A Trojan Horse

May 20, 2014

Our locksmith industry was developed to solve a public need for the repair and servicing of locks.  Key fitting, lock picking and key duplication are necessary lock servicing by-products.  If a person loses their key or needs a lock rekeyed, an independent locksmith is still the overwhelming choice for obtaining this service.

Some time ago a new company called KeyMe contacted Locksmith Ledger.  Their plan is to install kiosks in public places such as convenient food marts or big box stores. The kiosk contains a machine for decoding key cuts.  Decoded cut information is then saved by KeyMe for future reference.  An APP is also available. A customer key can be layed on the surface of a cell-phone and the APP will decode the cuts.  KeyMe decoding choices were originally limited to SC1 and KW1 keyways.  The KeyMe website now shows additional keys such as Medeco, Mul-T-Lock and Best as keyways which can reportedly now be decoded.      

With proper identification, a customer who had earlier saved their key cuts with KeyMe can visit a KeyMe kiosk at a later date and the kiosk machine will generate a new original key.  KeyMe charges for both saving the decoded cut information and for the later generating of a new key.   

At the present time KeyMe reportedly has a small amount of kiosk locations in New York City.  According to an internet announcement, KeyMe has obtained several million dollars from investors in order to expand their Kiosk locations to other cities.

KeyMe has extended an arm of friendship to locksmiths. A caption on their www.Key.Me website states, "Work With us. Make more money."  In a situation where a KeyMe kiosk is not available, a Locksmith can register with KeyMe and use the KeyMe key cut information to make original keys for a KeyMe customer.   

Mythology has provided us with the legend of a Trojan Horse.  The huge wooden horse appeared to be an honorable gift for a city which had been under siege for several years.  When the gift was brought inside the walled city, the horse turned out to be filled with opposing soldiers who then took over the town.

Any member of the public who has lost a key or is locked out has usually been served in the past by a practicing locksmith. There are only a finite amount of lockouts, lost key situations or duplicate keys required at any given time.  Any entity which joins in the effort to generate original keys or solve lockout situations will tend to extract emergency business now served by the existing locksmith community.  If the new entity is completely successful, they will take over the town.

Decoding keys and saving the cuts is a noble, but not new, idea. KeyMe people claim to have had thousands of people use their program since its inception about a year ago.  Locksmiths can already decode most popular keys.  A local key decoding plan would seem to be a logical way to provide a profitable service while driving a new base of customers into your store.