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Self-Storage in the Era of Social Distance: Adapting Facilities With Technology

Self-Storage in the Era of Social Distance: Adapting Facilities With Technology
Many self-storage owners are incorporating technology into their operation to accommodate social distancing during COVID-19. Read about the tools that can help you meet tenants’ needs while providing an exceptional customer-service experience.

With social distancing in effect across the nation, many self-storage businesses are working to adapt to the “new normal.” From concerns about the health and safety of tenants and employees to financial considerations, facility operators have a lot on their minds. For most, any resources that make their jobs a little easier right now are a welcome relief.

It’s important to maintain first-rate security and deliver an exceptional customer experience despite the current physical challenges. Below is a list of technology to help you adjust your self-storage operation accordingly.

Remote Access

Cloud computing is in the spotlight because it’s enabling many businesses to achieve continuity during this era of social distancing. As state and local governments implement mandatory lockdowns, virtual offices have become the norm. The cloud is a vital resource that makes these “spaces” possible.

Cloud-based access-control systems allow self-storage operators to manage their sites from anywhere in the world. Supported by features like remote accessibility, real-time notifications and site activity reports, these systems provide constant visibility to the information you need to ensure your facilities are safe and secure, even when you aren’t physically on site.

Mobile Accessibility

A recent study by Harvard Medical School shows that certain viruses can spread from contact with surfaces or objects; so, the fewer items tenants need to touch while doing business with you, the lower the odds of COVID-19 transmission. By implementing a mobile-access app at your facility, tenants can open gates and other areas of your site without using a keypad.

Premium security measures are always valuable for achieving a competitive advantage in a crowded market, but they’re especially reassuring now. If customers can access your facility from their cars by simply tapping a button on their mobile device, it’s easier for them to practice social distancing and protect their personal health.

Video Monitoring

Video monitoring is a fundamental element of robust self-storage security. Without the ability to observe their property, facility operators are flying blind, especially when government mandates make site visits difficult or impossible. When combined with advanced analytics and smart cameras, high-quality video surveillance enables remote monitoring. The most advanced solutions can automatically detect threats, alerting authorities and operators to security incidents in real time.

Online Rentals

Recent restrictions have made it more difficult for customers to interact with businesses. In many cases, self-storage transactions are happening online, as people use company websites to research services, complete rentals and finalize payments. A convenient, user-friendly website is essential. More than ever, your prospects and tenants require clear visibility to the services you offer. They also need the ability to rent units and pay monthly bills either online or via mobile app.

New School Meets Old School

Self-storage operators are adapting their facilities and routines to the current reality, taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of disease through surface exposure or human contact. Each of you needs to determine which actions are appropriate for your tenants, staff and business. Technology can help ease the transition and make for a more positive customer experience. Just remember that even if you choose to leverage tools like mobile apps, smart locks, remote video surveillance and others, you still need to sanitize keypads, door handles and other high-touch surfaces several times daily. Also, consider posting signage instructing tenants to maintain social distancing when they’re on site. Technology may be the way of the self-storage future, but old-school safety practices never go amiss.

Sarah Davis is a marketing and public-relations specialist for PTI Security Systems, a global provider of access-control technology solutions for the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.523.9504; e-mail [email protected]; visit

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