A coworking space finds balance in battery powered locks managed with the Cloud via smart devices
The Lodge is a new coworking space located in the heart of Edwardsville, Illinois, right on its historic Main Street. According to Jay Beard, one of the facility’s owners, it is a renovation of an existing multi-story building that once was home to the town’s Moose Lodge and that is where it derives its name.
Just as the Moose Lodge was a place for people to gather in years past, The Lodge is designed to reimagine people gathering in today’s workspace. More than an office, it is a place to grow and lodge ideas and creativity while connecting with potential coworkers and friends. Offerings include private offices or nook workspaces, a lounge with snacks and coffee, private conference room and a meditation room – all with 24-hour controlled access. The goal of The Lodge is to allow people to work in a space that is their own while collaborating and connecting with their peers.
One of the challenges the owners faced was how to help their clients easily gain and share access to their new environment without sacrificing convenience and security. The facility is open 24/7 but still needs to provide a secure controlled environment to its patrons.
There are so many options available today for access control, the problem is they are not easy to use and are expensive to apply on the scale needed by The Lodge. Its unique business model means every room needs to be treated as its own space and controlled independently. The rooms need to be able to transition back and forth between users in a near seamless manner.
This type of flexibility is not easy to achieve with traditional access control systems. Wiring every opening for access control was just not feasible due to budget constraints – after all, The Lodge is in effect a start-up itself. In addition, most of the traditional solutions would also require a full-time person onsite to manage the facility. This would add operating expenses and create even more complexity for The Lodge business model.
After the owners tried searching for a solution on their own, Beard decided to turn to one of their suppliers – MPM Industries – who was supplying the doors, frames and hardware for the new facility. MPM, located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, is a full-service distributor that loves a good challenge. But even MPM was at a loss for how to solve this dilemma for their client with traditional access solutions until they reached out to Richard Patterson of Patterson Sales, a manufacturer’s representative for a number of door, security and hardware manufacturers.
It was Patterson who suggested they look at pdqSMART. “When Bill Tell, PDQ founder, and his son Logan, first showed me pdqSMART and how the lock was operated by a mobile phone, I thought, ‘Who would want that?'”.
Patterson says he remained a skeptic but slowly began getting more requests from his customers for locks that worked with mobile phones. “I started seeing enough interest in the solution that I really could no longer ignore it and I started recommending it for a few small projects,” says Patterson. “To my surprise pdqSMART was a hit. End-users love the ease and convenience of the solution – they have power over their access control system in the palm of their hand.”
How It Works
pdqSMART is the first access control platform to take “smart technology” and add it directly to battery-powered commercial locks, then manage it with a cloud-hosted solution via mobile phones and smart devices. With pdqSMART the mobile device communicates directly to the lock and to the cloud via the mobile devices inherent data capabilities.
This communication process, known as “live validation,” means that a user’s access rights are verified in real time with the cloud and then allowed or denied access based upon the rules established by the system administrator. These transactions are then logged in the cloud software as events and available at any time to administrators for review and action.
The combination of battery-powered smart locks and mobile device technology means no more expensive wiring and onsite equipment like panels and computers/servers are required to provide access control. This represents a significant cost savings for any project and makes it easier to add as many locks as necessary – a factor that The Lodge really needed. The cost of wiring the whole building for traditional access control was just not in the budget.
The other thing that really appealed to The Lodge owners was that since pdqSMART delivers its solutions via mobile devices, they now have the ability to add users even when the system administrator is offsite. The process is simple to follow and done via their mobile device. All they have to do is add the user and then send them a mobile invite via text or e-mail.
For the recipient, all they need to do is download the pdqSMART app for free and enter the invite code that was sent to them. The invite is tied to access rules established by the administrator and means the invites can be time and date limited as well as defined to one or more openings.
With pdqSMART it is fast and easy to onboard that new outside consultant or deal with a staffing re-organization. Digital re-keying is a near zero-cost solution compared to traditional brass keying, and Beard could immediately see the ROI for deploying pdqSMART.
A Perfect Fit
“The fact that everything can be mobile device based was another big selling feature for us,” Beard notes. “We are trying to provide high quality WiFi services and the fact that pdqSMART deploys without disrupting existing WiFi networks and with minimal involvement from IT staff was a huge plus for us.” Beard adds that they can now manage their own system, set it up in the cloud and design it to fit their needs and all without a specialist to help them do it.
Beard also likes that the end-to-end encrypted communications keep his system safe from hacking attacks. “pdqSMART hosts the data securely in the cloud on Microsoft Azure’s Web services, keeping it safe and always available so I don’t ever have to worry about it.”
Patterson says, “By leveraging the cloud and mobile devices, we reduce a customer’s upfront investment and minimize the need for special IT support. And, as a shared asset, the cloud allows pdqSMART to provide feature-rich services at a lower cost.”
According to Patterson, pdqSMART is different than all the other access control offerings out in the market today. Patterson says, “The first thing customers want is a mobile phone based solution. Traditional wired access control just can’t deliver the functionality they want.”
The pdqSMART wireless door locking solution represents the next evolution in access control and management. By harnessing the technological power of the Internet of Things, the IoT, pdqSMART delivers the solutions of the future, today. pdqSMART brings smart locking devices together with simple and easy to use mobile applications and the unlimited power of cloud computing.
Patterson says PDQ’s ongoing support and maintenance of the system – and their future-proofed solution – ensures Beard and other end users won’t be left “holding the bag” on a solution that is outdated and obsolete as soon as it’s purchased. “This was another selling point for us. pdqSMART hit on all the items we were concerned about and was very affordable. And, our clients are tech savvy and wanted to be working in a space that practiced what it preached.”