After nearly five months of mandatory shutdown, the AVAware staff is back in the office.
On March 24th of this year, the Government of Ontario issued a mandatory shutdown order for all non-essential workplaces in the province. Being engaged in the service of the architectural industry (and providing I.T. support for it) placed AVAware in a position to claim an exemption from the shutdown order. Based on discussions with the staff and having confidence that AVAware could continue to provide a consistent level of support to our users working remotely, the decision was made to act with an abundance of caution and close down the offices during that period.
At the end of July, the government moved to a stage in their reopening plan where they felt offices could reopen safely, given the appropriate precautions. AVAware welcomed the entire team back to the office on August 4th and have gradually been returning to our normal routines.
Throughout the shutdown, the catalog team worked diligently to ensure that catalog releases were completed and posted on schedule while the support team handled customer inquiries with their usual skill. The development team continued to work as well, preparing components and features for upcoming releases and AVAproject and AVAprojectFusion.
There have been many words tossed about in recent months in an effort to describe the times we all find ourselves in. Words like "challenging", "unprecedented" and "devastating" - while clearly accurate seem woefully insufficient to fully convey the extent of the hardship so many have endured.
During a time when so many of us felt put upon by the inability to go to a restaurant or watch a movie in a theatre, others faced "challenges" that became matters of life and death. Countless others experienced economic hardships from which they may never recover.
We are all very grateful to be back in the office again; and even more so for the fact that all of our team members returned healthy. We fully recognize that not everyone has been so fortunate. All our thoughts are with our clients, colleagues and their families. It's everyone's hope that the "new normal" we now find ourselves in can eventually return to the "normal" we all knew and loved.
Extra-large monitors provide a luxurious experience for AVAproject users.
When working with openings schedules, screen width is definitely a priority. The very nature of these schedules necessitates the constant references of any number of columns in every phase of the work flow, from take-off to detailing. AVAproject contains a number of useful features to assist in organizing this often overwhelming wealth of data. The ability to modify column positions easily, and maintain a list of commonly used layouts allows the user to more easily manage the number of columns they need to deal with at any given moment. Even still, users must be resigned to a certain amount of horizontal scrolling to access the information they need or to populate all the data columns required.
It's for this reason that many users have discovered the tremendous advantage offered by many ultra-wide monitors and televisions available today. The only remedy for endless horizontal scrolling is screen real estate. The wider the monitor - the greater the amount of data that can be seen at a glance.
Internet based services have become an essential resource for most businesses. As reliable as they are, they are not without their issues.
It comes as no surprise that at a time when business users are increasingly depending on cloud services to enable remote and home-based work, that many of them are starting to feel the strain. Often touted as begin secure, reliable and easy to configure, the cloud services that many businesses have come to depend on have begun to show their metaphoric cracks.
Cloud-based computing has become as common as smartphones in our culture of technology. More and more businesses as well as individuals choose to use cloud services to store their sensitive data. Their ease of use and the fact that they eliminate the need to manage storage devices like hardware drives and servers make them a compelling choice.
Despite the obvious advantages, a reliance on cloud service providers does carry a fair share of risk. In as much as the "cloud" euphemism conjures images of a safe repository for data, above and beyond the reach of prying eyes, this is simply not the case. Uploading "to the cloud" really means uploading to "someone else's hard drive." As such, it's subject to the same failures and security threats as any other. For all their combined efforts, one would be hard pressed to find a cloud provider that hasn't suffered some form of data breach or system failure. In fact, hardly a month goes by without news of another "cyber-attack" or "data breach" compromising the data that users hold so dear.
System failures are another issue entirely. Although not generally a threat to the security of users' data, they do result in very real costs being incurred by those that rely on those services. Never have cloud-based services been put to the test quite as they have during the recent pandemic shutdowns. Millions of office employees throughout the world found themselves depending upon internet based services to keep them connected to their offices and colleagues. For the most part they performed quite well, but there were some issues.
AVAproject Desktop puts access to the AVAware catalog library right on the Windows desktop.
AVAproject users have always appreciated the convenience of having the AVAware catalog library available to them within the software, as they create estimates and detail projects. The catalogs provide a wealth of information including product options, updated pricing, door and frame preparations, etc. Even manufacturers' catalog cuts and CAD-quality attachments can be called up instantly, and browsed right on screen.
Many users have expressed the desire to have access to this comprehensive product library outside of AVAproject as well; perhaps to access data for use with other applications such as accounting/ERP or counter sales.
A new companion product, the "AVAproject Desktop" places the convenience of the catalog right where users need it most - on the Windows desktop. When launched, the AVAproject Desktop positions itself unobtrusively in the Windows task bar until it's needed.
The AVAprojectDesktop icon visible in the Windows Taskbar 'System Tray' area
A single click on the taskbar icon summons a menu that provides instant access to a variety of resources.
The 'shortcuts' at the top allow any AVAware software products currently installed, to be launched with a click.
The 'catalog' group allows direct access to the AVAware catalog library, regardless of whether AVAproject is running or not.
Catalogs can be searched individually or globally, and browsed using the same convenient interface that AVAproject users are already familiar with. Custom product configurations can be built and priced directly from the desktop; even catalog cuts can be browsed.
After a product is selected using the AVAproject Desktop, a number of additional features are provided. A detailed product summary, with optional catalog cuts, can be printed immediately. This feature is particularly useful in "counter sales" or retail application.
The fully built nomenclature string and list price of the selected product are automatically copied to the Windows clipboard; making it a simple matter to paste into any outside P.O.S., accounting or ordering application.
The AVAproject Desktop is currently available to all AVAproject users with an active 'Support & Upgrade' subscription. For additional information or to activate your copy, please contact AVAware customer service.
AVAwareAcademy articles include accompanying training videos courtesy of the AVAware production team.
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