Original article by Helga Moreno, andcards
The coworking business is getting more competitive. These days workspace operators need more arguments to attract new members and improve their coworking space economy. Industry experts make their forecasts as to coworking niche development. All these recommendations have at least one thing in common. Coworking space of the future must automate as many routines as possible to make residents happier. Workplace access control is one of the daily processes that must be automated at first turn.
Are you looking for ways to make your coworking space accessible 24/7 without the need to take extra safety measures and pay your manager for the night shifts? Read the interview with Artem Valmus, CEO at VSGate to learn what their innovative cloud-based access control system can do for your coworking space.
Helga: Please tell us a bit about the company. How long are you on the market?
Artem: We offer a cloud-based access control system tailored specifically to coworkings. VSGate can be used as a standalone system or integrated with the existing readers and controllers. As a means of identification, we support both — access cards and smartphones.
We started one year ago. In summer 2019 we built our first prototype. Then in autumn, we automated the first small offices. By the end of the year, we got into pilots with bigger coworking chains and raised a seed round of investment. Now we are working on setting up serial production of our devices and developing partnerships for the official launch on the European market.
Helga: What main obstacles did you face on your way to success?
Artem: Our dream from the very beginning was to show people the joy of opening doors with their mobile phones. One of the obstacles we had was to focus on one specific niche where mobile access could solve a really big problem. For instance, in our early days, we've been seriously thinking of markets like AirBnB hosts. But we found offices to be an ideal use case for our technology. Especially modern offices, with often changing tenants. Coworkings!
Helga: Please present to us your product in a few sentences.
Artem: We are a cloud-based platform for automatic access management with integrations vital for coworking spaces.
Our product is a cloud-connected reader, a web-application and a mobile app. VSGate solution enables administrators to grant and revoke access directly from CRM within seconds.
The access can be managed from anywhere for unlimited locations and doors with real-time analytics for each resident.
Helga: What features of your access control system can be considered unique/innovative/revolutionary?
Artem: VSGate has been developed for coworkings. So one of the unique features is having integrations onboard which are common among coworkings — CRMs, meeting room rent apps, guest check-in, and billing software, etc. Integrations can be set-up directly from the VSGate cabinet. For individual scenarios, we offer an open API.
Another useful feature is the standard report pre-sets which make the space utilization and billing transparent for residents.
Helga: Why using your product is beneficial for coworking spaces?
Artem: The primary benefit is the economical one. We help to save up to 30% on the IT workforce compared to not user-friendly legacy access control systems.
The second benefit is the modern-office-look thanks to our mobile access option. It leads to better loyalty of tenants which again results in future business growth. Hard to say which benefit is prevalent.
Helga: What issues can it solve for them?
Artem: Just some examples of issues we can solve:
- Removing the need for issuing 1-time guest cards for open events.
- Guest management and access management synchronization.
- Remotely granting access for any location
Helga: Is it easy to integrate your ACS with a coworking system?
Artem: We offer integrations with the leading coworking CRMs. Integration with andcards is planned for early 2020. A client can connect our product to any of these tools directly from the VSGate web interface. We also offer an SDK for mobile apps to integrate the door opening module into apps already in use by coworkers.
Helga: What hardware does a coworking space need to implement your system?
Artem: If this is a new installation a coworking would require a VSGate Reader. Spaces already equipped with an ACS can upgrade it with VSGate Proxy and migrate to the cloud. Or they can exchange the readers with VSGate Reader to make their system not only cloud-based but also mobile-enabled. In all cases, clients are supposed to wire our devices to electric door locks/turnstiles already in use or choose new ones with the help of our installation partners.
Helga: You constantly improve your product. What is the biggest thing implemented recently?
Artem: The introduction of VSGate Proxy. This device enables coworkings using traditional ACS to put access management to the cloud and control multiple locations from one user-friendly interface.
Helga: Where do you see your company in three years?
Artem: We notice two major trends in our business sphere — the rise of shared economy and physical presence digitalization. We see our future as an IoT platform availing of these trends and helping manage the access & billing for the shared economy in a modern way.