ISC West Report

April 19, 2016

ISC, the International Security Conference just concluded in Las Vegas. As a small child I attended my first ALOA security convention with my locksmith father 60 years ago in Chicago.  Approximately 20,000 people attended the 2016 ISC conference. While standing in the middle of a mass of humanity waiting for the opening of the 2016 ISC convention, I thought back to that first ALOA convention in Chicago.

Well established names like Yale, Ilco and Lockwood had booths at that 1957 convention. Yale had a full size miniature golf game and locksmiths could try for a hole-in-one.  Hardware on display included mortise locks, key machines and door closers. I can remember these items because my father made arrangements with several of the companies at the convention to purchase displayed products at a discount after the show closed and I helped carry some smaller items back to our car.

Fast forward to the 2016 ISC convention in Las Vegas.  There was not a hint of door closers or mortise locks unless there was some kind of electrification attached.  Over 1000 individual booths filled the convention floor at the 2016 ISC convention. Very few of these vendors were in business twenty years ago and the ones that were in business long ago, such as Yale, had a completely different line of products as compared to twenty years ago.

Bob Dylan wrote "The Times They Are A-Changin" in 1964. He was a little ahead of his time as far as the locksmith business is concerned but we have finally caught up to him.  Volvo has announced that their 2017 car line will use a cell phone as the key to operate their cars.  Almost the entire line of 2016 Ford vehicles will be available with a push button, fob-operated lock system.  Johan Molin, CEO of Assa Abloy Americas, presented a news conference at ISC where he described how his company is moving in the direction of wireless security products which use no keys. 

A group of officials from ALOA was sighted walking down the aisles at ISC. Perhaps some of the excitement generated by the new and different security items on display will be brought to the 2016 ALOA convention and locksmiths will also be able to see what the future holds in store.     

Are metal keys going away? No.  Are key-operated locks disappearing? No. But the demand for mechanical items will diminish as the public requests added modern convenience. Future success goes to those who can offer whatever security products the public demands.