The Future Is Secure

April 20, 2022

Las Vegas is built on glitz (and billions of dollars of lost bets). It’s the perfect location for the ISC West trade show, where security manufacturers display and trumpet their latest and greatest products — including glimpses of a few yet to come.

A few manufacturers rolled out some extra pizzazz to attract the wandering visitor. There were laser light shows, cities built out of Legos and even a robot dog roaming the floor.

If a single word might sum up the theme of the show, aside from security, of course, it could be software. Even companies that make locking hardware spent more time telling their software story. For my first security trade show, it almost seemed as though I’d wandered into a developers’ conference by mistake.

But amid all the hoopla sat a door operator. Oh sure, it was an electric door operator, made by Allegion, but it was just a door operator nonetheless — nothing flashy there.

The LCN 6400 COMPACT is aimed squarely at the locksmith market. It includes its own power supply and has a modular design, which makes for easier installation and allows it to be retrofitted directly to an LCN 4040XP door closer to create an electronic and potentially touchless door opening anywhere in a building. (We’ll have more to say about this device in a future issue.)

It also was named the product of the year at ISC West.

That’s right: At one of the top security trade shows of the year, with cutting-edge technology at the forefront, the judges bestowed their top honor on a locksmith product.

The announcement was a stunner and, according to at least one judge on the panel, it wasn’t well-received within various corners of the industry. A low-energy door operator wasn’t cutting-edge enough, some said. It wasn’t even a “security” product per se, others argued.

Sour grapes. The judge said it was an innovative device aimed at the mainstream of the security industry, and we at Locksmith Ledger, which chose it as one of the top new products of 2021, couldn’t agree more.

But the larger point here is that there’s still plenty of life left in the locksmithing trade, particularly when manufacturers continue to keep an eye on including them in the discussion.

Locksmiths know doors, and their higher end brethren who tend to be more comfortable at ISC West don’t. It’s an important distinction to keep in mind, because as long as doors exist, installers who can work on security at the door will be in demand.

Jacob Myers, president of C&M Security in San Antonio, recently said as much during a discussion about electrification of exit devices. (Look for a feature on that topic in the June issue.) During a discussion about inspecting the door before a retrofit or replacement, Myers said this:

“The nice part about us being locksmiths, too, is we know how to look at all that stuff [at the door]. We fix it. We do a lot of that work for other integrators, because they don’t know how to fix a lot of that. That’s where they just kind of give [the job] to us.”

So, yeah, you might have to learn a couple new things here and there, but you don’t have to transform your knowledge base to remain relevant and profitable in this high-tech security era. If a low-energy door operator aimed at locksmiths can stand atop the field at ISC West, there’s still plenty of places where locksmiths can stand out, too.

— Will Christensen