Telling the Story of a Product

Dec. 2, 2022

You’re familiar with the adage “Every picture tells a story.” In the security industry, it seems every product also tells a story, and some are doozies.

It seems so simple: You come up with a better product — let’s say, a door closer — you design it, manufacture it, sell it and live happily ever after.

The reality often is slightly different. Take the CX-ED1289L by Camden Door Controls, for example. The surface-mounted rim electric strike that can handle up to 15 pounds of preload pressure on a door took a circuitous route from concept to market release.

“We had three hard years of work,” David Price, vice president of communications and corporate development at Camden says of the strike, which Camden calls the first surface-mount rim strike that has preload mitigation built in. “Anytime you’re doing something that’s never been done before, it’s extremely difficult.”

What took so long? The research & development process.

It starts with research. This includes basic information gathering about whether a product satisfies a demand and has appeal with the intended target audience. But it also requires taking a look at the competition — specifically, what it has done.

Patents exist for a reason, and you can’t copy someone else’s patented work. So a company must perform its due diligence to ensure its new product doesn’t infringe the patent of a competitor, lest the product’s story ends up like “Better Call Saul” — on the inside of a courtroom.

Then comes the development. Typically, this is handled in one of three ways: You can buy another company’s product (and patents); you can modify someone else’s design and walk the legal high-wire; or you can build the product from the ground up. Camden chose the third route.

Of course, testing plays a critical role during this stage, whether at the manufacturer’s facility or UL (or another certifying group), but also in the field. It’s one thing to have a product pass tests in isolation, but quite another to do it in the real world with real-world variables at play.

The results come in; the product goes back to the shop for tweaks and is sent back out for another round of testing, and so on.

“We’ve sent out literally hundreds of strikes for testing into actual, real-world installations to get feedback,” Price says.

Eventually, the testing merry-go-round stops when everyone is satisfied that the product does what it’s supposed to do. The product finally is ready.

In September 2022, Camden’s new electric strike hit the market, and we’ve identified it as one of the most interesting new products of 2022. See “Top New Locking Solutions,” starting on Page 18.

That’s the story to this point. We’ll see what comes next. Meanwhile, other stories are just beginning.

About the Author

Will Christensen | Senior Editor

Will Christensen is senior editor at Locksmith Ledger International. He has been an editor and reporter at magazines and newspapers for more than 30 years.