Interview: Francesca Facchinetti, Shareholder of ISEO Group and member of the founding family
a&s Adria: Please present yourself to our readers: your education, business experience, what department and area are you in charge within ISEO, etc.?
Facchinetti: My name is Francesca Facchinetti and I am the daughter of Evaristo Facchinetti, the president of ISEO Serrature. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in business in last year and is now led by the third generation of our founding family. I started my collaboration with ISEO in 1994 and in these years, I had the opportunity to work in several departments of the headquarters in Pisogne (North of Italy) and to spend some time also in our branches located abroad; this helped me to better understand the dynamics of our business across the markets. Today I work as personal assistant to the general management.
a&s Adria: Your story started 50 years ago with the inception of parent company ISEO Serrature, which is now led by the third generation of the founding family. As one of the leading European companies in access control, how would you describe ISEO nowadays: how many employees do you have, where have you based your manufacturing, revenues, investment in research, etc.?
Facchinetti: Fifty years on from its foundation, ISEO is a major player on the international scene, with over 1,300 employees.
The headquarter is based in Pisogne (north of Italy), while other production and commercial companies are located almost worldwide: the production sites are based in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Romania, commercial companies are settled in Asia, South Africa, Middle East and South America.
ISEO keeps on following its objectives regarding product and process innovation, expansion towards new markets and consolidation of existing ones and investing every year in research and development.
a&s Adria: During five decades, what were the most important milestones (for instance, opening new offices and developing new technologies) on your way to success? It is interesting to notice that in 2018 Italmobiliare stepped in ISEO capital, simultaneously leaving another large access control company Dormakaba. Did that additionally boost your progress?
Facchinetti: The last few years have been characterized by strong investments by ISEO group and these were the result of a specific company strategy, organized in several steps.
The satisfaciton of our customers has always been a priority for the company, so we had first of all the goal to improve the range of our existing products in order to better enhance their characteristics and funcions. In this way, the company can better comply with the current products demand.
On the other side we wanted to expand the current product range, so in 2016 we embedded the french Locken company with the aim to enter in the business of access control systems for large “Utilities” companies.
The entry of Italmobiliare in 2018 fits very well with our strategy and has been fundamental to kick off a series of new projects.
a&s Adria: Mechanical closing systems are the basis of your know-how. What kind of mechanical closing products do you offer?
Facchinetti: Among ISEO mechanical closing systems offer, our customers can choose several products considering the specific security and safety needs: indeed we have locks, cylinders, padlocks, panic and emergency exit devices and door closers.
ISEO locks can be installed on wood, pvc and metal frames; besides, ISEO produces locks specifically designed for armoured doors and fire resistant doors.
a&s Adria: Among those, ISEO produces fire-resistant locks and handles. What standard are your panic exit devices in compliance with, and how resistant are your products in the fire alarm situation?
Facchinetti: Among the panic exit devices we have rim devices and mortice devices: both ISEO range thypes comply with the EN1125:08 certification.
The aim of the standard requirements is mainly to ensure a reliable and safe evacuation through a door making use of the minimum effort and with a single swing of the door, without any prior knowledge of the door device.
Based on this certification, panic exit devices have to be applied on escape doors (both fire and non-fire doors) if at least one of the following conditions occurs (Italian Ministerial Decree 3 November 2004):
• the activity is open to the public and the door can be used by more than 9 people;
• the activity is not open to the public and the door can be used by more than 25 people;
• more than 5 workers work in areas which present risks of fire or explosion hazards due to processing of special materials
On the other hand, all ISEO emergency devices (rim devices and mortice devices) comply with the of the European standards highlighted in the EN179:2008 certification, which sets the requirements that emergency devices must present to ensure an escape route for places where there are people with a minimal knowledge of the installed devices.
Based on EN179 certification, emergency devices has to be intalled on escape doors (both fire and non-fire doors) if at least one of the following conditions occurs (Italian Ministerial Decree 3 November 2004):
• the activity is open to the public and the door can be used by less than 10 people;
• the activity is not open to the public and the door can be used by more than 9 people and less than 26.
Complying with EN1125:08 and EN179:2008 certifications, the suitability for use on fire/smoke resistant doors is determined by the following classification with three fire/smoke resistance categories:
• Grade 0: not suitable for fire/smoke resistant doors
• Grade A: suitable for smoke resistant doors
• Grade B: suitable for fire/smoke resistant doors
All ISEO devices classified with grade B passed a fire test with a positive outcome, in conformity with EN 1634-1 or EN 1634-2.
a&s Adria: The second ISEO production area is electronic access control. Zero1 is the innovative range of electronic products and systems for access management. Tell us more about Zero1?
Facchinetti: ISEO Zero1 is the innovative range of electronic products and systems for access management.
Wholly designed and developed by ISEO, it is the answer to the digital evolution at the start of this millennium with the aim to deliver the highest levels of reliability and security.
ISEO Zero1 represents a a suite of solutions that not only boast high technology electronics but are also incredibly practical and simple to use for anyone.
These products, indeed, allow flexible, intelligent access management in different spaces and locations with a variety of different devices (cards, smartphones, smartwatches and electronic keys.) and are also easy to install and upgrade, even on existing systems.
To provide diversified solutions based on specific security needs and demand from the global market, ISEO Zero1 includes a number of different access control and management systems:
• ARGO: for private homes, B&Bs, small hotels, professional studios, shops and small businesses
• V364: for companies and organisations with multiple branches
• Locken LSA: for multi-site companies, utility companies and large buildings
• SDK : systems integrator
Facchinetti: The systems of the ISEO Zero1 line may also be controlled and activated by smart technology, through the following systems: Argo and V364 and Locken LSA.
Argo is the free app by ISEO, which allows to easily manage access with a smartphone, with no need of additional software or internet connection.
It is the ideal solution for private houses, small hotels and light commercial contexts.
Besides the electromechanicl lock for armoured doors x1R Smart, Argo app can manage and control access of the doors equipped with other opening devices of the Smart range by ISEO: Libra Smart electronic cylinder, Aries Smart electronic trim set, Stylos Smart credential readers, Smart Locker electronic lock for lockers.
V364 and Locken LSA have been developed for industrial and financial sites, transport and logistics companies, large-scale hospitality, cultural facilities and utilities.
V364 is the advanced access control system by ISEO for commercial applications, which allows to manage both online and offline doors. It is based on web server technology. What makes the system so unique is also the fact that it combines RFID technology, mechatronics and mobile keys. Thanks to the new version V364 2.0, it is much easier to send access permissions in mobility, since the system server (Atlas Master) is in cloud.
The Locken LSA (Locken Smart Access) access management system allows access credentials to be transmitted wirelessly, with geolocation validation if necessary, to permit access to mobile users to specific entrances. This significantly facilitates emergency management while offering improved credential security and operational flexibility for users. Locken solutions are conceived specifically for multiutility companies – businesses with high volumes of user traffic and numerous sites distributed over a large geographical area without possibility of connection to the headquarters.
They are applied primarily by companies operating in telecommunications, networking and energy/utility distribution and management (gas, electricity and water).
In addition, with Argo SDK and V364 SDK (Software Development Kit), ISEO offers to developers, an easy way to integrate access control with other security systems such as video surveillance, intrusion detection, private security, cyber security, fire and safety and so on, in order to create One System of Systems.
a&s Adria: Your products are in compliance with the highest standards of international certification. Can you name some of them and what do they stand for? Being sure in the quality of your products, you have an extended warranty – to what period?
Facchinetti: We offer an extended 10-year warranty on mechanical products, and a 3-year warranty on electronic products.
a&s Adria: Loss of data is one of the hot topics in the industry. Cyber security is therefore a must-have for a company that aims to be among the leading ones. Having that into account, how secure are your mobile access control systems from cyber attacks?
Facchinetti: In order to maintain the safety and the security of any of its access control systems, cyber security is a topic of the utmost importance for our company.
ISEO has applied proven techniques based on industry best practices on Cryptography and Network Security. In order to create an end to end “secure channel of communication” to protect privacy and the integrity of data ISEO uses Bluetooth Low Energy. Therefore, we are protected against cyber attacks by the following cryptology techniques which allow:
• AES 128 encryption
• AES Session keys generated with DHEC (Diffie Hellman Elliptic Curves)
• Random Number generator NIST compliant (National Institute of Standard)
a&s Adria: Your products cover many vertical markets. Where can your products be used and can you enlist some of the most important case studies (preferably Europe)?
Facchinetti: Our products cover all areas of market demand, from residential buildings to large commercial and financial sites, hospitality and transport facilities, and critical infrastructures.
We have also been chosen by major organisations to supply our products for large scale projects, for example, Pontifical Lateran University, Milano Centrale and Roma Termini railway stations and Milan Exhibition Centre. We had the opportunity to work also for important pojects in Bucarest, Sofia, Germany, South America, Africa, Cina.
a&s Adria: What are the global trends that define mechanical and electronic access control industry nowadays and what can we expect from ISEO in the years ahead?
Facchinetti: As core business of the group, we have never stopped investing in the mechanical but on the other side we are aware of the importance that the electrical and electronic component plays in our offer. In the future years we are sure that elctronic and mechanical will be even more integrated with each other: today the cylinder and the key are both mechanical and electronic products and in addition to the key, you can enter the house with smarpthone and other smart devices.
That’s why our product range is continually developing, combining mechanics and electronics: to offer multifunctional, versatile products that are increasingly effective at preventing break-ins.
To summarize: we aim to expand the range of our existing products and to evolve in the development of the digital component and this is very important for ISEO, because we are sure that due to the current situation in the future the demand of products which allow the opening without the need to touch handles or doors will increase.
Regarding this, the combination of some of ISEO products, already satisfies this new requests and for sure the company will invest even more in electronic opening solutions.
a&s Adria: Your opinion on the Adriatic Region security market (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Kosovo) and your company’s position in it? What are your plans for Southeast Europe, is there enough interest for your products, are you looking for regional partners, how do you intend to gain more market share?
Facchinetti: Adriatic region is a new market for ISEO and we have on board new ideas and new projects for this area.
This is why, we have as a first goal is to find new partners in all critical infrastructure and help them to enhance their busines: we are sure that our solutions such as for example ISEO F9000 mechatronic cylinder can be suitable for their needs.
On the other side, even other customers could be intrested in our cable free access control solutions.