Self storage has come a long way in the last 20 years, from facility design to the use of smart locks. Now, new self storage technology in the form of artificial intelligence has come into play. This should not come as a big surprise; after all, the global artificial intelligence market size was valued at $93.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow another 38% across all industries from 2022 to 2030. So, it’s the next logical step for self storage as well.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at artificial intelligence and highlight five AI storage solutions.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
For many people, AI sounds like something straight out of a science fiction movie. And while forms of AI may one day be a reality, today’s AI is simpler – and you’re already interacting with it. AI is the technology that enables machines to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence. For example, when you receive a text from your credit card company about potentially fraudulent activity – that’s AI in action. Or, when your phone suggests the next word in a sentence – also AI.
There are four types of Artificial Intelligence. They are as follows:
1. Purely Reactive
These machines have no memory or data to work with and specialize in just one field of work. For example, in a chess game, the machine observes the moves and makes the best possible decision to win.
2. Limited Memory
These machines collect data in order to build memory. They have enough memories to make proper decisions. For example, this machine can suggest a restaurant based on the location data that has been gathered.
3. Theory of Mind
These machines, which do not yet exist, will in theory be able to understand thoughts and emotions and interact socially.
These machines, which do not yet exist, will in theory be intelligent, sentient, and conscious.
5 Types of AI Self Storage Technology
Artificial intelligence is transforming the way companies and people do business. It’s no different for self storage. Here are five artificial intelligent storage technologies already on the market.
1. Swivl, AI Chatbot
Swivl touts itself as “the only self storage AI assistant” (we actually use their chatbot on Storelocal.com!). The company has programmed its bots with a self storage natural language library, so it acts as the “first line of defense to save your team time and help you increase bookings.” Currently, Swivl’s conversational self storage chatbot serves over 2,500 locations.
So why use Swivl? Recently, 90% of all self storage operators surveyed stated a chatbot was critical in improving their customer experience. Additionally, while consumers don’t expect a human agent to be readily available at all times, they do expect online self-service options which a chatbot can provide; in fact, 69% of customers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions.
2. Blue Eye, AI Surveillance
Blue Eye video surveillance combines AI technology with human intelligence to prevent unwanted visitors, turning your existing camera network into an active real-time crime prevention security system.
While most security video systems provide sufficient visual coverage of a property, all they do is record; if a crime or burglary is captured on video, nothing can be done to prevent it. The Blue Eye smart video monitoring solution focuses on proactive theft prevention – i.e., stopping crime before it happens. How does that work?
Blue Eye embeds AI software into your existing camera network which “watches” your property for threats after hours or while you are away. If a threat is detected, an alert is immediately sent to Blue Eye’s Command Center where highly trained Video Surveillance Technicians (VSTs) take over. At that point, a live person is now viewing your self storage property in real-time to assess the situation and take appropriate action (a verbal warning over the loudspeaker, calling the police, and so on).
3. AI Lien, Lien to Auction Management System
While not AI, per se, AI Lien is an automated self storage solution that streamlines and automates your lien to auction process. The company understands that dealing with this administrative process is a pain, which can lead to mistakes being made, legal issues, and angry customers.
AI Lien automates the process so you can focus on growing the business. You don’t even have to switch between software. AI Lien integrates with your existing self-storage software and allows you to customize your configuration according to your needs and State Law.
By automating the lien to auction process, self storage operators can save time, collect cash sooner, and increase customer satisfaction. Plus, a dedicated team of customer service representatives can help at any time. One more bonus? AI Lean helps you go green, reducing your postage and paper consumption.
4. Prorize, AI Revenue Management
Self-storage operators often need to resolve complex and uncertain pricing questions, often resulting in mistakes that cost time and money. Prorize, a global leader in self storage revenue management solutions, has created a Self Storage Revenue Optimizer™ (SSRO™) designed to increase revenue and improve your bottom line. The SSRO algorithm looks at hundreds of combinations of parameters (e.g., price, promotion, unit type, unit size, customer segment, competition, season, and other market conditions) to forecast demand and accurately predict the price a customer is willing to pay for each self storage unit.
Benefits of Prorize include:
- Maximizing revenue per unit
- Predicting customer behavior
- Reducing human intervention and pricing errors
- Dedicating fewer resources while achieving better results
Prorize states that “...while it may be pennies on the dollar, it’s the cumulative incremental revenue gained that adds up to an average lift of 10% or more over the industry average.”
5. Veritec, AI Revenue Management
Veritec has been in the self storage space since 2001 and is now on its “fourth generation” self storage pricing analytics. The software – designed to manage financial- and occupancy-related risk – integrates with a variety of property management systems and automatically does the following for you:
- Sets the monthly starting rates for units (i.e., the “street” rate)
- Identifies how much to change a current customer’s monthly rent
- Recommends value pricing (i.e., convenience pricing), highlighting ways to obtain premium rents for the most desirable self storage units
To set pricing and make recommendations, Veritec looks at current occupancy levels, competitive rates, projected rentals and vacancies, and recent rental activity. Recommendations are then based on current unit availability, competitive rates, and current street rates. According to Veritec, “Value pricing alone has been documented to enable self-storage companies to obtain 4-9% more revenue from new move-ins and the associated additional revenue from these customers over their subsequent months of rental.”
Grow Your Business with AI Storage Solutions
The future of self storage is now! According to Inside Self Storage, AI “will transform every layer of self-storage operation… including customer service, tenant access, security, finance, sales, marketing, and revenue management.”
In addition, according to a Swivl survey, 67% of self storage operators intend to adopt some form of self storage automation of AI in the next 12 months. That means if you’re not doing the same, your competition could get the best of you.
Unsure of where to start? Consider joining the Storelocal Cooperative. You’ll be instantly connected to a network of independent self storage operators and vendor partners who can help bring your self storage facility into the 21st century.