Defined as a key topic for EVVAGRI 302-2: Energy consumptionUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), No. 8: Decent work conditions and economic growth; No. 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Management approach – our why:
Inventor spirit for over 100 years
Since its founding in 1919, a strong inventor spirit has been the most important characteristic of EVVA. This is already reflected in the company's name: Erfindungs-, Versuchs- und Verwertungs-Anstalt (Invention, Testing, and Utilization Institution). For EVVA, permanent innovation capacity is an absolute necessity, as access technologies must always be up-to-date and able to resist criminal techniques as best as possible.
How essential this topic is for EVVA in every sustainable respect is impressively demonstrated by its top position in the materiality matrix. Without exception, all participants in the stakeholder dialogue rated "Innovation" as highly relevant and impactful. In the dialogues, customers and trade partners especially emphasised the importance of innovative security mechanisms for keys and cylinders, fast product development times, and simple rapid assembly.
How EVVA innovations have a strong impact. 1) Economical:
Our 55-strong team in Research & Development (R&D) invents product innovations and processes that guarantee highly secure access. In addition to millions of customers and users, our approximately 10,000 business partners and distributors rely on this. They sell our solutions and, as specialized retailers, depend on innovative and reliable products. This trust in us as a high-quality manufacturer is probably the company’s most important asset and must be demonstrated at all times - especially when technical challenges arise. Lack of trust has negative effects on the entire company and all stakeholders. Therefore, security products must meet high standards and international certifications, which can also change - ongoing research and development is therefore essential. EVVA invests at least 8% of its turnover in R&D.
Design Sprints and collaborative innovation process with customers Product development that does not or insufficiently meets the needs of the market carries a high risk and can have significant negative economic consequences for our trading partners, customers, and our company. Many years of research and innovation could be unsuccessful and jeopardise the competitiveness of the company. Therefore, EVVA conducts comprehensive market analyses, but above all an intense R&D dialogue with customers and trade partners, as early as the product development stage - with the aim of meeting their needs in the best possible way and anticipating trends. Design Sprints are a customer-centric method for creating new ideas and business models for complex problems. For example, test-ready prototypes of EVVA’s new electronic access systems were constructed for customers and their feedback was incorporated into the development process.
Patents EVVA has 346 patents in 32 patent families in around 50 countries protecting its innovations such as non-copyable magnet technologies, security elements hidden inside keys, and advanced encryption methods for electronic security systems. Only EVVA is allowed to manufacture these security solutions. This uniqueness is the foundation of our success and that of our partners. That is why ongoing research and ongoing patent applications are essential to further develop and protect our intellectual property. EVVA was granted 45 new patents in 2021.
In the last major EVVA partner survey in 2017 (conducted in 9 European countries with EVVA subsidiaries), we received the highest rating in the "innovation level" category compared to other security companies: 1.4 on a four-point scale.
EVVA holds 346 patents for its innovations, with numerous new patent applications added in the reporting period
More than half of the machines used at EVVA were designed by the company's in-house mechanical engineering team. This valuable innovation know-how also has economic effects: further developments and repairs can usually be carried out internally. More on this can be found under Security of supply
Long life span Being innovative not only means inventing better products and technologies, but also enabling a long lifespan, especially in a throwaway society. After all, the more durable the products are, the fewer resources need to be used. Find out in detail how EVVA achieves this and what quality goals we set ourselves under Quality
Low Power Design
"We use advanced semiconductor technologies in our electronic access products, which are also used in smartphones and wearables," says Johann Notbauer, EVVA Group Manager for Market Innovation and Technology. "These are designed for particularly energy-efficient operation because the batteries in those devices also have to last a long time. With this strategy, our products benefit from innovations in the smartphone segment." Thanks to this technology, EVVA’s electronic components now require just a quarter to a third of their previous power needs, or 25 microamps, making the batteries much longer-lasting, currently around 3 years. This is also the reason why our electronic access systems can offer more and more additional functions without increasing power consumption during use. EVVA is working to extend the battery life even further, to around 5 years. Johann Notbauer says, "EVVA is trying to further extend the battery life through even more innovative programming, even more precise control of the radio components, and the use of more energy-efficient microcontrollers. We are also researching battery-less technologies with high-tech partners."
Alexander Maglock, Head of R&D at EVVA, further explains: "This is achieved through 'energy harvesting,' or collecting energy through movement, light, heat, etc. Most of the time, an electronic cylinder or lock is in standby mode, but still needs energy. Ideally, the harvested energy is enough to power the component itself."
EVVA also offers additional solutions that go beyond its core business, such as energy-saving switches that only allow lighting, air conditioning, etc. to be activated when someone enters the room. If batteries are required, they can be used for many years and, thanks to status messages, can be fully utilised until the end.
EVVA developed the modular construction of lock cylinders in 1998 and has since been expanding it. For this, EVVA was awarded the Öko Business Award by the City of Vienna. The advantage is that the technician can adjust the cylinder length on site to the door thickness using modular extension elements if necessary. This flexible approach not only reduces storage and waste, but also CO2 emissions, as many unnecessary trips by technicians are eliminated. However, exact CO2 savings data are not available for this.
In 2021, EVVA further developed this modular construction: During the reporting period, our company internationally launched a completely new mechanical access system, Akura 44. The security concept consists of an innovative combination of mechanical and magnetic coding. The new modular design was introduced with Akura 44 and is to be used for all new EVVA systems from 2022. Its advantages are: > Even fewer modular components are required for a lock cylinder. For example, one axle fits several cylinder lengths and not just one as before. This will reduce the consumption of these parts > Assembly is optimised, i.e., assembly is faster. There are also no screws required anymore for cylinder extensions. All of this with the same function and security as before. So what was already good becomes even better > EVVA has had many discussions with trading partners and customers for this innovation. They were involved in the development, as only in this way could we find out that they also consider these advantages to be relevant to the market.
EVVA is cooperatively developing innovative clean production machines that produce without oil and water, significantly reducing resource consumption (more under Clean Production).
The reassuring feeling of security is one of the basic needs of humanity. Continuous research and development in access technology not only provides physical protection, but also psychological protection. The numbers of the victim assistance organization "Weißer Ring" (White Ring) show how strong this feeling is: up to 20% of all burglary victims suffer from long-term anxiety. And 10% move out of their apartment after a break-in, according to the German Psychological Academy (source ntv; https://www.n-tv.de/ratgeber/Wie-Opfer-mit-dem-Schock-fertig-werden-article20581071.html)
Technical solutions are becoming more complex as market demands increase. Innovation is needed here to further simplify operation for humans, as the success of smartphones illustrates. Clarity takes precedence over complexity. EVVA examples: electronic access solutions with easy operation via software or smartphone, applications tailored to the individual user, faster installations, and uncomplicated assembly instructions via video.
Ecological sustainability as a criterion in product development
Economic specifications (How must the product be developed in order to generate a profit?) as well as social specifications (How, so that safe use is guaranteed?) have always been part of product design. EVVA has also considered ecological impacts and has already been able to win many green building projects (see "Certifications"). Since 2021, sustainability has been firmly anchored in EVVA’s specifications and product lifecycle management. New products are checked over their lifecycle accordingly (e.g., recycling potential; maximum energy consumption over the average service life; connected devices that allow maintenance via radio, etc.).
Internal improvement and innovation initiatives
For many years now, employees have been able to submit suggestions for improvements to products, processes, etc. through the internal WoW! initiative. The table shows the number of WoW! suggestions submitted and accepted during the reporting period:
WoW! Suggestions for Improvement
The number of WoW! submissions decreased in 2019. The reasons for this are that production-related proposals are no longer handled through WoW! but directly through the so-called EPOS teams (EPOS stands for "EVVA's production-optimized system"). And also, in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In addition, EVVA has founded a separate proposal platform for innovation proposals - that is, for completely new ideas and not improvements to existing ones - called Genius. Genius was revised during the reporting period and supplemented with a more structured process. Employees can present their ideas directly to the management board. Innovation teams also have the opportunity to systematically and creatively search for completely new approaches to a specific topic and test their practicality as a start-up within the company. Genius is intended to promote EVVA's strong inventive spirit in various ways.
Challenge: Anticipating trends
What is considered new today is standard tomorrow and outdated the day after tomorrow. Staying up to date is an evolutionary process – not something completed. Therefore, market leaders like EVVA must always have a sense of trends that can establish themselves as zeitgeist. EVVA uses forward-thinking strategically: all company divisions deal with future trends in their tasks and a trend radar is used cross-departmentally. EVVA was the first company to calculate cylinder locking systems with a computer in the 1970s and developed the first online cylinders in the 1990s. In 1993, our company was the first to receive the ISO 9001 quality certificate for cylinder locking systems in Europe. With the electronic access system AirKey, EVVA also exceeded all GDPR guidelines in 2014, years before they became mandatory.
The great challenge for a technology company is therefore to recognise early on what could be decisive for orders in the future. And what needs to be started now.
How: Over the next few years, EVVA will be launching a range of mechanical and electronic access innovations. These are protected internationally by a number of new patents. The EVVA "Patent Management" department in R&D coordinates the application as well as the ongoing review and monitoring of our patents.
Positive effects: Patent-protected access solutions are a unique selling point and protect against imitation. This guarantees our position as a European market leader and thus the economic sustainability of our company and our business partners.
How: A typical innovation indicator is the level of a company's revenue created by new products. We want to generate at least 10% of our annual revenues in 2024 with products that have only been on the market since 2019. Update: EVVA has already been able to achieve this target in 2022! However, we still want to keep the target as planned in order to check whether it remains fulfilled until 2024.
Positive effects: A technology company should not dwell too long and certainly not exclusively on its past successes. Technical development and the spirit of times are changing rapidly. Market leaders must always keep their finger on the pulse and anticipate trends.
Fulfilment date: 2023 (target was moved from 2022 to 2023)
How: Quantitative survey of all EVVA trade partners across all subsidiaries (in 9 countries).
Positive effects: In the last major survey in 2017, EVVA received the highest rating in the "degree of innovation" category involving 600 partners (1.4 on a four-point scale). We want to maintain this excellent level, because the spirit of pioneering and innovation has been part of our identity since EVVA was founded in 1919 as an "Erfindungs-, Versuchs- und Verwertungs-Anstalt" (in English: Invention, Testing, and Utilization Institution).