The self-storage industry is growing at a rapid pace. Currently, a $38+ billion industry, self-storage is experiencing increased demand due to urbanization, baby boomer downsizing, the storage needs of millennials, as well as other factors.
But increased revenue opportunities mean increased competition — and today’s self-storage industry is more competitive than ever. With small operators accounting for 74% of all self-storage facilities, competition can be fierce in local markets. So, as a self-storage owner, you need a competitive edge.
That’s where technology can help. The latest generation of technologies for the self-storage industry is designed to benefit both self-storage operations and the customers they serve. Powered by the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and other innovations, these technologies improve safety and convenience as well as your company’s bottom line.
Must-have technologies for today’s self-storage facilities
High-quality customer experiences drive revenue in the self-storage industry. As technology plays a significant role in consumers’ everyday lives, they expect self-storage facilities to deliver the same kind of technology-rich customer experiences they enjoy when they order takeout or shop online.
The current crop of self-storage technologies satisfies customer expectations by leveraging many of the same core technologies tenants rely on in their homes and workplaces. The difference is that cutting-edge self-storage solutions are built to not only improve tenant convenience but to enhance security, operational efficiency, and facility management as well.
- Electronic smart locks
Keyless entry systems minimize the threat of unauthorized access because they are challenging to bypass. Electronic smart locks take the keyless entry concept to the next level with wireless electronic locking devices that require a unique access code or authorized mobile access app to disengage an overlock. The lock can serve as an overlock, the locking mechanism for a door, or as a secondary security measure in addition to a tenant’s lock.
An electronic smart lock, such as PTI’s DoorBoss, has an outside-of-the-door application that offers an exceptionally high level of security without disrupting the customer experience. Just as importantly, facility staff can monitor the status of individual units from a central location, reducing the need for physical walk-throughs — a big win for operational efficiency and lower labor costs.
- Mobile applications
Mobile devices occupy center stage in consumers’ lives. Supported by internet connectivity and a dizzying range of applications, smartphones allow consumers to perform essential activities and maintain constant access to information and data.
Some of the most valuable technologies in today’s self-storage empower tenants by enabling them to use their smartphones inside and outside of your facility. With a single click in a highly reliable and secure mobile app, tenants can now enter gates, open doors, remotely monitor access activity, pay for services.
In competitive markets, one-click access provides an advantage by creating a truly seamless customer experience. Instead of relying on keys or remembering access codes, tenants can use their smartphones to accomplish the activities that define the self-storage customer experience.
- Cloud-based solutions
Cloud technology is a game-changer for many industries — including self-storage. Instead of storing data and software on an on-premise server or hard drive, your operation can depend on the cloud to provide anytime, anywhere access to the information and solutions that determine your operation’s success.
In the self-storage industry, cloud technology provides opportunities for centralized monitoring and control of core management activities. Combined with smart devices, cloud-based management platforms create a fully connected facility — a technology ecosystem that centralizes the management of devices, locations, customer records, transactions, and performance metrics.
A cloud-based management platform, such as StorLogix Cloud, equips self-storage owners and operators with next-generation technology that is flexible and scalable. Best-in-class cloud solutions also include analytics features that detect specific events (e.g., predefined security anomalies) and automatically notify operators, facility managers, or even the local authorities.
When selecting and implementing any new technology, it’s essential to evaluate candidate solutions and platforms properly. Not surprisingly, many technology providers promise significant benefits for self-storage operations, but ultimately fail to deliver results.
Start by narrowing your search to solutions designed specifically for use in the self-storage industry. Although generic technologies may provide value for other applications, the unique requirements of the self-storage industry make them less-than-ideal for your operation.
Additionally, look for technology providers with a proven track record and a comprehensive slate of technology offerings. In many cases, the seamless integration of the provider’s hardware and software offerings is the best guarantee of a reliable technology ecosystem.