For far too long, there’s been little to get excited about when it comes to self-storage access control and technology. That’s changing now as many high-caliber, smart security tools enter the market. Here are seven of the coolest products available today as well as tips on how to leverage them for site security.
Smart locks. Unfortunately, we see theft at self-storage facilities too frequently. Criminals tailgate onto properties and use bolt-cutters or other tools to cut locks and enter units. Smart locks, however, help prevent this behavior while making it more convenient for customers to access their stuff. In the hospitality world, Hilton Hotels & Resorts rolled out smart locks across its entire portfolio, allowing customers to access their rooms from their mobile device. This type of technology is now available in self-storage as well.
Digital keys. These are a great tool to improve customer convenience while maintaining a better audit trail of who’s been on property. In the past, tenants would simply share their code and physical key with family members or movers who needed to access unit. With digital key sharing, they simply add the mobile number of the person with whom they’d like to share, and that person can then use his mobile device to access the space. The beauty is customers can share access from anywhere in the world and revoke it whenever they’d like.
Motion sensors. Self-storage operators have long been using these to control lighting costs, but the technology has come a long way as a security tool as well. Today, there are a several motion-sensing, high-definition (HD) camera systems that send alerts when after-hours activity is detected on site. In some cases, they even timestamp the activity in the alert. There are also thermal motion sensors that help you detect drive-up or unit-interior activity. This type of sensing not only helps to detect break-ins, it alerts you if tenants are living in units.
Wireless pressure mats. Securing RV storage can be difficult and costly, but these can make it easier to safeguard large RV spaces. The mats send an alert every time more than 60 pounds of pressure is applied. That means even if someone tailgates on or off a property, you’ll get an alert at each instance of pressure passing over the mat.
Video cameras. Each year, cameras get smaller and less expensive, and the definition gets better. There are several wireless, battery-powered HD cameras on the market that are great for outdoor installation because they can be placed in areas where running wire would be difficult or costly.
Video doorbells. While cameras are a security staple, they can also be used in less conventional ways to aid in after-hours move-ins. One storage owner is using a video-doorbell system to help answer tenant questions at a fully unattended facility in Alabama. The beauty of the tool is its simplicity. A tenant enters the vestibule and, immediately, the facility operator or call center gets a mobile alert. From there, someone can speak directly to the tenant from a mobile device and assist in the move-in process.
Glass-break detectors. These work by monitoring acoustics or vibrations and send alerts or trigger alarms when broken glass is detected. These are fairly inexpensive and can help with securing offices and storefronts.
All these exciting new products can help secure self-storage facilities, improve activity visibility and make it more convenient for tenants to access their units.
Christine DeBord is the director of marketing for Janus International Group, a global supplier of doors, hallways and new technology for the self-storage industry. She’s been working in self-storage access-control and new technology for four years. To reach her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.janusintl.com.