Phoenix, AZ – OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of smart-connected technology solutions for the self storage industry, helped France-based operator Kingbox Self Storage remotely manage operational challenges across four facilities with INSOMNIAC CIA. Kingbox leveraged the cloud-based access control system as part of a strategic technology stack designed to support a semi-automated business model.
“I created Kingbox in 2015 because I had unused land on the outskirts of the city of Toulouse,” stated Nicolas de Roquette, Kingbox Self Storage CEO. “Self storage in France was still quite new and the archaic management of the centers mirrored practices in the USA 20 years earlier. The main part of the facility manager’s job consisted of responding to requests for prices and managing a multitude of small, time-consuming, repetitive tasks, such as sending proposals by email, distributing access codes, responding to video surveillance calls on unwanted alarms, collection calls, etc. All things that wasted time and prevented me from focusing on development, sales and opening new facilities.”
No stranger to self storage automation, Roquette (who is also the president of WYCA Robotics) looked to the United States to see what best practices he could borrow to automate the day-to-day operations of his facilities and focus on tasks that provided greater value for his business growth goals. He was pointed, time and again, to INSOMNIAC CIA (Centralized Intelligent Access).
“It reminds me of my first iPhone,” stated Roquette. “Before buying it I wondered if it was really worth it to replace my Blackberry, which did the job. Once I got my new phone, I understood that I would never go back. CIA and its IoE cloud platform are the same. Now that I have installed it at my facilities, I know that I can never go back to old-fashioned systems because it is one of the center management tools that simplifies my operation, offers better customer service and saves me money.”
When the first Kingbox facilities opened, they were equipped with video cameras and individual unit alarms to allow for 24-hour access. But with access management systems that relied on an in-office PC and a smartphone app with few functions, management quickly found themselves inundated with customer calls at all hours because access codes no longer worked. Delinquent tenants also tried to come outside of office hours to discreetly empty their units, leading to false alarms and high security costs. “All of these systems work,” stated Roquette, “but they are not very user-friendly or responsive. They’re loaded with hidden costs like PC updates, company ethernet network setup, TeamViewer subscriptions, and most importantly, the time spent on the road restarting PCs, making backups and configuring applications.” When Kingbox added a third facility 350 miles away with no full-time onsite staff, they knew they needed to put systems in place that could support remote management.
“The CIA system is in the cloud, which means that the information is accessible from anywhere in the world,” stated Roquette. “The web interface is fully responsive, it is identical whether it is on the PC at the office, the MAC at my home, my iPhone, the android phones of my employees or even the screen of a Tesla! It is actually possible to manage access codes or open or close a site remotely from any device. It is quick and easy to add email or SMS alerts linked to events such as the arrival of delinquent tenants, the arrival or departure of the cleaning company, the lack of closure of the gate from a certain time, etc. Customers can also automatically receive their code by email or text if they have forgotten it. They no longer need to phone me and get impatient at a closed gate.” Kingbox estimates their staff saves at least two hours each day with the new system in place.
Kingbox prepped their new center to support customer rentals from A to Z with zero interaction from a manager. In addition to outfitting the facility with CIA, the website was optimized to allow online reservations, payments and electronic signatures for contracts. “Two employees must be able to manage all three facilities. This can only work if all of our systems are reliable and automated, and customers have the tools to solve their challenges quickly and easily without us.”
Kingbox also praised the ease of keypad installation, initial configuration and integration to their existing unit alarms. With simple wiring and less hardware to manage, they were able to install and set up the system on their own in just a few days.
“In short, CIA is more efficient and economical than competing systems in everything from installation to use to maintenance” concluded Roquette. “The system is faster to use and easier to operate. Customers are more independent and have less cause to complain on social networks or request a discount. Delinquent tenants are also more easily traced and required to pay when they visit outside of office hours. CIA allows me to solve the access management problem once and for all and move on to another topic. The system is open, it will allow us to add features and other automation soon to offer better service than my competitors at a lower operating cost.”
To learn more about CIA, contact OpenTech Alliance at email@example.com.