Blurred Identity

Dec. 3, 2018

A recent Chicago Tribune automotive article is titled, "Change Comes Standard.” The article outlines various components on new vehicles which are either 'in' or 'out'. First on the list is keyless ignitions which are 'in'. Conversely, key-operated ignition locks are 'out'. According to the Tribune article, 89% of new 2008 vehicles had keyed ignition systems. By 2018 keyed ignitions are available on only 38% of new vehicles.

A company has been installing kiosks in various chain stores across the country. Kiosks are equipped to take a photo image of a customer's key. Kiosk software can then digitally measure the cuts and save the information. If customers lose their key or require a duplicate, a cut key is available using the dimension information from the saved image. This kiosk company now claims to be able to also read cards or fobs and produce a new card or fob at a later date.

During my working locksmith days almost no job was beyond my capacity. From car key fitting to door closer repair to suitcase lock repair to lock installations, everything was open season. This was possible because of the similarity in basic lock hardware designs. With a few inexpensive specialty tools and some basic training, a locksmith could tackle any situation involving security products. Not any more.

The kiosk company is reading the writing on the wall. As fobs replace metal keys and cell phones replace fobs, the public is left to wonder where locksmiths fit into the picture. In today's world each locksmith business must specialize in their own market niche and let the world know what you can do.