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Self-Storage REIT Life Storage Launches April Fools’ Prank With 'Howie Smart Storage Smart Bot’

April 3, 2018

2 Min Read
Self-Storage REIT Life Storage Launches April Fools’ Prank With 'Howie Smart Storage Smart Bot’

Self-storage real estate investment trust Life Storage Inc. launched an April Fools’ Day prank last week when it announced the release of a fleet of robots designed to help customers through the move-in process and provide live-stream video surveillance of their units. The artificial-intelligence (AI) assistants, named “Howie,” were supposed to be available to tenants for $199 per month beginning May 31 through the company’s Smart Storage Smart Bot program, according to a fake press release.

As imagined, the fictitious Howie would serve as an “on-demand self-storage valet and moving companion, standing by until called by the customer via a mobile app,” the release stated. “Leveraging a built-in AI, voice and face recognition, navigation systems, and Advanced Packaging Analytics, Howie will navigate to a customer’s home to box up and transport belongings to and from the customer’s storage unit.”

The prank included details about the robots’ features, including the ability to carry a maximum load of 180 pounds. Howie was supposed to be able to grasp and transport objects by opening and closing “hands” via elastic actuators in its torso. In addition, HowieVision surveillance technology allowed tenants to view live, high-definition footage of their units.

“At Life Storage, we know how stressful the entire moving process can be. While we are experts at keeping your most precious belongings safer and more secure, no company has developed a cost-effective solution for moving day that puts you in control—until now,” Ryan DiMillo, director of digital marketing, said in the release. “With Howie, the days of overpaying and waiting for hours at the mercy of your movers are a thing of the past. We are excited to make moving day easier for families across the country.”

Life Storage also had fun with Howie’s design, saying units were built with two quad-core 2.9 GHz processors, an anodized aluminum tank and a 3.7-kilowatt-per-hour lithium-ion battery, which would supply enough power to keep units moving for one hour. The robots also were supposed to feature a zero-degree turning radius and all-terrain mobility.

A humorous video showing Howie in action was also created and posted on the company’s website.

Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Life Storage operates more than 700 self-storage facilities in 28 states under the Life Storage and Uncle Bob’s brands. Its portfolio of owned and managed facilities comprises more than 49 million square feet.

PRWeb, Life Storage Inc. Introduces the First-Ever Smart Storage Smart Bot

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