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March 7, 2022
Automation is becoming more and more necessary to be successful in the self storage industry. But it is an exciting time to start adding automation to your facility!
In this Gabfocus Spotlight, Mason Levy of Swivl discusses the five different levels of automation and what level he believes self storage is at today.
Question: "What are the five levels of automation?"
Check out the video clip below to hear his answer:
In this Gabfocus Session: Automating Your Facility, we spoke with AJ Osborne (Store Local), Mason Levy (Swivl), and Josh Parker (Storage Authority). We had a great time discussing automation in the self storage industry.
Check out the full Session to dive deeper!
You know, when you think about automation, in general, there's five levels of automation. Level zero is obviously no automation. It's fully human powered. If you think about the analogy of driving a car, you're doing everything, right? Whereas level five, it's full automation. Everything in every scenario is being handled. So in between there you got the levels in one and two. These are kind of partial automation. Certain systems are allowing for you to do adaptive cruise control, maybe lane assist in your car. So some of the things that I maybe mentioned earlier, maybe a light turning on automatically through a motion sensor, RFID allowing you to unlock a door without actually needing a key.
And then you kind of get into the levels three through five. And this is really where things start to become interesting. Level three is conditional automation. And so in very specific conditions, the system will automate everything. Right? And so maybe the road is perfect. It's in a divided highway, and it's going to be able to control. But at the same time, a human can take over. A level four is high automation. So similar in certain situations, it's
going to be able to automate everything, but there's no human intervention. This could be something like an Elon Musk boring tunnel that's going to be coming. And once you get your Tesla into the boring tunnel, your hands are off and it's going to take you and it's taken over and controlling the whole thing. And then level five is full automation everywhere.
Now the good news.
We are nowhere close to any of that. The robots are not coming, right? A level one and two is really kind of where we're at today, which is exciting. The exciting thing is self storage. I think it's something like 48% of operators are taking up some type of an automation project today. And you're seeing things like automated gate code entry. You're seeing things with conversational AI being deployed to help you with the sales process. You're seeing things with lease clarification, automated bill pay, et cetera, et cetera.
We're really in that early stage. It's a really exciting time to be in here.