We continue to explore the IoT opportunity for locksmiths with interviews with Tony Hokanson, President of Bloomington Security Solutions in Bloomington, Minnesota; Chad Lingafelt, Managing Partner at Loc-Doc Security in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Mark Kenniston, General Manager of Beishir Lock & Security, St. Louis, Missouri.
One of the questions we wanted to explore was whether locksmiths might be uniquely positioned to leverage these changes versus other players in the equation. One of Hokanson’s comments spoke to this. “Customers want simplicity and one-stop-shopping. Customers are looking for the ‘Easy’ button. There are a lot of locksmiths that don’t seem to be embracing technology and I think they are going to struggle. Our customers are asking for connectivity to the locks. They want to be able to control them remotely. Integration is driving the opportunity.”
We also concluded that IoT and WoT standards could knock down barriers created by industry proprietary protocols, increasing competitive threats from outside the industry. One quote was interesting on this subject, “We’re seeing the companies that provide the thermostats etc. are afraid of the door. They’ve been so focused on technology they may be overlooking the mechanical side of the security equation. We’re so experienced with that side, it’s second nature. We have a complete skill set for both sides. We’re also seeing a demand for intelligent keys. Most locksmiths seem reluctant to embrace this because of their comfort with mechanical. However, we’ve seen our opportunity expand to low voltage and other areas in many cases when we were brought in just for the mechanical because of our service and complete offering.”
Our summary impressions are:
- The IoT (and WoT) are not future – they have arrived.
- Locksmiths appear to have a competitive advantage
- They are closer to the customer
- They are almost always necessary
- Their needed mechanical skills are unique to locksmiths
- There’s a danger in not adapting to these changes, but a large opportunity to differentiate by doing so.
- To leverage the opportunity, locksmiths will want to strengthen the technology side of their businesses.