R.I.P., Metal Keys (870 - 2013)
Low-cost consumer 3-D printing marks the beginning of the end for traditional mechanical keys. All it takes to copy a key today is a camera on a modern smartphone, and soon, anyone can create an .stl key file for a 3-D printer that never needs to fall under the watchful eyes of a licensed locksmith.
The Internet of Things, combined with the modern smartphone, is about to disrupt another huge industry that’s never seen real change.
What’s next? Bluetooth Low Energy, with keys delivered via smartphones. The highest security consumer application - car keys - already have wireless codes built in. Next up: the front door of your house from companies like August and Lockitron. After that, wireless locking codes will work their way down into lower and lower value applications, until at some point mechanical keys become as common as turntables, 8-track players, and payphones.