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Cool Coworking Space Spotlight

Smart Spaces is a people- and tech-centric coworking blend


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Jason Robinson refers to the cold, impersonal, and glass-filled world of shared offices as “fishbowls.”

He’s not wrong. He’s going to change that with his new location, Railside, as part of a larger plan for a network he calls SmartSpaces.

First, let’s go back a bit. Robinson was a veteran of the corporate world, but had sensed the limitations and lack of fulfillment in that environment. Alongside cofounder Alan Moon, he ventured into the MSP sector with IntegriTech, and delivered on the goal of empowering small and medium-sized businesses to compete with large corporations through game-changing, impactful technology implementations.

Meanwhile, WeWork emerged and the team could tell which way the wind was blowing.

The region of Northwest Arkansas, where IntegriTech is based, provided a unique vantage point for observing market needs. The presence of Walmart’s corporate headquarters, coupled with the retail giant's strong preference  for business associates to establish local offices, created a burgeoning demand for workspace solutions. Robinson saw beyond the traditional office setups, identifying a void in the coworking market that IntegriTech — a future coworking-centric business — could fill.

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Dissatisfied with the aforementioned "fishbowl" coworking environments characterized by their slightly impersonal glass-walled spaces, Robinson envisioned something more vibrant and inclusive. He aimed to establish a coworking space that was not only technologically superior but also more adaptable and welcoming to a diverse clientele. 

This led to the creation of Railside, a coworking initiative designed to cater to the 'average coworker,' offering budget-friendly membership rates without compromising on technological prowess.

However, Robinson's ambition extends beyond merely providing a place to work. He envisions a fully integrated, technology-driven ecosystem that he has named Smart Spaces. This concept transcends the physical confines of traditional coworking spaces, offering a comprehensive, seamless experience that caters to every possible need of its users. "Smart Spaces is this overlay that we’ve created... It’s everything from the desk and the office to the shredding service — all the things," Robinson elucidates, highlighting the extensive range of services and functionalities that Smart Spaces aims to provide.

“IntegriTech took its 45 years of Fortune 100 IT experience and targeted the flex/cowork market with a 'soup to nuts' solution,” Robinson said. “Obviously we are heavily focused on tech, a lot of what creates success in a space is the human element/community. If we can remove IT as a barrier, we can enable humans to do the human things that make the biggest impact.”

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Central to the Smart Spaces model is the integration of advanced technologies to streamline operations and enhance the user experience. Robinson shared anecdotes of coworking managers burdened with navigating a mishmash of disjointed systems, a common inefficiency that Smart Spaces seeks to obliterate. By harnessing his extensive IT background, Robinson has engineered a solution where all essential services are interconnected, fostering an environment of operational efficiency and user satisfaction.

For the team, the essence of Smart Spaces lies in its user-centric approach. He also plans to deeply link each location in both style and feel to the community in which each is situated. He explained, "We really launched Railside to target the average coworker, the flex worker, the small startup, who is trying to find a more budget-friendly membership rate and be more capable, honestly, with technology." The space reflects the address, with a branding and aesthetic focus on the area’s rail history. His vision is to democratize access to premium coworking experiences, ensuring that technology serves as an enabler rather than a barrier.

The journey of Smart Spaces is emblematic of a broader trend in the coworking industry, where the fusion of work and technology is increasingly becoming the norm. Robinson's innovative model serves as both inspiration and a blueprint for coworking space managers and operators. It underscores the potential of technology to not only enhance operational efficiency but also to cultivate a community of engaged, satisfied users.

Looking ahead, Robinson sees a future where coworking spaces are not just physical locations but vibrant, interconnected communities powered by smart technology. His aim is to create an ecosystem where every interaction is intuitive and every service is just a click away. This ambition reflects a larger shift in the coworking industry towards more integrated, technology-driven solutions that prioritize user experience and operational excellence.

The Smart Spaces concept represents a significant leap forward in the evolution of coworking. By blending technology with human-centric design, he is not only addressing the immediate needs of coworking space users but also setting the stage for the future of collaborative work environments. 

As the coworking industry continues to grow and evolve, Robinson's innovative approach and relentless pursuit of improvement serve as a beacon for others in the field, demonstrating that the future of coworking is not just about spaces, but about smart, seamless experiences that empower users and communities alike.

 

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