Kodak declared bankruptcy last week. Kodak was once the giant of the camera industry. George Eastman invented photographic film in the 1880s and for almost 100 years Kodak owned 85-90 percent of the camera and film sales in the USA. Kodak was once the largest employer in Rochester, N.Y., with more than 20,000 employees and is now reportedly down to approximately 1600 employees. The public is less interested in pictures on paper today and more interested in digital pictures they can display and share electronically. Other companies moved into the field with easy-to-use digital cameras and the Kodak market share plummeted. According to one source, Kodak failed because of a “disruptive change in the industry.”
In many ways the locksmith industry is a mirror image of the photographic industry. People are still taking pictures and people still require security. However, the delivery system is rapidly changing.
Just as with the change from mechanical camera shutters to digital, the lock industry vocabulary now includes words such as transponder, biometric, keypad, wireless, audit trail and sensor. Companies from different allied industries such as the alarm industry realize that their electronic background can be put to use in the physical security field as requirements move towards electronics and they are moving in.
The locksmith industry is not close to Chapter 11, but the signs all point towards a disruptive change in the security field and in many cases it is already in progress. Less usage of keys for vehicles plus hotels and universities changing from keys to card systems are all good indicators of where we are headed.
Kodak waited too long to change with the times. They did not have the new type of products which the public wanted and by the time they offered digital cameras there were too many other companies with equal or better digital camera products.
There is a lesson to be learned here. If you have not noticed, Locksmith Ledger has been devoting approximately 40 percent of each issue to electronic access control information. Electronic security is our future and electronic security is in demand by the public right now. It can be as simple as installing electronic keypad deadbolts for residences or as complex as wireless multi-door commercial access control systems. It is time for taking a “Kodak moment” to learn and earn.
A photo caption in the LockOne LKM70000 Lock Series article on page 13 of the February 2012 Locksmith Ledger should have simply read “CDX 09, back.”