How To Equip Your Storage Unit With The Best Smart Technology
June 12, 2023
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What Is The Best Smart Technology For Your Facility?
Building units that are secure, accessible, and modernized has long been the goal of self-storage facility owners. As technology has advanced, the ways these goals are realized have changed drastically.
In fact, the self-storage industry has seen several recent technological advancements. Today, smart units utilize all kinds of technology to achieve full self storage automation: cloud-based lock systems, digital keys, thermal motion sensors, weatherproofing, and more.
In this article, we cover the best smart technology you can use to upgrade your storage facility in 2023.
While it might not be new technology, climate-controlled units are increasingly sought after by renters.
Climate control systems regulate temperature and humidity levels within storage units. They help keep certain stored items like wood, fabrics, and food products at ideal temperatures (typically between 50- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit) to preserve them and avoid mold and mildew growth. Many of these items cannot be safely stored in climates where sub-zero temperatures, frequent rain, or extreme heat and humidity are common.
In 2023, climate control remains one of the most in-demand features for storage units. In fact, according to Inside Self Storage, rates for climate-controlled units could be anywhere from 20% – 60% higher than rates for units without climate control. Installing climate control in your units is one simple way to attract higher-paying customers, modernize your units, and increase revenue.
As a self-storage facility owner, including a liability clause in your leases can help you avoid a lawsuit should your renters’ belongings be stolen or damaged. When your renters ask “are storage units responsible for theft?”, you can refer them to the waiver they signed.
However, in general, you still want to be able to advertise your units as safe and secure. One way to do this is to install smart locks in your units.
Smart locks are electronic locks that can be controlled and managed remotely. They often include a lighting system (red or green) to show lock status and allow renters to access their units without a physical key or key code.
There are many advantages to smart locks. They allow seamless entry, increased access for your renters, and better monitoring of who is entering and exiting your units. Nokē ONE’s smart locks offer one-touch entry, wayfinding tools, motion sensors, notifications, smart security cameras, and thermostat features for the complete smart lock suite.
Mobile entry is a specific type of cloud-based smart lock that is enabled with Bluetooth mesh technology. It allows renters to enter just with their mobile smartphone or a Bluetooth key fob.
All your renters need to do to enter their unit is have their phone on them. You can even install mobile entry at your front gate, so that registered renters don’t even need to get out of their cars to enter the facility.
What happens if a customer wants to send someone else to retrieve their belongings? Mobile entry allows for this with digital key sharing—renters can grant temporary access to their storage units to friends or family members via their phones. Access can then be manually revoked, or else it automatically expires after 24 hours.
The best part about mobile entry is that you can more closely supervise and monitor who enters which units and when. You can track mobile entry activity at your facility online or using an app all from a remote location.
Thermal Motion Sensors
Thermal motion sensors look for heat and motion signatures inside your storage units to verify whether there is someone currently inside them. There are several different uses for this technology. They can alert you if someone is attempting to break into a unit, prevent renters from accidentally locking themselves inside, and even deter renters from attempting to live inside their storage units (which is not only a really bad idea, but also illegal).
There are several companies that sell thermal motion sensors specifically for self-storage units. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your units more cheaply, you can get a basic motion sensor at Lowe’s or an infrared motion sensor on Amazon.
For most owners, self storage security includes cameras. Even if you pay for on-site security personnel to monitor your units in person, investing in security cameras is still a good idea. For example, if a renter or someone else were to engage in illegal activities on the premises, security cameras could capture key evidence of the crime(s). Even the presence of security cameras in plain sight can deter crime and discourage any unwanted loitering on the property.
SimpliSafe is a great option for affordable security cameras, offering high-definition video cameras with night vision and rechargeable batteries.
If you’re really looking to automate self-storage management or eliminate the need for on-site management altogether, you need self-storage kiosks.
Self-storage kiosks are electronic units (usually with touch screens and navigable interfaces) placed at your facility that manage daily interactions with customers. They assist customers with rent payments, leases, and allow the rental of new units.
Self-storage kiosks are popular among facilities due to their ability to increase flexibility and accessibility, even allowing tenants to enter their storage units after hours. They also allow contactless service, which was a benefit especially realized during the COVID-19 pandemic. If a kiosk is available, you don’t need a manager on site to assist new renters in signing a lease or entering their units.
Primary features of a self-storage kiosk include:
- Virtual management tools
- Unit availability viewing
- Renting new units
- Customer support and live help
- Cash, card, or ACH rent payments
OpenTech Alliance makes rental kiosks designed for self-storage facilities with automated and live help for renters. These kiosks might even be compatible with your storage unit software, and they cost around $6,700 according to the company’s site.
From smart phones and watches to smart refrigerators and doorbells, there’s no doubt that smart technology is making its mark on every industry. The self-storage industry is not falling behind in terms of technology you can integrate to make your units safer, profitable, and more accessible.