Inside Self-Storage

MAY 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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While there are other options, incorporate at least these basic measures. "Each of these components offer a level of security of their own. The combination of them all makes for a secure facility that is very marketable," Swanson says. What's New After the basics, consider new products. In recent years, a lot of new technology has hit the market. Some of the biggest advancements are happening in closed-circuit television (CCTV), which has become more affordable. High-definition video cameras can incorporate more data into an analog signal transmission, while fully digital Internet-protocol (IP) systems offer a clearer picture and have a larger field of vision. "CCTV quality has drastically improved, making it easy for the operator to identify people who are not necessarily close to the cameras," says Swanson, noting that integration between the access-control and CCTV systems allow video footage recall with the click of a button. "Looking up the video footage of when your customer used the keypad is as easy as clicking on an icon in the access-control software log. This can eliminate the need for hours of searching video footage." You can also tap into video analytics. Through artificial intelligence (AI), these systems learn how to detect abnormal activities. If a threat is identified, they notify the appropriate parties, such as the manager or owner, a security company, or even police. "An AI video-surveillance system can add an additional cost-effective yet powerful layer to your facility's security," Macferran says. "Operators are no longer responding reactively but are proactively preventing damage and theft." Electronic locks are increasing in popularity and can be a proactive asset, particularly in the case of attempted theft. "This is where most people think cameras come in, but cameras are only a valuable tool if you get a clear shot of someone's face and you know who they are," says Christine DeBord, director of marketing for Janus International Group LLC, which supplies self-storage building components and technology. "If you can't identify the person or if he's wearing a hat or hoodie, cameras don't do a ton of good. That's why operators need to know about electronic locks and the importance of individual-unit door security." In fact, upgraded security at the unit door is becoming the norm. "An automated, outside-the-door electronic lock gives operators peace of mind while providing tenants a best-in-class customer experience," Macferran says. "Hard-wired and wireless door alarms are a reliable and cost-effective solution to add additional door security." There have also been several advancements in access control, with many systems using smartphones. Tenants simply download an app they can use to enter the gate, a building and even their unit. The tech is also capable of denying access to a past-due customer. "Cell phones are also considered more secure than codes, as each cell phone has unique credentials and people don't tend to share their phones," Wollam adds. You can also control customer movement on your property by "assigning" it. This is particularly important for sites that offer specialty storage such as records, wine or vehicle. "If you have a customer who should only have access to Building C, his code can be tied to the main gate and just this building. If Building C has multiple levels, you can also limit the elevator access to a specific floor," Wollam says. This controlled access can also be applied to when and how long a customer is allowed on your property. "Every modern-day security system should have multiple time-zone options, which will allow the assignment of different gate-access hours for different tenants," Essman says. This allows operators to not only control but track who enters and at what time from any computer or Internet-connected device. Automatic notifications can then alert staff of activity through the security system. Another advanced product to consider is a thermal motions sensor. "Motion sensors in units can detect heat signatures and alert you if a unit has been broken into or if someone is sleeping in it," DeBord says. Maintaining It All this security will be for naught if it isn't regularly maintained. While some aspects of maintenance should be left to the pros, there are simple steps you can take to keep your equipment functioning properly. "The manager can play an important role in testing each component of your security system daily," Essman says. "They should test the keypads, cameras, lighting, door alarms, intercoms, etc., and report their findings to the business operator or a skilled professional for service." Software updates should also be performed. "[Facility operators] should always make system backups and take care of any error messages on their DVR/NVR. Not doing this may mean that you don't have footage of an event when it happens," Swanson says. Keypad access at West Coast Self-Storage in San Jose, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Stor-Guard LLC) Wrought-iron perimeter fence at Storage Plus of Garland, Texas (Photo courtesy of Pinnacle Storage Properties) 30 ISS I May 2019

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