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5 Reasons Mobile Devices Hold The Keys To The Office Of The Future


Andy Kleinman wanted his company’s offices to encourage creativity. As the CEO of mobile technology company Wonder, he wanted to embrace an environment where employees wanted to come to work every day. So when it came time to move into a new space in Los Angeles, Kleinman wanted to create a place that would support the flexibility of people going in and out of the building at different times. He and his team installed a smartphone-enabled access control system that would allow employees to seamlessly move through the office using their phone or mobile device. 

A number of companies like Wonder are turning to mobile access control systems for their office buildings. An alternative to key cards or fobs, which are easily lost or copied, these systems allow people to enter and exit a building using their smartphone or mobile device. An increasing number of companies are leveraging this technology to gain better insight into how their offices operate. From convenience to safety, here are five reasons companies are turning to mobile access control systems for their offices. 

1. They Improve The Employee Experience

As companies seek to attract and retain talent, providing a positive and customized employee experience is becoming more important. Employees are no longer simply looking for a high-paying salary. Today, employees want perks from their company, like an engaging office environment and the flexibility to work on their own terms. Human resources departments are refocusing their efforts toward building teams and strategies to enhance the overall well-being of their staff, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report. 

Implementing a mobile access control system can make it easier for employees to enter and exit their workspace. Mobile access control systems save employees time by allowing them to use their phone to get into a building, as opposed to searching for a separate keycard that is easier to lose and an additional item to carry. This can alleviate a lot of stress and increase productivity. 

Los Angeles-based company First Media saw these improvements firsthand. Employees at the data-driven media company apply technology and innovation to just about everything they do. 

“A big part of being a millennial and serving millennials is the digital concept,” First Media Office Manager Madeleine West said. “We’re very much accustomed to using our mobile devices for everything, so naturally it just made sense to us that we would want to employ a system that opens the doors that also include mobile.” 

First Media worked with Openpath, a provider of mobile access control systems, to implement a solution that would make entering and exiting the building more convenient. Employees, who were used to checking emails and taking calls on their phones throughout the day, didn’t need to think twice about using their mobile device to access the building. They could even continue talking on their phone, or leave it in their bag, and unlock the door at the same time. Using a mobile access control system provided a more seamless way for First Media employees to get around, and it continues to improve the way they experience their office environment. 

Flexibility is an important characteristic of an access control system, and systems like Openpath provide multiple access methods. For users who prefer using a keycard or fob, Openpath supports those access methods as well and those users have the mobile app on their smartphone as backup should they forget or misplace their physical credential.


2. They Enhance Building Safety And Security Measures

As instances of active shooters in schools and corporate campuses continue to make headlines, office owners and managers can never be too careful about who they allow in their buildings. The safety and security of employees is a top priority for companies. This means that doors should be locked by default to improve safety, but this can slow productivity. With a mobile access control solution, employees have instant access using their phones, and convenience settings on locked doors make “instant unlock” available to credentialed employees who only need to touch the reader on the door to unlock it. Openpath’s “touch” technology allows employees to keep their phone in their purse or pocket, walk up to any locked door and open it with the touch or wave of their hand. They can enter even if their app isn’t open or their phone is locked and sitting at the bottom of their purse or backpack. The mobile app also comes with a "lockdown" feature that lets employees instantly lock an unlocked door from their phone if they see someone approaching who shouldn't be there. This level of employee empowerment makes people feel safer while still encouraging an open and flexible work environment.

Mobile-enabled systems are less prone to security risks than traditional keycard access control systems. While a traditional key or keycard can be copied, lost, stolen or kept by an employee after termination, mobile access control systems live completely on a user’s mobile device and can be managed digitally by the system administrator. This makes it more secure, given the use of encryption and multifactor authentication.

For example, Openpath’s mobile access control system enables companies to implement multifactor authentication, meaning users need to take several steps to enter a building. All mobile communication and cloud communication is encrypted to eliminate security threats. Openpath also provides real-time monitoring through a dashboard displaying all successful and failed entries into the office, as well as sensor alerts. This allows office managers or security staff to track activity throughout the day, and document any suspicious activity. 

Administrators can also revoke access from employees who no longer work for their company with the touch of a button or rely on Openpath's Directory Services integrations to handle that automatically — another valuable time-saving option.


3. They Streamline Systems And Processes

Mobile and cloud-based access control systems offer easy integration with systems and software that companies are already using to manage their business. For instance, Openpath integrates with directory management software, like Active Directory or GSuite, and internal communication platforms, like Slack. The Openpath ecosystem is designed to work with tools and processes companies already have in place.

These integrations make it easier for administrators to keep track of which employees have access to which office space, and verify the identity of visitors. For example, integrating a visitor management system with the Openpath app may let a hiring manager know that a prospective employee has arrived for an interview, and will need a guest access code. 

4. They Are Economically Beneficial

Mobile and cloud-based access control systems present several economic benefits compared to traditional, key- or badge-based security systems, saving both money and time. Keys or other tangible security mechanisms can easily get lost, and often need to be copied for new employees and visitors. Re-keying the locks every time someone leaves the company or is let go can be expensive and time-consuming, and the management of physical keys is often a time drain. As for card reader access control systems, many key cards stop working after they have been used too many times, and often need to be replaced.

Maintenance costs of managing a legacy system from a human resource and local server perspective can be alleviated with a cloud-based solution. A more traditional access control system requires the installation of local software onto a computer, which must be maintained and managed by an IT person, but mobile and cloud-based control systems do not require additional maintenance. 

At a time when everything is moving to the cloud, workplace security systems are following suit. With a cloud-based access control system, there is no need for local servers or software, which is especially helpful when managing access for multiple locations or buildings as there are no network, server or software capital expenditures nor management costs. Mobile access control systems also reduce upfront costs and ongoing fees of buying, printing and issuing physical badges. It has also been proven to increase productivity of administrative workers and security teams where companies can grant or revoke access digitally. 

5. They Give Companies More Control Over Their Office Space

For people who manage multiple offices or buildings, it can be difficult to keep track of activity across locations. Mobile access control systems help security and facilities personnel to remotely manage building entries so they don’t have to be on-site. Openpath’s cloud-based solution gives administrators the opportunity to manage access systems for multiple buildings at once from a single pane of glass on their computer, tablet or smartphone screen. They can also unlock the door remotely or text a one-time key code to visitors, and control how long each visitor has to access the building.

For companies with different office locations, a mobile access control system can be a viable solution that allows employees access to multiple offices. Employees no longer need to carry multiple badges or keys, because everything is on their phone and on one app. The system can be easily managed by a single facilities manager, who is able to remotely control access privilege across multiple locations.  

By allowing company administrators visibility into office operations, mobile access control systems give companies an opportunity to take control of their physical space. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and OpenpathBisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.