Tips

How to Automate Access to a Coworking Space

Helga Moreno

A successful modern coworking business must be extremely flexible and customer-oriented. People expect you to meet their expectations. They want to have access to the coworking space any time they need, 24/7.

This is quite understandable as entrepreneurs cooperate with companies all over the globe located in different time zones. They need to participate in remote meetings, discussions, negotiations, etc. Those activities may take place late in the evening, early in the morning, or even at night. Sometimes working schedules are crazy.

Modern technology can help you cater to each and every inquiry. We are talking about a combo of hardware and coworking software providing automated access to the coworking space.

Keep your door open for paying customers round the clock.

Benefits of Automated Coworking Space Access

The access control system integrated with your workspace management system brings quite a number of advantages to your coworking business.

  • Security. Make your coworking space a safer place with access control. Limit the access possibility for strangers and make your meeting room even more comfortable for paying customers.
  • Culture. Introduce a specific coworking culture and discipline. No entrance for members without advance booking. No access for members without prepayment.
  • 24/7 access. Provide members with the utmost comfort of all-day access. The manager does not have to be present all the time. Show the coworkers how much you trust them.

Innovative Coworking Access Control

If you value time and effort, you probably prefer innovative solutions that guarantee flawless experience both for community manager and resident.

Integrated hardware-software solutions that work with andcards coworking space app is a good example of a contemporary approach to access control. The software integrates with digital smart locks and RFID readers to efficiently manage the check-in/out for the meeting rooms. It is used for coworking spaces to automate management routines, especially booking procedures and access control for meeting rooms.

It saves a lot of time with 1-click meeting room booking and simple automatic door unlocking with a smartphone app. You don’t need to configure the software. Just press the “unlock” button on your smartphone and get in. The procedure becomes super simple. It works for both the coworkers and coworking managers.

For a better experience, it’s important to make sure that you are going to use an advanced access control system. The one providing really futuristic features. Keep in mind that old-fashioned access control systems come as a separate software distributed by hardware provider. This software is not smart enough to manage your client database, so you have to manage it separately. The processes are not automated which causes poor user experience and enormous operational inefficiencies. In the long run, it results in a loss of money.

Types of Modern Access Control Systems

Access control systems vary a lot in types and levels of complexity. Here we listed the ones used in the coworking industry for you to consider their pros and cons.

Plastic Cards

This is a typical plastic card that contains an embedded computer chip, either of a memory or a microprocessor type. The chip is storing and transmitting data that pertains to either value, information or a combination of both. The data is stored and processed within the card’s chip. The card data is transmitted via a reader, the outward-facing component of the smart card security computing system.

  • Pros: A plastic card fits into a wallet. The hardware is affordable. Cards work without an internet connection.
  • Cons: Easy to forget at home or lose. A card can be passed to another person.

Plastic cards are an optimal access control solution for a present-day coworking space. Don’t be scared of costs add up as nobody says that you must distribute the cards for free. Sell them to compensate.

Smartphone BLE

An advanced system provides multiple ways to unlock the door using the smartphone. Once you have downloaded and configured the app, the smartphone is ready to open the door. The system unlocks the door as long as the app is running and your phone is close to the reader.

  • Pros: Using a smartphone as a key seems cool. The system works without an internet connection. In addition, the users are reluctant to pass their smartphones to other people.
  • Cons: More expensive door lock hardware. The system doesn’t work without Bluetooth. The user will not enter if their smartphone has a low battery charge. The system is hard to seamlessly integrate into all coworking software due to compatibility issues.

Please note that if this access control system does not work perfectly well, the user is likely to blame coworking manager no matter of the true reason. That’s why we can’t recommend the system.

Smartphone Cloud-based

With this type of mobile access control system, all access data is stored in the cloud by specialized solution providers.

  • Pros: The user can unlock from anywhere simply tapping the button on their smartphone. Users are not likely to pass their smartphones to anybody. The system is easy to integrate into any software.
  • Cons: You need an internet connection to unlock the door. If the smartphone battery is low, you are in trouble. The solution is rather expensive because each door must be connected to the internet.

Pincode

Keypads on door locks might be most familiar to everybody. At its simplest, a keypad is a set of buttons complete with all alphanumerals and a couple of symbols. To unlock the door you just need to enter the combination of the right numbers, a pincode.

  • Pros: The locks are usually cheaper. The system is simple, familiar, and understandable.
  • Cons: People don’t like passcodes. Hard to automate because doors aren’t connected to a single system, each lock is independent.

QR or barcode

QR codes are blocky black and white squares of digital information that take the user to an app or webpage on their smartphone. They can be used as virtual credentials instead of traditional plastic cards. QR codes have a very controversial reputation.

  • Pros: Versatility, connecting online to offline, trackability, cost-effectiveness, branding and visual attractiveness.
  • Cons: Lack of native support, the difficulty of scanning in low light brightness environments.

Seems like QR codes are the worst option of access control implementation. They are not reliable. The technology is supposed to work like this — the software generates a QR code for the door and the users access the room simply by placing their smartphone screens closer to the QR/barcode reader. However, in real life, even low screen brightness can prevent technology from working properly. Everyone has had that frustrative experience at Starbucks trying to scan membership multiple times to make it work.

How to Choose the Best Access Control Solution for Your Coworking Space Needs

The right answer here is — put your specific requirements first when you choose among different access control systems available in the market.

Many organizations prefer moving their business applications and processes to the cloud. This is a current trend for a good number of reasons. Though, you need to think well whether a cloud-based deployment or an on-premises solution makes more sense for your cybersecurity.

Key Benefits of a Cloud-Based Security Solution

They are similar to benefits that attract business to any other cloud offering:

  • ease of deployment,
  • ease of maintenance,
  • scalability,
  • performance,
  • cost flexibility, the list goes on.

Cloud vs. On-Premises

Cloud security is not a universal solution. It doesn’t fit every organization. Entrepreneurs consider comfort level as well as internal and external policies when making a decision. For example, on-premise may be the best choice in case of compliance issues.

Sometimes the best answer is to leverage a mixture of cloud and on-premise security solutions. If this is your case, look for the vendors with a diverse offering that provide the organization with the flexibility to make shifts when necessary. You may require a quickly scalable solution, which means that only on-premises are relevant. But shortly all of a sudden you may need the agility afforded through a cloud-based solution.

All in all, the key is to find a security solution that provides the same perfect experience and access to continuous monitoring results whether or not the offering is in the cloud or on-premises.

Most Popular Access Control System Providers for Coworking Spaces

It’s easy to get lost searching for a decent access control system provider if you are new to the matter. We will try to help you out.

  • You may want to consider Kisi, which is best if you don’t want servers and just cloud solution. They offer the most popular keyless access control system. It's simple and easy to use for businesses. You can give your coworkers the flexibility to unlock doors with their smartphones or issue traditional keycards. It all comes with the benefit of cloud management for administrators.

  • Take a look at Salto or Clay, which is best if you want to have all servers and hardware on-premises. Clay Locking Platform allows co-working space managers centrally control and automate to offer upscale and convenient experience while also reducing overhead.

  • Tapkey offers another affordable solution that turns any lock into a smart lock. It can be used if you already have locks installed. Tapkey access technology allows to register new smart locks and run firmware updates directly from their own app, issue digital keys, grant and restrict mobile access by adding the email addresses of new recipients, read NFC transponders, program NFC transponder such as tags, cards or wristbands directly via their app, open smart locks with Android phones and iPhones, see every access activity that’s ever transpired.

  • RemoteLOCK is one of the leading providers of cloud-based access control and smart lock management software. You can integrate their automated door access solutions with your main workspace membership management system. RemoteLOCK allows you to control who has access to what areas of the space, and when. It enables you to monitor usage and access through all entry points such as garage doors, gates, roof entrances, elevators, glass doors, and more.

  • Sofia enables you to add an innovative touch to your coworking space design with an access control system supporting badges and smartphones. The software provides a complete management interface that includes control over users and permissions. The system is tailored to coworking centers’ needs that include building subscriptions and renting models for access and workstations. Sofia ACS provides high security keeping a comprehensive log of access events and allowing managers to change permissions in real-time.

  • HID delivers award-winning access control systems. Here's what the service can do for your coworking space: trusted access, for the right people at the right times; safer environments for members, visitors, and contractors; member convenience and workflow optimization through integrated, mobile solutions; increased visibility, with real-time monitoring and cost-control functions; investment protection via scalable, forward-looking solutions; personalized concept-to-implementation support.

  • Enterprise Systems offers advanced access control solutions. Here's what you get with your package: access for the right people at the right time; enhanced security for your resources, assets, members, and managers; safer business environment, maximum member convenience and workflow optimization in an affordable way.

  • Inner Range provides flexible and scalable access control solutions to fit any size of your coworking space. Here's what you can do with the service: manage your system from one or many locations; manage your manager's and member's access across all your locations; easily assign or suspend access cards or fobs for your managers/members; temporarily elevate or reduce access privileges and times; manage access for doors, elevators, car parks, and vehicles; assign high-security dual user access or anti-passback policies; receive and escalate alarms for access security violations; use the event log to verify and report on all access events and violations.

Local Vendors

If you prefer to deal with local vendors, beware that oftentimes they have no API or offer some exotic integrations. Even if their solutions can be integrated with your own custom software in the long term you will feel disappointed with their “sell and forget” behavior. Plus, continuous maintenance may turn out to be expensive. In a couple of years, you will have to pay even more because your system will become outdated.

So, how to avoid pitfalls while automating your coworking access? It’s easy, choose coworking software first because you will use it all the time. Check if your coworking space software supports integrations. Check the list of hardware recommended by the coworking software provider. They often partner with ACS hardware and can recommend an excellent deal.

To Conclude

Now, at the mature age of coworking when the industry becomes more competitive, only smart and innovative keep the leadership. Here the last generation automated access control system makes a difference. It makes your coworking space smart. It paves the way to business development while cutting costs and ensuring security in the long run.

Boiling it down, the purpose of automating access to a coworking space is to provide quick, convenient access for authorized people, while at the same time, restrict access for unauthorized ones. And now you know what options are available and how to implement them in the particular coworking space.

Questions? Get in touch with our team, and we’ll be happy to speak!

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About andcards

andcards is a coworking management software that makes coworking spaces more cool and efficient. andcards branded mobile apps are loved by thousands of members and coworking space managers for simplicity and intuitiveness.