Interview with Jan Michalik, conducted by Cobot.
Sam Bender: Thanks for speaking with me Jan! Can you tell me about Sensorberg and your role there?
Jan Michalik: Hi Sam, I'm also glad we can talk about such an important topic and exchange our views. However, getting to your question... Sensorberg has an open IoT platform for building control and management. We operate in the coworking, office, self-storage vertical as well as in residential buildings. Our main use case is access control. This is typically the first point of contact with a building: opening the door.
Access is managed by card or smartphone app. All this is secure thanks to the "offline" function that we have developed. This means that users can access rooms and open doors regardless of whether the internet is available or not.
This offline ability applies to all types of doors. It doesn't matter if it's a front door, a storage unit, rolling doors, or even elevators. Once our infrastructure is established, further implementation of use cases is possible. For example, the integration of smart home components. With Sensorberg, you could control lighting, blinds or heating.
We are about 40 employees and based in Berlin. My role is Sales Manager. I'm responsible for the verticals coworking and office. Usually, I'm in touch with different prospects and customers and together we come up with the best smart workspace solution for their projects.
SB: What are some of the advantages of integrating access control and workspace management software (such as Cobot)?
JM: We really value working with workspace management software because it makes life easier for the operators and they get a lot of benefits from it. The first benefit is that the systems really work together rather than being separate. This saves operators time and provides efficient space management. Operators really no longer have to do the manual work of distributing access control rights, since these are distributed automatically.
So for example, you can set up plans or tariffs in your Cobot environment. With the integration of Sensorberg, you're able to connect your plans to resources which can be doors or lockers. Everything is synchronized automatically. There’s really no more manual work, for the operator. If plans are changed in Cobot, access rights adjust accordingly. This really saves operators a lot of time and effort. In addition, it is very convenient for operators because both systems are one interface. There is no need to switch between platforms, which makes management very easy.
Another benefit is in the aspect of security. In Cobot, for example, you can see: who among your members has access rights or who is in the space, and if the plan runs out, access rights are automatically revoked.
There are benefits to users as well. They can simply reserve their workspace online and get instant access to the space. To do this, they need to download the smartphone app and log in with their Cobot credentials. The app will allow them to open the door to the space.
SB: What would you say to someone who isn’t sure if they want to stop using traditional key access?
JM: First of all, I would say that they should just think about the time and effort that they actually spend handling keys. Depending on the number of members or doors they have in their space, the effort to handle keys can be pretty high. For example, if they are on- or off-boarding members, these processes often involve signing documents and handing over keys, which consumes a lot of time. If their space has a frequent member exchange, this might take even more time due to processes in key management.
Moreover, keys can also get lost. In that case, it is very common to have to replace the locks, which is quite expensive. Additionally, new keys have to be bought. Also, if members cancel their subscription and are no longer members of the space, it takes a lot of time to get back the keys in case they take them home.
If the space operator uses management software, it makes sense to combine it with a digital access control system because distributing digital keys is much easier and more efficient than issuing physical keys. It's also less expensive, and access control rights can be easily managed by the management system. Everything is done through a web browser, which ultimately enables the operator to save a lot of time.
SB: What changes have you seen in access control needs since the start of the pandemic?
JM: During the pandemic, we saw that contactless solutions were in high demand. The ideal case is access via smartphone. Then the doors open automatically, so there is no contact with the handles. Flexible solutions that allow the workspace to be managed remotely without being on-site are also popular.
Also, something that is very important in pandemic days is monitoring who has actually visited the space. This allows operators to track the flow of visits to the building. Another feature that is of interest during a pandemic is linking rooms and reservations to access control. This way, operators make only 50% of their space available, for example, which allows for social distance.
SB: What do you think the future holds for coworking spaces using your technology?
JM: In my opinion, coworking spaces using our technology might have a bright future. By implementation of Sensorberg's technology, they have a future-proof workspace that is always up-to-date in terms of software; we have an IoT infrastructure set up that they can profit from; our ecosystem and partner network enables the development of further use cases, different services, and new business models.
We also see many workspace operators renting storage space in addition or conversely self-storage operators renting workspace. The range of possibilities is quite big.
We are confident that our coworking clients will be able to scale with Sensorberg in the future because we love to grow with our clients. We have cases like this among our clients who started with one coworking space and now have 20 or more locations managed using one Sensorberg platform and technology.
SB: Thanks again for your time! Where can readers go if they want to learn more about Sensorberg or our integration?
JM: Thanks! Readers can just go to our website or check out the Cobot and Sensorberg developer resources for more information on the integration.
The interview was conducted by Sam Bender, Senior Communications Specialist at Cobot.