Display. Nothing is more annoying than when the gate isn’t opening and the only feedback you have is a little blinking red light. Most vendors have some form of backlit display that provides instant feedback about a tenant’s rent status, delinquency, time allowed on site, etc. Some of the higher-end security vendors make this standard equipment on all keypads.
Card reader. For whatever reason, some people just can’t remember a gate code, so the card reader becomes a viable alternative or complement to the traditional gate code. A good card-reader system will read any card with a magnetic stripe so you aren’t beholden to your security company for replacement cards. This includes credit cards, driver licenses, library cards, etc.
Of course, you can also have site-specific cards with your logo and information on them, but that’s not recommended in case one is lost by a tenant. However, access control is only half of what a card reader can do. What if you could collect your rent right at your keypad? A few security vendors have the ability to tightly integrate between their management software and keypad system to allow for credit card transactions that will help you instantaneously collect delinquent rent even when the office is closed.
Proximity reader. This is a variation to the card reader, but instead of physically sliding the card into a slot, you only need to pass the card near the keypad. Some systems even have longer range proximity readers that will allow you to keep your card in the car and simply pulling up to the gate will identify who you are and open the gate.
Biometric reader. This technology allows the manager to scan the fingerprint of the tenant in the office, than only that tenant is allowed access. Though a promising technology, and certainly a cool gadget, biometric has not yet shown reliable results in practice. Expect to see this technology perfected in the coming years, but until then lean toward the other, more proven, technologies above.
Besides the cool modules we just discussed there are some very cutting-edge technologies going into the latest access-control systems for self-storage that increase reliability, and offer greater flexibility and tighter software integration than ever before.
One of the most exciting things is the introduction of affordable wireless technology in an access system. Instead of expensive wireless units that connect externally, require large antennae, power supplies and thousands of dollars, these new units simply snap onto the keypads and other access-control devices, and are completely transparent to the user. In addition, wireless data to the office means less trenching, fewer conduits, less wiring, less maintenance and, therefore, less cost to you.