OpenTech Alliance announced a new integration between the DaVinci Lock® System and INSOMNIAC CIA, scheduled for released in Q4. As part of the OpenTech IoE (Internet of Everything) intelligent platform, the DaVinci Lock integration will allow storage operators to automate tenant notifications during the rental and overlock process without investing hundreds of dollars into a new system.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced today that Public Storage, the world’s largest owner, operator, and developer of self-storage facilities, has placed a second order of INSOMNIAC CIA systems, the industry’s first cloud-based access control solution, as the company continues to rollout CIA to its entire portfolio.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance will showcase a new wired alarm mux (code-named A96) at Booth #318 at the 2019 Self Storage Association Fall Conference and Trade Show on September 4th and 5th. The A96 is currently being tested and scheduled for release in Q4. It is anticipated to range in price from $499 to $799 and can be configured in either 96 or 48 channel mode. The company will begin taking orders for the new product in September.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the release of two new API integrations for StorageTreasures’ customers. The integrations allow storEDGE and Storage Commander customers to automate the import of tenant auction data directly from the property management software into StorageTreasures.Continue reading
Personal Mini Storage will replace existing access control across all 43 of their self storage locations with INSOMNIAC CIA. Central Florida’s largest family-owned storage operator, Personal Mini cites CIA’s lightning suppression and Exclusive Lifetime Protection as key factors.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance launches INSOMNIAC SmartGate, a new integration for the OpenTech IoE (Internet of Everything). When combined with INSOMNIAC CIA, SmartGate allows owners and operators to receive alert notifications when a gate or other device does not open or close when requested, or when it is opened or closed manually.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced iStorage has selected INSOMNIAC CIA to replace existing access control systems across several of their facilities by the end of 2019. iStorage, owned and operated by National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA), will install CIA at over 20 facilities in the Michigan region over the next few months.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance now offers the first access control keypad with an integrated IP camera. With most self storage operators already actively using or with plans to implement IP camera systems over obsolete analog video technology, the enhancement, an exclusive feature of INSOMNIAC CIA, is available now.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance has helped Tennessee-based 24 Hour Self Storage flourish with INSOMNIAC Kiosks since its establishment 6 years ago. Founding partners Nicholas Lillios and DJ Cord, who own and operate various commercial, retail and residential properties, were committed to creating an automated business model before venturing into self storage.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the release of the INSOMNIAC 120, the newest addition to the next generation line of self-service INSOMNIAC Kiosks, the 20 Series. The INSOMNIAC 120 offers a small size with stellar performance. Compact in design, this model mirrors many of the benefits of its larger counterparts.Continue reading
Data is an asset in any successful business. Cloud-based services have created connections that not only serve the needs of consumers, but is a tool companies have long leveraged to their benefit. The self storage industry is no exception. A critical link is missing from the equation – data that identifies how customers actually utilize self storage.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the launch of INSOMNIAC SmartDoor, a new integration for OpenTech’s intelligent platform of smart-connected self storage solutions, OpenTech IoE. SmartDoor is the first and only self storage office analytics system that provides actionable insights on consumer traffic, whether your office is open or closed.Continue reading
Beachfront A1 Surfside Self Storage uses online auctions to safeguard staff and assets while recouping funds tied to delinquent units. A locally owned company since 1991, facility managers have resolved $34,000 outstanding in bad accounts with StorageTreasures.com.Continue reading
Amsdell Companies has converted its Compass Self Storage facilities from live auctions to StorageTreasures.com. According to Amsdell, use of the site has become standard practice due to a streamlined auction process, superior customer service, and a better overall ROI.Continue reading
Atlantic Self Storage rivals top operators with a combination of INSOMNIAC Live! call center solutions, XpressCollect and CIA. A small entrepreneur that operates in the competitive Washington D.C. metro market, Atlantic Self Storage knows you can’t miss a phone call.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance launches the next generation of self-serve INSOMNIAC Kiosks. The 20 series was designed with a focus on the user experience, the latest in hardware components and cloud-based software for maximum engagement and unparalleled reliability – all available at a new, lower price.Continue reading
Changes to the fee structure for the integration between StorageTreasures.com and newly merged StorEDGE and SiteLink‘s property management solution allows all StorageTreasures customers to take advantage of the SiteLink API, at no extra charge.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the launch of UsedStorageKeypads.com, a website offering used access control equipment at significant savings. UsedStorageKeypads offers self storage owners and operators a one-stop shop to find low-cost access control equipment.Continue reading
Westport Properties, Inc. has committed to replace existing access control at their full portfolio of 120 properties exclusively with INSOMNIAC CIA (Centralized Intelligent Access), the industry’s first cloud-based access control solution.Continue reading
Storage Choice automated their 15 self storage facilities in Texas to offer services and benefits that larger competitors don’t have, such as hands-free gate access via the Storage Genie app and 24/7 kiosks.Continue reading
Amy and Kevin Payne, the owners of 5 Star Boat and RV Storage located in Georgetown, TX, have been able to work full-time and launch their first successful boat and RV storage facility by automating operations with a kiosk.Continue reading
Graham Investments maximizes lien loss recovery efforts to the tune of an 80 percent increase over live auctions at their self storage facilities in Colorado, Texas, and Nevada – and just celebrated the one-year anniversary of their first auction on StorageTreasures.com.Continue reading
Self-Storage Operator Replaces Access Control with INSOMNIAC CIA
February 7, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced Fox Trail Mini Storage, a family owned business in Kinston, NC has upgraded their Access Control to INSOMNIAC CIA after lightning destroyed their PC based access control system.
Fox Trail Mini Storage owner Amy and Chris Rouse had heard the saying, “lightning never strikes in the same place twice,” however, he wanted to make sure he had researched all the Access Control options on the self-storage market before replacing his keypad. “The lightning storm zapped my Falcon XT, right down to the readout on the keypad,” exclaimed Chris.
“When I took over the business in 2016, we had a stand-alone keypad where I would have to physically go out the keypad and input codes manually. When we upgraded, I no longer needed to walk to the keypad, but we did encounter lots of issues of having to reset the system when the computer went down and support was another thing, we had to submit an online ticket and sometimes wait days to be assisted. That was frustrating and not how we do business; we offer exceptional
customer service to our customers at Fox Trail Mini Storage and I wanted the same when it came to our vendors. When I started researching OpenTech’s CIA Access ControI, I realized our May 2018 lightning strike would allow us to make one of the best business decisions for our expanding self-storage business,” Chris commented.
“Since upgrading to CIA we have noticed a change in our business on various fronts; real-time alerts, reports on how many times tenants are accessing our location, giving tenants hands-free access through the Storage Genie mobile app, and knowing I have Lifetime Protection on the hardware and someone to pick up the phone when I need customer support,” added Chris.
“We built INSOMNIAC CIA from the ground up for the self-storage industry to address issues with older PC based systems including technology, warranty, installations, and support to solve frustrations that operators like Chris experience,” stated Robert A. Chiti, CEO of OpenTech Alliance. Robert added, “CIA has been listed to Underwriters Laboratory spec UL294 for Access Control as well as independently tested to withstand surges of 20,000 Volts and 10,000 Amps, so if lightning does strike twice, we have Chris covered!”
The Last Word
by Robert Chiti
Open Platforms Are Good for Everyone
When self-storage operators first started using technology it was in the form of PC software that was by its very nature isolated and rarely integrated with other systems. Early integrations included exporting data files other systems could read, including credit card processing software and access control systems. Because the unencrypted data files were automatically created and exported to a shared hard drive the originating software vendor could not control who could use the data, resulting in a true Open Integration.
Today, things are a bit different. Software systems now send data and commands back and forth through what is known as an Application Programming Interface (API). Here is where the problems start, for security reasons some type of authentication code needs to ensure the system trying to access the API has been authorized and is not a hacker. So this means the use of the API needs to be restricted. In most cases these restrictions are good for the self-storage operator, they make the entire system more secure and protect the self-storage operator’s data, and can also ensure the systems using the API are programmed efficiently so they do not cause performance problems for the users. However, in some cases, vendors put restrictions in place to limit competition or control the operator’s data. These closed end-to-end type systems can have a very negative impact on the success of a self-storage business.
Closed end-to-end platforms get self-storage operators “hooked” and then limit the other solutions that can be integrated with, to only solutions they sell, in some cases forcing the user to implement substandard technology. This approach can be very good for the vendor, but disastrous for the self-storage operator. These platforms typically end up costing the self-storage operator much more because they have no choice but to use the products offered by the vendor.
A truly open technology platform offers it’s APIs to all other vendors so a self-storage operator has the freedom to choose the specific solution they feel is best for them, instead of having to be held hostage and forced to only buy solutions from one vendor. A truly open platform sometimes referred to as Internet of Everything (IoE) platform allows all kinds of devices, applications, systems, and people to work together regardless of the vendor.
For example, with a truly open platform, an internal or third-party call center storage counselor can have real-time access to all the transaction data recorded in an access control system and can open a gate for a customer stuck behind the gate after hours without having to give out a temporary code that has to be changed later…. regardless of if the call center vendor competes with the access control vendor in other product areas.
So my Last Word is OPEN. End-to-end platforms that try to lock out competitors are bad for self-storage operators and bad for the industry as a whole. Self-storage operators would be wise to make sure they are only investing in technology that is backed by a vendor committed to providing open technology.
*Published in MiniCo Messenger, January 2019
Security 101 Chooses INSOMNIAC CIA as their Preferred Self-Storage Access Control Solution
January 31, 2019 – OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced Security 101 LLC., has joined their growing list of OpenTech Channel Partners. Security 101 LLC., has supported self-storage operators with their access control and security needs for over 8 years and serves customers in the New Hampshire and Maine area. Clif Johnston, the owner of Security 101 LLC., was introduced to OpenTech when one of his customers inquired about their cloud-based access control solution, INSOMNIAC CIA. “When I investigated the hardware componentry, I was really impressed with the forward-thinking design. Captive screws and a unique hinged faceplate allow for easy installation and service, and the customer experience with the bright OLED display, text me my code, and Storage Genie mobile app are what set CIA apart from other solutions available in the self-storage industry.” Clif commented.
Gary Carland, Channel Development Manager for OpenTech Alliance, emphasized the point, “Every technology we develop is designed entirely to help self-storage operators, and in this case, our dealers work smarter and more efficiently.” Gary added, “Due to the easy installation process, INSOMNIAC CIA saves both the installer and customer time and money.” Clif commented, “The Technical Support staff at OpenTech are incredible, I am not a ticket in the system and a helpful voice is waiting to assist me every time I call!”
INSOMNIAC CIA gives self-storage operators total control of a single or hundreds of properties and addresses issues with older PC-based systems including technology, warranty, installation, and support. Operators don’t have to worry about computer problems or never-ending software updates as the cloud-based software is always running the most current version and will continue to operate even if your Internet connection goes down. Managers and owners can also gain insights into their renter’s behaviors and streamline business operations with predictive maintenance triggers with real-time data visualization and reporting from the OpenTech IoE Control Center.
To learn more about the OpenTech Alliance Channel Partner opportunities, contact Gary Carland
at email@example.com or 828.551.1210.
OpenTech Appoints New President and Recruits Domain Experts
January 30th, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. OpenTech Alliance, Inc., the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced Mike Connolly has been appointed as President of OpenTech Alliance. “Over the past 15 years, Mike has played a major role in OpenTech’s success and growth as an investor, board member, and leader. Mike has been my professional and personal mentor for over 35 years, without him, OpenTech would never have gotten off the ground. As our business expands and gets more complex, Mike is the perfect person to keep it running smoothly. At the same time, my job will be to shake things up, growing our business through Internal Innovation, Acquisition, and Partnership. I expect the next 15 years to be even more exciting than the first.” stated Robert Chiti, Chairman and CEO of OpenTech Alliance.
Robert added, “As we planned for Mike’s transition, we also realized it was time to recruit some talented leaders with deep experience in the areas of Engineering, Sales, and Marketing to help us grow the company and continue to deliver innovative solutions and superior service to our customers.”
“Kristi Adams-Gubbels will join as the Vice President of Product Marketing. Her 13 years of self-storage experience from assisting with the start-up of USstoragsearch.com to driving marketing strategies for U-Store-It (now CubeSmart) will be instrumental in achieving the company’s overall objectives and goals in the years to come.
Roy Pierson as Vice President of Engineering brings extensive experience in product and solution delivery with a focus on cloud computing, security, big data, and technology transformation and innovation. Roy’s experience includes 15 years at Microsoft and extensive work in the area of global reservation systems as well as leading the effort to create valuable industry standards for data sharing in the Hospitality industry.
Lastly, Bill Hoffman has joined our team as the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Bill brings over 20 years of strategic sales, marketing, channel and customer success experience with a focus on team building and hands-on experience implementing “game-changing” CRM strategies. Under Bill’s direction, we have already begun to ramp up our operational tools and implementing new focused marketing and sales programs.
Having talented people is a great thing, but the best part about our team is they all share our core values and commitment to Doing It Right. I have always heard that growing a successful company is all about people, so I am very optimistic about our team and where they will take OpenTech in the future,” stated Robert.
Be Heard! How Voice-Enabled Technology Can Improve the Self-Storage Customer Experience
By: Jon Loftin, OpenTech Alliance Vice President and IoE Product Owner
Artificial intelligence is touching more facets of our lives, and we need to start thinking about how it can improve the self-storage industry and our customers’ experience. Read how voice-enabled devices work and the functions they offer.
The way we interact with computers changes approximately every 10 years. First, we used punch cards, then keyboards and monitors, then the mouse, which was followed by touchscreens. Each of these changes meant learning new skills but ultimately improved the way we engage with technology.
The next user interface is voice-driven. Think of Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. A voice-activated device can enable all kinds of hands-free functions at self-storage facilities, from opening gates or doors to answering data-specific questions such as, “Who was the last person who entered the property?” Enabling these types of abilities is like giving the manager an office assistant, allowing him to quickly perform actions and tasks.
AI for Business
While voice interactions with AI assistants are fast becoming commonplace in the home, Amazon is looking to bring the same benefits to the commercial sector with Alexa for Business. The service has three main components: management tools, an application program interface to integrate with existing applications and infrastructure, and Echo devices, which can be configured for individual tasks or used in shared locations such as conference rooms or lobbies.
- E-mail management, which allows you to read, reply and manage e-mails
- Website monitoring, which allows you to learn the status of your websites
- Schedule management, which allows you to set reminders and confirm completion for tasks such as self-storage facility maintenance
Because these devices are cloud-based, they can easily be enhanced and expanded. Cloud-based systems allow for easy improvements without the high cost of upgrading older PC-based technology. Self-storage operators who are using antiquated tools should investigate newer platforms that allow for additional functionality, increased security and lower cost of ownership. Some are already experiencing multiple benefits by employing voice-enabled devices at their locations.
“We’ve seen numerous times where overcoming a language barrier sealed the deal in securing a rental,” says Natolie Ochi, president of SKS Management, which operates 23 self-storage properties in California. “We see future benefits of voice-driven functions at our properties, from having Alexa open our gates to giving the manager a daily briefing report, setting reminders, and so much more.”
Here are some common ways to use voice-enabled devices and platforms at your self-storage locations:
Language translation. If a customer who doesn’t speak English enters your facility, you can ask the device to translate your speech into the customer’s language and vice versa, omitting the language barrier and facilitating a unit rental. It vastly improves the customer experience for non-English speakers.
Control other facility devices. Voice technology can also be used to control thermostats, gates, doors and more. For example, you can simply say, “Open the front gate.” There’s no need to stop what you’re doing to find the clicker or open the access software to perform this simple function.
You can even ask the AI to begin the workday, which might include turning on lights, starting the coffee-maker, telling you the weather or breaking news, or relaying the number of rentals the facility had via the self-serve kiosk or online reservation system during the night.
Data security and privacy are significant concerns today with all this new technology. Amazon and Google say their assistants only start recording information after they’ve heard the wake phrases “Alexa” or “Hey Google.” Users can delete any information that was stored.
The attack vector for smart speakers is small, meaning a hacker would have to access Amazon or Google or your physical device. Your laptop and Web browser, which store more critical information, are much more open to cyber-threats than a voice-controlled device.
Adapting to Demand
“Amazon, Apple, and Google are investing billions to make voice recognition the main way we communicate with the Internet. We need to take proactive steps to ensure we’re part of this new shift in user experience,” says Robert A. Chiti, CEO and president of OpenTech Alliance, a provider of self-storage kiosks, call-center services, and other technology.
Investigate the benefits of incorporating voice-enabled devices into your day-to-day operation, including how people use them and how they can enhance the customer experience. As with any new technology, it’s important to choose an open platform that allows for integrations with many devices as opposed to a closed, end-to-end solution.
Just as Web and mobile search displaced the Yellow Pages in how customers find and use self-storage, voice-enabled devices can drive even greater change. As consumers use these platforms, the more functionality they’ll expect. Potential self-storage users will ask their device for the closest facility, then to reserve a unit, pay their rent, schedule a move-out or perform other functions. Facility operators should think about how they’ll use this new technology to stay competitive in a quickly evolving industry.
OpenTech Launches SmartEye
December 12th, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced the launch of SmartEye, a tenant and asset protection service, that uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Machine Learning and a Virtual Security Team (VST) to detect, intercept, and alert intrusions at self-storage facilities.
According to Jim Kwitchoff, Regional Vice President for Life Storage, “OpenTech’s SmartEye security monitoring service, powered by BlueEye, has taken our facility monitoring to another level. Combining Artificial Intelligence with good old-fashioned eyes on the target and live voice, SmartEye has proven to be an effective tool that we can use to ensure a safe and secure environment for our customers. The OpenTech Sales and Service teams are responsive at all times and have worked non-stop to meet our needs. We are very particular at Life Storage about the companies with which we do business, and OpenTech has met our high standards.”
SmartEye works with your existing CCTV systems to detect bad behavior as it is happening at your facility and immediately alerts a Virtual Security Team (VST). The VST is standing by to respond to the perpetrator with voice commands as well as notifies the local authorities who can immediately respond to the incident. The VST can also respond to visitors with precautionary or greeting messages reinforcing that security is a priority and enhancing customers assurance their belongings are secure.
The system uses A.I. technology to learn from the incidents and tags events that the VST should ignore, such as lights turning on and off. A.I. combined with a VST gives owners and operators peace of mind knowing their tenants and facility assests are being monitored by a professionally trained security team and incidents are being addressed in real-time opposed to reactively looking through recorded footage or relying on untrained personnel to respond to incidents.
Jon Loftin, Vice President and IoE Product Owner at OpenTech Alliance commented, “We have been following Technology advancements in A.I. and how it can benefit self-storage security. We are impressed with the results at several self-storage locations where SmartEye is implemented. Operators are reporting facilities that once experienced frequent issues have had no incidents!”
OpenTech Alliance, Inc. Celebrates 15 years in Business
For Immediate Release:
July 7, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ – OpenTech Alliance, Inc. has reached a new milestone this July, celebrating its’ 15th year in business. The company has grown from garage startup into a thriving technology company with over 200 employees and thousands of customers across North America.
Robert Chiti, OpenTech Founder, stated, “Wow, how time flies when you are having fun. Starting and growing a technology business in an industry full of great people has been a dream of mine, I feel very blessed. We owe our success to the hundreds of self-storage operators that trusted us to help them automate their business and vendors that welcomed us to the industry and worked with us on behalf of our mutual customers. We could have never gotten here without them.”
Today, OpenTech is the largest self-service kiosk provider, operates the largest call center in the industry, manages the largest online auction website in the industry, and has most recently launched the industry’s first smart access control system based on the OpenTech IoE platform which is rapidly replacing old PC-based solutions.
In July of 2003, Robert Chiti, Mike Connolly and Davin Dameron drew up plans to develop and market a self-service kiosk, designed to bring the benefits of automation to the booming self-storage industry. OpenTech was initially conceived as a provider of “open” technology solutions that would integrate with and complement other vendors’ systems and technologies. Adhering to this philosophy, OpenTech has since grown into a highly-respected leader and multi-faceted technology solutions provider for the industry.
“Our growth strategy is based on three pillars; Internal Innovation, Acquisitions, Partnerships. So far, the plan is working pretty well’, added Chiti.
StorageTreasures Acquires StorageStuff.Bid
For Immediate Release:
July 9th, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ – StorageTreasures, LLC, the owner of StorageTreasures.com, the storage industry’s leading online auction platform, announced it has acquired StorageStuff.Bid, a well-respected competing online storage auction site. As part of the transaction Cheli and Chris Rosa, both seasoned auctioneers and employees of StorageStuff.Bid, will join OpenTech Alliance, Inc., managers of StorageTreasures.com and majority stakeholder of Storage Treasures, LLC.
“We have always had a great relationship with the folks at StorageStuff.Bid and are very excited to now be on the same team. With Cheli and Chris on board, we are the only online auction company to have licensed auctioneers with licenses in all 50 states, which gives our customers a level of protection not available with other online auction sites. They add a ton of credibility to what we’re doing, a wealth of knowledge, and valuable expertise as it pertains to lien laws for both traditional and online auctions”, claimed Robert A. Chiti, CEO of OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
Chiti added, “Cheli will be responsible for supporting the StorageStuff.Bid customers as well as improving our facility manager and auction buyer training programs. We are going to put Chris to work on expanding our Auction Review Service. In addition, we are going to rely on both of them to teach us how we can better support Auctioneers with their live auctions.”
“We have been an OpenTech and StorageStuff.Bid customer for many years. The merger of OpenTech’s technology expertise with Chris and Cheli’s auction experience is a great thing for us and the industry. We trust them to ensure our lien sales are done properly and that we get as much money possible for our delinquent tenant’s goods,” Marc Harris, Vice President of Metro Storage.
“We are proud of what we have accomplished at StorageStuff.Bid, but realized that it was going to be very difficult to compete with the level of investment OpenTech is making in StorageTreasures.com. The amount of money they spend on digital marketing, auction buyer programs, customer service and technology innovations is staggering, so we felt joining forces was the right move. The one area they were weak was actual auction experience. Chris and I are filling that gap and bringing them our years of experience running both online and live auctions as well our professional auctioneer licenses”, stated Cheli Rosa from StorageStuff.Bid.
The company expects to have all StorageStuff.Bid customers transitioned within 90 days, at which time the StorageStuff.Bid site will be shutdown. After the transition StorageTreasures.com will represent 8,500 facilities, 900,000 active buyers and 15,000 monthly auctions. As the leader in online storage auctions, StorageTreasures has completed well over 1,000,000 successful auctions for self-storage facilities.
Founded in 2010, StorageTreasures offers the most comprehensive self-storage auction platform available on the internet. In addition to storage auction hunters, the site serves auctioneers, appraisers, pickers, yard sale buyers, self-storage customers, and facility owners throughout the US and Canada. OpenTech Alliance, Inc. owns a majority of StorageTreasures, LLC and manages StorageTreasures.com.
About OpenTech Alliance
OpenTech Alliance, Inc. is the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self storage industry. The company’s products and services include the INSOMNIAC line of self serve kiosks , INSOMNIAC Live! call center , INSOMNIAC CIA access control system and StorageTreasures.com online storage auctions. OpenTech solutions are designed to improve the customer experience, reduce operating costs and increase revenues for self-storage facilities.
Contact: Andrew Letter, Director of Digital Marketing (480)397-6503
Customer Success Story
Highline Storage ‘Sets the Market’ With Their Innovative Technology Solutions
June 26th, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ – Highline Storage is changing the way their storage facilities run their operations through the innovative technology solutions from OpenTech Alliance. Recently Highline Storage implemented the industry’s first hands-free tenant mobile app and cloud-based INSOMNIAC CIA, Centralized Access Control solution. Within 2 weeks Highline Storage had 50% of their customers use the Storage Genie tenant mobile app to access their property, hands-free. “Our customers are very excited to benefit from this new hands free technology at our properties; it’s another offering that sets us apart from our competitors”, stated Alison Evans, Director of Operations for Highline.
New to the industry, Alison connected with industry professionals, bought tons of books and fully immersed herself in how to run a successful self-storage business. It was pretty obvious to Alison that if she could successfully automate her facilities, she could expand her operations much faster. This search to automate brought her to OpenTech’s wide array of self-service products. “We didn’t want to play the numbers game with our competitors, so instead we equipped our locations with innovative technology features to enhance the customer experience and market our facilities as the better option.” stated Alison. “Now at Highline we don’t match the market, we set the market. We’ve completely changed our selling strategy and now charge an admin fee, require insurance for everyone, don’t offer move-in deals and our prices are higher than our competition.”
“Highline Storage is very successful at ‘setting the market’ by offering technology solutions like kiosks, security cameras, hands-free access through our Storage Genie tenant mobile app and having access to critical data and predictive analytics through our CIA Access Control solution.” Stated Robert Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech Alliance. “From virtually anywhere, Alison can manage her properties, setup proactive maintenance triggers and view predictive analytics on her renters’ behaviors.”
“I went to the ISS tradeshow in April to look at software options, and left with Access Control!”, stated Alison. “Access Control wasn’t really on my radar, but when OpenTech showcased their CIA solution I was immediately sold on the cloud-based technology, technical support team, and hands-free secure access through the Storage Genie tenant mobile app. Prior to having CIA implemented I would get random calls, typically on evenings and weekends, that the gate was not working. I would need to visit the property and reset the gate system.” Alison added, “I didn’t realize how terrible my other Access Control system was until I had CIA installed and was able to allow that customer access without driving to the facility, it’s changed the way we do business.”
Highline Storage currently operates 3 self-storage locations in Des Moines, Iowa, of which two are unmanned and one is utilizing an OpenTech kiosk. They have two more facilities in development and opening mid 2019.
INSOMNIAC CIA gives self-storage operators total control of a single or hundreds of properties, and addresses issues with older PC-based systems including technology, warranty, installation, and support. Operators don’t have to worry about computer problems or never-ending software updates as the cloud-based software is always running the most current version and will continue to operate even if your Internet connection goes down. Managers and owners can also gain insights into their renter’s behaviors and streamline business operations with predictive maintenance triggers with real-time data visualization and reporting from the OpenTech IoE Control Center.
Get in touch with an OpenTech expert here to see how these and other solutions can impact your storage facilities’ customer satisfaction and bottom line!
Devon Self Storage Sees Amazing Returns from OpenTech Alliance Call Center Services
June 21st, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ – Devon Self Storage, one of the largest self-storage operators in the U.S., with 49 facilities and over 3.4 million square feet of rentable space, recently expanded its’ use of the OpenTech Alliance INSOMNIAC Live! Call Center to handle all their inbound telephone calls. While Devon had previously been using the OpenTech Call Center for several years to handle their overflow calls, all the companies’ calls are now handled by OpenTech.
After exhaustive testing in 11 of its’ locations, Devon made the decision to expand its’ partnership with OpenTech Alliance based on a number of key factors, including: Ability to handle after-hours calls; Staff efficiency and effectiveness; Reporting Capabilities and Call Recordings. According to Jim Mooney, Devon’s Vice President of Operations: “In testing, our actual closing percentage on new calls increased by 21% – because when a customer is looking for storage, it’s because they need it now. With the call center, all (conversations) get logged-in and forwarded to the stores so that our managers can then do what we do best, which is to follow-up and try to get them through the front door. Since we moved all of our calls to OpenTechs’ Call Center, we now close approximately 30% of all incoming leads, and we are very happy with that number compared to where we were before.”
Prior to moving all inbound calls to the OpenTech Call Center, Devon had already been using OpenTech Alliance to respond to their incoming web leads. According to Mooney, Devon has been able to close a whopping 43% of these in 2017: “We’re only open from 9:30 to 6:00 on Monday to Friday, and 9:30 to 4:00 on Saturdays. So, if someone makes a web-based request at 7:00 on a Saturday night, the best-case scenario was that it would be handled at 9:30 on Monday morning. With our web leads going directly to OpenTech, that lead is now handled within a half-hour window, so the customer gets an immediate phone call plus a nice email with a PDF attachment. They can even complete the rental paperwork right there on the spot! So for Devon it allows us to stop the shopping cycle and provide a comfort level for the customer, along with the instant gratification they’re looking for.”
Just how important is OpenTechs’ call center to Devon Self Storage, we asked: Said Mooney: “Most people who call in want to talk to a live person – they don’t want an answering machine, and they don’t want an IVR (interactive voice response system). For us, it guarantees that all our calls get answered immediately by a real person. And if the manager is busy with another customer, whether it’s in-person or on the phone, it ensures that these calls are handled promptly as well, without having to divert the managers attention.”
Beyond these points, Mooney says that the call notes and recordings provided as a part of OpenTechs’ Call Center service are also critical: “Having detailed call notes and recordings are key when there’s any kind of an issue – we can go back and see exactly what was said. We never had that capability before, and it’s really a game changer when you need it.”
Devon also uses several other OpenTech products including their XpressCollect and XpressPay automated collections and payment systems. “These products provide the self-storage tenant with a simple and unobtrusive way to pay their bills, and to be reminded when they don’t.” according to Bill Hoffman, OpenTech VP of Sales & Marketing. Adds Mooney: “I don’t know why any self-storage operator wouldn’t use these products – they are really a no-brainer, and for my money, they would be missing a huge opportunity.”
Get in touch with an OpenTech expert here to see how these and other solutions can impact your storage facilities’ customer satisfaction and bottom line!
Customer Success Story
White Oaks Mini Storage and EZ Lock Self Storage Select OpenTech Alliance Centralized Intelligent Access (CIA) Solution for Access Control
Business Operations Streamlined Since Implementing CIA in December 2017
Phoenix, AZ – OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self-storage industry, announced that White Oaks Mini Storage and EZ Lock Self Storage owner is changing the way his business uses access control through the industry’s first cloud-based INSOMNIAC CIA solution.
Mike Fox, owner and operator for White Oaks and EZ Lock Self Storage operates 5 locations in Illinois. His family has been in the storage industry for 30 years and when Mike left the medical devices industry in 2012 to run the business full-time, he knew there had to be a better strategy than build it, put a manager in, and go. Mike added, “the more we automated the faster we could grow”, which lead him to OpenTech Alliance.
“We were looking for an access control solution that would eliminate the pain points of the other leading solutions as well as allow us to manage our properties from my home office which is up to 2 hours away.” Mike added, “In the event one of our access systems gets knocked offline, I would need to drive an hour and a half just to push a reset button. Furthermore, if we have an issue I would submit an online ticket and then spend hours on the phone with tech support. Since implementing CIA, I am able to talk to a live customer support agent to get my system back online fast. We have also noticed the cloud-based software is more stable than other access control solutions.”
Mike uses the reports accessible from OpenTechs’ Facility Control Center to gain actionable insights on his customers. Robert A. Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech added, “from virtually anywhere, Mike’s able to monitor who is using his facility, make sure delinquent customers are being locked out, use the open gate feature, and many more functions to help streamline his business operations.” Mike is excited to offer his customers hands-free access to his property with the Storage Genie app. Mike also added, “implementing CIA was easier than the other access control solutions and saved us money”.
Customer Success Story
Veteran Self Storage Developer Integrates Facility Automation with Every Project
January, 16 2018 – Industry veteran Dave Fegley of Park Avenue Consulting, LLC. has been developing self storage projects for over 35 years throughout Iowa and the Midwest. Having built, managed and sold multiple storage facilities over the years, he currently consults on new projects, and as you might guess, he’s learned a few lessons along the way. While there are of course numerous factors that go into building and running a successful self-storage business, Fegley specifically cites self-service kiosks from OpenTech Alliance as one of the “keys to running a profitable facility”, saying he “recommends them to everyone:”
“We installed our first OpenTech kiosk in Sioux City and the whole facility was rented out in six months. Everyone really loved that machine. They’d go to the kiosk before they go see the manager. Even the customers who were reluctant at first… once they pushed the button and saw how easy it was to use, they didn’t come into the office anymore.”
It wasn’t just how quickly the facility filled up that sold Fegley on automation: “One of the great things about the kiosks is how they really free everyone up to work on more important tasks… you’re free to do whatever you need to do.” Since then, Fegley has installed OpenTech Kiosks at every one of his facilities, and integrates them from the start into his planning. “As always”, he says: “its location, location, location: Placement of the kiosk on the property is critical, as is proper signage and communication directing customers to it.” “Building (a kiosk) into the plan from the start helps to maximize the return you get over the long run”.
Mike Connolly, OpenTechs’ COO adds: “to make the most of our products, they really should be considered as an integral part of the business. Then, with some simple, common-sense best practices, they add value in a number of ways that are helpful to both managers and customers alike. We’ve seen numerous self-storage facilities over the years transformed with the help of a little well-placed technology. Hearing this kind of feedback from repeat customers like Dave and many others just validates what we do here at OpenTech, and keeps us focused on our mission to help self-storage owners work smarter.”
Customer Success Story
Kiosks become an integral part of business model at Berks Storage
Pennsylvania self-sorage operator expands its’ use of technology and discovers multiple benefits to automating its’ facilities.
December 7, 2017 – OpenTech Alliance, the leading technology and automation company in the self-storage industry, has with teamed up with Berks Storage, a Pennsylvania self-storage operator to expand its’ use of automation technology. With a total of 5 locations, including 2 newly constructed facilities, Berks presently has about 2,265 units with roughly 300,000 square feet of rentable space and growing. The firm has been automating its’ business in order to better serve its customers and to help keep payroll expenses down.
Presently, Berks has self-service kiosks at three of its’ locations, and has two more on order for its’ new facilities. According to Dave Paul, Managing Partner of Berks: “We’ve completely integrated the INSOMNIAC Kiosks into our operation, and the more channels we offer our customers to rent a unit or pay their bills, the better. We want customers to be able to rent or pay online, in-person, through the call center or the kiosk 24/7 – whatever is easier for them.”
Although 2 of the facilities run essentially unmanned, Paul says the kiosks tend to get used even when a manager is available: “Our customers are really into the technology… especially the millennials. Even with staff onsite, they might stop by the kiosk just to buy a lock. There’s a big convenience factor at work here. These days, convenience for our tenants and prospective tenants is paramount. We want to give them the ability to interact with us when and how they want to. The self-service technology from OpenTech has enabled us to do this, and the people at OpenTech have been a big help in getting it all working together.”
According to Robert Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech Alliance, the effect of the kiosks on Berks business model isn’t too surprising: “We’ve seen this many times over with facilities who install our technology… when a company embraces and integrates these systems in their operations to improve service levels and make their business more easily accessible, this tends to lead to other positive outcomes as well, like increased occupancy rates and decreased costs. It’s a classic win-win-win situation.”
Paul says he is especially keen on the reporting available from the kiosk. “For payments and rentals it collects everything there is to know, and makes it really easy to get a clear picture of what’s happening on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. It actually works very well for us. It’s just a part of our everyday business.” Paul also says he appreciates the accuracy and completeness when a customer signs a lease. The kiosk doesn’t forget to collect all the necessary information, deposits and signatures, and it makes everything consistent and easily accessible – I wouldn’t build a new facility without one.”
Simply Self Storage and OpenTech Alliance Celebrate successfully transitioning 230 facilities to the INSOMNIAC™ Live! Call Center
ORLANDO, FL & PHOENIX, AZ
December 06, 2017
Simply Self Storage and OpenTech Alliance are pleased to announce successful transitioning of 230 facilities from their previous provider to the OpenTech INSOMNIAC™ Live! Call Center. The Simply Self Storage and OpenTech teams have worked closely over the past several weeks to complete this important strategic partnership with a focus on mitigating conversion risks while dramatically improving the Simply Self Storage customer’s experience with improved quality and greatly reduced customer hold times.
“We are excited to partner with OpenTech in taking on and expanding our strategic call center capabilities. Their strong experience and flexible technology infrastructure is critical to furthering our customer engagement and supporting our company growth,” says Joe Robinson, SVP, Marketing. Robert A. Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech added. “We are honored for the trust Simply Self Storage has placed in our organization and team. OpenTech has worked tirelessly to incorporate innovation, passion, and continuous process improvements into our INSOMNIAC™ Live! Call Center Services to ensure we have the tools to support Simply’s mantra to Simplify the Storage Experience for all of their customers.”
About Simply Self Storage
Simply Self Storage is the largest privately owned self-storage company in the United States and Puerto Rico. Founded in 2003 by Kurt O’Brien, Simply Self Storage connects customers with passionate storage experts to help simplify their lives, homes, and businesses by offering clean, safe, and stress-free options for storing their belongings. Knowledgeable team members assist in selecting a flexible solution which is convenient, simple to use, and will provide customers peace of mind knowing their belongings are safe and easily accessible. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Simply Self Storage has self-storage facilities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Puerto Rico. Simply Self Storage has over 18 million square feet of storage space with 233 operating self-storage facilities.
About OpenTech Alliance
OpenTech Alliance, Inc. is the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self storage industry. The company’s products and services include the INSOMNIAC line of self serve kiosks, INSOMNIAC Live! call center, INSOMNIAC CIA access control system and StorageTreasures.com online storage auctions. OpenTech solutions are designed to improve the customer experience, reduce operating costs and increase revenues for self-storage facilities. OpenTech Alliance, the OpenTech logo and INSOMNIAC are trademarks of OpenTech Alliance, Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
OpenTech Demonstrates New INSOMNIAC CIA system at Self Storage Association Conference in Las Vegas.
OpenTech Alliance Launches Internet of Everything (IoE) Enabled Access Control System
September 5th, 2017 Phoenix, AZ – OpenTech Alliance, Inc. is introducing the first of a new generation of products developed for their Internet of Everything (IoE) platform.
The first component of the platform is a Centralized Intelligent Access system – INSOMNIAC CIA . According to Jon Loftin, Vice President and IoE Product Owner for OpenTech Alliance: “The product was designed to address the largest pain points self storage operators have with existing solutions, including: reliance on old school PC technology, skyrocketing pricing, lack of centralized data and control, limited technical support and no long term hardware warranty. We know the industry is anxious to move off their old technology, so we are offering customers the ability to pre-order their systems with a 100% refundable deposit. We are planning to have product available Feb. 2018.”
INSOMNIAC CIA is the first cloud-based access control system designed specifically for the Self Storage industry. It does not require a PC at the facility. The system gives operators total control of one to thousands of facilities with a mobile friendly administration portal using any Internet connected device including PC, Mac, tablets or smartphones. The portal provides secure, real-time diagnostics, data visualization and reporting insights into what is happening at the facility at all times from anywhere in the world.
The IoE platform is designed based on an open architecture allowing operators and other technology vendors to develop their own integrations. OpenTech will be integrating the system with their LiveAgent! call center application, allowing their storage counselors to better assist tenants on the property. INSOMNIAC CIA comes with a Lifetime Protection program that includes; software subscription, hardware warranty, unlimited telephone support, and the Storage Genie mobile app. Storage Genie comes with the “No Touch” feature that allows self storage tenants to quickly access the property without having to even reach for their smartphones.
INSOMNIAC CIA hardware is built to last and has undergone surge/lightning testing of 20,000V at 10,000Amps for the power inputs and 16,000V at 380Amps for the RS485 communications. In addition, it is also listed to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) specification UL294 for access control systems
To learn more, visit www.opentechalliance.com/cia/ or call us at 602.749.9370.
OpenTech Alliance, Inc., a leading technology solutions provider for the self storage industry, announced they have signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Wyca, a robotics engineering company headquartered in Toulouse, France, to sell and support their Keylo robot in North America. OpenTech demonstrated the robot at the Inside Self Storage World Expo in Las Vegas last month.
The robot is designed to assist self storage customers rent a unit, make a payment, purchase a lock and it will even escort them to their unit. The robot will also connect the consumer with a live storage counselor who can assist them and answer any questions they may have about the facility.
“We are engineers, and our passion is integrating Robotics with Artificial Intelligence technologies to solve business problems. We are very pleased to be partnering with OpenTech Alliance to be our sales and service partner in North America. Their reputation and track record for developing innovative self storage solutions is impressive, and fits perfectly with our strategic plan to bring automation to the industry”, stated Matthieu Besozzi, Wyca Co-Founder.
Robert Chiti, OpenTech President and CEO added: “We are super impressed with the Wyca team. As an industry, we are fortunate they have decided to invest their brainpower, money and resources to help put self storage operators in a position to leverage the latest in technology to operate their businesses. Typically, the aerospace and healthcare industries get to have all the cool technology first. Over the next year we will be demonstrating the robot and collaborating with self storage operators to learn more about how they feel it can help their business.”
About OpenTech Alliance
OpenTech Alliance, Inc. is the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self storage industry. The company’s products and services include the INSOMNIAC line of self serve Kiosks, INSOMNIAC Live! call center services, technology for online storage reservations, and the StorageTreasures.com online storage auctions website. OpenTech solutions are designed to improve the customer experience, reduce operating costs and increase revenues for self-storage facilities
Wyca develops Keylo, the first service robot specifically designed for self-storage industry. By combining human interactions and Artificial Intelligence, Keylo robot helps self-storage owners to receive clients remotely, lower operational expenditures and strengthen security. Wyca is headquartered in Toulouse, France.
This technology is part of a larger trend towards unattended or unmanned self storage. A video of the Self Storage Robot in action can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/opentech
Winner – ISS Best Self Storage Call Center Services 2016!
More proof that hard work and dedication pays off….
The Inside Self-Storage “Best of Business” reader-choice poll, launched in 2011, solicits online votes from industry professionals who elect their favorite suppliers in approximately 30 categories. Awards include Best Builder, Best Management Software, Most Innovative Product and Best Customer Service among many others. Winners are honored through profile pages in ISS magazine as well as during a special ceremony at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas. The results are published online year-round for ISS readers to access.
Awesome job, everyone!
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Jan. 23, 2017
OpenTech Alliance, Inc., a leading technology partner for self-storage operators looking to improve the financial performance of their portfolio through the use of innovative technology, has announced they have made a significant donation to the national Self Storage Association’s legislative fund. The donation was on behalf of StorageTreasures.com, in support of the 2017 plan to update 11 state lien laws to explicitly include online auctions as a recognized method of holding a commercially reasonable lien sale.
StorageTreasures.com is the industry’s leading online auction site with a base of auction buyers larger than all other sites combined. The site was created by veteran self-storage operators and was supported by attorneys from the Self Storage Legal Network – D. Carlos Kaslow and Scott Zucker, all who believed that there had to be a better way to hold self storage lien sales. Their goal was to create a process where operators could expand the audience for lien sales to thousands of buyers and reduce the expense, risk and overhead of holding live auctions at self-storage properties.
According to SSA President & CEO Tim Dietz, “The Self Storage Association annually assesses adjustments to statute that can assist our members keep pace with the evolving practices of our sector. While we believe that online auctions currently represent an acceptable, commercially reasonably lien sale, providing comfort through clarity in laws that govern our industry is just one more way we work to protect our members. We appreciate that OpenTech, a longtime supporter of the SSA, has stepped-up to encourage our efforts,” he said.
“The team at the SSA does a fantastic job of protecting our industry and we are very happy to be able to support them with a meaningful donation. Next year we hope to be supporting a full court press to eliminate the requirement to poste lien notices in newspapers”, commented Robert A. Chiti, OpenTech Alliance President and CEO as well as past member of the SSA Board of Directors.