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CoWrks' Sidharth Menda on the workings of a tech-first company

CoWrks' Sidharth Menda on the workings of a tech-first company

Technology plays an undeniably vital role in the running of coworking spaces, Sidharth Menda, CEO of of CoWrks, highlights the way cutting-edge technology such as AI and IoT is engaged in its centres

Sidharth Menda, CEO of of CoWrks,
Sidharth Menda, CEO of of CoWrks,

Tell us about the key features that define the infrastructure of CoWrks?
Our facilities have been a home to a carefully curated pool of dynamic, creative thinkers. Our spaces are designed to cater to all working styles — whether members intend to engage in focused teamwork, collaborative effort or brainstorming. Members can choose from ergonomic desks, private all-glass enclosures, comfortable lounge seating, uniquely designed meeting rooms and prime event space. Our spaces also include fuel bars, complete with gourmet coffee and bar-style seating that encourage conversation. Our spaces are infused with natural light and our aesthetic is engaging and modern, with bold and inspirational artwork on our walls.

What is the framework on which the offices were designed?
Companies operating out of a coworking space can focus on their core product or service and outsource the designing, building and managing of office infrastructure. Coworking providers can then use their expertise in international design, and technology to enhance member experience and make workspaces fun and enjoyable. CoWrks also caters to businesses that don’t find the need for physical office spaces by providing a virtual office service, complete with virtual receptionist and mail handling. CoWrks understands that the millennial worker is tech-driven and therefore has designed an app to transition physical connections that members make into the digital realm. ‘Connect’ is CoWrks’ private social network that enables members to connect with each other based on their likes, interests and services provided.

What are the systems that manage and monitor the facilities’ performance?
Technology greatly enhances the community aspect of working. Tools such as AI, IoT, machine learning and social networking can improve and optimise space utilisation and networking. As a tech-first company, we understand the role that technology plays in bringing people together, making them more productive and enhancing their experience. By integrating AI and predictive data, we’re doing just that. We’ve built ecosystems such as CoWrks Connect to build a digital social network. Members can get to know each other by viewing profiles, offer their expertise to each other and broadcast messages on a centralised newsfeed. Members may use these features for collaboration such as seeking others with particular skills or even for carpooling groups.

Machine learning algorithms make it easier to accurately predict specific events that members might be interested in, and thereby target advertising within their large member base accordingly. We are in the process of developing AI chatbots to assist members with simple tasks such as planning meetups with other members. An AI-powered personal assistant gives an employee more time to focus on more productive work. If employees need to report an issue or ask a question, they can simply post their query to a chatbot, who will forward queries to a real human office manager (a community manager), in case an automated response does not suffice.

How has the company used IoT to its benefit?
When members across firms are on a common technology platform, such as a mobile app and access card system, sensors can be utilised to track the movement of people, allowing coworking providers to gather data on how people are interacting with and moving through the workspace. This data can be secured to protect privacy and then utilised to further optimise the layout and arrangement of office spaces. Vending machines and coffee dispensers powered by IoT (Internet of Things) can communicate with centralised servers, in case they need to be restocked or refilled.

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