A brief history


Every great innovation starts with a story
...we´re proud to call this ours


Since our early ancestors roamed the earth, man has felt vulnerable and sought to protect himself and his tribe.

The Ancient Egyptians introduced wooden pin locks to the world.

Wealthy Romans took things up a notch by turning their desire for security into literal status symbols. They locked their valuables in boxes and wore the keys as rings on their fingers - this not only kept keys safe, it also sent a signal to others about the status and wealth of the key wearer.

Keys themselves have been cultural symbols for centuries. We honour individuals with the keys to our cities. We give and receive keys to mark comings of age.

The significance of keys goes beyond their utility.

The sound of a key unlocking a door signals the arrival of loved ones. When we travel getting our room key is often the last step in the journey to a place we have wanted to go.

We have an emotional relationship with our keys because of the meaning we attach to them—ownership, protection, safety, welcome and belonging.

Our keys give us a sense of place. We fear losing them, not for their own sake, but because they safeguard us, and the things that matter to us.

And in the same way we need the basics of food and water before we can experience safety, without the feelings of safety and security, we cannot experience love and joy.

This is why engineers, scientists and designers have worked together over thousands of years, to create innovations that enable people to safeguard their possessions.

Locks, keys and keycards help us to feel safe and secure, and provide us with privacy and a sense of belonging.

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions creates that feeling for over 5 million hotel guests every single day.

Using cutting edge technology to make people feel safe and welcomed wherever they are has been at the core of our business since VingCard Elsafe was founded.

The first recodable keycard lock

Our story began in 1974 when lock maker Tor Sørnes heard reports about a woman being attacked by an intruder who broke into her hotel room.

Her story inspired him to invent a better door opening system – he wanted hotel guests and travellers to feel safe no matter where they were staying.

Sørnes’ innovation was VingCard, the world’s first recodable keycard door lock. It quickly became the global leader in room security for the hospitality industry.

At the same time, Bjørn Lyng, who was working on the world’s first electronic in-room safe, founded Elsafe. The two joined forces in 1994 to in order to better serve their customers and grow the company.

VingCard Elsafe has spent four decades helping hospitality partners in over 166 countries to welcome travellers. As industry pioneers we’ve led the way – employing innovative technology to make people feel safe and sleep easier wherever they are. Our advancements in design and functionality have enabled our clients in the hospitality industry to welcome, reassure and protect their guests, and make their businesses run more smoothly.

So the end result of our work is more than a keycard that works or a door that opens.

Where we might see pioneering innovation powered by years of R&D, the user experiences a feeling of being at ease and a sense of belonging —a single moment of truth as they arrive, open, then close the door behind them.

As VingCard Elsafe we’ve been both a pioneer and a leading brand for forty years. That’s not changed. Why we do what we do has not changed either.

What is changing rapidly however is the world in which we do business. This provides us with unique challenges and opportunities as we look to create a bright future for our company.

If we’re to remain innovative and competitive, we must keep pace with the demand from our customers for flawless experiences. As the technology surrounding key and keycards continues to evolve we must stay primed to communicate our value as an industry leader to our clients.

They are relying on us to take them to where they want to go.

VingCard Elsafe becomes ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions

As we transition and grow stronger under the ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions brand, we will build upon the reputation of our heritage brands VingCard and Elsafe to extend our global reach and innovation capability beyond hardware. This will enable us to differentiate ourselves, transcend the competition and be known as the leading hospitality security brand in the world.

We are fortunate to belong to a family of companies that gives us access to more than 1400 visionary engineers who work together to make sure that we continue to be innovative and quickly adapt to our customers’ changing needs. Access to a global network of sales and support teams enables us to be more responsive to our hospitality partners. We are leading the way in both serving emerging markets and developing solutions that our customers want, such as creating sustainable products.

The day when the key and keycard (as we know them) finally become digital is coming sooner than most people realise. When that happens what people will be left with is something intangible—an experience. Our clients will want a brand they know and trust to deliver that experience to them.

We need to continue to position ourselves as pioneers and world leaders in our field. We must be ready to embrace the future in which our clients and partners will do business.

ASSA ABLOY, representing total door opening solutions, is already recognized as a global leader in innovation We’ve made the Forbes “World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies” list for two consecutive years.

As ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions we will continue to enable our partners to deliver millions of warm welcomes and positive moments of truth to their customers every day.

Our goal for the future is to innovate in order to serve our clients and to fulfil the needs of the growing number of people who travel. We will continue to grow and evolve as a company and as a brand. We will innovate, drive quality and add more products to our portfolio. We will provide world-class service to our clients by expanding our reach with an increased local presence.

We will continue to build on our legacy.

Our purpose is not simply to lock and unlock more doors—it is to unlock the feeling of safety, security and belonging for more people, wherever they want to go.

Want to know more about our innovative technology?

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