Both technology and self storage are thriving industries, so it is no surprise that tech is changing how we store and access our valuables. Technology not only makes accessing storage easier, it also increases security and peace of mind to operators and tenants alike. Below are some examples of how technology is advancing in the industry.

Software and Mobile Apps

Advancements in software allow customers to manage their self storage units directly from a mobile app. Apps offer real-time control over a storage unit’s security and access.

Security features are often the deciding factor for a customer.

Some mobile apps allow renters access to video surveillance feeds and the ability to lock and unlock doors. Granting easier access and peace of mind is key to retaining customers.

Automation

Kiosks are becoming increasingly popular. Customers can visit a kiosk at any hour of the day. Using a touchscreen, they can choose a unit, sign the lease, purchase insurance and a security lock. Monthly payments can also be accepted with a kiosk eliminating the need to accept and process checks. With a kiosk, a self storage facility can essentially operate continuously, never being closed to potential customers. The best kiosks come equipped with a video surveillance to monitor activity 24-7.

There are always customers with questions that a machine or website cannot answer. In these instances, kiosks include real-time voice and video connections with support call centers. Even with the added cost of surveillance and a call center, the expense of a kiosk is less than that of an actual employee, and constant availability makes kiosks the perfect addition to any self storage facility.

Digital (Smart) Locks

Locks are essential to securing units. Many facilities operate with empty, unlocked units, or key-based locks. This can lead to empty units being accessed without authorization, or customer locks being damaged or broken. Smart locks address many of these concerns. Replacing key-based locks with electronic keypads has many advantages. Empty units are secured without managing dozens of spare keys and locks, and access can be monitored. Electronic locks are less susceptible to damage or tampering, and deter the average bolt-cutting criminal. The integration of kiosks and management software make daily physical patrols a thing of the past.

In Conclusion

Tech trends make facility leasing, management and security much more efficient, and any owner or manager not capitalizing on these advances will soon find themselves left behind. As technology continues to evolve, self storage owners and operators should make the necessary changes to be successful, and to stay ahead of the curve.


Terry Campbell

Terry joined Live Oak Bank with over 20 years experience in the self storage industry. He previously held various roles with a leading self storage supplier, starting as a drafter/estimator and advancing to Vice President of Sales and Marketing to Executive Vice President of Operations. Terry has been part owner and managing member of a 76,000 square foot self storage facility in Northern Virginia. He has also served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the ISS Magazine and the Board of the North Carolina Self Storage Association since its formation. He is a frequent presenter at industry events and trade shows, as well as a writer for industry publications.