OpenTech Alliance helped relative newcomer Go Store It avoid auction liability during a multi-state expansion with StorageTreasures.com. Founded in 2017, Go Store It had an aggressive plan for growth throughout the southeast, tripling in size over the course of 12 months. With auctioneers licensed in all 50 states, ST helped them stay avoid liability from lien laws.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced that is has become a Platinum Sponsor of the Self Storage Association Foundation (SSAF) thru its $50,000 donation to the SSAF Scholarship fund in honor of Jim Knuppe, his wife Bobbie and son Michael. This gift seeks to honor the Knuppe Family’s long-standing commitment to making dreams come true.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance has partnered with Storage King USA as part of an aggressive strategy to expand their portfolio to 200 facilities by the end of 2021. Storage King noted that technology will play a significant role in their plans for future growth and changes to their daily operations amid the new contactless environment.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance helps nationwide provider Simply Self Storage deliver on its promise to provide the best service possible. Simply’s long-standing partnership with OpenTech Alliance has allowed them to confidently test new technologies as they hit the market – including the company’s access control system, INSOMNIAC CIA.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the launch a new PTI keypad integration that allows operators to connect existing PTI® Apex or VP keypads to INSOMNIAC CIA. The integration to INSOMNIAC CIA grants operators access to the IoE Control Center and eliminates the computer problems and never-ending software updates that they experience with older PC-based solutions.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced it will accelerate delivery for the first 25 orders of its INSOMNIACTM 120 self-service kiosk. The company also unveiled a 0% interest payment plan and trade-in options for its 20 Series line of kiosks to make it easier for operators to respond to government mandates to limit person-to-person contact.Continue reading
Heartland Storage Group, the self storage division of HAN Capital, has reduced labor costs and streamlined operational activities across their portfolio with the help of OpenTech technology. With notable backgrounds in finance and investments, Heartland Storage Group’s owners leverage technology to help them reduce operational expenses while maintaining their high standards for customer service.Continue reading
OpenTech Alliance announced the launch of INSOMNIAC Unit Alarms, a new integration for OpenTech’s IoE (Internet of Everything). Unit Alarms provides owners and operators the ability to quickly and easily upgrade older individual unit door alarm systems without the need to rewire the property – maintaining their initial investment while taking advantage of the data and real-time reporting available in the IoE Control Center.Continue reading
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
Pack, Stack & Store implemented INSOMNIAC CIA as part of a high-tech, luxury business model. Originally slated to install a PTI access control system – Pack, Stack & Store canceled their contract in favor of the higher quality product, greater functionality and personalized service offered by INSOMNIAC CIA.Continue reading
Life Storage, Inc. (NYSE: LSI) has signed an exclusive agreement to use StorageTreasures.com as the online auction platform for their full portfolio of 800+ facilities. Life Storage, one of the largest self storage companies in the world, leverages technology to allow their field teams to be more efficient and customer focused.Continue reading
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.”
SiteLink First to Integrate with INSOMNIAC CIA’s API
(September 19th, 2018) – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced SiteLink, the number one rated self-storage management software provider is the first vendor to integrate with INSOMNIAC CIA API, eliminating all the problems plaguing other PC based Access Control systems.
Markus Hecker, Chief Client Advocate for SiteLink commented, “The cloud based integration between SiteLink and CIA ensures tenants will never be locked out at the gate because of an issue with a PC in the office. This integration also addresses issues with PC based systems to ensure all data is encrypted.” In the self-storage industry, most Access Control systems require a PC in the office to be running properly or it will lock customers out at the gate. In many cases a simple Windows update at night will close the property until the manager arrives to fix it, which ends up in a lot of upset tenants.
PC based systems also store data in plain text which is a big risk for self-storage operators. “By utilizing our secure cloud based infrastructure to transfer Personally Identifiable Information (PII) between systems we protect self-storage operators from risk.”, stated Jon Loftin, VP & OpenTech IoE Product Owner. Loftin adds, “Tenants absolutely hate getting stuck behind the gate, so by removing the office PC from the equation we make the process much more reliable, which results in happy tenants.”
The first integration release from SiteLink includes the ability to automatically perform move-ins, vacates, edits, updates, as well as the ability to transfer units and tenants.