On Nov. 3, 2017, a new product hit the smartphone market that would change the technology landscape for the foreseeable future. What was this product? The iPhone X. With cutting-edge perks such as facial recognition, advanced mobile photography features, and edge-to-edge OLED display, this is possibly Apple’s most adventurous foray into the market yet.
But, let’s back up for a moment. What really makes the iPhone X different from Apple’s other product offerings? Apple wasn’t afraid to cater to the younger generation with this new product. In fact, millennials were embraced for this smartphone’s development.
The iPhone X was created with millennials in mind. When the time came to promote this new device on the media circuit, there was a very pointed effort to get it into the hands of millennial influencers first. By doing this, Apple was able to point the narrative in a positive direction from the start: Millennial reviewers were ecstatic to have this smartphone that catered to their needs, and the response was overwhelmingly positive on social media from this young crowd. While older technology journalists critiqued the high price tag of the iPhone X, their complaints and criticisms really didn’t matter in the end. The X wasn’t made for them. Millennials wanted a device that was convenient to navigate for exactly the applications they wanted to use, and they wanted it to look sleek in the process.
What has become increasingly clear over the past few years is that, when given the choice, consumers will choose convenience over security. How crazy would it have sounded a few years ago to hear that you could transfer money to a friend by simply pressing a button on your phone? Now, this element of technology has become an almost daily part of people’s financial interactions with apps like Venmo and Square Cash. With these advancements in mind, it’s time that we face these levels of security in technology head on and move to adapt them into our self-storage strategies. Consumers of all ages, but especially younger age groups, are ready to adopt mobile authentication as a security measure, so why would we hesitate?
Apple is of course not alone in figuring out how to target millennials with new product offerings. Here are a few other companies and products that have figured out how to balance the security we all know we need with the convenience that millennials seem to demand from products and services:
Password App – If asked right now, could you rattle off your passwords from all of the following websites and app?
Venmo or Wells Fargo App
The list could literally go on and on, and the sad reality is that many of us start taking short cuts to save time and lengthy resets with passwords. It has almost become too easy for all of us to default to the same password across all platforms, apps, or software as it’s easier than remembering dozens of different passwords with dozens of different special characters and capitalized letters. That’s where the Password app comes in to play. The app syncs with your desktop computer as well and creates and saves a unique password for all your accounts without all the hassle of having to remember each one. Security and convenience are seamlessly paired with Password app.
Mint.com – Mint.com is a budgeting/banking tool that allows you to pool all your bank accounts, credit cards, assets, etc., into one secure place. With Mint, you have the ability to see all of your transactions on one platform; no longer do you have to keep up with a laundry list of different logins for your various credit cards. Mint also offers the option to automatically save a certain amount of money per each pay period, which means you can grow your vacation fund and savings account without ever having to think about it. Mint.com is available via app, which only adds to the level of convenience offered by this software. Since there is sensitive information, Mint does provide several steps to verify your login with text codes and email confirmations. Once your device is recognized, it will let you log in with your set credentials.
Wells Fargo – When Wells Fargo partnered with Zelle, they opened up a new way to securely and easily send money to friends and family by email address authentication and linking bank accounts. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see that this major financial institution took a cue from money transfer services such as Venmo and Square Cash to make quick monetary exchanges easier than ever. Wells Fargo has now made itself part of the narrative in this new landscape of instant money transfers, and, as consumers, we’re able to reap the benefits of secure transactions and peace of mind that our funds are safe.
Those of us in the self-storage industry are presented with the unique opportunity to capture the attention of this millennial market like never before! What used to be perceived as an outdated and aging business model is now poised with the unique opportunity to implement cutting-edge technology that will draw in an age group ready to pay a little more money for a whole lot more convenience.
With this background information in mind, we can start to piece together how the self-storage business can benefit from bringing in updated wireless technology to its security strategy. Let’s take a look at some of the top players in this equation:
The Cloud – Talking about the “cloud” has become second nature to so many in the technology industry that it’s easy to forget it’s still an abstract concept to a lot of people. At its core, the cloud is a network of servers that store data through third-party systems. What does that mean for the everyday user?
Convenience. Having your data stored in the cloud means you can free up space on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone device.
Remote access. Ever wondered how Google Docs can save your data instantly as you collaborate on spreadsheets with team members? The cloud. That means you can retrieve your documents and the immediate changes whether you’re at home or literally across the world; sign into your Google account and you’re able to view your work in real time.
Security. Computers are fallible and prone to viruses and hackers. If your machine falls victim to a dreaded phishing or malware attack, you could lose every single document and piece of data located on the device itself. This problem can be completely eradicated by backing up your information in the cloud.
So, what does this mean for self-storage technology? It’s simple: We’re in a new era. The way we’ve historically had to think about data storage, file backups, and information processing itself has entered a fresh wave wherein we can ditch tradition. Much like the new generation of iPhones, there’s a new way to think about how we can interact with this new group of young customers and prospects; they have higher expectations for companies because they were raised with advanced technology at their fingertips. With cloud storage, your facility can operate with a new ease of use in its navigation of software systems. That clunky CD-ROM system you’ve had to use for your security technology can get tossed to the curb. Welcome to the age of the cloud!
Mobile Access – It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that our smartphones have become an extension of our arms. People across all age groups are hardly ever separated from their iPhone or Android devices, so it’s a natural progression to include smartphones in your self-storage facility’s security plan. By providing mobile access to your tenants, you free them having to remember codes or keep up with keys. You can even remove the need for keypads at the entrance gate. Mobile access can bring about an almost revolutionary level of convenience to your tenants by allowing them to open their units and gates with the touch of a button on their smartphones. This is a major selling point when you begin to market your new smart units: One tap on a screen and your unit is open.
Bluetooth – It’s difficult to overstate the importance and prevalence of Bluetooth technology in today’s landscape. We can see it all the way from Nest thermostats in our homes to the Apple Watches on our wrists. Bluetooth has become an integral part of the way we interact with the world around us. Doesn’t it make sense that you bring Bluetooth to your facility by way of your security strategy?
The most recent iterations of Bluetooth have made it to be proficient at multitasking, so much so that in some cases you can have up to seven devices connected to each other at one time. This is made possible by the idea of short connection times between devices, rather than the historically long-term connection.
Automation – We’re currently in an age of automation across almost all industries in some iteration or other. Convenience reigns supreme for consumers, especially those in the millennial age bracket. The concept of trading privacy as currency is something of a new idea and can be intimidating.
Door Unit – The idea of a smart unit is something that may sound a little far-fetched to some. Really? Smartwatches, smartphones, and now smart units?But don’t dismiss the idea quite yet! Bringing technology into your storage units themselves can bring about significant increases in your ROI, as well as provide your tenants with a much more convenient way to interact with their storage spaces.
Speaking of convenience, did you know that it’s now possible to grant temporary remote access to your unit? Let’s say you need to get your kayak out of your unit before the weekend, but you’re preoccupied with no time to visit the self-storage facility. You can give your friend of Task Rabbit contact a temporary access code and they can get in and out of your unit while you’re at work. Once your kayak is dropped off at your apartment, just revoke the access and you’re back to being the only entrant allowed into your smart unit.
The Big Picture Millennials view security through the lens of convenience and perks. Growing up in the social media age has redefined societal perceptions of keeping personal information close to the chest. You want to be able to find your friends nearby on the Facebook app? Click the terms and conditions agreement and you’re all set. Want to use Google Maps or Waze to get detailed directions and even see if you’re surpassing the speed limit in a specific area? Enable your location services on your smartphone device and you’re ready to navigate whatever unfamiliar terrain you’d like.
It’s fascinating to think that we can get into a stranger’s car (Uber, Lyft) and still be completely on the map and safely trackable with the location sharing services on our phones. Think about it: Getting into a car with someone we don’t know used to be the material of local news PSAs. Now, with security technology, ridesharing has become second nature to anyone who might otherwise call a cab.
As we start to understand the bigger picture of how technology has become intertwined with security, it becomes increasingly clear that we can’t ignore ways to use this pairing to our advantage. Self-storage facilities thrive when their tenants are happy with their experiences, and what’s the most important element of a good storage experience? Security! Don’t wait to explore mobile access options in your facility’s strategic security plan. The future is now, and your tenants deserve to experience the peace of mind that only advanced mobile access can offer.
Rachael Wheeler is a copywriter for Janus international, the leading global manufacturers of turnkey self-storage building and security solitons, including roll-up doors, swing doors, hallway systems, portable storage solutions, door replacement programs, and the SecurGuard smart mobile entry system. Learn more at janusintl.com/SecurGuardapp.