Notes From The Convention

Oct. 3, 2016
On the convention floor, Companies selling electronic key machines, remotes, transponder keys and programming tools always had a crowd.

A first impression from the ALOA convention in Orlando was that attendance was better than in the last few years. The convention floor was very busy on Friday and busy enough on Saturday. Exhibitors filled the available floor space forcing three or four booths to be located in the lobby. All of the exhibitors I spoke with were pleased with the quality and quantity of attendees.

A humorous anecdote is that there is an over abundance of locksmiths in Florida because locksmiths move there to take advantage of the nice weather. I was told that there was not a quorum at the membership meeting so apparently many of the people attending the convention were not ALOA members. This reporter recognized very few locksmiths from north of the Mason-Dixon Line or west of the Mississippi river. When an ALOA convention is held in far corners of the country such as Reno or Orlando, it becomes more of a regional convention.

Conventions of any kind are usually the place where exhibitors either show new products or show products not ready for sale. Before each ALOA convention I always walk the floor and take stock of what is on display. Then, as the convention opens, I watch to see which booths immediately attract the most people.

During the last few ALOA conventions, including this year, every booth displaying automotive security products was a sure winner. Companies selling electronic key machines, remotes, transponder keys and programming tools always had a crowd.

With few exceptions, electronic products and CCTV products were missing in action. Companies either chose not to show at ALOA at all or chose to only show their line of mechanical products such as door closers, exit devices and lever locks. The best place to discuss single door electronic access control was often at a locksmith distributor booth.

Completely new products were very hard to find. Allegion displayed their new SL cylinder, Abus showed a new high security lock system and Yale nexTouch comes to mind. This is a seemingly small amount of exciting products being shown by manufacturers at a major convention.

Look ahead ten years. Will cars still be operated by remotes? Will key-operated door locks still be the popular security choice? Almost every lock manufacturer is hedging their bets by making both mechanical and electronic versions of security products. Until all of these products are on display at conventions like ALOA we are only learning half the story