Medeco’s High-Security Ecosystem Raises the Bar for Physical Security

Aug. 9, 2021
A shift in thinking puts end-user concerns at the top of the priority list when developing new technology solutions, such as the Medeco 4.

For more than 50 years, Medeco has been the name most associated with high-security locking solutions and innovative key systems. From basic mechanical security devices to advanced intelligent-key management, locksmiths and end users have counted on Medeco’s integrated approach to high security.

Each spring, Locksmith Ledger editors have met with experts, such as those at Medeco, during the annual SHDA event. With vendors and distributors unable to meet in the spring this year because of COVID-19, our team took the virtual route with Joseph Kingma, general manager for Medeco Security Locks, ASSA Inc. at ASSA ABLOY to have him share insights on the company and the industry. Here’s that discussion.

Locksmith Ledger: Medeco has a long history of providing high-quality, high-security locking solutions. With the launch of the M4 earlier in the year, Medeco’s integration roadmap created a whole ecosystem of locking solutions. How was this approach born, and what are the strategic advantages for the locksmith and the end user?

Joseph Kingma: Quite simply, it’s the continuation of a long line of forward-thinking, innovative new products and systems from Medeco. Security managers want more than just products: They want a comprehensive system to manage security, and Medeco 4 is a large part of that.

The other elements of the ecosystem create the “glue” that connects the product to the ongoing system-management demand. Security pros have used Medeco key systems for decades, and we want to continue being an integral part of their future security architecture.

For the past 50 years, Medeco has set the standard for high security. Medeco 4 is the next progression in raising the bar for what’s possible, while at the same time designing to protect against emerging threats.

Historically, end users had to adapt to the product, but Medeco started a strategic shift in thinking where the demands of the end user become intrinsic to the management of the system. This began with product introductions, such as BiLevel, X4 and Medeco CLIQ, which allowed customers to apply the product to the requirements of the opening. Today, end users can control who authorized assigners are, who can order masterkeys, who can get copies of records and more. Locksmiths are a big part of this solution and put end users in the best position to succeed. 

Whether you choose Medeco 4 or a different system, Medeco has the tools to help you to manage and extend the life of the system over time.

Key-system management traditionally consisted of binders and paper. The world has changed. Our customers have fantastic success with digital key systems, so we have tried to find areas where some of those digital hooks and tools can be applied to our mechanical key systems. Our key-management tools add layers of ease and sophistication and put you in the best position possible.

Along with the groundbreaking elements in Medeco 4, we believe our offerings make us unique. No one else has the solutions we do. We want to continue to solve problems today and be there for you and your customers tomorrow.

LL: What products and services are part of the Medeco ecosystems approach, and how do they integrate into a total security solution?

Kingma: We believe that Medeco not only has the most robust ecosystem on the market, but also is the most flexible. Here’s a look at the landscape of the products and solutions we offer:

  • Cylinders and Keys: Medeco has the largest retrofit cylinder offering in the marketplace. That allows end users to keep their current hardware, if desired, while upgrading the security of their key system and hardware. The end user chooses the key-system technology based on their goals and the requirements of the opening. Key-system technologies include high-security cylinders, patented key systems, Intelligent Keys and high-quality interchangeable cores — all combined with discrete security keyways and custom coining of key blanks.
  • Programs: Medeco has the widest selection of key-control programs available to allow customers to tailor the level of security provided to the demands of the job.
  • Partners: When you choose Medeco, it’s a true partnership. Medeco partners, including our elite Medeco Security Centers, Integrators and Stocking Wholesalers, all help to fortify our relationships with end users and enhance the training components of a complete ecosystem. Each is a conduit to convey the high-quality Medeco products and system components to end users in a way that ensures a smooth-running, high-quality, well-managed system.
  • System Management Tools: Key-system design and management can be complicated and time-consuming. Medeco has tools that simplify the creation and management of a masterkey system, no matter how complex. This information is gathered effortlessly and digitally conveyed to the factory and to system-management tools that allow for seamless and error-free system management and product replenishment, as well as flawless system recordkeeping. The recent addition of SimpleK masterkey system-management software to the portfolio gives customers even more flexibility to manage every aspect of the masterkey system, including complex door hardware schedules, multiple views of access privileges, pinning calculations, key issuance and mobile tools for better system integrity. The Medeco toolset includes digital-authorization portals for fast and convenient management of system administrators and distribution partners.
  • Professional Services: We recognize that an out-of-the box solution doesn’t work for every facility. When transitioning from the old way of doing things to a new way of digitally managing keying systems and access control systems, there are decisions to be made. We work with industries around the world and bring a level of expertise and knowledge on best practices. Our Professional Services packages can help to remove the complexity of designing, implementing and managing a new mechanical or Intelligent Key system.

Professional Services is broken into the buckets of System Planning, System Deployment, and Training and Support.

  • System Planning: system design, predeployment review and predeployment testing and setup.
  • System Deployment: hardware installation consultation, software install assistance and system “Go Live” support.
  • Training and Support: software system administration and support, remote training and onsite training.

These services ensure a successful deployment and help the end user to achieve optimum performance and user satisfaction.

LL: What are some of the other ways you help your clients better plan for their next security project?

Kingma: We have experts who can help you to understand how to plan a system, organize deployment of a system, train end users and supporting dealers to be self-sufficient and assist with software installation and data transfer from other systems into ours.

  • Key System Deployment Whitepaper: A key-system transition or a new deployment can be complex, no question about it. We created a 16-page document that helps to break it down into five phases: Discovery, Design, Development, Deployment and Dialogue. This is a fantastic piece to get you thinking about what a new deployment entails and how Medeco is always there for you.
  • Medeco Intelligent Key Cabinet (IKC): A facility’s investment in security is only as good as the security of its keys. A key system isn’t complete until a key-control policy and plan is in place. A key-control system is used by people with the intention of protecting them, but it has to be easy to use. The IKC allows mechanical or digital keys to be stored and secured. It enhances accountability and access control. Whether your system has mechanical or Intelligent Keys, the IKC fills those security gaps.
  • Local Door Security Solutions/ASSA ABLOY Team: After your key system is in place, we continue to provide support. We have a large team and provide local support throughout the entire country. Our relationship doesn’t end the second your system is in place. We’re here for you.

LL: The Medeco 4 is the platform for this ecosystem, so what makes this high-security device unique and the perfect vehicle to incorporate key control and key management?

Kingma: There’s nothing of its caliber in the marketplace. It’s the next progression of high security. We constantly assess the landscape and anticipate future threats on the world stage. Take 3D printing, for instance. It already is accelerating in certain pockets, and we expect that growth to continue to increase the threat level to key-credential integrity every year. This is why we added a movable element in the Medeco 4 key to help to protect against the threat of 3D printing and illicit key duplication.

Unique elements inside the cylinders, such as lift pins that activate when contacted by the movable shuttle pin, dramatically increase the system flexibility, all while staying true to our high-security fundamentals by providing drill resistance and pick resistance.

LL: The IKC and the M4 CLIQ seem to bring out the flexibility of high-security locking solutions and expand the functionality of the ecosystem platform. Explain how these two product lines are essential to a well-rounded security strategy.

Kingma: Quite simply, key systems constantly evolve. You almost have to think of key systems as a living organism. If you don’t have the proper tools, you put your facility at risk. The IKC and M4 CLIQ contain tools that solve several problems.

The IKC is a great solution for either mechanical or Intelligent Keys that adds another level of accountability and access control to your key-management ecosystem.

M4 CLIQ merges the features of electronic technology with a reliable mechanical design — all in a retrofit cylinder. It also provides an audit trail, user access schedules and the capability to change Intelligent Key authorizations quickly and remotely.

An ideal application for M4 CLIQ is critical infrastructure. You can have the best high-security lock in the world, but if you can’t account for your keys or you have poor policies, things can turn sour quickly. For instance, the Medeco All Weather Padlock with M4 CLIQ is a great solution for gates that protect critical infrastructure in remote locations. It combines an extremely durable padlock with all of the access control and monitoring benefits of the CLIQ system.

LL: What future technology innovations and business opportunities are coming down the pike for the locksmith and their customers as the Medeco ecosystem continues to expand?

Kingma: Tools will be even more connected and easier to use. We believe the adage “high security isn’t always convenient” is no longer true. Medeco tools will continue to evolve to provide dealers and end users with more control and flexibility to manage systems effortlessly for the life of the system. Another advantage is you don’t have to adopt all of our ecosystem right away. These solutions can be implemented seamlessly into your business or facility when the time is right. As demand continues to increase, you also will see our intelligent products — CLIQ, XT, IKC, etc. — become even more intelligent, for lack of a better term.

Continuing into the future, Medeco is committed to working toward quicker deliveries through our distribution partners and from faster, more-innovative U.S.-based factory production. When a security product is required in these challenging times, we know a customer can’t afford to wait. As we have done for the past 50-plus years, Medeco will continue to raise the bar.