Unlocking Innovation: Implementing Smart Lock Technology in a Remote Self-Storage Facility

TIMMINS, CANADA – Mar. 27, 2024


Big Moose Self-Storage, located in the remote city of Timmins, Canada, faced the challenge of extreme temperatures, particularly during the harsh winter season where temperatures can plummet to -30°C. The facility is remotely managed from over 700 kilometers (435 miles) away, requiring a solution that can operate autonomously without onsite support. Co-owner of Big Moose Self-Storage, Ray Chesher, explains the need for a highly durable, online locking solution and strategic provider, saying “our pursuit was not only for a product that could withstand the frigid climate but also create a comprehensive online rental journey for our tenants encompassing everything from online reservations and rental contracts to move-in procedures, all seamlessly conducted without the necessity of human interaction with facility staff.”


To address these challenges, Big Moose Self-Storage partnered with Trachte Building Systems to set a new standard in storage excellence, building a new, state-of-the-art facility equipped with features like climate-controlled units to ensure the preservation of belongings all year long. When it came to securing the storage doors, in partnership with Trachte, an official Onity reseller in North America, Big Moose implemented the Onity Passport™ smart locking solution with IoT gateway on the MachineQ LoRaWAN® network. “Choosing the Passport lock was a no-brainer,” said Chesher.  “Passport has proven to withstand our extreme temperatures and operate seamlessly in a remote environment – Onity fulfilled every commitment it made and played a pivotal role in realizing our objective of achieving a fully online rental experience.”

Through the Onity certified installer program, Big Moose Self-Storage managed the entire installation of the Passport system after receiving training from Weston Security Systems, a valued Onity reseller and installer in Canada. This capability allows the facility managers to control their own installation on their own time. “Once installed, I immediately gained access to real-time insights into facility activity, allowing me to monitor and manage operations from afar,” explained Bob, Big Moose Self-Storage IT Director. “The seamless integration of the Passport system with our property management system (PMS) enables tenants to reserve units and move in without the need for manual intervention, enhancing convenience and efficiency.”


Since Big Moose Self-Storage’s opening in December 2023, it has already achieved a 35% occupancy rate, with tenants providing overwhelmingly positive feedback. The IoT gateway has already demonstrated its value; one of the first alerts the Big Moose operations team received, remotely, was identifying a unit that wasn’t fully closed – a security risk for both tenant and operator. This enabled the site operator to reach out to the tenant who last accessed the unit to rectify the situation quickly and efficiently without onsite intervention. With numerous businesses generating traffic in the area, Big Moose prioritizes managing access to locks before authorizing key sharing. This feature helps mitigate the potential risks linked with unverified key distribution, ensuring enhanced security for all stakeholders involved. Tenants have appreciated the seamless experience facilitated by the integrated PMS system, which allows for hassle-free reservation and move-in processes.

Looking ahead, Big Moose Self-Storage is expanding its operations to other areas and intends to continue using the Passport smart locking solution and retrofitting it into other established facilities. The implementation of climate-controlled units and smart lock technology have proven to be instrumental in enhancing the security, efficiency, and convenience of the Timmins Big Moose facility. By embracing cutting-edge solutions tailored to the unique challenges of its remote location, Big Moose Self-Storage has set a precedent for innovation in the self-storage industry.

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