranges –Xtra, Sentinel and Infinity – under the Elsafe brand will be re-designed,” explains Christian Hénon, president of Assa Abloy Hospitality France. Technomax also plays on design. “Alongside a traditional line of products, some models are conceived in an elegant and refined manner,” describes Marzio Orlandi, director of the firm Technomax.Locks in dialogue with locks Connecting room access to internet/intranet is one of the new warhorses of professionals. Their desire: to allow dialogue between a central point and a room’s lock in order to immediately modify accessibility, consult entry history or warn reception about any dysfunction. This evolution more specifically addresses high capacity hotels and vast resorts in order to react rapidly from reception or the back office without having to go anywhere. Bricard is thinking about it ; Kaba-Saflok and Vingcard have already done it. After the United States, a prototype that will work with the Classic lock is expected very soon on the French market. “Thanks to short waves using the Zigbee protocol, routers located near locks (in ceilings, on walls) slowly relay information to the main router on the floor, which is linked to the hotel’s local network,” explains Christian Hénon.Nonetheless, design is not the first vocation of safes. They are made first and foremost to discourage infractions while relieving the ho-tel of responsibility if there is a problem thanks to the recorded history of openings and closings. The ranges are being enriched: Resolute and Titanium by JVD, Digit+ by Bricard, and ADC and AD from Technomax with their oversized LED display, XTRa by Elsafe, and Magna 800 from SafePlace; these safes underline their simplicity first and foremost. The safe must be easy for the client to use in order to avoid errors and for the hotelier to be able to resolve blockages. In this regard, SafePlace added BiMax to its safes. This de-vice verifies who is operating the safe with digital fingerprints for authorized personnel in order to increase the level of security.Code or microchip: the methods for opening are also immutable. Guests, however, have different tastes: the French prefer codes, while the Japanese swear by their bank cards, and Americans and Scandinavians use either one indifferently. This area leaves little room for innovation. The latest –biometrics – seems to have been a mere flash in the pan. “It did not convince. We installed this safe in a few hotels in Eastern Europe as well as in a few palace suites because of its prestige. But there is no real justification for this extra cost,” admits Jean-Eric Martin.Nonetheless, the years to come could see new solutions appear. Next September, Elsafe will launch the production of the first RFID version of its Sentinel safe. In the future, the room card could become the safe’s sesame. “Guests make a lot of mistakes. Depersonalizing codification could reduce errors,” rejoices Christian Hénon. Does RFID lie in the future of the safe the way it does for locks? Jean-Eric Martin, Director Europe of SafePlace, is taking his time: “we don’t want to do it. It would be enough for the guest to brush up against the safe as he leaves his room for it to be unlocked.”Time will tell if RFID will have the same fate as biometrics or, on the contrary, if it will impose itself as a secure means for opening safes. On the other hand, professionals agree on another major evolution that the future holds, also observed in the area of locks: connection of safes to intranet. The Sentinel range from Elsafe will soon interact with the hotel’s reception desk. “VisiOnline software makes it possible to check locks, safes and mini-bars from a distance”. Jean-Eric Martin explains the advantages of this connection: “our safes will be able to provide information. For example: alert reception if someone is trying to break into it.” Another perspective: the possibility of controlling the use of safes from a distance, and thus bill its use. “That’s the rule in Spain and Portugal,” remarks the director of SafePlace, “Why not some day in France?” even if this practice would appear to be more difficult to put into effect.A new global player Since last June, Safeplace has been associated with the Scandinavian Timelox to provide all the security equipment hoteliers need. The result of this union: the savoir-faire of SafePlace in terms of safes and the expertise of Timelox in access control. This new strongman of the sector is working to develop synergies that will certainly appear in the months to come.Locks in dialogue with locks Connecting room access to internet/intranet is one of the new warhorses of professionals. Their desire: to allow dialogue between a central point and a room’s lock in order to immediately modify accessibility, consult entry history or warn reception about any dysfunction. This evolution more specifically addresses high capacity hotels and vast resorts in order to react rapidly from reception or the back office without having to go anywhere. Bricard is thinking about it ; Kaba-Saflok and Vingcard have already done it. After the United States, a prototype that will work with the Classic lock is expected very soon on the French market. “Thanks to short waves using the Zigbee protocol, routers located near locks (in ceilings, on walls) slowly relay information to the main router on the floor, which is linked to the hotel’s local network,” explains Christian Hénon.

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