Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On the edge

Are you on the cutting edge of technology?  I can't claim to be there.  I still use a "dumb" phone for heavens sake!  But I do read, learn, and keep moving in that direction.  Here are three apps I use on my iPad mini that are great for our industry and could move you closer to the edge.  
The Hunter Douglas Platinum app allows you to control motorized shades with your Apple mobile device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch).  Customers that can afford motorization most likely own an Apple device and will love the convenience of the Platinum app -- no more searching for the remote control.  I installed a motorized roller shade over the entrance to my living room last December.  I wanted to be able to close off the room when I ran my gas fireplace to heat the room quickly and keep it warm. Motorized shades are great for the summer months too, when you want to block out the sun glare on your TV or shade against solar heat gain.
I just returned from the International Window Coverings Expo in New Orleans where I attended a "Future of the Industry" panel discussion.  Bill O'Connor, president of Horizons Window Fashions, predicted that in 3 or 4 years traditional sample books would become a thing of the past.  He said the new Horizons Sample Book app has great photography and the ability to zoom in on an image. Horizons also offers free sample swatches so your customer can touch and feel the final selections.  I ordered the traditional roller shade sample book and also downloaded the app.
There were some skeptical designers in the audience.  They couldn't envision not flipping through the actual sample book when selecting possible options.  I can't wait to get feedback from the designers I work with as I introduce them to the Horizons app.  They won't have to drive to my house to borrow the sample book.  They will be able to show the product with only their iPad and even order the free swatches themselves.
I also attended a class called "iPad for Design Pros".  The long list of apps for our industry was daunting.  The image of the knife dripping with blood came to me as I tried to imagine getting to the cutting edge!  I decided to pick one new app and try it out.  It is called My Measures PRO.  It allows you to take a photo and add dimensions directly on the photo.  I will use this app during measure appointments.  It provides a photo of the space to refresh my memory when I start working on the job weeks later and it eliminates the need for free hand sketches of the window/wall configuration when recording measurements.  I can also see designers using this app to provide measurements for their workroom so that they can accurately quote the job without the need for a client visit.  Here is an example of what the app can do:

If you are on the cutting edge and need a workroom on that edge with you, e-mail me at peggy@parkwaywindowworks.com.  If you aren't there yet but want to be, e-mail me and I'll help you get there with as little bleeding as possible!
To learn more about each app, click on the triangle in the center of the picture to play the video: 
My Measures and Dimensions PRO for iPad & iPhone

My Measures PRO App
Hunter Douglas Platinum App       
Hunter Douglas Platinum App
Horizons Sample Book App

Horizons Sample Book App