Until now, most keypad systems relied heavily on communication with the office controller or management computer to make decisions on whether to let someone into the facility. With these new access systems, the gate codes, tenant data, time zones, etc., are all stored and encrypted in the individual keypads. That means you can lose all communication with the office and the keypads still keep working perfectly for your existing tenants until communication is restored. Each keypad will then automatically synchronize with the office controller to add in new-tenant information or changes made to existing tenant data.
Some systems can be completely updated remotely—not just the software on the computer, but the firmware in the physical keypads and access-control devices as well. That means as your security vendor continues to improve its products and add new features you will not be required to physically swap out keypads or go without the latest and greatest. It can be as easy as calling your security company and having it remotely update your system.
This new feature is also great for diagnosis as each keypad can literally report back any anomalies or problems, and likely have it fixed automatically without the manager or tenants ever knowing there was a problem. This is revolutionary technology promises to just keep getting better and benefiting everyone in the self-storage industry.
Once you have your access-control system in place, the next logical step would be to explore wireless door alarms to monitor your individual units. The way most wireless alarm systems work is you have a sensor that mounts on the outside door frame and a magnet that mounts directly to the door. The best systems have various measures in place to prevent tampering and theft, and provide resilient weather and vandal protection. Having the sensor located on the exterior of the units serves two purposes. First, it provides a wonderful visual deterrent. Second, you can easily install them at any time—during construction or as a retrofit upgrade—to help you compete in an increasingly crowded market.
Wireless alarms work very closely with your access-control system and the various software packages in the office. Though most vendors offer these systems in a modular fashion, there is no denying the fact that having all of these components working in unison adds real value to the facility and to the secure feeling your tenants will have.
When you enter your code at the gate keypad it immediately informs the system that the unit associated with that gate code is authorized to be opened. That information is not only logged in the system for reporting purposes, but it can also be displayed directly onto the main screen of most integrated management software programs, as well as update the digital layout (3-D or 2-D) software that many facilities also have displayed inside their offices.