For this month’s OSDP Update article (see page 16), I had the pleasure to speak with Glenn Younger, owner, Grah Safe and Lock, a full-service security company based in San Diego, Calif., who brought to my attention a continuing conundrum facing locksmiths: Do they embrace this emerging world of digital transformation and connectivity, or just stayed focused on physical locks?
“The concept that, you know, locksmiths are afraid of wires, and wired people are afraid of locks or doors is still somewhat true,” says Younger.
With the need for door locks to talk to the network and be part of a larger connected system, Younger points out that it raises some red flags for the future of the conventional locksmith.
“If locksmiths are still afraid of wires and batteries, I don't think they're going be around, you know, 10 to 20 years from now,” Younger asserts. “I think it's going to be challenging if you're not at least comfortable with it – you're not going be able to do commercial work. And by that time, you won't be able to do residential work either, unless you get over your fear of batteries – get over your fear of real wireless or wired things.”
What’s interesting is the physical security industry resisted change for the longest time, and then experienced about 20 years of technology innovation in five years.
“My prediction, and it's not that bold of a prediction, frankly, but you know I think most houses are going to have the ability to lock and unlock their front door from their phone, or from who knows what the next credential will be – their watch or their faces, you name it,” Younger says, noting that locksmiths need to stay in tune with these rapid changes in access control if they want to stay relevant.
As Younger points out, physical locks within access control have gone through such a digital transformation in just the past 10 years alone, with incredible advances in technology and the types of credentials being used today to unlock a door. From your phone to proximity cards to hand gestures to biometrics, the options available to an end user these days are mind numbing. And this is all just to add convenience to what the physical key has done for centuries, lock and unlock a door, or a cabinet or a safe, etc.
Sure, the door lock and key isn’t going away any time soon, but how we communicate with and control that lock will continue to evolve at a frenzied pace as lock manufacturers not only compete within the physical lock space, but also within the digital and wireless realm. One needs only to look at the evolution of a company like ASSA ABLOY, which acquired HID Global at the turn of the century, and has gone full steam ahead into the wired and wireless worlds, staying at the cutting edge of what will be the next access control credential to rule the day.
At the very least, as Younger points out, locksmiths should not bury their heads in the proverbial sand, because the industry could very well pass them by before they know it!