“As an ambitious technology company, we are committed to maintaining and further building our leadership position within the access management field.”

Heikki Hiltunen, President and CEO, iLOQ

Securing long-term performance despite of short-term adversity

While there is no denying that the past financial year has been challenging, iLOQ has been able to stay the course and continue to grow and expand. We are more and more the international technology company we envisioned becoming when we started 20 years ago. With a strong outlook for the future, we remain enthusiastic, also in these times of trouble.

Facing challenges headfirst
The year 2023 showed us that when you have built a solid foundation it is possible to survive and even thrive when the unexpected happens. Nobody could’ve anticipated that on the back end of the pandemic we would be facing an energy crisis, sky-rocketing inflation and an exponential hike up in interest rates all at once as a consequence of unrest and conflict around the world. This has had a direct or indirect effect on every business, and iLOQ is no exception.

For us, it meant that new building and construction virtually halted in many of our key markets and non-essential investments such as upgrades in locking systems and access management were put on hold. This trend had a clear effect on business in our largest home markets in the Nordics with both Finland and Sweden falling short of their targets in 2023. However, our other European markets have been able to grow according to plans. Concentrating on steadily building international operations and presence has served us well in these times. We, of course, anticipate starting to see signs of recovery in all markets as the economic turmoil settles down. Those signs can already be seen.

Attitude carries us forward
iLOQ has always taken pride in its entrepreneurial attitude and approach. Our staff has continued to shine under pressure and during such challenging times. While myself and our founder Mika Pukari received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award this year, we humbly accepted it on behalf of the entire iLOQ Family. We are as committed as ever to building and protecting our unique culture and leveraging the skills and attitude of our wonderful staff to build future success. The iLOQ spirit was strong among the entire staff this summer as we all came together to celebrate our 20th anniversary in Oulu, Finland.

As an ambitious technology company, we are also committed to maintaining and further building on our leadership position within the access management field. Our R&D efforts are concentrated on developing the software solutions powering our cloud-based SaaS offering. That’s why 2/3 of our new recruits over the past year have been in R&D and software development. We invest at least 10% of our turnover back into R&D. It is not enough to be ahead today – we want to be ahead tomorrow as well.

Global expansion continues
We have continued to open new geographical markets during 2023 not only in Europe, but also in both directions – East and West. In addition to strengthening our position in the Benelux region with our own country office in Brussels, Belgium, we took a leap into the land down under in September. The first orders have already come in and we will continue to build our Australian organization located in Melbourne. We will also have our first local employee in Singapore heading up sales from the beginning of 2024.      

As for the western frontier, 2023 has been a significant year for setting up business capabilities and operations in North America, and the US in particular. The upfront investments into launching operations in the US can be seen in the 2023 financials, but with market approval for a full ANSI offering and production and delivery capabilities ramped up during Q4, we will start to reap the benefits quickly. With such a huge geographical market, and such significant potential for us as a company, we are investing into establishing a presence and building a solid reputation in North America. This will involve building our sales organization and distributor network as well as further exploring the option of setting up a distribution center on the continent.

Establishing the iLOQ brand and building awareness in the Americas will take time, money and effort. The brand-refreshing project completed during 2023 was just the first step in preparing for expansion into the West. While we have a long way to go in terms of market recognition on a wider scale, we are extremely pleased that the big players in the industry already recognize us well as the disruption company that is pushing the industry forward. Large global framework agreements with key industrial customers such as Honeywell further highlight the credibility and reputation of innovation and reliability we already enjoy today.     

Strong outlook for the future
We are in a great position in terms of serving the societies of tomorrow. As we anticipated some 20 years ago, the era of mechanical locking is slowly but surely nearing its end. There is no doubt that digital locking solutions are the future, and with our economical and sustainable platforms with no batteries, minimal wiring and, in some markets, lack of physical keys altogether, we are leading the way for locking to become an integrated part of smart living in both residential and commercial spaces. We are no longer, nor have we ever really been, a lock and key company. We are innovators in the field of digital access management technologies.