Glass Companies Count New Apps Among Product Introductions
November 2, 2011

Guardian is among those glass companies turning to mobile apps as a new tool for reaching architects.

Among the more frequent product introductions being made in the glass industry today are the free resources available in the Apple store.

Auburn Hill, Mich.-based Guardian Industries' brand new SunGuard mobile app already has seen 114 Apple downloads and 40 Android downloads, says Amy Hennes, Guardian spokeswoman. Guardian launched the app, the first of its kind from a glass manufacturer, on October 24.

The app is for anyone who may have an interest in buildings and glass, says Chris Dolan, director of commercial glass marketing with Guardian. "[The] app provides easy access to a lot of important information. With your iPhone or Android device, you can find buildings anywhere in the world that have used Guardian glass. You can find out which architect, fabricator and glazier were involved with a project. You can browse through our collection of project photos or get directions to a project, so you can go see it for yourself."

Users can learn about product specifics through the app and see how the products perform on a specific project.

That's among the major benefits of glass industry apps such as this one, says Ed Rosengrant, vice president of sales at Glasswerks in South Gate, Calif., and a user of the new app. "To look at a 12- by 12-inch sample is not a real world representation," he says. "Often times the sample is viewed in an office without any natural light, placed on a piece of white paper and judged. The new app allows someone to search for a project in their general vicinity."

Russ Manser, owner/president of Thompson IG in Fenton, Mich., agrees. "I like how quick we can access the performance data of the SunGuard products. This is a great tool to show clients actual pictures of local projects to help evaluate color appearance," he says.

Dolan has tried this first hand. At a trade show, an architect expressed interest in seeing what the glass looked like on a building, and "we were able to pull out the app and find a building in the same city for him to see," he says. "In another instance, the first time I showed it to a customer, he immediately gave me additional projects he had worked on and photos to include in the app. Customers like to see their projects featured in our marketing materials, because it helps with their promotion. This kind of thing builds on itself."

Chan Hoyle, national marketing and communications manager for VELUX® America in Fort Mill, S.C., might agree that the ability to reference projects on the go is among the chief benefits. The app the company launched earlier this summer give homeowners, homebuilders, remodelers, decorators, architects, installers and others a handheld tool that shows exactly how different skylights will look in a specific location.

"You simply take a picture with your device of the room location you're considering for a skylight. Then choose from a built-in photo gallery of skylights to place, position and size the units. You can see exactly how it would look in your chosen location," he says.

The Doralco iPhone App launched last year likewise allows architects and contractors to locate architectural metals projects in the area and map them with photos; locate architectural metals projects by city, state and maps them with photos; browse through an architectural metal projects photo gallery by product type with email capability; view product details, specifications, LEED information and much more.

When SAFTI FIRST in San Francisco launched its mySAFTI app for architects last year, it was with the goal of offering an educational tool. The app was designed to take the guesswork out of choosing the correct fire-rated glass product.

"We understand that architects, specifiers and glazing contractors are busy professionals who are always on the go, and have come to rely on their mobile devices for numerous things," commented William O'Keeffe, president and chief executive officer.

The mobile app may be replacing the lunch-and-learn as the new way for glass companies to get in front of busy architects.

Got an app? Love an existing app? Tell us about it for mention in a future issue of USGlass.

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