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8 Not So Obvious Technological Needs You Want to Have at Your Coworking Space

Jordan Bishop
8 Not So Obvious Technological Needs You Want to Have at Your Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. They offer entrepreneurs, startup owners, and freelancers a great way to get out of the house and be around other professionals.

However, to ensure that your space is successful and meets the needs of your members, it's essential to understand their needs. Some of the most critical needs any coworking space should cover are related to technology, which is particularly relevant given the current trends in the development of the metaverse, a.k.a., Web 3.0.

While there are certain must-haves in any list of technological requirements for coworking space, like an internet connection, connected printers, digital screens, touch-screen whiteboards, and so on, there are other vital items coworking space owners must add to this list.

This post will look at some of the most important (and not so obvious) technological considerations for coworking spaces.

1. Reliable High-speed Internet with a Backup ISP

Ok, so a high-speed internet connection is the very first thing you need to secure when setting up a coworking space, and it's an obvious need you absolutely have to meet. While this is a no-brainer, we want to focus your attention on reliability. Reliability in connectivity is key when offering a good service to your clients. Internet connections may fail sometimes, but that cannot happen when one of your members is in the middle of a career-changing meeting or closing the deal of their lives.

That's why, if you want to offer a top-notch coworking service, you need to have a backup internet service provider you can seamlessly and automatically switch to if your primary ISP experiences any technical difficulties. If your main connection goes through a landline fiber optic cable, you might consider using a wireless 5G connection as backup. That way, if the landline is cut or interrupted for any reason, your members can still access the internet and get their work done.

A backup internet connection won't only serve you when your primary provider breaks down, but it can also provide extra bandwidth when there is excess traffic in your primary network. You can even offer access to your backup internet connection as an opt-in service for specific clients who want a better connection when the main network is overly crowded.

2. A Scalable, Future-proof Automatic WiFi Network

coworking space member joining wifi

Even the best internet connection is worthless if coworkers can't connect to it. That's why you need to ensure that your space has a top-notch, next-gen WiFi network that can handle the number of users you currently have and any future growth.

To improve the user experience when using your space and your WiFi, it’s best to automate WiFi access. You don’t want your members to have to walk up to the front desk every single time they need the access code, do you?

A strong WiFi network for a big space may be expensive, but it’s manageable, and it’s well worth the investment.

3. Secure Connections

Top-notch network security goes hand in hand with a strong WiFi network. In today's world, having a password-protected network is not enough; you also need to ensure that your network is encrypted and that all data passing through it is secure. This is particularly important if you offer any kind of online services or expect members to use the network for sensitive tasks. For example, if you want your clients to feel confident that they’ll be able to make transactions when investing in anything from GICs to crypto without compromising their personal data, you’ll need to offer extra secure connections.

The best way to achieve this is to use a VPN service on all devices, such as Macs, Windows, etc., that will encrypt all data passing through your network. This way, even if someone managed to hack into your network, they wouldn't be able to see any of the data being transmitted.

In addition to using a VPN, you should consider using a strong firewall to secure your network further. This will prevent anyone from accessing your network without your permission and make it more difficult for hackers to steal data.

Finally, it's crucial to screen all devices allowed to connect to your network. This can be done using various methods, such as MAC address filtering, IP address filtering, or even requiring all devices to have a unique password or setting up a biometric authentication system.

4. Digital Signage

Digital signage is a set of display technologies like LCDs, LED screens, and digital projections used to show information in public places. Its use in coworking spaces is a growing trend and for a good reason. It's a great way to communicate with your members and provide them with relevant information such as announcements, event listings, or targeted ads.

Other uses coworking spaces are giving digital signage include:

  • To display announcements and news in a central location.
  • To upsell and cross-sell products and services to members.
  • To increase member engagement by providing a forum for discussion and feedback.
  • For wayfinding and directions in large spaces.
  • As a security measure, to display alerts or warnings in case of emergencies.

You can use digital signage in various ways, and it's an excellent investment for a coworking space of any size.

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5. Blockchain Technology

The use of blockchain technology is on the rise, and it's not hard to see why. A blockchain is a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. This makes it ideal for various applications, including financial transactions, supply chain management, and identity management.

Coworking spaces can use blockchain technology in several ways, such as:

  • To create a secure and transparent system for managing member payments.
  • To track and manage coworking space assets.
  • To securely store and share sensitive data.
  • To create tamper-proof records of transactions.
  • To create a token economy through cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Blockchain technology is still in its early stages but has excellent potential for coworking spaces. It's important to stay up-to-date on this emerging technology and to find ways to use it in your space.

6. Mobile Access Control

coworking space member opening door with a smartphone

More and more people are using their smartphones as their primary means of communication and access to the internet. This trend is only going to continue, which is why coworking spaces need to offer mobile access control.

Mobile access control allows members to use their smartphones to unlock doors, enter codes, or even make payments. This is a convenient way for members to access the space and add an extra layer of security.

Some things to consider when implementing mobile access control in your coworking space include:

  • Making sure that the system is secure and cannot be hacked.
  • Ensuring that only authorized users have access to the system.
  • Making sure that the system is easy to use and understand.

7. Disinfection and Sanitation Technologies and Protocols

No current list of technological requirements for any business that deals with in-person clients and customers would be complete without considering covid and any other potentially world-disrupting infectious disease. Taking all the necessary measures to prevent infection in your coworking space is critical, including having the proper disinfection and sanitation technologies and protocols in place. Due to the enormous impact of the covid-19 pandemic, more technologies are now available than ever to combat this and other diseases. However, some of the most effective and easy to implement in even a large coworking space are:

  • Installing high-quality HEPA filters in all HVAC units.
  • Installing UVC germicidal irradiation lamps in air conditioning systems.
  • Using touchless technologies for things like door handles, elevators, and faucets
  • Installing thermal cameras to detect and track members that develop a fever.
  • Installing automatic dispensers for hand sanitizer and soap.

There are other more exotic solutions, such as autonomous robotic disinfection units that work similarly to your standard robotic vacuum, only irradiating surfaces with germ-killing UVC light instead.

8. VR and AR Equipment

One of the biggest trends in technology today is the metaverse. This new digital frontier promises to change how we interact online for good, and coworking businesses need to be prepared. One way they can do this is by investing in high-quality virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) equipment that members are unlikely to be able to afford but will gladly rent from you when they need them. Besides providing members the chance to access the virtual world through a headset, coworking spaces can also use this equipment to:

  • Create virtual tours of the coworking space.
  • Create immersive experiences for members.
  • Train staff on new protocols or procedures.
  • Provide a way for members to connect in a virtual space.

The Bottom Line

These are just a few critical technological needs for coworking spaces in the coming years. With the right technologies in place, coworking businesses can stay ahead of the curve and provide their members with the best possible experience. If you want to future-proof your coworking business, ensure you're investing in the right technologies like the ones mentioned above.

The article was written by Jordan Bishop, a personal finance expert and travel hacker who holds a degree in finance and entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada. He is the founder of Yore Oyster and How I Travel, two sites to help you optimize your finances while living an international life. He recently published his first book, Unperfect, an exploration of problem-solving.

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