In the changing landscape of the self storage industry, the integration of cutting-edge smart technology has emerged as a transformative force, redefining the experience for both operators and builders. With the advent of smart locks and smart-security systems, robotics and AI, intuitive kiosks for seamless check-in/out processes, and user-friendly software and apps, HVAC control systems, and more, benefits abound on multiple fronts. For operators, these advancements provide a competitive edge and greater profitability with heightened security, streamlined operations, and increased customer satisfaction. Developers, such as Forge Building Company, who fully understand the importance of these technologies and know how to implement them into the facilities they are building, gain a competitive advantage in creating state-of-the-art facilities for their customers. Embracing this era of technology empowers self storage businesses to stay ahead in an increasingly digital world providing its customers with unparalleled convenience and peace of mind.
The integration of smart technology, including smart locks, smart security-systems, robotics, AI, and self-service kiosks for check-in/out, offers many advantages for both operators and builders of self storage facilities.
One of the most significant pieces of technology for a self storage business is security and location intelligence software. This software can also provide valuable insights into how foot and vehicle traffic flows at their facilities.
Many self storage software products also offer integrated security systems such as access control and video surveillance. This is key for protecting the owner’s investment.
When you combine smart locks with advanced security systems, operators have the ability for real-time monitoring and control over access points, minimizing the risk of unauthorized entry and potential theft. Smart locks and security systems also reduce the time that the building operator spends on tedious tasks such as checking and cutting locks. With the implementation of smart systems, operators can spend more time focusing on the needs of their customers and less time on “time consuming manual tasks”1.
Another trend driving the self storage market is the use of robotic/AI-driven surveillance systems. These types of systems can efficiently monitor large areas, identifying suspicious activities and alerting operators promptly, further fortifying the facility's security measures.
One major cost saving use of technology for self storage facilities is the implementation of intelligent kiosks. Instead of maintaining a physical presence on-premise round-the-clock, self storage facilities can now leverage intelligent kiosks to replicate the interactions a manager would typically have with customers. “These kiosks efficiently handle approximately 60% of the frequently asked questions, relieving the burden on staff and improving customer service”2.
Automated systems like smart kiosks offer numerous benefits by streamlining self storage operations. They play a crucial role in guiding tenants through the onboarding or move-in process, assisting customers in choosing the appropriate storage size, facilitating unit access, accepting payments, and addressing lease-related inquiries. Embracing this technology empowers facilities to optimize resources and provide a more seamless and efficient experience for all parties involved3.
By incorporating smart locks and automated rental systems, operators have the opportunity to offer upgraded smart units at a premium price point. Tenants are willing to pay extra for the enhanced benefits of improved security, convenience, and superior quality that these smart units provide. Additionally, the rental process can include automated options for tenants to select insurance coverage or other upgrades, making it a seamless and efficient experience for both tenants and managers alike4.
The incorporation of new software and apps in self storage facilities presents a wide variety of benefits for both operators and builders. For self storage management, these include:
Today, mobile apps enable self storage customers to quickly access facilities or units with scannable codes or RFID tags. These apps also supply customers with updates, such as notifications about payment due dates, access changes, and account management.
Furthermore, these software solutions provide real-time data and analytics, offering valuable insights into customer behavior, occupancy rates, and revenue generation. This data-driven approach empowers operators to make informed decisions and optimize facility performance6.
Very few places in the country are fortunate enough to avoid the frigid temperatures of winter, the extreme heat of summer and the humidity that comes with it. For that reason, climate-controlled storage spaces and HVAC control systems have exploded in popularity, and this is particularly true in areas prone to extreme temperatures or high humidity. Renters storing valuable or irreplaceable items often prefer climate-controlled self-storage units due to the high degree of protection and peace of mind they provide.
Owning a climate-controlled storage business is a great investment. Storage facilities that incorporate HVAC control systems typically command higher rental rates than traditional space of the same size. The amount of upcharge will vary by region of the country, however, in some markets, this could be 15-35% or more7. Another huge advantage is that the newest generation of 100% climate-controlled, multi-story buildings enables a developer to build roughly three times the rentable square footage on the same amount of dirt. This means the owner can absorb a much higher land cost. It also allows them to consider many more parcels for a project8.
For more details on climate-controlled self storage units, see our blog, “Is Climate-Controlled Self Storage Worth the Investment?” and our video Climate Control Self Storage.
The integration of cutting-edge smart technology and the adoption of new software and apps have revolutionized the self storage industry, yielding substantial benefits for both operators and builders. With enhanced security, streamlined operations, and increased customer satisfaction, operators are well-equipped to navigate the challenges of an increasingly digital world. The convenience and peace of mind offered to customers through smart locks, robotics, kiosks, HVAC control systems, and user-friendly apps redefine the self storage experience, attracting a tech-savvy clientele. Furthermore, builders gain a competitive advantage by offering these new technologies in state-of-the-art facilities with advanced security and convenient self-service options. As the self storage landscape continues to evolve, embracing this era of technology proves essential for thriving in the industry and ensuring unparalleled convenience for customers
1,4. Hembree, Jordan. “5 Reasons Smart Locks Are a Self Storage Manager’s Best Friend.” Janus International Group, 31 Dec. 2020, https://www.janusintl.com/news-media/blog/best-smart-lock. Accessed 3 Aug. 2023.
2,3. Ramirez, Rodolfo. “How AI and Big Data Are Disrupting the Self Storage Industry.” Swivl, 21 June 2023, https://www.tryswivl.com/blog/how-ai-and-big-data-are-disrupting-the-self-storage-industry. Accessed 3 Aug. 2023.
5. Burnam, C. (2023, April 18). Forbes.com. Retrieved from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/04/18/three-ways-technology-is-changing-the-self-storage-industry/?sh=645f69c53604
6. Austin, David. “Should I Use a Self Storage App for My Business?” Storagepug, 7 Feb. 2023, https://www.storagepug.com/blog/self-storage-app. Accessed 4 Aug. 2023.
7. Regency Steel Buildings. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ministorageoutlet.com: https://ministorageoutlet.com/self-storage-industry-projections/
8. Rider, J. A. (2022, February 20). howmuches.com. Retrieved from How Muches: https://howmuches.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-a-climate-controlled-storage/