To say that a company is responsible for revolutionising a specific industry sector is certainly a bold claim to make. Yet it is an utterly true statement to make when it comes to VingCard Elsafe. Since transforming the hospitality industry in 1979 with the introduction of the world’s first recordable lock, the company has continued to lead the market by continuously introducing new innovations.
The world leader in developing locking systems, electronic in-room safes and energy management solutions for the hospitality industry, VingCard Elsafe is dedicated towards providing electronic security solutions to the hospitality industry and facilities where people sleep away from home.
Today, VingCard Elsafe has products, including locks, safes, energy management systems and minibars, installed in more than 42,000 properties worldwide, securing in excess of seven million hotel rooms and providing advanced technology security solutions to hospital providers and their guests in over 166 countries across the globe.
With VingCard recognising the hotel industry’s need for more effective and efficient lock systems, the first mechanical key card operated lock was invented by one Tor Sørnes of Moss, Norway, in 1976, which was subsequently sold to the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, USA in 1979. In the years to follow, VingCard continued to develop key card operated locks, introducing the game changing VingCard 3000 electronic lock in 1992.
Around the same time that Sørnes was making his breakthrough, Elsafe was making waves of its own with the invention of the first electronic in-room safe in 1976, a development that would make metal key safe obsolete while reducing maintenance costs, streamlining front desk operations and providing convenience and security for users. In 1980, the seven first safe installations took place in the Canary Islands, followed by expansion to all continents.
It was in 1997, three years after both entities became a part of ASSA ABLOY, the world's largest independent lock company, that VingCard and Elsafe International joined sales and marketing forces and became the largest solution provider of guestroom security. In the following years, VingCard and Elsafe continued to develop electronic locking solutions and in-room safes side by side, while expanding their sales network around the world, before merging completely in 2006.
It was in this year that VingCard again set about changing the landscape of the hospitality market with the introduction of its VISIONLINE product. Unlike traditional off-line standalone locks, VISIONLINE by VingCard uses RF-online communication to eliminate the need for hotel staff to travel to and from guestrooms to perform tasks such as reprogramming individual locks and identifying or changing low batteries. It also eliminates the need for guests to return to the front desk in order to change a room or extend a stay, increasing guest convenience and satisfaction.
Less than seven years on, the VISIONLINE system has become the world leader in wireless online electronic locks for hotels, offering a cost-effective solution for hotel properties to facilitate reliable, two-way wireless online communication from standalone electronic door locks to their host security and PMS systems.
In June 2012, the next chapter in VingCard Elsafe’s history was written when the company unveiled its Essence by VingCard solution, the world’s first invisible door lock. By eliminating all lock hardware on the door and encasing all of its electronic components inside the door itself, Essence by VingCard integrates the company’s most advanced contactless locking solutions into the interior electronics.
By making the lock disappear from the hotel door, the use of Essence by VingCard not only resolves any design challenges that hoteliers may encounter, it also minimises a host of other operational issues, including integration, installation and maintenance. By hiding the locking components from the user, hotel designers are now able to align guestroom doors with the current trend toward a more residential look, while still proving the ultimate in security technology. Essence by VingCard is also fully compatible with the wireless VISIONLINE system, making it arguably the most advanced, streamlined locking system available on the market.
In the same month that the company broke the news of its latest hotel locking innovation, VingCard Elsafe successfully presented the solution to the industry at the HITEC 2012 technology show. Immediate feedback that the company received for Essence by VingCard in the aftermath of its official unveiling was nothing short of positive and extremely encouraging, serving to confirm its projections of where hotel locking technology is heading in the decades to come. Indeed, markets across the world are continuing to embrace the trend towards minimalism in design as well as embracing the types of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that have been incorporated into this new locking platform.
It is a well-known fact within the hospitality sector that in today’s world, people from all walks of life seek security, safety and peace of mind when sleeping away from home. By strengthening its long-term relationships with its customers by delivering superior local service standards and innovative, technologically advanced solutions, VingCard Elsafe continues to follow its own mission statement, and that is to remain the world’s leading choice for the hospitality industry when security counts.
Written by Will Daynes, research by James Boyle