OpenTech Alliance announced the release of the 2019 Self Storage White Paper. This technical paper provides a comprehensive analysis of consumer trends in the self storage industry, delivering data-driven, actionable insights to owners and operators to position your operation for success throughout 2020.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced Extra Space Storage has chosen StorageTreasures as their exclusive online auction partner. Extra Space, the second largest operator of self storage facilities in the U.S., has converted over 1,000 stores from live to online auctions to date. All facilities that switch to an online auction process in the future will do so on StorageTreasures.com.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
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!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.551.1210.
Storage Authority Chooses OpenTech Smart Connected Self-Storage Technology
October 1st, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ. OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced Storage Authority, a rapidly growing self-storage franchise company, will be implementing OpenTech’s smart-connected technology at all their newly developed locations. Marc Goodin, Civil Engineer and Co-Founder of Storage Authority, designed and permitted his first self-storage facility over 25 years ago. Marc commented, “By utilizing the OpenTech family of products our customers have more conveniences at their fingertips which means we win out over our competition.”
Having been involved in this industry, Marc can clearly see we have entered a pivotal turning point in the self-storage industry. “We’re now selling what’s outside the four walls of a storage unit, not what’s inside. Furthermore, we are in the people business, somewhere between the banking and hotel industries,” added Marc.
To address this shift, Marc’s strategy for his franchisees is to leverage technological advances to increase operational efficiencies and focus on the customer experience. Some of the ways he is leveraging technology are by having an INSOMNIAC kiosk onsite at every property, outsourcing inbound leads through INSOMNIAC Live! Call Center services, offering customers hands-free access through INSOMNIAC CIA and the Storage Genie tenant mobile app and utilizing OpenTech’s IoE integrations such as HVAC and Alexa.
Robert Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech Alliance, emphasized the point, “Every technology we develop is designed entirely to help self-storage operators work smarter and more efficiently. In today’s business environment you’ve got to use all the tools available to create a competitive advantage, and at OpenTech we’ve got one heck of a tool chest.”
2nd Generation Owners Take Hardy’s Self-Storage to the Next Level
Brothers Norman and Steve Hardy using Kiosks and Call Center Technology from OpenTech Alliance to Expand their Business and Gain New Efficiencies
(August 24th, 2018) – Hardy’s Self Storage, a second generation self-storage business with locations in Maryland and Delaware, is moving into new markets and building on their success with an assist from some forward thinking and new technology from OpenTech Alliance.
Hardy’s Self Storage was founded in 1986 with locations in Delaware and Maryland. Today, they have six locations, ranging in size from 124 to 300 units. Having grown up in the business, brothers Norman and Steve Hardy took the reins from their parents over 10 years ago and haven’t looked back since. The brothers have continued to expand and invest in new technology to help manage their growing enterprise.
While not wanting to “give away the secrets” to their success, Norman readily admits to the advantages Hardy’s has seen from automating their facilities: “We purchased our first Kiosk from OpenTech Alliance in 2013. Its’ value became obvious as we quickly proceeded to fully rent the facility. Since then, we’ve put (kiosks) in all of our locations, and plan for them from the start with each new property. In fact, through the first 7 months of 2018, we’ve completed 67 new rentals and received over 550 payments on the kiosks alone! In terms of competitive advantages, they help us keep our overhead and payroll expenses down, while at the same time keeping our facilities open longer and making it easier for our customers to rent a unit or pay their bill. It really allows our staff to focus on other maintenance and administrative tasks that need attention.”
Hardy’s is also using OpenTechs’ INSOMNIAC Live! Call Centerservice to handle incoming calls. According to Norman, this offers the business even greater efficiencies: “All of our inbound calls are handled by the OpenTech call center. Outsourcing our inbound phone traffic frees up our people to focus on the most important tasks at hand and gives us peace of mind in knowing that calls are handled quickly and efficiently, even when we’re not available. Incoming leads go immediately into our SiteLinkTMproperty management system, enabling us to follow-up right away and providing a detailed record of each call. I can’t imagine running a self-storage business without it.”
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.”