Security has become a hot industry in recent months, and a Corvallis company is making the most of it.

Videx, which makes a number of bar code readers and data collection devices for inventory control, order tracking, and other applications, is finding its hottest seller is an electronic access- control system called CyberLock.

From a user's perspective, the system seems almost conventional -- put the key in the lock and turn to open. But instead of relying on a grooved key that fits into a matching hole, CyberLock opens only for the right electronic code.

Part of the system is a pass word-protected software package that allows managers or security personnel to reprogram both locks and keys to change codes as necessary or to block a key that has been lost, stolen or carried off by a fired employee.

Individual keys can be assigned their own turn-on and expiration dates, and the system can be set to permit access only during specific hours on specific days.

"We can control who gets in and when they get in," said Andy Hilverda, director of sales and marketing for Videx.

One of the system's biggest selling points is that the locks can be installed almost any where.

The CyberLock cylinder simply replaces the cylinder in an existing mechanical lock -- the same process locksmiths use now to rekey a door, padlock, cabinet lock or any other commonly used lock.

The key contains computer circuitry as well as a tiny battery that provides power both for itself and the lock.

That means there's no wiring involved in installing the CyberLock cylinder -- any locksmith can do it, Videx owner Paul Davis said.

Currently, Videx's biggest market for CyberLock products is schools, but new ones are constantly opening up in casinos, hospitals, factories, office buildings, virtually anywhere conventional locks are found.

"One of our very large opportunities is in vending," Hilverda said. "Vending machines sit outside, some times in remote locations, 24 hours a day, and sometimes there's a lot of money sitting in there."

Jim Summerton chose to install CyberLocks when he put up a new building in Philomath for his biotech company, Gene Tools. He's more afraid of industrial espionage than fire or burglary, he said.

CyberLocks protect Gene Tools' various labs, with each one programmed to accept only certain keys. That keeps the work compartmentalized, so no single employee has access to the full range of research, Summerton said.

"Every person has their own key, and I can decide what they can open and what they can't," he said.

Videx is a privately held company, and Davis declined to disclose sales figures. But after just two years on the market, the CyberLock line is really starting to take off, with close to 100,000 units sold, he said. The price varies by application.

"Right now it's about a third of our business," Davis said. "Last year at this time, it was about 10 percent. By next year, we'll be saying it's 80 percent of our business."
Pretty interesting but i'm skeptical.
The key contains computer circuitry as well as a tiny battery that provides power both for itself and the lock.
I wonder how easily it would be to dislodge the battery then replace, it. Would the memory be erased?