Automated smart entry options for self storage

By Steven Hylands on January 28, 2021

Automated smart lock systems have opened up an entirely new way to offer self storage. No longer are staff required to be at a facility to open gates or welcome new customers to their storage unit. Instead, they empower your customers to access their unit and belongings whenever suits them best.

Knowing which smart entry option to choose for your self storage facility can be tricky. You’ll need to consider several factors:

  1. How to give customers access (app, pin code etc).
  2. If you can provide access to different areas, gates and doors.
  3. If it integrates with your facility management software.
  4. If it integrates with your website to automate access for new bookings.
  5. How much it costs.
  6. If it’s available in your country.
  7. How secure it is.

In this article we’ll highlight the smart access systems available on the market today, what they offer, and give you tips on how to decide which to install in your self storage facility.

The 5 most popular smart entry systems

Nokē Smart Entry

Nokē Smart Entry

The newest solution to hit the market, available in the UK, EU and US. It’s a fully keyless entry system where your customers will access your facility via a smartphone app.

Key features:

  • Bespoke system designed to fit your needs.
  • Hard-wired or battery-powered options.
  • Give access to doors individually.
  • Unique access controls provided for each customer.
  • Overlock doors from anywhere.
  • A full log of who is accessing your facility/units and when.
  • Entirely cloud based, manage your facility from the web portal or smartphone app.
  • Wide array of integrated door types available.
  • API available enabling third-party software to integrate and sync with Nokē doors.
  • Give customers facility and unit access via a mobile app.
  • No need for customers to remember codes or their keys.
  • Electronic locks are virtually impossible to tamper with.
  • Thermal motion sensors that detect unusual activity.
  • Built with the highest level data security, compliance, and privacy standards.
  • Fob’s available to connect to doors for customers without smartphones.
  • Set customer access times.
  • Integrates with Stora (facility management and web sales software) to automatically give new online bookings access on their move in day, revoke access when they move out, and automatically overlock if payments are overdue.

Learn more about Nokē


BearBox

BearBox

Available in the UK, and European Union. BearBox enables you to manage access control and provide access via key codes or an app.

Key features

  • Bespoke system designed to fit your needs.
  • On-site or cloud access control management system available via the web, or an app.
  • Access can be provided via key code, fob, QR code, numberplate, biometrics or an app.
  • Unique access controls provided for each customer.
  • Additional, integrated products available in their suite such as CCTV and alarms.
  • Wide array of integrated door types available.
  • Set customer access times.
  • Integrates with Stora (facility management and web sales software) to automatically give new online bookings access on their move in day, revoke access when they move out, and automatically overlock if payments are overdue.

Learn more about BearBox


PTI Security Systems

PTI Security Systems

Available in the UK, and EU providing access via key codes or an app.

Key features

  • Bespoke system designed to fit your needs.
  • Integrates with facility management software.
  • Give customers facility and unit access via a mobile app or key code.
  • Unique access controls provided for each customer.
  • Give access to doors individually.
  • Set customer access times.

Learn more about PTI Security Systems


SC Solutions

SC Solutions

Available in the UK, and Europe Union providing access via key codes or an app.

Key features

  • Bespoke system designed to fit your needs.
  • Integrates with facility management software.
  • Give customers facility and unit access via a mobile app.
  • Unique access controls provided for each customer.
  • Give access to doors individually.
  • Set customer access times.

Learn more about SC Solutions


Sentinel Systems

Sentinel Systems

Available worldwide providing access via keypads.

Key features

  • Integrates with facility management software.
  • Set customer access times.
  • Cloud-based access control management system available.
  • Customer access via keypads.
  • Specify which keypads customers can use.
  • Proximity card readers, card fogs and individual door alarming available.
  • Integrates with existing alarm systems.

Learn more about Sentinel Systems


How to pick your smart entry system

Now that you’ve learned about the different smart access options available, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide if a smart entry system is for you, and if so which suits you best:

Do you want to control access from anywhere?

If you want the benefit of not having to be physically on site to give access, smart locks are the most obvious solution.

They enable you to give and revoke access as required. It also means you don’t have to ever visit a facility again to manually overlock a unit.

Do you want to eliminate the need for forgettable codes?

It’s easy for customers to forget codes, in that scenario all they can do is contact you or your staff to regain access, eating up valuable time. App-based access is an alternative which helps with this. It means customers just have to remember their phone to get access. If they get logged out and forgot their password it’s fully in their control to reset it and regain access.

Do you want to give facility access to new online bookings automatically (without having to be on site)?

The only way to provide access automatically is with a smart entry system. Systems like Nokē and BearBox can be integrated with Facility Management and Web Sales software such as Stora to completely automate this process.

Stora enables you to take new storage bookings on your website. It then communicates with Nokē or BearBox to create a unique access control for each new customer, which is sent digitally to them on their move in day. Stora then collects payments every month automatically. If the customer cancels their subscription, their unique access is revoked on their last day, giving you a fully automated smart access system.

Do you want to control exactly who has access to your facility and units?

Most facilities have numerous gates or doors that may need to be opened to access stored items. The most secure way to do this is to offer each of your customers a method of access that is unique to them. For example a unique code or account associated with a smartphone app. This way you know who is using which code and when. Unique digital access controls mean you don’t have to share one code for a main gate or copies of a key. It also means you can individually turn off access to specific people at anytime. Perfect for customers who have moved out.

Do you want visibility of who accesses your facility, when and how often?

It’s hard to know exactly who is accessing your facility without a smart entry system. To do so requires on-site staff or CCTV. With a smart access system you get a full log of who accesses your facility thanks to unique controls attributed to them. You also get data on the times of day they visit, and how often.

This data can be further utilised to help your business too. For example to spot when customers might be getting ready to move out based on their visits.

What level of access security do you require?

Traditionally self storage has been an industry of standard locks and customer padlocks. Unfortunately it’s possible for these to be broken. Electronic locks are different, the locks are built into doors meaning there isn’t the same physical component that can be tampered with, increasing security.

Each provider has different approaches to security. Review each to decide which matches your criteria.

How much are you willing to pay?

The upfront investment required in a technology-based solution is more than traditional access control methods.

However, it’s important you consider more than just the initial cost. The potential long-term savings of a smart entry system and unique benefits can be worth it in the long run. Try thinking about it on these terms:

How much money will I save over the long term?

Smart entry reduces man hours needed on site. Work out roughly how many hours each month could be saved needing to visit a site to deal with customers and problems. Once you have, put a monetary value on your time and extrapolate it out over the number of years you think you’ll be running your business.

What unique benefits will smart entry have on my self storage business?

Smart entry opens up new avenues to you previous unavailable. It makes it easier to automate sales, access, security, removes the need for staff, and gives you data previously unavailable to you. Consider how these unique benefits will impact how you run and market your business. For example, will it give you a unique selling point compared to competitors approaching things in a more traditional way?

Which will you choose?

It’s a great time to be starting a self storage business. All of these exciting options open up new ways to automate your business, increase your profit margin and compete with existing facilities. We hope this info makes your decision about which smart entry system to use a little easier.

If you have any other questions about the smart entry options available, and how to make the most of them, feel free to drop us an email at anytime. We’d be happy to help!

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Steven Hylands

Steven is Stora’s Chief Product Officer. He’s using his expertise in software development to modernise the self storage industry. When he’s not creating and leading the product team, he enjoys landscape photography and exploring the world.

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