Inside Self-Storage

MAR 2019

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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Amy Campbell, Editor It's often said that the self-storage industry is slow to adopt new technology. I'd like to challenge that statement. While there are still some businesses operating without a website, management software or security measures such as video cameras, these are the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, operators recognize technology as an asset. They understand that keeping pace with evolving tech translates to a better-run facility that meets consumer demands for automation, online services and advanced security. Here are a few examples: • SKS Management LLC has distributed the Amazon Echo Dot at its 20 facilities, allowing managers to use Alexa as a digital personal assistant. The tool integrates with other programs the company uses, allowing staff to manage their calendars, schedule meetings, set reminders and even dial into conference calls. • National Storage – Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., uses off ce rental stations with tablet kiosks in lieu of the traditional service counter. The touch-screen devices allow customers to choose a unit, enter contact and payment information, and sign the rental agreement. Additional features include interactive facility maps and unit-size-guide videos. • 10 Federal Cos. depends on technology to run its 17 unmanned facilities in the Carolinas and Virginia. This includes a combination of online leasing, kiosks, a call center and remote monitoring. The company also developed its own overlock- release system that allows tenants to remove an overlock upon making a payment. • Pacifi c Highway Storage of San Diego employs several technology products including a mobile app that allows tenants to use their smartphones to open gates, doors, elevators and other access points. This is just a sample of the tools and programs storage professionals are introducing into their operations. Others are exploring artificial intelligence, employing new communication channels such as texting, investing in video and mobile capabilities, turning to cloud-based servers to store data, using software reporting to make business decisions, and so much more! In this issue, we explore all aspects of industry technology. To begin, we asked a handful of companies how they're incorporating it into their businesses, the challenges they've faced, and techniques they've used for getting staff on board with new products. Read what they have to say in "Technology in Action," beginning on page 16. Ahead, you'll also find articles on Progressive Web Apps, voice-enabled devices, global distribution systems and advanced video analytics. Learn how these tools are enhancing the customer experience and changing the way facilities attract and serve tenants. In addition, you'll get insight on software features every facility needs as well as how to understand and use the data in your management software reports. To find out more about the amazing strides the industry is taking when it comes to technology, join us at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, April 1-4, at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Our dedicated Technology Track includes sessions on a variety of topics. You can find details on these seminars and the entire program in the show planner, beginning on page 35. It isn't enough to adopt technology; you must embrace it. Recognize how these products and systems can make your job easier while providing customers the type of service they seek. It won't be easy. There'll be a learning curve for staff and tenants alike. There'll also be glitches, adjustments and definitely some frustration as everyone learns to use these new tools. You may even find some simply aren't right for your business, and that's OK. The goal is to simplify your operation, not complicate it. Consumer behaviors are changing. If your storage business doesn't keep up, you'll find yourself with empty units. Don't be the operator who's "slow to adapt." Be the one othe rs emulate. All my best, Embracing Technology THE INSIDE VIEW 6 ISS I March 2019

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