Vertical Markets Beckon

At one time the locksmith trade could be considered a horizontal market. We serviced a wide range of products, but they all could be considered as being under the blanket of mechanical security. From commercial to residential to automotive to safe work, the methods of servicing and installing were quite similar. Very few specialized tools were required and most of the same tools could be used regardless of the job at hand. A locksmith could be a true general practitioner.

The most important change in our industry during the last decade has been the mix of products considered as security items. During the week of March 22 to March 26, the International Security Conference (ISC) was held in Las Vegas. 23,000 people from around the globe attended this convention. The show floor contained 900 booths. Well-known names in the locksmith industry such as Assa-Abloy and Ingersoll Rand had large displays of products.

If you are interested in the future direction of our security industry, ISC is the convention to see. Mechanical lock displays are hard to find at ISC. Access control and CCTV products dominate the show. Audit trails and time management is what the public has been trained to expect today. Mechanical locks can secure a building, but electronics can set locking time zones and record who went where and when. Mechanical products have fewer answers for what the public demands today.

One of the distressing facts about the annual ALOA convention is that many of the same manufacturers who have exciting new access control products to show at every ISC, have chosen instead to display mostly retread mechanical products for locksmiths to see at recent ALOA conventions.

A locksmith company recently contacted Locksmith Ledger regarding questions about which type of products to use for a large access control project his company was bidding on. The end-user needed 1000 prox cards. The wholesale cost of the cards alone was over $40,000. This is the kind of business that is here right now. But it is only available to us if we learn how sell, install and service these kind of products and get involved in this new, very vertical, very profitable market.

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