• Alex Milstein

APT puts ballistic barrier technology inside furniture

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Security company Amulet Protective Technologies Inc. (APT) is bringing the furniture world into the security market with Amulet, its ballistic barrier technology.

Founder and CEO Jeffrey Isquith, who has extensive background in military projects, started the company with the mission to protect the public from the reality of gun violence.

He started his career working for Honeywell, where he became familiar with the military space. Later on, he found himself in the hospital setting, where he worked with a company that manufactured furniture and interior products for the healthcare market.

He’d been involved with furnishing hospitals, schools, corporate environments and places of worship, but everything changed when U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011.

“I paid close attention to all the mass shootings that were occurring, and like most people, I looked around and waited for the government to do something,” Isquith said. “I had a personal experience when I was visiting the University of Arizona at Tucson the day after Gabby Giffords was shot. The shopping plaza where she was shot was right off campus, so I decided I would drive by it and check it out. That’s when it really hit home for me that no one is doing anything, and there’s got to be a way to protect people from these environments and bad events.”

After thinking long and hard about the issue, Isquith reach out to a law enforcement agency which informed him of what exactly happens to people during a shooting. They told him that when you’re in a situation where you don’t expect gun violence and you hear the sound of a gun, you initially don’t know what it is. But in the split second that it does register, human behavior takes over, your field of vision closes and you duck and cover.

Isquith started studying human responses to gun violence. He knew there were security measures for keeping people out, but he wondered if anyone was doing anything to protect people inside the physical space. This is when he realized that the largest percentage of things in a physical space, regardless of the type, is furniture products.

Being familiar with military projects and the commercial furniture environment, Isquith and his team of engineers found a way to create ballistic barrier technology that commercial furniture companies can insert into their products during the manufacturing process. They called the product Amulet.

“We’ve designed a product line, and it’s the only product of its type,” said Isquith. “Amulet in construction is truly unique. It’s very thin, very light, it’s moldable, and it can be put in virtually anything. It serves to protect from different levels of fire, from handgun fire up to a .44 magnum, to rifle fire. We have a tremendous capability to protect people.”

SUBHEAD Making a perfect fit

APT licenses its product to manufacturers and becomes associate partners. They provide commercial furniture companies like Herman Miller and David Edward with Amulet cut to the size and shape they need. Compared to fiber glass technology previously used for barrier protection, which weighs about 15 pounds per square foot, Amulet weighs just over a pound per square foot.

Where to insert the material is up to the manufacturer. Typically, for a chair, they put it in the seat back rather than the seat. APT has two application engineers on staff, and their job is to work with the manufacturers and help them with the attachment of Amulet products. They also offer a retrofit kit.

“There’s a very big footprint of existing office systems in place,” said Isquith. “We don’t want to say that you have to have one company’s furniture to have our product, so we offer retrofit kit.

“We’re also very big on trying to protect school systems. Amulet is a product line that’s designed for the interior space, and that’s really what’s unique about it.”

The biggest challenge for Amulet, according to Isquith, was understanding exactly where APT stood as a company. Isquith and his team had to understand they’re not in the furniture market but rather in the security market, and they had to find out how to get their message to people from both markets.

“When you talk about introducing a security device to a furniture product, a lot of people in the furniture world just don’t get it,” said Isquith. “They have a hard time understanding how to fit it into their budget. The big new frontier in the marketplace is security, and security has a budget. So when furniture companies say they have no budget for Amulet, the truth of the matter is that there’s a gigantic budget — it’s in the security market. As long as the security folks know the product is available, they will specify it and pull in the furniture, and now you have a budget for the furniture.”

SUBHEAD Designer details

As Amulet was introduced to the furniture market, Isquith didn’t want the aesthetics to be any different than what the designer wanted it to be.

Initially, APT had people willing to build a series of furniture products with Amulet built in. However, Isquith knew the interior design communities would want to be able to pick and choose products that work in each environment, so the decision was made to make Amulet products available to any manufacturer.

And although the barriers are invisible, Isquith said there are some people who don’t want to say they have Amulet in their products due to the negative connotation associated with shootings.

“What we’ve learned is it’s kind of a mixed match,” said Isquith. “Some schools will tell other school systems they use our products, but they don’t want the general public to know. And then you have other entities who say they have ballistic barriers but don’t want to point to where. I think today is the worry of not wanting people to know is starting to wear off.”

In 2015, Amulet won the Government Security Products’ “Gold Govie” Award for Outstanding Innovation, the highest security award possible. Amulet has had phenomenal feedback, according to Isquith, and he plans to innovate the product even more in the future.

“When I started working on Amulet, a lot of people said ‘that’s a no brainer,’ said Isquith. “They wanted to know why no one had thought of this before. There’s a big difference between thinking about it and doing it.

“We want to protect everybody, and if we can make Amulet a lighter, more moldable and greener product, we will do it.”

Alex MilsteinAlex Milstein | Assistant Editor
amilstein@furnituretoday.com

Hi everyone, I’m Alex. I have a passion for writing, a love of marketing and a knack for social media. As an assistant editor of Casual Living, I do everything from writing print features to managing social media accounts to creating and posting web content. I love telling stories and I’m always looking for new ideas. Feel free to email or call me with any story ideas and let me know what you’d like me to write about in the wonderful world of casual. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FTalexM

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