7 Reasons Every Coworking Space Should Purchase Its WiFi on Subscription
Does your coworking space offer fast, reliable, and secure WiFi internet access?
According to commercial real estate brokerage leader JLL, the market for coworking space -- also known as flexible space -- has been growing 23% annually since 2010, the most robust demand among the office sector.
Coworking Spaces, JLL, WeWork, and Billion Dollar Valuations
JLL, however, is among the first to admit that coworking has some drawbacks with increased cybersecurity risks and greater difficulty protecting intellectual property (IP) in the inherently open, communal work areas that are so popular within coworking spaces.
And while coworking spaces can create collaborative environments, detractors of coworking are quick to point out its major productivity downfall: non-stop distractions.
Even my own experience of working in a coworking space in South Florida for a few months back in 2013 left me with that impression: you can make a lot of great contacts -- think non-stop networking. But it’s often challenging to get stuff done out in open space. And there were most certainly a handful of would-be competitors snooping around with less than honorable purposes. But those situations can be pretty easily remedied by reserving private spaces either for a few hours or full time.
Backed by venture capital, the coworking industry is exhibiting no signs of slowing down any time soon. For example, WeWork recently rebranded as “The We Company” after closing on a $6 billion investment from Softbank. Around the same time, WeWork had risen to a $47 billion valuation with 5,000 employees, 100,000 members, and 10,000,000 square feet of office space under management
WiFi as a Service Subscription for Coworking Space Owners
Given that coworking tends to attract tech startups, Internet access over WiFi is one of the more essential perks that lures in coworking members. In this article, you’ll learn why most coworking spaces should be purchasing WiFi on a subscription basis.
- Provide What Coworking Members Expect: Fast, Reliable, and Secure WiFi -- Every coworking space needs fast, secure, and reliable WiFi to operate efficiently and effectively. Prospects looking at coworking spaces will ask about the reliability of the network and expect nothing short of an optimal end-user experience. Your coworking members don’t want to become experts at shopping for Internet access, WiFi hardware, phone systems, furniture, fixtures, and most of all office space. When you review the included amenities that WeWork promotes on its Workspace page, you’ll see that “Super-fast internet” is listed first -- ahead of micro-roasted coffee, daily cleaning, and 24/7 building access.
- Don’t Harm Your Coworking Company’s Bottom Line With Crappy WiFi -- For most businesses, WiFi has become important enough that it’s now just as mission-critical as utility power, running water, and heating/cooling. You won’t see coworking spaces bragging about their bathrooms or air conditioning. Those are just considered a given. But in a digital-first world, for tech-savvy coworking members, WiFi is like oxygen for their startup. If your coworking space isn’t delivering fast, reliable, and secure WiFi, your crappy WiFi will harm your bottom line as members cancel and share their feedback in online reviews.
- Buy WiFi Like Your Customers Buy Their Coworking -- When it comes to figuring out how much WiFi capacity you need, owners of coworking spaces face a big challenge. While adding members creates a “good problem” to have, it nevertheless creates a problem. Other things being equal, 250 coworking members at one of your locations use way more Internet bandwidth than 50 coworking members. In other words, more growth needs more WiFi capacity. The problem, however, is that traditional contracts for Internet access and WiFi are written for static usage over a one to three-year time horizon. However, a flexible business model like coworking, where members can visit for anywhere from an hour to years, needs flexibility in how it contracts for WiFi. That’s why it makes so much sense for coworking owners to contract for WiFi just like their members sign up for coworking: on a subscription basis.
- Avoid the Major Capital Investment Associated with Soon-To-Obsolete WiFi Equipment -- Buying a complete wireless system is way more complicated and expensive than most first-time coworking owners realize. While you may feel comfortable purchasing and installing a WiFi router for your home office, WiFi for your family in a 2,000 square foot home is vastly different than WiFi for 250 coworking members in a 10,000 square foot office space. For your coworking spaces, you will need to select and purchase WiFi access points, switches, controllers, and firewalls. Do you know what to buy? More importantly, do you know how to protect your capital investment so that it’s not obsolete five minutes after it’s installed? Once you have a handle on the actual expense of a complete wireless system, you’ll very quickly see how WiFi as a Service, on subscription, is the most painless and cost-efficient choice when considering all of the options out there.
- Save the Scavenger Hunt for Member Entertainment -- There are so many facets of growing a successful coworking space. Real estate. Marketing. Raising capital. Sales. Hiring. Just to name a few. So unless you were an enterprise WiFi engineer in your previous career, or you have a team member with that skill set, don’t make a WiFi equipment scavenger hunt one of your front-burner priorities. Instead, save the scavenger hunt concept for member fun like coworking space Works Progress did in Seattle.
- Hire a Team of Enterprise WiFi Experts -- Unless you’re sitting on literally billions in capital like WeWork, you likely don’t have the resources to hire your own round-the-clock team of enterprise WiFi experts. (According to LinkedIn, WeWork has 821 employees working in Information Technology.) With your SecurEdge WiFi as a Service subscription, you’ll get the support you need for great WiFi. With managed network services, the SecurEdge team of enterprise WiFi experts will give you what you need: 24/7 network monitoring, tier 2 level support, and monthly network health updates.
- Keep Your WiFi Network Up to Date with Pre-scheduled Refreshes -- Your coworking members come to you to make their lives easier. They let you deal with all the headaches around real estate, financing, permits, build outs, flooring, furniture, insurance, utilities, and telecommunications. Coworking owners should think the same way. Find a WiFi partner that can make your life easier. Look for a wireless networking provider that can with one monthly payment include predictable pricing, no upfront costs, and scheduled network hardware refreshes. No matter how much you pay attention to WiFi capacity planning, most coworking owners overlook two huge issues: (a) member growth and (b) upgrades to mobile device operating systems (OS’s). Since both can lead to rapid obsolescence of your wireless networking infrastructure, make it easy on yourself by subscribing to WiFi that already includes pre-scheduled WiFi equipment refreshes that keep up with your members’ needs for fast, reliable, and secure WiFi.
The Bottom Line on Why Coworking Spaces Should Purchase Their WiFi on Subscription
As JLL, WeWork, venture capitalists, and the financial markets have shown: coworking and flexible space, in general, is driving tremendous growth in commercial real estate. However right after real estate, marketing, and sales, coworking owners can face challenges with providing their members with what WeWork has found to be one of the highest priorities: super-fast Internet.
In this article, you’ve learned about seven reasons why every coworking space -- that doesn’t have its own, in-house team of enterprise WiFi engineers, should purchase its WiFi on subscription.
To find out how SecurEdge WiFi as a Service can help you deliver the WiFi experience that your coworking members require, get an estimate.
Joshua Feinberg is President of the Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute where he finds revenue growth opportunities that companies are currently missing. This includes helping clients differentiate, get found earlier in the buyer's journey, achieve trusted advisor status, and command premium pricing power to drive sustained, profitable, revenue growth. He's been writing professionally for the IT services market since 1998 and is a former Microsoft Corporation content provider for its Small Business Server (SBS) product teams and small business channel partner teams. As a big fan of inbound marketing and inbound sales, Joshua holds 10 HubSpot Academy certifications. A New Jersey native and Rutgers grad, Joshua now lives in South Florida with his wife and two children.