Self-storage operators in Europe have begun to rapidly adopt technological advancements designed to improve operational efficiency, increase customer convenience and enhance security, according to JLL Real Views, a news site that explores the world of real estate and its impact on business. Innovations include automation tools, item logistics, improved building components and advanced website functionality. The enhancements have coincided with greater consumer demand for self-storage services, JLL reported.
Customer conveniences adopted by some storage firms have ranged from remote receptionist services that take place via Skype to online unit reservations, with the latter available from an estimated 60 percent of facility operators, the source reported. Self-storage businesses have also increased facility accessibility, with more than 33 percent allowing customers 24-hour access, up from 20 percent a year ago. Technology has played a role there, with some operators now using systems that allow tenants to gain entry using their smartphones.
Security additions have included video cameras with remote-viewing capability as well as energy-saving tools such as LED lighting and motion detectors. Nearly half of self-storage facilities in Europe are using LED lighting, according to the source.
Convenience enhancements may also be driven by an increase in commercial tenants, who comprise about one-third of all self-storage customers. Some facilities have been designed with small offices or “drop-down” workstations near storage units, while others offer amenities like Amazon drop-off points and package acceptance to help streamline business for corporate users, JLL reported.
“The high-tech self storage building could effectively become an enterprise and innovation hub of a digital economy,” said Ollie Saunders, lead director of alternatives at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle), an investment-management firm. JLL partnered with The Federation of European Self Storage Associations on its 2018 survey of the European self-storage market. The findings from the survey were released last month.
JLL Real Views, European Self Storage Facilities Move Into the Digital Age