As iPads Move from Personal Item to Business Tool, Industry Companies Respond
November 9, 2010

Earlier this year the world was introduced to (what was for some) the much-anticipated debut of Apple’s iPad. Buyers came out in swarms, standing in line for hours upon hours, to be one of the first to own the latest and greatest development from Steve Jobs. Now, the iPad is slowly, but quite surely, becoming more than just a personal, electronic toy, as an increasing number of professionals—including those in the architectural glazing industry—are using them for business.

Greg Carney, president of consulting firm C.G. Carney Associates Inc., is one of those individuals who has taken to using the iPad for many business aspects.

“The iPad has provided me with opportunities to present information to companies with almost immediate access to the information they need and they’ve been very impressed with it,” says Carney. “The iPad has made an impression on those I’m visiting and shown them I’m on top of technology. They are very impressed with the details and how it’s so much faster compared to a notebook computer.”

Carney says he’s even been in a meeting where the chief executive officer of major company discussed putting all of their product information onto iPads rather than in product binders.

“He said he’d put the iPad in the hands of all his salespeople in lieu of the binders,” says Carney, adding that the compact size makes it much easier to carry around compared to notebook computers.

“I’m confident the whole aspect of carrying one around will be the way of the future,” says Carney.

Recognizing this growing trend and demand for the iPad, companies in the architectural glazing industry are responding. As an example, YKK AP today introduced its Architectural Product Master®, a free iPad app. 

Mike Turner, vice president of marketing for YKK AP says they had noticed how more and more people in the industry are using the iPad, particularly on jobsites, at trade shows and meetings.

“We’re seeing it become a new way to work because it’s portable and convenient,” says Turner. “It’s a user friendly tool for those in the building industry. You don’t have to boot it up; you just turn it on and you have quick accessibility.

Turner explains the Architectural Product Master is a tool that can be used throughout the design and installation stages.

“You don’t have to carry around heavy manuals or worry about whether they’ve been updated,” says Turner.

“This app gives you immediate access and that’s attractive for the users.” The app provides access to product images, details, installation checklists, green building resources and a thermal performance calculator, myThermal Assistant. The myThermal Assistant feature is designed to calculate the energy-saving performance metrics of YKK AP products with project-specific glass packages using the AAMA 507 standard based on NFRC methods. 

“One of our goals was to go beyond just having a cool product catalog and provide something that was more value-added,” says Oliver Stepe, senior vice president of YKK AP. “That value add is the myThermal Assistant feature. This is unique in that it allows users to define the U-factor they are seeking for the building envelope. Once the user selects the glass and metal combination it tells them the overall U-factor. So we are linking glass and metal thermal performance and indentifying the thermal performance of the entire envelope. All of this can be done in about 15 seconds.”

The new application also has benefits for those involved on the installation side. These features include a check list that can be used on jobsite audits.

“Users can quickly check all of the building envelope systems without having to keep up with or go through pages and pages of paper work,” says Turner.

Additional features include the top ten green building resources on the web for commercial construction, company product data sheets, installation instructions and videos, and a design manual outlining all aspects of the company’s glazing systems.

Turner says at his company they expect the new app to become a solid business platform, which they will update and expand as necessary based on market needs.

“Also, when we post updates they are visible to the users on their iPad screens,” Turner adds.

“We believe the iPad is the next wave,” adds Stepe. “We did not create this so much out of demand, but because we wanted to be on the leading edge.”

Both Stepe and Turner agree that the development of apps, such as this one, will start to change the way the iPad is used, taking it from a personal device to a business tool.

“With more business apps available it will help pull the iPad usage higher,” says Stepe, who cautions, “But for companies who decide to develop them they need to go a step beyond just offering a cool catalog and create something that is value rich.”

The new iPad app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.