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What Is a Smart Self Storage Facility?

July 20, 2022

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6 min

Self storage security isn’t just for tenants.

There are many reasons to invest in top-of-the-line security systems at your self storage facility, and only one of them really has to do with your customers. Beyond customer satisfaction and peace of mind, there are still many benefits to a proper security system for the operator.

From convenience to protecting your own reputation, let’s look at why you should consider upping your security game with a smart facility.

 

What Is a Smart Facility?

Maybe you’ve heard of smart units, the techy advancement in self storage unit security and convenience.

If you haven’t, it’s a pretty simple (and flexible) concept. There are multiple looks for a smart unit, but one basic idea rests at the center of the matter: data reporting and remote monitoring.

When we talk about a smart self storage facility, we are basically taking the idea of a smart unit and enlarging the concept to fit the entire self storage facility. It increases security and is potentially able to even reduce energy and maintenance costs.

Smart Building Energy Costs

Much like with smart units, what defines a smart facility is fluid. Many things could be included or excluded, but the core is always the same: enhanced security, remote monitoring and control, and data reporting.

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Smart Self Storage Units

If you’re running a smart self storage facility, the very least you should have is a collection of smart units.

These software and hardware-enhanced self storage units provide many benefits for both customers and operators.

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For customers, a smart unit enables greater peace of mind and convenience. For example, digital or Bluetooth locks allow tenants to access their storage units without having to worry about physical keys. In most cases, it’s done with a mobile app, completely negating the need even to remember door codes.

In these cases, the right software will also allow the operator to see data on unit access. Perhaps you could see a picture of how often a given unit is accessed, statistics on access across the entire facility, or whatever other access-related data you might want.

These are things you simply can’t do with traditional storage units.

And it doesn’t stop there. Smart units also include advanced security and convenience features inside the unit!

Depending on what you incorporate into your smart units, they might include security updates for you and for tenants, live camera feeds inside the units, and more.

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Your Self Storage Facility’s Gates, Doors, and More

The technology you use to secure the rest of your facility outside of the units is really what brings your facility from “a storage facility with smart units” to a “smart facility.”

With the right software and hardware, you can enable a manager (or yourself as the operator) to get a full picture of your self storage facility’s state from virtually anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Using cloud-based self storage security systems, you can easily see—in real-time—when any door is accessed, any window is opened, or any motion-activated light turns on. You can look through your cameras and, with the right setup, can even speak through them, too!

These days, you can install smart technology that will let you know not only when a door is opened but also if it was touched but unopened.

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But to see the full benefit of this technology, you need to look beyond just security.

While these are security enhancements, the truth is that they grant so many other opportunities and advantages.

The most obvious advantage, of course, is monitoring your facility remotely. It’s knowing that even if you have to take time away from the office because of illness, rest, or business, you’re still able to keep an eye on your property.

The other key advantage? Data.

We talked about data regarding the smart units and access. Now imagine the data you get from a fully-integrated self storage facility.

Here are some stats you can expect to gather if done correctly:

  • How often a given door is accessed
  • How often a given corridor is traversed
  • Peak activity times throughout the facility

These are just the tip of the iceberg!

Imagine pulling up your reports at the end of the month and realizing that you’re missing out on potentially hundreds of dollars of income a month. 

As Kristi Adams of OpenTech Alliance illustrates, you could discover “ten customers came to our door at 6:00 P.M. And we close at 5:30.” That’s ten customers lost in a single day, and if you shifted your office hours to stay open an hour later you could be making even more money.

Everyone knows the adage “knowledge is power.” Smart technology is how to arm yourself with that knowledge.

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Self Storage Security and Smart Technology

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Well, there are some very simple ways that smart technology creates a security advantage. Let’s take a look at what those are and then break them down:

  1. The eye test: Your facility LOOKS more secure to tenants and would-be troublemakers
  2. Real-time monitoring versus recordings
  3. Access to more robust records in the event of a problem

The eye test

Simply put, sometimes all it takes is looking secure.

There’s a reason that a market exists for fake security cameras that look very real. It’s because sticking a camera in your parking lot, for example, makes someone less likely to break into a car.

For self storage owners, this means two things: First, your tenants feel safer and have peace of mind regarding their belongings; second, would-be burglars or other troublemakers are less likely to attempt criminal activities at your facility compared to more low-tech options.

What do storage customers care about the most? Download our Top 9 Amenities to  find out.

Real-time monitoring

Imagine you’ve just suffered a break-in at your self storage facility.

You come into the office, perform a walk-through of the facility, and notice a lock has been cut.

Now you sift through recordings from your security cameras, hoping to catch the moment it happened and that it can somehow help you identify the culprit. But more than likely, they’ve hidden their identity and the recording will mostly just help the tenant prove to their insurance that their property was actually stolen.

Compare this situation to if you had a smart technology-enabled facility:

A door is opened after your business hours? A notification is sent to your phone. A motion-activated light turns on in one hall? Now you know where the person is. You’ve already alerted authorities, and you can even pull up your live camera feed from your phone before you hop in the car and start heading to the facility to meet the police.

Criminals might find ways to avoid your door alarms. They might find a way to hide inside the facility until after hours. But with a smart facility, they have to do more than avoid a security system. They have to avoid touching any doors, activating any motion lights, and being seen on any cameras, even with their faces covered.

Robust records

In the event that something does happen, we already know that smart facilities—much like smart units—provide enhanced data reporting.

With all of this information at your fingertips, you can paint a much clearer picture of what happened, who might have done it, and how to keep it from happening in the future.

Only you can determine if a fully-integrated smart self storage facility with smart security technology is the right move for your self storage business, but the benefits are undeniable.


Find out more about running your facility with these posts!

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

  

Want to know what customers really look for?

Check out our Top 9 Amenities list to learn what your customers prioritize!

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