Category: OpenTech News

Amsdell Companies Converts Facilities from Live Auctions to StorageTreasures.com

April 12, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. StorageTreasures, LLC, the leading online storage auction platform, announced Amsdell Companies has converted its 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.

The Amsdell Companies’ self storage operation, Compass Self Storage, is just one venture of the privately-owned real estate company but is quickly growing with 87 active properties and an annual acquisition rate of 12 stores per year. Based out of Ohio with over 80 years in business, Amsdell Companies’ conservative operating philosophy is at the root of its success.

Before initiating near company-wide adoption of StorageTreasures, Amsdell conducted a side-by-side comparison of returns across several months from auctions held live, on StorageTreasures.com, and through a competing online auction company. StorageTreasures.com and live auctions yielded comparable results, but both significantly outperformed the other online auction company.  Dana Petry, Operations Manager for Amsdell Companies, revealed StorageTreasures’ additional benefits, such as reduced liability, added flexibility, and excellent customer service, made it the obvious choice.

Reduced lien liability is just one benefit. “With our auctions on StorageTreasures and integrated with our software, there’s a lot less room for error,” said Petry. “Sometimes due to an employee entering in one wrong number – and it’s very easy when you’re putting in a unit – unit 600 becomes 900 and that one slip of the finger can really cause an issue. Because it’s all automated, we don’t have any issues.”

Amsdell Companies just completed integration across their full roster of registered stores. “I’ve noticed stores find it more convenient,” stated Petry. “The district managers enjoy it too.” Another benefit Amsdell identified is the flexibility to post delinquent units for auction one at a time – to accommodate a rolling monthly payment date – which ensures delinquency doesn’t continue to accrue until conditions permit a live auction. Petry shared additional benefits to their operations: “The whole process gives us back time in the office where we can be doing something else aside from sitting at a live auction. I think for speed, for convenience, for being error proof – it works to our favor.”

What really pushed the StorageTreasures solution over the top, according to Petry, is the customer service Amsdell receives from their account reps. “We absolutely love our account rep, Jorge Becerra, who is just amazing,” stated Petry. “It can be 8 o’clock my time, and though you guys are two hours different, he’s responding to me. I almost feel like we’re his only account.”

To learn more about StorageTreasures, contact sales@opentechalliance.com.

Atlantic Self Storage Supports Stellar Managers with INSOMNIAC Products and Services

April 5, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self-storage industry, has helped Atlantic Self Storage rival top operators with a custom combination of INSOMNIACTM Live! call center solutions, INSOMNIAC XpressCollect and INSOMNIAC CIA. As a small entrepreneur that operates facilities in the competitive Washington D.C. metropolitan market, Atlantic Self Storage knows you can’t miss a phone call. “We’re a small mom and pop competing against the REITs,” stated Eric Miller, President of Atlantic Self Storage. “Every call and every rental counts.”

As part of a long-term retirement plan, Miller has made strides to automate his facilities while preserving the core qualities that define Atlantic Self Storage. “We needed a call center we could trust with Storage Counselors that would represent us in the light we wanted – a mom and pop facility, with good service and good facilities.” Though their brand promise remains consistent, needs differ dramatically between their two facilities. OpenTech’s multiple call plan packages made it easy to customize call center solutions to the needs of each property. At the 800-unit Hampton property, where no single manager can keep up with the call volume, INSOMNIAC Live! RollOver answers calls whenever a manager is unreachable – up until 11PM. The Woodbridge facility, housing just over 50,000 sq. ft. with a low call volume easily managed by onsite staff, utilizes Live! AfterHours to cover calls prior to opening and just after close to extend their office hours.

“We’ve always looked at how we operate for this location vs. this location,” stated Miller. “We’ve been able to make little changes like that to help balance our budget and fit the personality and needs of each location.”

After years of success with OpenTech’s INSOMNIAC Live! call center solutions, Miller was quick to reach out when his access control systems began to fail. “We’ve had the same gate control system at all of our facilities going on 20 years. They worked, but we were struggling to get parts, and paying more to convert them to the current operating systems (Windows 3, 8, 10). The piece of equipment had outgrown its viable lifetime.” Miller was the first operator in Virginia to buy INSOMNIAC CIA – OpenTech’s cloud-based access control system – and has been an active advocate for its adoption since.

“The installer came in, had it up and running in less than two hours, and it’s worked seamlessly since then,” stated Miller. “I tell everyone in the industry that it’s the next best thing since sliced bread. Tenants think it’s so cool that they can open the gate from in their pocket.” Miller discovered another unexpected feature of CIA when local law enforcement tried to locate a current tenant – a customized alert that will notify site admins if a tagged individual enters your facility. “It was a feature I didn’t know anyone had. I couldn’t be happier,” Miller said.

Atlantic Self Storage expanded their services in 2018 with INSOMNIAC XpressCollect, an automatic payment reminder and collection system, and have already seen positive ROI from tenants’ utilization of that solution as well. Despite these enhancements, call center solutions remain at the core of their success. Miller stated: “Of the three services you provide us – call center, text messaging, gate control – call center is by far most important to what this business is all about – renting units.”

Miller attributes his resilient success in the face of stiff competition to his people. With a combined tenure of 39 years, Miller has substantial trust in and respect for his two onsite managers. “One manager can sell ice to an Eskimo! I would give the other the same accolades,” Miller exclaimed. “People make all the difference in this business up here.”

Despite managers that Miller believes make his business, he is adamant the call center is central to his success. “My managers love the call center – if they’re on the phone, they know the call’s getting answered and not going to voicemail,” stated Miller. “It not only makes their job easier; it makes them more successful.”

To learn more about INSOMNIAC Live! call center solutions or other products and services mentioned, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

Next Generation of Self Storage Kiosks Hit the Market

Next Generation of Self Storage Kiosks Hit the Market

April 2, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading provider of kiosk technology for the self storage industry, announced the launch of the next generation of self serve INSOMNIACTM Kiosks. With over 16 years of experience focused on refining interactive self service kiosks for the self storage industry, OpenTech has designed their new 20 series line of INSOMNIAC Kiosks 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.

Designed with the user in mind, the new generation of INSOMNIAC Kiosk models mimic the feel and simplicity of your smartphone or tablet. At the heart of every model is a specialized kiosk appliance that provides enhanced data security and reliability. With automated virus scanning and security patches, factory settings that eliminate malware, and cloud-based servers that protect user information, customers will feel safe using your kiosk. The new intuitive design is supported by real-time customer support and troubleshooting through remote access and monitoring, which alerts both the property manager and OpenTech.

Kiosks provide self storage owners and operators with a multitude of benefits including the ability to rent units and accept payments 24/7, digital recording of all transactions, reduced staffing costs, and 2-way video and VoIP technology like Live! Megan to assist customers with an array of questions.

“We started our business 16 years ago with our first INSOMNIAC Kiosk, and it’s exciting to see the evolution we have had and the success our customers have seen,” stated Robert A. Chiti, CEO of OpenTech Alliance. “Kiosks are even more relevant to the success of a facility’s overall operating strategy today than they were 16 years ago. Times have changed – where before operators were replacing labor at $10/hour, you’re now substituting for labor costs upwards of $18/hour – you can’t afford not to do the math.”

The 20 series of INSOMNIAC Kiosks are on display now at the 2019 Spring ISS World Expo. Stop by Booth #1129 for a live demonstration.

To learn more about the line of INSOMNIAC Kiosks, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com

OpenTech Eliminates SiteLink API Fee for StorageTreasures Customers to Simplify Online Auctions

OpenTech Eliminates SiteLink API Fee for StorageTreasures Customers to Simplify Online Auctions

March 29, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self storage industry, announced changes to the fee structure for the integration between StorageTreasures.com and SiteLink‘s property management solution that will eliminate costs for StorageTreasures’ customers. StorageTreasures.com is managed by majority stakeholder OpenTech Alliance.

Newly merged SiteLink and storEDGE unveiled changes to the SiteLink API licensing approach – changes that give OpenTech the flexibility to allow all StorageTreasures customers to take advantage of the SiteLink API, at no extra charge. “We’ve had a strong partnership with SiteLink, and now storEDGE, since day one,” stated Chelsea Horne, Product Owner of StorageTreasures.com. “We’ve always worked with one common goal in mind – to remove barriers to our customers’ success.”

“We’re excited to expand our partnership with StorageTreasures,” stated Robbie Reed, Director of Business Development for SpareFoot, managing owner of SiteLink and storEDGE. “We continuously aim to identify and cultivate relationships with industry-leading partners with the goal of enhancing value for operators and consumers through a seamlessly integrated experience. Our partnership with StorageTreasures is a great example of that philosophy working practice.”

The SiteLink integration, which has maintained steady popularity since its initial launch in 2018, eliminates the need for manual input of tenant data. This reduces time required for managers to post an online auction, as well as chances for human error which could result in a wrongful lien sale. The integration will continue to be enhanced to provide additional automation for StorageTreasures customers. Future enhancements include automatic cancellation of auctions when a tenant has paid for their outstanding balance prior to the close of the auction, lien notice postings in advance of the auction, additional data analysis on debt recovery rates and more.

StorageTreasures customers were previously charged an annual fee of $199 per facility to use the import feature. OpenTech and StorageTreasures will process refunds to all customers who paid the $199 surcharge to use the integration. Accounts with multiple facilities have received refunds over $2,000.

“SiteLink and storEDGE have strengthened our ability to support our customers with the changes to their API structure,” stated Horne. “As they’ve extended this goodwill to us, we want to pass it along to our customers. Our decision to eliminate this fee for customers ties directly back to our core value of ‘Doing It Right’ – and why we went so far as to refund all fees we’ve charged for the SiteLink integration since it launched in 2018.”

The integration with StorageTreasures.com expands on OpenTech Alliance and SiteLink’s longtime partnership, to simplify the online auction process for self storage operators. Other SiteLink integrations with OpenTech include kiosks, call centers, tenant notification, and cloud gate access solutions.

To learn more about StorageTreasures, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com

UsedStorageKeypads.com Offers Wide Range of Used Access Control Inventory

March 22, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self-storage industry, 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. The website offers a wide range of PTI©branded and DigiGate© branded used keypads and controllers with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

“We have replaced hundreds of fully operational access control systems with INSOMNIACTM CIA across the United States and now have a large inventory of our competitors’ used equipment,” stated Robert A. Chiti, CEO of OpenTech Alliance. “While we want all self-storage operators to use our open access control solution, our first priority is to do what is best for our customers. If what’s best for an operator is to get a great price on a used component, because they are not ready to upgrade to CIA, then we want to be there for them. Doing It Right is a core value of our company – putting our customers’ interests ahead of ours is just an example of us staying true to our values.”

UsedStorageKeypads enables self-storage operators to maintain their current systems at a reduced cost, without investing significant resources in a system that may ultimately be replaced in the next few years.

Visit UsedStorageKeypads to see a wide range of inventory.

Westport Properties Commits to Exclusive Access Control Partnership with OpenTech Alliance INSOMNIAC CIA

Westport Properties Commits to Exclusive Access Control Partnership with OpenTech Alliance INSOMNIACTM CIA

March 13, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative smart connected technology solutions for the self storage industry, announced Westport Properties, Inc. plans to replace existing access control at their full portfolio of 120 properties exclusively with INSOMNIACTM CIA(Centralized Intelligent Access), the industry’s first cloud-based access control solution.

Founded in 1985, Westport Properties acquires, develops and manages self storage properties in highly desirable markets with high barriers to entry, spanning 15 states along the east and west coasts. Guided by the values of visionary founder Barry Hoeven, Westport Properties operates with a philosophy focused on the long-term, driven by continual investment in their people, processes, and technology. With this philosophy at their core, Westport Properties was quick to pilot INSOMNIAC CIA at several facilities when it launched in 2018.

“We’ve been looking for a cloud-based gate system for a long time,” stated Mike Brady, Chief Operating Officer, Westport Properties. “We’ve been trying to move to a more web-based platform for a while, and the gate was the last system that required us to have a computer on site. CIA is one of the key pieces to keep moving forward with the way we want to run our storage facilities.”

In 2019, Westport Properties will replace existing access control systems at 30 percent of their properties with INSOMNIAC CIA. “We started with 55-65 sites. Over time, we’ll put in a capital budget to replace the remaining systems as we move forward,” stated Brady. “The information, reporting, and data the new system provides is where we want to get to [from an operational standpoint].” At properties where CIA is in place, managers have seen success using the smart connected solution to track tenants and activity, troubleshoot issues at the property and elevate the customer experience. Storage Genie, the hands-free tenant mobile app that comes with INSOMNIAC CIA, is just one feature that enhances Westport Properties’ goal to improve the customer storage experience through innovative design, amenities, and service. “I really like the concept of opening the gate while our tenant’s phone is in their pocket or purse,” said Brady. “Sometimes the keypad’s not in a good spot – we have a lot of RVs that access the properties – and it’s great to be able to tell them to download the app so they can open the gate from their car. We wanted to be able to deliver a better and better user experience for our tenants and being able to open the gate from in your car does that.”

With an eye to the future, Westport Properties is focused on operations and building a good stable platform that can grow and is scalable. “[INSOMNIAC CIA] is the system we really like, and after the pilot installs went so well, we made the decision to add it as a key piece of our [long-term] strategy. It’s a very scalable and secure platform. We want to get everything running on the same open platform, giving us the freedom to add on new technologies as they come out over time.”

“It is not easy to impress the team at Westport, they are early adopters and true innovators in their own right, so we are pretty happy to hear they see the tremendous value in CIA and have committed to roll it out to their entire portfolio,” stated Robert Chiti, Chief Executive Officer, OpenTech Alliance. “INSOMNIAC CIA is just the first component of our intelligent open platform of smart connected self storage solutions designed to help streamline business operations for the self storage industry – we call it OpenTech IoE.”

To learn more about INSOMNIAC CIA, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

 

Storage Choice Leverages Integration of OpenTech Solutions to Collect Over 1.4 Million Dollars and Decrease Accounts Receivable by 15% in 2018

 

Storage Choice Leverages Integration of OpenTech Solutions to Collect Over 1.4 Million Dollars and Decrease Accounts Receivable by 15% in 2018

 

March 8, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self storage industry, helped Storage Choice collect over 1.4 million dollars and decrease accounts receiveable by 15 percent in 2018 at their 15 self storage facilities in Texas. Automating their facilities has also allowed them 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, that set them apart from competition.

Storage Choice operates over 1.2 million square feet and almost 10,000 self storage units, primarily in the highly competitive Dallas and Houston markets. Storage Choice has maintained a competitive advantage over their 26-year operating history by leveraging integrated technology solutions to improve their operational efficiency and offer their tenants the best customer experience in the area. “We strive to give the customer every opportunity to rent a unit and make a payment – we couldn’t do that without OpenTech technology,” stated Jeff Bateman, Storage Choice Regional Manager. “We have found synergies in utilizing INSOMNIAC Live! Call Center solutions, INSOMNIAC XpressPayINSOMNIAC Kiosks, INSOMNIAC XpressCollect and most recently INSOMNIAC CIA and Storage Genie.”

Before Storage Choice implemented OpenTech solutions in 2011, facility managers were left to juggle a long list of competing priorities. Storage Choice searched for solutions that could automate daily tasks – to work not in place, but in support of their managers to free them up to focus on the customer. “In 2011 we started with call center solutions,” stated Jeff. “If our managers are busy, the calls go to OpenTech’s Storage Counselors. In 2018 they handled over 2,000 calls on our behalf – I see those all as missed opportunities. Of the people who called to rent a unit, 82 percent booked a reservation. We then added kiosks, and in 2017 they assisted in collecting $215,000 in payments and took over 174 rentals.” Storage Choice also utilizes XpressCollect and XpressPay, which automates the collection process to make it easy for both the tenant and manager to stay on top of monthly payments. Storage Choice elevated their operations one step further last year by shifting access control at two of their properties from PTI to INSOMNIAC CIA (Centralized Intelligent Access). This cloud-based system not only makes it easier for customers to access the property but provides valuable data-driven insights that enable owners to optimize operations.

“The biggest advantage we’ve seen is the integration across all products,” stated Jeff. “No matter how our customers engage with us, whether they call, text, go online, or show up at our property, they are supported by OpenTech’s inclusive services and support team. A customer can call the number on our website, ask for help through live video on a kiosk and even rely on an OpenTech Storage Counselor to let them out of the facility if they are stuck behind the gate after hours. While each product is an asset in its own right, we’ve stayed on the cutting edge of the self storage industry by capitalizing on the natural synergy between OpenTech’s products and services.”

To learn more about the INSOMNIACTM line of products and services mentioned, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

 

5 Star Boat and RV Storage Booked Over 75% of Lease Up Rentals with INSOMNIAC Kiosk to Surpass 50% Occupancy in 5 Months

 

5 Star Boat and RV Storage Booked Over 75% of Lease Up Rentals with INSOMNIACTM Kiosk to Surpass 50% Occupancy in 5 Months

 

March 1, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. OpenTech Alliance, Inc., the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self storage industry, helped 5 Star Boat and RV Storage in Georgetown, TX surpass 50% occupancy within 5 months of opening, with over 75% of those rentals secured through their INSOMNIAC self-serve kiosk. 5 Star’s owners work full-time and run their first successful boat and RV storage facility by automating operations with a kiosk.

Based near Austin, Texas, where opportunities for outdoor recreation are everywhere, Amy and Kevin Payne uncovered a gap in the market when they couldn’t find storage for their personal RV and boat. With a collective 45 years in the construction and real estate development business, Kevin encouraged his wife to create a solution and said, “Amy, why don’t you build one!” Amy spent the next year and a half learning the industry, joining the TSSA and talking with other storage owners in the area. “I was overwhelmed with the people I’ve met in this industry,” stated Amy. “I wouldn’t call them competitors, they are our friends and we wouldn’t be successful without their help.”

Before committing to this new venture, Amy and Kevin looked for a way to balance their full-time jobs and the daily management of a new facility, without sacrificing the beloved hobbies that initially sparked the project. Chuck Richey, owner of Presidential RV and Boat Storage, recommended the INSOMNIAC kiosk as the ideal solution. “Presidential RV and Boat Storage is located 3 miles from Amy and Kevin’s facility and some would consider us competition, but we are friends,” stated Chuck. “OpenTech’s INSOMNIAC Kiosk has made our business success come to fruition and we want everyone to share in the success we have had.”

“We are so fortunate to have Chuck’s knowledge of the industry and knew the only way we could operate this business and keep our careers was to implement a kiosk,” added Amy. The kiosk not only automates rentals, but provides tenants with live support from professional Storage Counselors, records 2-way video of all transactions, and captures a new tenant’s driver’s license – features which are essential at Amy and Kevin’s unmanned facility. “Our customers love the convenience and we had over 75% of our rentals occur at the kiosk since we have opened our doors in September 2018. We have built a 5-star facility and OpenTech has helped us deliver an excellent customer experience.”

“Our technology solutions exist to create opportunities that positively impact the lives of property owners and storage customers,” stated Robert Chiti, CEO of OpenTech Alliance. “The INSOMNIAC kiosk was the first product designed to support this vision and continues to provide the best option for owners to automate onsite operations, with reduced risk and increased functionality over alternatives that operate exclusively online. We’re privileged to be part of 5 Star Boat and RV Storage’s success.”

To learn more about the INSOMNIAC line of self-serve kiosks, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

 

Graham Investments Boasts 80% Improvement in Lien Loss Recovery with StorageTreasures

 

Graham Investments Boasts 80% Improvement in Lien Loss Recovery with StorageTreasures

 

February 19, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. StorageTreasures, LLC, the leading online storage auction platform, has helped Graham Investments maximize 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. Despite sticking to many traditional practices in the management of their facilities, Graham Investments just celebrated the one-year anniversary of their first auction on StorageTreasures.com and isn’t turning back.

Based out of Colorado, Graham Investments has a long history of success in the self storage industry, with a pedigree that dates as far back as the 1970s. With decades of industry experience,12 facilities open and operating, and additional properties in development, Graham Investments is a growing enterprise that relies on new technology solutions to increase their operational efficiency. “We are always working to maximize profits,” stated Hank Thomas, Graham Investments District Manager, and StorageTreasures has tangibly reduced their lien losses. “I have been going facility to facility and turning them over [to StorageTreasures] one-by-one.”

Hank was disappointed with Graham Investments’ live auctions, where poor turnout and loyalties or intimidation among bidders caused units to sell for detrimentally low amounts. After an unsuccessful attempt to switch to online auctions using another site, Hank tapped into the local bidder community to see who they buy from online. Their answer? StorageTreasures. With a reputation that attracts high-quality buyers, strict policies that terminate auction winners for no-shows, and a pool of backup bidders on standby should a no-show occur, StorageTreasures eliminates many of the concerns that typically accompany a move to online auctions.

“Efficiency is the biggest bonus,” added Hank. “The process is much cleaner, once the managers lien the units we have 100% control over how it’s auctioned, and no foot traffic through the facility which removes liability. We control the date of the auction and don’t have to follow an auctioneer’s schedule.” Hank also has more options for recouping losses tied to delinquent rent, and lien and auction fees, and has even seen better results with unit cleanout after auctions– a fact he attributes to better buyers. In his year with StorageTreasures, Hank has seen dozens of units sell for more when posted online.

“People who are not doing auctions with StorageTreasures are missing out big time!” exclaimed Hank. StorageTreasures makes the auction listing process easier, faster and gives facilities more flexibility while bringing a built-in buyer clientele. In addition, it helps bridge the gap between bidders and sellers, with dedicated customer service managers that prepare both parties for a successful auction. StorageTreasures provides best practices for online auctions, lien law resources and hands-on training for sellers, and works with bidders to ensure they understand the commitment involved in bidding on, buying and cleaning out units.

“Customers like Hank understand the value our service provides, and the passion our people have for giving superior and professional support. Since 2011, we have been perfecting the art of online storage auctions, working creatively to connect bidders and sellers throughout the United States and Canada. Our ever-evolving platform has been the vendor of choice for over 10,000 storage facilities transitioning from live to online storage auctions. As Graham Investments continues to expand we make it easy to on-board new facilities,” states Chelsea Horne, Product Owner of StorageTreasures.com. “Working together is key in our ability to provide innovative solutions to property owners and storage customers.” With a 70% to 80% improvement in their lien loss recovery, Hank plans on bringing all of Graham Investments’ facilities on board.

To learn more about StorageTreasures, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

 

Self-Storage Operator Replaces Access Control with INSOMNIAC CIA

 

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!”

To learn more about INSOMNIAC CIA, contact OpenTech Alliance at sales@opentechalliance.com.

 

The Last Word

 

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

 

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 gcarland@opentechalliance.com or 828.551.1210.

 

OpenTech Appoints New President and Recruits Domain Experts

 

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

 

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.”

Common Uses

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.

Security Concerns

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

 

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

 

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.

OpenTech IoE
OpenTech IoE Platform
INSOMNIAC CIA was the first module released on the OpenTech IoE platform, which now includes HVAC, Alexa, and Call Center integrations. To find out more about this exciting integration contact OpenTech Alliance.

 

OpenTech Adds Call Center Integration to IoE Platform

 

OpenTech Adds Call Center Integration to IoE Platform

(August 23, 2018) – Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced their OpenTech IoE (Internet of Everything), intelligent platform of smart connected self-storage solutions now includes Call Center integration.

This is OpenTech’s third integration module available at no additional charge. This new module, the Amazon’s Alexa and the HVAC Integration launched earlier this month are three of many third-party devices and related systems to be supported by the OpenTech IoE platform.

The Call Center integration allows Call Center staff to remotely control access to a storage facility using INSOMNIAC CIA and offer a higher level of customer service by assisting tenants that are having problems while at the facility. “We handle thousands of tenant calls a day in our Call Center and we are always looking for new ways to improve a tenant’s experience.” stated Robert A. Chiti, OpenTech President and CEO. “If a tenant tailgates or gets stuck behind the gate after hours, they would reach the Call Center who would contact the emergency contact, who would have to drive to the facility to let them out. In some cases the Call Center is given an emergency exit code which is very problematic and needs to be updated regularly to ensure the facility remains secure.

Robert added, “We have heard of customers calling 911 or actually driving into the gate, so you can see how that process was not working. By empowering the Call Center staff with tenant data and the ability to remotely control access to the facility through our cloud based Access Control solution INSOMNIAC CIA, we are creating happier tenants, eliminating negative social media reviews, and making self-storage simpler to use.”

Staying true to their commitment of “Open” solutions, OpenTech is offering the call center integration module to third party and internal call centers as well.

To find out how out more, contact OpenTech Alliance or see them at the SSA Fall Conference and Trade Show at booths #618-625 on September 4th through 7th at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Call Center Integration to the OpenTech IoE Platform

 

About the OpenTech IoE Platform:

The OpenTech IoE platform is based on four primary components; a centralized data structure for collecting data from any source, business analytics tools for learning from the data, the ability to monitor and control both proprietary and third-party devices, and a comprehensive notification service based on customizable triggers. OpenTech IoE includes an open API so any property management software, call center, or other applications can easily integrate with the platform.

 

OpenTech Integrates Amazon’s Alexa with their OpenTech IoE Platform

 

OpenTech Integrates Amazon’s Alexa with their OpenTech IoE Platform

Phoenix, AZ, OpenTech Alliance, the leading developer of innovative technology solutions for the self-storage industry announced they will be demonstrating their integration with Amazon’s Alexa and their OpenTech IoE, intelligent platform of smart connected self-storage solutions at the upcoming SSA Fall Conference and Trade Show at booths #618-625 on September 4th through 7th at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Amazon's AlexaThis will be OpenTech’s second integration module available at no additional charge. This new module and the HVAC Integration launched on August 9th are two of many third-party devices to be supported by the OpenTech IoE platform.

The integration allows storage operators to perform commands and receive information about their storage facility with their voice. “The way we interact with computers changes every 10 years. Voice enabled commands is the next user interface model.” stated Jon Loftin, VP and IoE Product Owner at OpenTech Alliance. “Alexa is utilized at many self-storage facilities to assist with translation services and integrating hand-free commands allows managers to work more efficiently.”

INSOMNIAC CIA customers can ask Alexa to perform tasks such as: open the gate; ask how many tenants are onsite; who was the last tenant onsite; and many more commands. To find out how to voice control your facility, contact OpenTech Alliance.

Alexa Integration to the OpenTech IoE Platform

About the OpenTech IoE Platform:
The OpenTech IoE platform is based on four primary components: a centralized data structure for collecting data from any source; business analytics tools for learning from the data; the ability to monitor and control both proprietary and third-party devices; and a comprehensive notification service based on customizable triggers. OpenTech IoE includes an open API so any property management software, call center, or other applications can easily integrate with the platform.

 

Integrating Voice Commands such as, “Alexa, Open The Gate” and many more!

 

OpenTech Alliance, Inc. Celebrates 15 years in Business

 

Press Release

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

 

Press Release

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.

About StorageTreasures
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

 

OpenTech Alliance Launches Internet of Everything (IoE) Enabled Access Control System

INSOMNIAC CIA Keypad

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

 

locksSeptember 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.”

Robert A. Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech added. “We are very lucky to have Jon leading our IoE platform effort. He has over 25 years of experience in the access and control arena and it is his experience and leadership that have made it possible for OpenTech to deliver such a dramatically advanced solution. We are all excited to see what he comes up with next.”

INSOMNIAC CIA KeypadINSOMNIAC 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 Brings Self Storage Robot to North America

 

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.

 

Self Storage Robot PHOENIX, ARIZONA (PRWEB) MAY 10, 2017

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

About Wyca
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

 

OpenTech Voted Best Self Storage Call Center for 2016

 

iss-award-2017Congratulations to the entire OpenTech team for another job well-done:

Winner – ISS Best Self Storage Call Center Services 2016!

iss-bob-logo-2016-best-call-center-services

 

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!

 

OpenTech Labs Cuts the Ribbon on New Software Development Space

 

OpenTech Labs
CEO Robert Chiti (left), and Joe Arnone, Vice President of Product Management cut the ribbon on the new OpenTech Labs.

OpenTech Alliance cut the ribbon on it’s new software development center dubbed “OpenTech Labs” today. Presiding over the festivities is OpenTech Alliance President and CEO Robert Chiti, and Joe Arnone, Vice President of Product Management, who provided the impetus to make this a reality. The new OpenTech Labs is a part of OpenTech’s push into new products and services geared towards adding value to it’s core technologies in the self storage rentals market. OpenTech Alliance provides a line of integrated hardware, software and solutions that improve customer service, efficiency, and profitability for self storage facilities nationwide.

OpenTech Labs designed the new space in a bid to attract up and coming developers to it’s growing operation. “With the market for tightening, we need to compete more aggressively to find and keep high quality talent” according to Chiti. “what has worked in the past has to make way for new realities”. With growth coming in a range of SaaS (software as a service) products, along with OpenTech’s “StorageTreasures.com” online auctions website, the need for high quality programmers and product developers is continuing to increase. By providing a fresh and open workspace, OpenTech Labs aims to improve internal collaboration while better offering a more inviting work environment for it’s development teams.

OpenTech Labs

 

Devon Storage Managers Generate Huge Spike in Automated Collections

 

Devon Storage Managers Generate Huge Spike in Automated Collections

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – November 18th, 2016 – Today OpenTech Alliance, a leading provider of self-storage technology solutions, announced that Devon Self Storage, a Top Operator in the Storage industry, reported a significant increase in tenant usage of XpressCollect, a SaaS product that collects late rent payments automatically.

With over 40 facilities that span across 15 states, Jim Mooney (Director of Operations at Devon) transitioned the entire portfolio from a manual calling collection process, to a cloud-based automated collection system, by implementing XpressCollect in January of 2016.

From the onset, the results were encouraging.  In February of 2016, the automated service collected a total of $36,161 in  late payments throughout the portfolio.  Since then, the solution has produced even better.  In September of 2016, the automated service collected a total of $92,817  late payments throughout the portfolio.  Tenant usage increased over 200% in 2016.  Even more amazingly, $50,352  in late payments were collected in 1 day on September 5th  – Labor Day, when all Devon stores were closed.

When asked what he liked the most about the decision to automate collections, Mooney answered with a question, “How long would it take for you to call 125 people?  Once twice, or maybe five times?  Now multiply that by 40+ managers.  The future of storage collections is all about our managers.  And that decision has reduced a large portion of our manual collection calls.  Through these efficiencies, our managers have been able to focus more on sales and operations.”

Devon has triggered XpressCollect to send friendly payment reminders via text or email when accounts are 5, 9 & 15 days late.  Managers never have to worry about scheduling collections, or sending reminders.  Once the system is setup, they never have to touch it again.  When reminders are sent, tenants make their payment thru the service by pushing a few buttons on their phone to complete their payment through XpressPay, OpenTech’s pay-by-phone service, or they simply click to make their payment through their phone.  Devon collection reports also highlighted that even though the last payment reminder is sent to accounts that remain unpaid on the 15th, thousands of dollars are still collected thru XpressCollect by month end.

Mooney added, “Tenants are unpredictable, and will pay when they can pay.  But now, we are far more consistent in reaching past due tenants.  The solution delivers everything needed to drive late rent payments automatically, and into the channels our tenants prefer, whether it is by phone, email, or text.  As more owners, operators, and managers look for easier solutions to streamline collections, XpressCollect will offload manual collection tasks at much lower costs than doing it manually.”

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 130,000 tenants in 2015, generating over 140 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech also owns a majority stake in Storage Treasures, LLC and operates www.storagetreasures.com, the largest online and onsite self-storage auction market place in the industry with over 900,000 bidders, 6,500 self-storage facilities and over 140,000 auctions held in 2015. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please visit our website www.opentechalliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

 

Press Contact: 
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

 

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

 

OpenTech Helps Storage Managers Rent over 130,000 Units in 2015

 

PHOENIX, Arizona – September 6th, 2016 – OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced the release of the 2016 Self Storage Technology White Paper.  According to the report, storage unit rentals through the INSOMNIAC™ platform eclipsed 130,000 units in 2015.

A total of 49,966 move-ins were completed thru INSOMNIAC self-service kiosks.  Also, a total of 76,832 move-ins were completed thru the OpenTech Call Center (INSOMNIAC Live!), and finally, a total of 5,682 rentals were captured via INSOMNIAC Online.

OpenTech’s portfolio of customers yielded an estimated $140 million in new sales over 2015 using the company’s automated solutions.  In addition, the kiosk, call center and online solutions assisted store managers in collecting a grand total of 609,649 customer payments, while conducting over 1.9 million self storage transactions in 2015.

This is the 8th year OpenTech will be demonstrating their core value of transparency by sharing their transaction data with the industry. The White Paper includes ongoing self storage business trends, customer case studies, and several valuable illustrations used to highlight key points for consideration.

What you’ll learn from this research:

  • Analyze the objectives storage owners are able to achieve by integrating self-service sales & service channels into their operation.
  • Kiosk comparisons for benchmarking individual results to all kiosks installed provides an in-depth look at how your onsite technology is performing.
  • Data on the AASR (Average Annual Sales Return) of OpenTech products will reveal how self storage owners can evaluate efficiencies and returns on investing in self-service technology.
  • Comprehensive call center data and the conversion rates of store managers.
  • Case Studies about operators who are bundling INSOMNIAC solutions to impact facility valuation.
  • Discover the strategies other storage businesses have put in place to attract new renters and see just how far their business processes have evolved.

Jim Chiswell, President of Chiswell & Associates said, “Since the start-up of Open Tech Alliance, Robert and his team of technology professionals have used their annual Self Storage Technology White Paper to share statistical and data insights on facility achievements, sales tactics, manager performance, asset management and customer analytics that they have measured across their various platforms during the past year.  I want to acknowledge their contribution to our industry’s growing understanding of the positive impact properly implemented technologies can have on our bottom-line results.”

The complete 2016 Self Service Technology White Paper is available for download at the company website or by clicking here.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 130,000 tenants in 2015, generating over 140 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech also owns a majority stake in Storage Treasures, LLC and operates www.storagetreasures.com, the largest online and onsite self-storage auction market place in the industry with over 900,000 bidders, 6,500 self-storage facilities and over 140,000 auctions held in 2015. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please visit www.opentechalliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

 

OpenTech Acquires eTRACKER for Self and Mobile Storage

 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Sept. 5th, 2016 – Today, OpenTech Alliance Inc. announced they have reached an agreement with eTRACKER, LLC to acquire the eTRACKER software system for the self and mobile storage markets. eTRACKER, LLC will exit the self storage market and retain a customized version of the software to sell into the commercial real estate market. The transition is projected to be completed by the end of 2016.

eTRACKER has been available and used by self storage operators for several years. Operators have been enjoying the benefits of streamlining their operation, reducing costs, going paperless, as well as improving communications internally and externally with vendors.  The solution has a cloud based corporate module called “HQ” and a mobile app.  The system has benefits for managers, district managers, owners and even third party vendors – everyone knows what is happening at the facility without having to be there.

OpenTech will be renaming the operations management solution to StoreTracker. StoreTracker features include:

  • Property Audit
  • Incident Report Management
  • Task Management Module
  • Unit Inventory Management and Lock Checks
  • Auction Management
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Operations Management Optimization

“We have been using eTRACKER for several months and it has made a very positive impact on our operation.  Our managers love it and use it to track and share information in ways we never thought about.  We have been a customer of OpenTech’s for many years.  We have kiosks at all our properties and trust them to handle all our incoming phone calls thru their call center.   In addition, we use their collections tool and StorageTreasures.com to handle our auctions.  So we are very happy OpenTech has picked up this product, it is a great addition to their platform of solutions,” stated Margaret Martin, EVP Property Management for Pegasus Group/Central Self Storage.

Jon Loftin, OpenTech Vice President and Product Owner said, “StoreTracker fits nicely into our IoE strategy and we plan to open it up for use by other vendors in the self storage industry.  Storage operators including managers, DMs and corporate staff will be able to use one tool to communicate with all of the vendors they use to operate their facility.  This will allow operators to track everything that is going on at a facility with one easy to use tool.”

Contact OpenTech if you are interested in learning more about how StoreTracker can save you money, simiplfy your operation and always keep you the loop.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the company’s automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2015, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech also owns a majority stake in StorageTreasures, LLC and operates www.storagetreasures.com, the largest online and onsite self-storage auction market place in the industry with over 950,000 bidders, 7,500 self-storage facilities and over 140,000 auctions held in 2015. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please visit www.opentechalliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

 

Texas Self Storage Association to Host Annual Conference in The Woodlands

 

Texas Self Storage Association
595 Round Rock West Drive, Ste. 503
Round Rock, TX  78681

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 25, 2016

Contact:  Jennifer Taylor, Director of Communications & Marketing
(512) 374-9089 • (888) 259-4902 • Fax (512) 374-9253 • pr@txssa.org • ww.txssa.org


Texas Self Storage Association to Host Annual Conference in The Woodlands

TSSA has some big ideas in store for self-storage owners, developers and managers at the 2016 TSSA Annual Conference in The Woodlands at the Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, October 9-11, 2016.

Share, discover and engage at the premier event for the self-storage industry in Texas. Join us for three days of networking, education and a trade show geared for self storage.

The conference offers four educational tracks to target what you need to know for your business: Strategy & Enterprise; Development & Growth; Management & Operations; and Marketing & Technology.

This year’s keynote speaker Steve Vrooman, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Studies at Texas Lutheran University, will give a presentation titled, “By the Time They Need Us, They Already Know Us: A New Approach to Social Media for the Self-Storage Industry.”

Is this what your Facebook or Twitter sounds like? “We exist. So does our phone number. We have vacancy. And operating hours. Contact us. Please.” Do you have the nagging feeling that it is all just a waste of time? The Texas self-storage industry has a social media problem. Few self-storage businesses use it. Even fewer use it to any effect. How do we build a productive social media strategy when our business is just DIFFERENT than those that social media gurus design their tips for?

The trade show is also a great opportunity to learn about new and innovative products to help your business. “I’ve started doing business with some of the vendors I met at the trade show,” said Bill Gibbs, owner of A Low Cost Self Storage in Baytown.

Early bird discounts are available until August 31. For more information or to register, visit www.txssa.org.

###

About TSSA
The Texas Self Storage Association was established in 1986 and is a non-profit trade association dedicated to enhancing the quality of the self-storage industry in Texas. The Association provides opportunities for members to increase their knowledge of the self-storage industry through education, research, discussion and exchange of information. For More Information:  Texas Self Storage Association – www.txssa.org

About the Keynoter:

Steven S. Vrooman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Communication Studies at Texas Lutheran University. He has taught courses on public speaking, research methods, popular culture and communication technology for 20 years. He appeared in the documentary film The People Versus George Lucas, and spoke at TEDxSanAntonio on how our brains work like Twitter.He has published articles on popular culture and the rhetoric of the Internet. Dr. Vrooman has presented on diverse topics at numerous conferences around the country.

 

Uncle Sam Increases Savings to Self Storage Owners on Kiosk Purchases

OpenTech Alliance reminds self storage owners that INSOMNIAC™ Kiosks now qualify for increased tax deductions under the new PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act). The tax act notably reduces the cost of a kiosk purchase by 35% percent, resulting in a savings of up to $6,300 per kiosk. Taking advantage of this tax savings may just be the best financial decision you make in 2016.

Continue reading

OpenTech Recruits Jon Loftin to Lead New Initiative

OpenTech Recruits Jon Loftin to Lead New Initiative

PHOENIX, Ariz. – June 28, 2016 – Today OpenTech, a technology leader in the self storage industry, announced they have recruited Jon Loftin, one of the industry’s leading access control experts. Jon will report directly to Robert A. Chiti, the companies CEO, and hold the title of Vice President and Product Owner.

Mr. Loftin has held senior management roles in the self storage industry for over 25 years.  He has contributed to the success of Digi Tech International, Chamberlain Access Products Group and for the past 5 years has been leading sales, technical support, customer service and marketing for PTI. Jon has managed the dealer/installer networks for all three companies.  Jon will be responsible for the development of OpenTech’s new IoE Solutions Platform. Details of the initiative will be announced later this year.

Jon commented, “I have worked with the team at OpenTech for many years and I have watched them continue to grow their company by developing innovative solutions and happy customers. I am excited about getting the opportunity to design, develop and launch an entirely new solution for the self storage industry, built from ground up on the latest technology available.”

Robert A. Chiti said, “We are proud that Jon has decided to join our management team.  His values align nicely with OpenTech’s.  He puts customers first and will do whatever he can to make them happy.  We call it Doing It Right.  Jon’s experience and knowledge with access control systems, business, and people makes him the perfect person to lead our IoE initiative.”

Jon will continue to work from Asheville, NC but travel to OpenTech’s headquarters in Arizona on a regular basis. He can be reached at jloftin@opentechalliance.com or his mobile (828) 776-0820.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the company’s automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2015, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech also owns a majority stake in StorageTreasures, LLC and operates www.storagetreasures.com, the largest online and onsite self-storage auction market place in the industry with over 950,000 bidders, 7,500 self-storage facilities and over 140,000 auctions held in 2015. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please visit www.opentechalliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

Industry Leaders Partner to make the payment process Simple, Secure, and Available 24/7

OpenTech Alliance Inc., the leading innovator of automation solutions for the self storage industry and Select Merchant Solutions, the industry’s leading payment processer have partnered to market OpenTech’s pay by phone solution – XpressPay in conjunction with Select Merchant Solutions credit card payment processing service. The two companies are combining efforts to help Select Merchant Solutions’ customers make the rental payment process an effortless experience for both the tenant and the facility manager.

Continue reading

More Renters & Local Businesses Seeking Storage Facilities with Kiosks

PHOENIX, Arizona – March 17th, 2016 – OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced today that Storage Spot, a 200 unit facility located in Beaumont Texas, revealed an in-depth view of transaction data that highlights the exceptional performance of their “full-serve/self-serve” storage office.  Despite pronounced profits & efficiencies, the side-effects of their business model are even more distinctive.

“Happy tenants and local businesses have become a walking advertisement for our brand,” said Mark Montebello, owner of Storage Spot.  Montebello incorporated the INSOMNIAC™ Kiosk into his facility from the start.  His sights were set on using the kiosk to assist his onsite manager with work-load, and also as a preventative to missing business when his office was closed.

It didn’t take long for the community to respond favorably to the kiosk.  Montebello was casually approached by one of the area’s biggest movers wanting to find out if the kiosk could provide their business with something other facilities could not… more flexible access to the facility during off-peak hours.  This kiosk attribute alone, led the company to partner with Storage Spot to lease units and parking space for their fleet of moving trucks.

“Their storage business, along with their customer’s storage business has trickled down to benefit Storage Spot, and the kiosk is credited to our acquisition of these new business relationships,” said Montebello.

In addition, Montebello has been grateful for his many tenants who have gone out of their way, almost instinctively, to spread the buzz about the benefits of the kiosk.  “We work on a very small budget, but always put our tenants first, and their word-of-mouth P.R. has been more powerful than any type of advertisement.  In part, the kiosk is responsible for gaining more new customers,” added Montebello.

Montebello has another business that occupies the majority of his time, but is fortunate to have an exceptional storage manager to handle operations, and provide customers with full-service onsite.  The manager also sees the kiosk as a fringe benefit of the job that affords a much more flexible, and efficient work-schedule.  “With the kiosk, our manager is not tied to a regular schedule on weekdays, nights, or weekends in the storage office.  The after effect is a huge benefit for our manager as well,” noted Montebello.

When the manager is away from the office, Storage Spot is never disconnected from their tenants, or new potential customers.  Their self-service office is always open, and supported by live Storage Counselors thru the INSOMNIAC Kiosk Network.

And while their manager still processes a majority new rentals, and tenant payments with customers in the office, the kiosk continues to play the role of a 24-7 assistant manager.  In 2015, 102 new tenants leased their units directly through the kiosk.

“Each month, the kiosk generates 4-5 additional rentals that we would have otherwise lost.  At an average of $1,100 per rental, we would be losing over $4,000 dollars in monthly revenue without the kiosk,” finished Montebello.  Detailed kiosk transaction data for 2015 is highlighted below.

Kiosk Report Data (Storage Spot – 2015)

  • Total Kiosk Transactions: 487 for $51,424.60
  • Total New Rentals: 102 for $8,248.71 (in first month payments)
  • Average Monthly Rental = $1,100 x 102 for $112,200 (in gross kiosk rental revenue)
  • Existing Tenant Payments Collected: 367 for $42,922.78
  • Total Merchandise: 18 for $0,253.11

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2014, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech also owns a majority stake in Storage Treasures, LLC and operates www.storagetreasures.com, the largest online and onsite self-storage auction market place in the industry with over 900,000 bidders, 6,500 self-storage facilities and over 140,000 auctions held in 2015. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please visit www.opentechalliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

 

OpenTech Acquires Majority Stake in Leading Self Storage Auction Platform

 

OpenTech Acquires Majority Stake in Leading Self Storage Auction Platform

PHOENIX, Arizona -January 19th, 2016 – Today OpenTech Alliance Inc., a leading technology provider in the self storage industry, announced they have acquired a majority stake in Storage Treasures LLC, the largest onsite and online self-storage auction platform in North America.  As a part of the investment, OpenTech has signed a long-term management agreement to operate the related websites, hire all employees and expand the brand into new markets. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Storage Treasures website currently supports over 900,000 registered bidders and services more than 6,000 self-storage facilities managed by industry leading operators such as Extra Space Storage (NYSE:EXR), A- 1 Self StorageCentral Self StorageGreat Value StorageCompass Self Storage, and US Storage Centers.  Storage Treasures also owns several associated websites including; StorageBattles.com, StorageTreasures.com, LegalNoticeLocator.com, SpacePicker.com and is a founding technology partner of Charity Storage, Inc., the Official Charity of the Self Storage Association (SSA).  Storage Treasures, LLC is the result of a consolidation of Storage Battles LLC and Storage Treasures Inc. in late 2013.

“We have observed the rapid adoption of online auctions in our space and felt we could leverage our technology expertise, customer service capabilities and IT infrastructure to help scale the Storage Treasures platform,” said Robert A. Chiti, OpenTech President and CEO.  “Over the past two years the team at Storage Treasures, lead by Jim Grant, has knocked the cover off the ball.  They have significantly ramped up every metric of the business including self-storage facilities using the service, active bidders, number of auctions and most importantly, the debt recovery percentage for their storage owners.”

“Our plan is to build upon the vision of the founders of the respective sites Jim Grant (Storage Battles) and Lance Watkins (Storage Treasures), so we are very happy Jim has decided to stay on with OpenTech and continue what he started,” Chiti said.  “Everybody within the Storage Treasures organization is very excited about joining OpenTech,” said Grant.  “Robert has been a member of our Board of Advisors and investor for over a year, so he is up to speed on our short- and long-term road map.  We already are the largest onsite and online self-storage auction platform and with OpenTech we plan to gain additional momentum while taking our customer service and technology innovation to a whole new level.”

OpenTech already offers self-storage managers services that fit into the late to lien process.  Their XpressCollect service automatically notifies tenants in a convenient channel (text, email or manual call) that their rent is due.  The service also gives the tenants an effortless and secure way to make their payments, saving managers lots of time and reducing the costs for self-storage owners.

Storage Treasures already is using OpenTech’s Open API service to automate the auction posting process by keeping the Storage Treasures site updated with information from an operator’s property management software.  This integration significantly reduces the chance of human error in the process and reduces an owner’s risk.

Following OpenTech’s philosophy of developing open solutions, the company plans to invest heavily in launching new related sites, while adding new features to the Storage Treasures site to promote the use of the service by partners such as traditional auctioneers, affiliated auction sites in other markets and resale outlets.

“The resale trend is exploding and we want to put Storage Treasures in the center of it,” said Chiti.

About StorageTreasures.com:  Storage Treasures is a free, social site to find live onsite storage auctions or post online auctions at any self-storage facility across the United States and Canada. Members also can bid on storage units online from participating facilities. Storage Treasures has revolutionized the way in which the contents of self-storage units are marketed and publicly auctioned after the lessee has failed to pay rent. The site fills the gap between the operational systems that the industry currently utilizes and the public buyer who may be interested in the contents of a unit that is going to auction. The tools Storage Treasures provides allow the storage industry not only to comply with, but also to exceed the intent of state laws governing the self-storage industry, protecting tenants and bidders alike. For more information please visitwww.storagetreasures.com.

About OpenTech: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the company’s automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2015, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please click: OpenTechAlliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Anton Communications

714-544-6503 p

info@antonpr.com

Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

 

OpenTech Call Center Helps Storage Portfolio Exceed 44% Rental Conversion Rate

PHOENIX, Arizona – December 19th, 2015 –OpenTech Alliance, Inc. announced today that Investment Real Estate Management, LLC (IREM) reported statistics on their portfolio of 15 properties in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  “By using the OpenTech Call Center (INSOMNIAC Live!), our store managers were able to achieve an extraordinary, 44% rental conversion rate,” said Jason Carl, District Manager at IREM.

Carl offered further analysis of the OpenTech performance report.  Over the course of 2015, Storage Counselors at the call center answered a total of 15,556 IREM facility calls.  15% of the calls answered, were validated sales inquiries.  A classification breakdown of the sales calls processed at OpenTech included: 871 completed unit reservations, 122 scheduled sales appointments, 653 qualified sales leads, and 790 limited leads, totaling 2,436 sales inquiries.  These calls were first answered at the call center, and then the data was forwarded to store managers at IREM for closing.

IREM managers take over from there.  They are well trained, highly skilled, and incentivized to follow up immediately.  “In the end, we were able to convert 44% of the sales calls that were processed at OpenTech, totaling 1,069 rentals thru the call center alone.  The storage counselors at OpenTech set the stage for our callers, they acquire quality customer data, and it’s sent to our properties in real-time.  This strategy puts our managers in a better position to close sales more effectively, and OpenTech has greatly contributed to our success,” said Carl.

What’s even more impressive is the fact that the call center represents the portfolios second line of defense.  All facility calls are routed to reach the store managers first.  However, when managers are with customers, away from the desk, or when the office is closed, calls rollover to the call center.  “It’s about control versus trust, and based on our history of success with OpenTech, we trust calls to roll over, without the worry of a negative impact on sales or service.  Our managers also realize that by sharing control, the call center saves the sales we would have otherwise missed,” added Carl.

The report revealed that over 35% of all facility calls rolled to the call center on workdays when managers were busy, and when the office was closed in the evenings, and on weekends.  At an average cost of $1,600 per rental, the call center at OpenTech was estimated to drive $1.6 million in incremental revenue for the company.

Carl also noted that, the call center offered some very impressive levels of customer satisfaction unrelated to sales.  The report indicated that 85% of the calls answered, were designated as tenant care calls.  Those calls were completed at the call center without the need for store manager involvement.   Service calls processed at OpenTech included: 3,641 collected payment calls, and 9,479 miscellaneous service inquiries, totaling 13,210 tenant care calls.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Jason, and his site managers at IREM.  It is a great feeling to be supporting their site managers in a positive way, and we are happy to have contributed to their success,” said Robert Chiti, President and CEO at OpenTech.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2014, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please click: OpenTechAlliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

Owner/Operator Reveals New Generation Ethics for Self-Storage

PHOENIX, Arizona – October 31st, 2015 – OpenTech Alliance announced today that Robert Kapp, owner of American Self Storage in Pittsboro, North Carolina, revealed a number of new generation business practices that combat rising storage competition, by adapting to new customer buying habits.  Kapp’s ethics have allowed the company to rapidly gain a competitive edge, and in turn achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction.

What started 15 years ago as an untested concept, American Self Storage was founded on the principles of being an unmanned facility.  At that time, the new facility owner began to pioneer the remote business concept singlehandedly, 60 miles away from his facility.  Without the latest technology, transactions were handled by phone, and all the red-tape was done manually by mail.  Today, the site has grown and evolved into one of Pittsboro’s busiest storage facilities.

In order to accomplish the feat, Kapp’s first course of action was to scrap the customary self-storage business schedule.  “You all know it.  The one that was built to work for most of your customers, most of the time,” said Kapp.  Instead, he had the philosophy to build a storage experience that works for all of his customers, all of the time.  Kapp stated, “People are working longer hours and are always on the go.  We felt that limiting business to our office from 9-5 wasn’t ok, just because everybody else does it.  We also knew that we were leaving money on the table by not providing a solution.”

As the property got bigger, daily time limits to doing business with the 500 unit (60,000 sqft) facility were eliminated by integrating the INSOMNIAC Self-Storage Kiosk.  “The kiosk supercharged our efficiencies and put our facility into a position where it never turns business away,” added Kapp.

Prior to purchasing the kiosk, Kapp spoke to several owners who use the technology and noted, “Talking with kiosk users was the best way to get a non-biased opinion.  Before seeing success, many had a slow start.  There was a natural adjustment period because they were used to serving customers the same way for so long.  Training their staff to do things differently took extra time and care.  We were lucky; our start was literally seamless because the kiosk already complimented our business practices.  There was no push-back, and training with our Customer Success Manager Kristina, was in-step with our beliefs.”

When visiting the site these days, there is no perception of a traditional storage facility.  New customers and tenants alike experience the automated model from the beginning, when approaching the always-open American Self Storage tech-office onsite.  And when customers call by phone, no matter the time of day or night, Kapp goes back to his original playbook to offer RFS (Remote Facility Support).  They market their amenities, and over the years they have become very good at it…

And like a well read script, Kapp went into demonstration mode, “Thanks for calling, yes units are available.  No appointment is necessary, the automated office is always open; make yourself at home (fridge is for customers).  You can do what you need to, at your convenience.  Just remember to push the help button on the kiosk if you need any assistance onsite.”  Customers get immediate help when they want it from a live storage counselor through the 2way video feature the onsite kiosk provides.

When asked about the lack of personalized service onsite, Kapp replied, “Managers can’t offer personalized service 24-7, but we do have a full-time supervisor.  He stays busy overseeing three of our sites and is available to offer personal service when needed.  Still, we are finding less and less people want personalized service.  The kiosk offers a flawless experience, we have had zero complaints, and my anxiety level has gone down.”

It’s no longer business as usual in the storage industry in Pittsboro, and Kapp has grown his empire into 7 properties.  Customers are receiving exceptional service on an anytime-anywhere basis at American Self Storage where their business loyalty is reserved for those who are best serving them at the moment.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped Storage Managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2014, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please click: OpenTechAlliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact:
Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

Rookie Storage Owners Realize Win-Win by Creating an Effortless Storage Experience

PHOENIX, Arizona – October 18th, 2015 – OpenTech Alliance announced that industry newcomers, Steve and Barbara O’Rourke, recently opened the first unmanned storage facility in Ames Iowa.  And after a year of operating the facility without routine human intervention, their plan to create a win-win business proposition for both tenants and property owners has become a reality.

Since opening Ames West Side Storage in November of 2014, the duo insists that their facility provides an easier and more convenient option for storage customers.  Most importantly however, they guarantee that the automated business concept offers owners much more.

“By creating a flexible and effortless storage experience for our customers, we have realized higher net profits without being required to man our storage office for 60 hours a week,” said Steve.  Steve is a licensed public adjuster and Barbara is a NICU registered nurse.  “Our storage property is self-sufficient, and the INSOMNIAC kiosk allows us to oversee a top-notch storage property, and maintain our full-time jobs without many headaches,” added Steve.

When asked about not offering good old-fashioned customer service and or the possibility of hearing negative feedback over the lack of a manager onsite, Steve replied, “Our new customers and tenants still get immediate help when they want it from a live storage counselor through the 2way video feature that our kiosk provides.”  The couple believe that the 24-7 technology offers their customers a level of consistency that neighboring facilities can’t.  And their kiosk operational reports back up that belief by revealing over 40% of their kiosk rentals occur after 5 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.

“We get no complaints about our setup, and every customer coming in is treated exactly the same.  Those who want to rent a unit or access their storage can do so all day, every day.  Our competitors only have manager’s onsite to sell and serve from 9-5.  With only 190 units, our facility is on the smaller side and it would not be as profitable to have a manager onsite,” added Steve.

Being entirely committed to the self-service concept from the onset and after implementing a number of best practices after, Steve & Barbara’s INSOMNIAC kiosk continues to perform at a level that is equal to their competition.  On the other hand, the win-win scenario that they have created sets Ames West Side Storage apart from the competition.

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped store managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2014, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please click: OpenTechAlliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact: Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.

OpenTech Releases Version 2.0 of XpressCollect for Self-Storage Managers

PHOENIX, Arizona – September 9th, 2015 – Today at the SSA Tradeshow in Las Vegas, OpenTech Alliance announced the V2 release of INSOMNIAC XpressCollectan automatic payment reminder and collection system that helps storage managers to shorten the life cycle of a tenant invoice and improve cash flow. The service eliminates the need for making excessive collection calls, and manually sending various emails or individualized texts, it automates the entire process.

Already a hit with hundreds of storage managers nationwide, the impact of XpressCollect has been demonstrated to be immediate and easy to measure. Jim Mooney, Director of Operations at Devon Self Storage said, “After implementing XpressCollect, our conversion rates on collections improved dramatically.  And after using the product for several months, we were able to cut our delinquent receivables in half.”

OpenTech originally announced the acquisition of TXT Collector and subsequent the launch of XpressCollect in September of 2014.  The plan was to invest heavily in development resources to make the service the best in the industry and the lowest cost.

In true OpenTech style the new version was built on their Open Self Storage Cloud platform and leverages OpenPortal so make it easy for managers setup up and forget. Version 2.0 leveraged the companies Open API to integrate with more property management systems. XpressCollect is now readily available to benefit storage owners using; DomicoQuickStorSiteLink, and Yardi, with additional vendor integrations on the horizon.

In Version 2.0, the product framework has undergone a major overhaul and new dynamic features have been added to bring more value to self storage managers, but cost of $29/month is still much lower than any other competing solution and it is a fraction of the cost of do-it-yourself collections.

Highlights of new version:

  • Secure integration with the leading property management systems
  • Multi-channel communication (e-mail, text, and  optional Live Call module)
  • Validation of tenant contact information (mobile numbers and email addresses)
  • Customizable collection timeline and workflow
  • An optional Live Calls Module that gives managers the ability to initiate and record outbound phone calls and have the result tracked for more troublesome collections situations
  • Detailed documentation on all collection related notifications
  • Detailed and easy to navigate reporting
  • Transparent compliance practices

Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing at OpenTech said, “Time is money and XpressCollect will help you recover both.  Whether you are seeking ways to speed up the collections process, increase cash flow or become more sales efficient, the side-effect of automating your accounts payable means that time previously spent on manual collection calls can be redirected toward more meaningful work.”

Why We Do What We Do: Every day, OpenTech Alliance connects thousands of tenants with storage companies around the world. With over 4,000 daily transactions, the companies automated products and services helped store managers move-in over 100,000 tenants in 2014, generating over 100 million dollars in new sales revenue alone. OpenTech, Making Self-Storage Easier, So More People will Use It. For additional information, please click: OpenTechAlliance.com or call an OpenTech Business Development Manager at (602) 749-9370.

Press Contact: Mike Sawyer, Director of Marketing
OpenTech Alliance, Inc.
602.324.8655
msawyer@opentechalliance.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: 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. INSOMNIAC kiosks are protected by U.S. patent number 5,946,660.