Comparing Smart Lock Credential Types for Entry into Coworking Spaces

August 22, 2019

Electronic access control is the modern way to gain entry to a building and to restricted areas within it.

Electronic access control is the modern way to gain entry to a building and to restricted areas within it. These systems are ideal for commercial spaces that have lots of people coming and going, especially if added security is needed once you’re inside. Coworking spaces that rent out desks, offices, and conference rooms to a wide variety of professionals are great examples. 

Why Do Coworking Spaces Need Electronic Access Control?

Old fashioned lock and key systems have largely fallen to the wayside when it comes to managing coworking spaces with multiple entry points and access areas. Electronic systems create efficiency and enhance security by granting access to the right people in the right areas. Smart Locks have become trusted methods of electronic entry; however, it’s often difficult to know what will be the best system for a coworking space.

Most smart locks are battery-powered, which can be a drawback of these types of access systems, but there are ways to mitigate the risk of dead batteries. Batteries can typically last over a year with regular usage — often longer if the smart lock uses “heartbeat” technology to put locks into a standby mode until activated by a user. This is especially useful in coworking spaces, which don’t get much traffic after-hours or on weekends. Many smart lock systems also monitor battery levels and can send alerts when batteries become low. The greatest advantage to being battery-powered is that the smart lock maintains security and holds the necessary information to allow appropriate access, even when the power is out. 

How Reliable are Smart Locks that Use Key Cards?

A reliable access system is important — not only to protect physical assets and keep coworking members safe, but to also ensure that members have access when and where they need it.

Key cards systems use magnetic stripe of RFID cards to grant access. Cards, which are usually the size of a credit card, can fit inside a wallet or pocket where they can become demagnetized or damaged. Sometimes it will take multiple swipes or tries for the reader to recognize the card. Card readers are also typically wired into a central controller that can lose the ability to manage access during a power outage. 

One of the biggest downsides to key cards is that they can be lost or stolen, so coworking space managers rely on their members to keep up with cards and promptly report missing cards. Key cards have to be managed on an individual basis, so there’s usually a method for tracking usage; however, there’s no way to stop a member from lending their card to someone else who shouldn’t be using it. That being said, most other types of access credentials can also be shared or stolen, so key cards are just as viable of an option to managing access.

Are Smart Locks that Use Pin Codes More Secure?

Coworking spaces need to be secure given that they are accessed by a variety of people who often don’t know each other. A sense of security is often a major factor for members when selecting a coworking space. 

Similarly to key cards, there’s no stopping coworking members from sharing their access or pin code. There is an extra layer of security since the knowledge can’t be stolen, but members could naively write down their pin code on a post-it note and leave it on their desk!

With smart locks connected to a cloud-based access system, doors can be locked and unlocked remotely. Even members who have an access code may not be able to enter if the locks are overridden, giving coworking managers more power to regulate when a building can be accessed — no matter which credential type is used.


Download the free Coworking Access Guide to learn more about this and other topics.


Are Mobile Credentials the Easiest Way to Manage Access? 

Coworking members not only need access to get into the building, but certain areas of a space like private offices and conference rooms, may also need to be restricted. Given the number of members and doors in a coworking space, managing access needs to be easy. 

Allowing access using a mobile device is becoming more prevalent because of the security and  control it gives managers and members. The use of mobile devices still allows access to be issued on an individual basis. Members are basically supplying their own physical token for entry, so coworking business don’t need to purchase cards or fobs. Another major difference to using smartphones as credentials is that members will be less inclined to lend their mobile device to someone in order to share access.

What's the Best Credential Type for a Coworking Space?

Electronic access controls systems are more reliable, secure, and easier to manage than traditional methods of entry. The better system for entry into and around a coworking space depends on the needs of the members and managers. Consider:

  • The number of credentials you will need to manage or purchase if using physical devices.
  • Whether or not members are inclined to keep their credential with them in order to gain entry throughout the building.
  • The different types of entryways and what kind of locks are already in use.

A cloud-based access control system like RemoteLock’s EdgeState easily integrates with a wide variety of smart locks and other access control hardware. Their open API means you can also connect it to any software system you already have in place for managing coworking spaces. Coworking managers can fulfill requests for short- or long-term access without having to be physically present. Internet connected smart lock systems can send alerts when doors are unlocked or codes are used, giving coworking managers more insight into how the space is used.

To find out how EdgeState provides a streamlined method to issue, track, and manage access to a coworking space and rooms with in it, request a demo of the platform or connect with a Remote Lock representative

Download the Free eBook: Your Comprehensive Guide to Access Control for Coworking

We packed this ebook with information and resources for coworking space owners and managers. Download your copy.