Advancements in technology are changing the way we live and forcing companies to adapt to the needs and customs of the modern-day consumer. This is especially true in self-storage, where they directly impact productivity and the customer experience.
Technological improvements in self-storage (for example, in site security), have proven to be competitive advantages for facility operators who want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. However, the industry is just starting to unlock the true potential of IoT (Internet of Things) technology.
In a nutshell, IoT is the extension of Internet connectivity into everyday objects—referred to as “smart devices”—that collect, transmit and store data. These devices communicate and interact with one another to form a network. Almost any type of equipment can be connected to this network using an API (application programming interface). In a self-storage environment, you might connect your video surveillance, intercoms, lighting, smart locks, HVAC and so on. Once a device is connected, it can be monitored and controlled remotely.
IoT technology is empowering self-storage operators to proactively oversee their facilities, leveraging the data collected by their smart devices to stay ahead of competition and drive innovation within their markets. This information can be used to prevent and react to problems, such as a security breach or equipment failure.
This level of insight, known as predictive analytics, allows you to listen to and learn from your smart devices. Collected data is centralized, analyzed, and then returned in a digestible format. A predictive-analytics tool provides an unparalleled level of visibility into your self-storage operation. It’s capable of identifying any existing or future performance issues early and gives valuable insight to the best possible solution. As it gathers and returns data, you and your network become smarter, which leads to better decision-making.
For example, a climate-controlled self-storage facility in Arizona was spending more than $8,000 per month on electricity before the operators discovered certain doors were being propped open in the heat of the summer. To prevent this from happening again, they implemented an IoT platform and integrated it with door strikes. They then customized the settings to notify staff if any facility door was held open for more than 30 seconds.
The implementation of IoT technology provided real-time visibility into the HVAC system, ensuring occupants were comfortable, energy consumption was efficient, and the moisture caused by humidity in each building was under control. As a result, the facility was able to prevent waste and reduce its energy bill by 15 percent.
A Competitive Advantage
IoT technology can be leveraged to meet the specific needs of your self-storage business and improve operational efficiency. The extent of its benefits depends on implementation, but it provides immediate access to data about facility systems and a greater ability to make positive changes as a result. Early adopters who begin leveraging IoT will be more likely to gain a competitive advantage through cost-savings and an enhanced customer experience.
Before you make the jump to this technology, however, it’s essential to get buy-in from your organization. Consult an industry expert to help determine the best way to go about building out a smart-connected facility.
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 www.ptisecurity.com.