StorEDGE Blog. Published April 9, 2018 – I can barely remember the dark ages – aka, the time before smartphones. I got my first cell phone at only 14, but there was certainly nothing “smart” about it. Upon receiving my learner’s permit (yep, you can drive at 14 in South Dakota!), my parents reluctantly outfitted me with a brick of a cell phone that I was to use for emergencies only. I didn’t have texting or data, and my “phonebook” was limited to just 250 contacts, but I could call someone if I went in the ditch on a wintry day. I remember being blown away by the phone’s speed dial feature and customizable home page banner.
Now, I have a robot assistant at my fingertips: my iPhone can give me an instant weather forecast, track my steps, send video messages, and answer pretty much any question I can think of about the world. Plus, with the connected devices in my home synced to my smartphone, I can check the status of my laundry, adjust the thermostat, and see who’s at the door right from my desk at work. This isn’t the Jetsons – this is real life in 2018.
Internet of things (IoT) technology has slowly but surely been moving into self storage, and the change is opening up exciting new opportunities for both owners and renters. In my last interview with the folks at Janus, we talked about the future of self storage development and the influence of robotics and automated technology on the industry. With the release of their latest ‘smart’ storage units, 2018 is shaping up to be another innovative year for self storage tech. I couldn’t wait to chat with them to get the details on the futuristic development.
In this blog post, we get into the nitty gritty on topics like access control, IoT technology, and unmanned facilities with Terry Bagley, President of the Door Entry and Facility Automation Division, and Christine DeBord, Director of Marketing, at Janus International Group. Check out the full interview below!
storEDGE: So what are ‘smart’ storage units?
Bagley: Smart storage units are the latest technology from Janus. We’re calling it our SecurGuard® Smart Entry System. In a nutshell, the system is a wireless, cloud-based digital key management system. It is a new technology powered by Noke that allows tenants entry to a facility using a smartphone or a bluetooth key fob, and it works for all the different entry points you have in self storage – from the gate to the man door to the elevator, and now, the storage unit as well.
storEDGE: We actually wrote a blog post about Noke’s bluetooth locks a couple of years ago. How did that partnership happen?
Bagley: So I met the founder and CEO of Noke, David Gengler, about two years ago, as well. We became very interested when we saw what they were doing with their bluetooth padlock technology, and, after some preliminary discussions, everything kind of clicked. We had the opportunity to create a solution that was really exciting and different and able to provide capabilities that hadn’t been seen in the self storage industry together with Noke.
storEDGE: So what opportunities do smart storage units open up for self storage owners?
DeBord: For owners and operators, they’re getting a heightened level of security – it’s security that is down to the unit level and all of the data is being aggregated and stored in a cloud-based system. It opens up a lot of possibilities for remote management and high-level views of security across owners’ full portfolios. In addition to bluetooth unit controllers that don’t require padlocks, there are also motion sensors both inside and outside of the unit.