Smart Buildings With IoT for Flexible Workspaces

By Maximilian Schuetz
September 24, 2018

With advancements in technology, the Internet has permeated every sphere of our life. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) smart buildings have emerged across the globe. This new generation of architecture presupposes that various operations and pieces of equipment within a building are integrated and automated, due to cutting-edge software and Wi-Fi. Compared to legacy buildings, their smart counterparts consume less energy, minimize environmental impact, provide enhanced security and help occupants stay more productive—through improved lighting, comfortable temperature, enhanced physical safety and sanitation.

While smart offices aren’t ubiquitous, many space owners purchase special software that helps their businesses decrease costs, streamline operations, automate specific processes and improve space management.

If you’re starting a coworking, flex or shared space business and consider making your space a smart one, here are some things to take into account:

1)   An efficient IT network—equipment, data storage, IP telephony, security, CCTV, and HVAC, that can be managed.

2) Coworking software that will help you manage space and resources.

3)   Mobile access control solutions that take security to a new level. Keys become redundant. Think personalized access, unique user credentials and the possibility of remote control of your venue.

4)   Room sensors and smart thermostats that enable you to control temperature depending on the occupancy.

5)   Visitor management systems mean that no visitor will go unidentified, and help reduce operational costs to create a more positive image of your venue.

6)   Ergonomic furniture means more comfortable working conditions and better health.

7)   Sufficient light level is needed to create a healthier and safer work environment.

Why smart offices?

Flexible offices can benefit from smart technologies and special coworking software in many ways. From access control to improved lighting and temperature control, from member authentication and online meeting room bookings—’smart office’ means that you can automate a majority of processes within a building.

For you, as a business owner, this means simplifying your operations and cutting down costs on employees that would otherwise control those processes. You can also derive a higher profit by charging clients a larger fee for premium services.

For your members, a smart workstation is a healthier, safer and happier place to be. Before setting up a smart office, make sure that you are equipped for it and are aware of some of the pitfalls.

Common issues when converting to a smart office

You do not have to have a newly constructed building to make it smart. In fact, majority of existing buildings are suitable for smart technology; however, it should be noted that to convert a legacy flexible office to a smart one, the following prerequisites are mandatory:


-          Good IT infrastructure

-          Building automation

-          3D drawings

-          Asset information

-          Wireless sensors

-          Special software

All of the components mentioned above mean higher costs up front for you. However, as you implement smart technologies, they will inevitably lead to a more sustainable, cost-effective and efficient flexible office.


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Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry


The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 


Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.


“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.


For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (kait@getkisi.com)

Maximilian Schuetz

Max is the COO and co-founder of Kisi.

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