By Jon Loftin
Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed the smartphone revolution. According to a recent survey by research firm Nielsen, 61 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers use a smartphone, and this percentage is increasing every year. Moreover, the Pew Internet Research Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, reports 44 percent of cell phone owners have slept with their device next to their bed to make certain they didn’t miss a call, text or other important update during the night.
Self-storage operators are recognizing this increased use of technology and shift in customer behavior and are capitalizing on it to increase occupancy, customer satisfaction and retention rates. In fact, this technology evolution has allowed providers and operators of access-control systems to take advantage of the smartphone revolution, increasing and enhancing security while providing a safer and more secure facility.
Is there always an owner or manager at your facility? The answer is most likely "no." Incidents can occur when you’re at home, running errands or away on vacation. Fortunately, access-control software is being developed for mobile applications that allow you to control your property remotely from any place at any time using your smartphone or tablet. The days of driving to the facility after hours to open a gate or check an alarm is a thing of the past. With these applications, you can remotely open unit doors or gates regardless of your physical location.
If you need to see who’s on site or the activity occurring at your property, some security software even displays a real-time activity status on your mobile device. With these applications, you can easily be notified, view the property if an individual unit door alarms sounds off, and then take the appropriate action in a timely manner.
The newest innovations from access-control providers are apps that allow self-storage customers to access the property via their smartphones. They may forget an access code, but tenants are rarely without their phones! With these apps, they can open unit doors or gates with a simple click, without leaving the comfort of their vehicle. They no longer have to stop at the keypad or remember a code. And they appreciate not having to roll down their window during inclement weather. They simply open the phone app, select the gate, and they’re automatically allowed access to the system.
Some access-control software even allows the operator to specify which tenants are allowed to use the application. This can even be another stream of revenue. Operators can charge a small, monthly fee for this convenience or provide it free to all customers as a perk.