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Inside Self-Storage 9/99: DOMICO

April 1, 1999

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 9/99: DOMICO

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The Future of Self-Storage Software

DOMICO, aprovider of management software to the self-storage industry, is celebrating its 15thanniversary this year. This fall the company will release its third product, DOMICO 2000,which will incorporate all of the functionality that has been the basis for the software'sprevious success together with many new and exciting features.

For more than two years, the DOMICO engineering department has been hard at workdesigning and developing new Windows®-based software, and the company isextremely pleased with the fruits of its development labors. According to Glenn Hunter,president, "We have been fortunate to have many users who volunteered to run the newsoftware parallel with their existing DOMICO package to help make certain that allfunctions operate correctly."

While the design team intended that the new software be a Windows product, it alsobelieved that the only way to offer the usefulness storage operators need withoutsacrificing ease of use was to both automate and make invisible many of the routinechoices that plague Windows users. This required a major investment in automatingdifferent functions to keep them behind the scenes.

"It is clearly the objective of the software industry to make the Internet as muchan everyday part of our lives as television or radio," says Hunter. As a result,DOMICO sought design solutions by looking at Web-page design. In order to do this, thecomplexity of Windows had to be brought to the simple level of a push-button radio orremote control.

Hunter says he believes the Internet is the future of the software industry and thatself-storage has the same potential that other industries have to be revolutionized by theInternet. "The all-new DOMICO 2000 is the first step in this evolution," hesays. "It will initially look and act like traditional software that you install onyour computer. It will only look different (more simple and clear) than other Windowsprograms. However, as we progress into the new millennium, DOMICO 2000 will also progress.We are building the future into the software at this very moment."

For more information, contact Stephanie Quick at (800) 688-6181; e-mail [email protected]; www.domico.net.

Self-Storage Software

A Prediction by Glenn Hunter

Current state-of-the-art software programming is Web-design oriented. The averagecitizen comes to a Web site and instantly gets engaged--no training, no help screens, noquestions. This is what the next generation of management software must provide--virtuallyinstant usability. When we look back in time, the Windows 95/98 era and Windows-designedsoftware will appear to be exactly what it is--an infinitesimal blip on the computerlandscape.

What this means is that asking your software company if it offers a Windows program isa little like asking Noah whether he'd read the latest weather report--wrong question andway too late. The proper question to ask is: "How is your company going to assist mein taking advantage of the most important technology in the information age?"

This is where things gets really exciting and interesting. There is no question thatserver technology and sequential query language (SQL) programming will allow large,multi-location, storage companies to invest in corporate servers that will run all oftheir software and house all of their data. Their facilities will log in online throughthe Internet, and will transact business in real time. Data security will increasedramatically. Information access for management will also be significantly improved. Itwill be amazingly easy to custom design and implement reports that look at yourmulti-facility data. Software companies will be assisting you in writing reports that arecustomized to your needs. Upgrades and modifications to your software will be instantlyavailable to all of your facilities.

But what about the smaller facilities and companies with just one or two locations?Will they be left out in the cold? On the contrary, software companies will be able toprovide these smaller operators with the same benefits by offering them the opportunity tolog onto their server and right into the software they want to use.

Within the next very few years storage customers will be renting space over theInternet. They will log onto a facility's Web site and examine the facility'sspace-for-rent options; they will speak face-to-face to the manager, since both will be oncamera; cameras will even allow a tour of the facility and potential locker locations. Thecustomer will fill out the move-in information, e-mail the lease, and pay for space withthe swipe of their credit-card into a reader built into the computer keyboard.

Software companies will increasingly be differentiated by how well they use advances intechnology to provide owners with the information they need to better run theirbusinesses. This begins with the capture of information at the facility. Software designand development tools and approaches don't receive anywhere near the publicity that thelatest hardware gimmick does, but advances in approaches to software development can offerimmense benefits to users.

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