With the entry of virtual assistants in the sales and service the process of communication between retailers and customers has been transformed. Mobility and electronic availability have become overriding priorities; topics such as speed and scope of information are omnipresent. Without question, this change is putting considerable strain on conventional sales and marketing structures. Yet, it also offers immense potential for developing innovative customer services and therefore selling products.
The key to communicate complex product information effectively is to find the correct balance between detail and focus. The customer should receive the information he needs to make the correct purchasing decision without being distracted by the underlying complexity. A refined virtual solution will thus supply the right data for the specific user group – rather quality than quantity.
While Bene uses the CAD configurator to provide architects and interior designers with freely configured products that they can download in a variety of CAD formats, Dauphin integrates their commercial data into the order processing systems of key customers. Find out how SketchUp users can now also plan with using OFML data as well as details of the manufacturers' workshop for upgrading OFML data with acoustic information. And to coincide with its release, we also feature all the latest news about pCon.planner and give important information on Windows XP.
We hope you enjoy reading this edition of our newsletter.
Your EasternGraphics Team
CAD data makes 3-D worlds. Professional planning requires planning data. Without it, virtual worlds would be empty and techniques other than visualization would be necessary to communicate furnishing ideas. However, nothing brings product presentations to life in the same way as seeing the design with your own eyes. It is one of the crucial moments in sales processes. Bene, commited to quality and design, has now developed an attractive response to the strong demand for CAD symbols – a solution that offers two very special highlights.
Beyond versions and formats. Bene has published a new website, which is also dedicated to the requirements of architects and planners, always taking into account that they are the professionals through whom the customer perceives the manufacturer. The heart of this website is the CAD configurator, which is integrated as a tool for digital configuration of individual articles of Bene office furniture and then generating the corresponding CAD data.
The user can select a product, configure it according to his requirements and, finally, download the desired version of his product in 3DS and DWG formats. These are widely used and can be processed by many planning and visualization systems. It is also possible to save an image of the configured furniture in PNG format.
CAD configurator is Bene’s response to the growing demand for graphic symbols: select the product, configure it and down-load the corresponding planning data – architects could hardly wish for more.
The finishing touch: increase relevance. The website can be opened directly from the Architonic portal – a step that aims to generate the maximum possible traffic. With well over 10 million visitors per year, this portal has grown to become one of the most important of its kind for sophisticated architects and (interior) designers. The range of quick links located below the configuration area make sharing the configuration and product information for your design far easier. Clearly, Bene understands how to make the networked world alive.
Smart CAD service. This CAD service, based on the pCon technology of the online configurator, provides a focused and functional answer to the demand for graphic symbols. It enables architects to access the furniture they require by configuring the desired version, downloading it and, importantly, choosing from a number of different formats. An architect service par excellence, with many persuasive arguments:
- 3D symbols are available from a central source: 24/7, worldwide.
- Available in a range of different formats so OFML data can be used by different CAD systems.
- Online configuration eliminates the need for local installation of data.
- The implementation of such solutions can be customized and takes account of a wide range of requirements.
- The service offered increases the relevance of data.
Bene impresses with more than its customer specific service – it continuously sets new standards in the presentation of its products and product solutions. It is innovative and accentuated in every area that counts. If you would like to find out more, take a look at the many ways that Bene sets the scene for its products or read interesting facts about the configuration of settings. Inspiration is where Bene is. Remarkable!
From the online configurator directly into planning software. Over recent years, SketchUp has become a relevant and extremely widely used planning software solution. An ever growing number of manufacturers is looking for ways to make their data available to the architects and planners who use this planning system.
With the OFML plug-in for SketchUp, you can now offer users of this software a way to access your data quickly and easily and use it in their planning: With a single click on a button in the application a website with an embedded online configurator is opened. This can be used for finding, configuring and load manufacturers' data directly into the planning software in SKP format.
Additional utility for manufacturers' data. Planners can not only use individual CAD symbols but all the available versions of a furniture design or even – if the corresponding data is available – the manufacturer's entire product portfolio. Existing manufacturer's data has therefore become relevant to an additional user group. One important advantage and therefore a non-negligible benefit of SketchUp is that the planning software also runs on Apple systems.
We are extremely grateful to VS-Möbel, which was the first company to use this tool as our pilot customer. The OFML data have been enhanced for this purpose.
Dauphin – a manufacturer with a philosophy. For Dauphin, sitting is much more than a simple activity. As one of Europe's most important manufacturers of office furniture, it is hardly surprising that the company is constantly searching for the optimum seating solution for a variety of living and working environments. The catalog service for key customers clearly demonstrates that the company has more to offer than just impressive products.
Seating problems are not an option: Dauphin stands for innovative and healthy seating, quality and design in equal measure.
Challenge key customers? The answer: Dauphin! The idea of advertising, buying and selling via the internet is now a well-established core business model for many companies. Increasingly, key customers are also looking to order their products digitally but without giving up the advantages to which they are accustomed. Here, the manufacturer's sales department is often confronted with different framework contracts defining individual price agreements and processes for different key customers.
While manufacturers from the office furniture industry would like to provide configurable product data, key customers often use approved order processing systems that make it difficult to map a diverse range of furniture. This is because they support formats, such as BMEcat, which are designed for describing static products. However, Dauphin has now found a way to transfer existing OFML data directly to third-party systems. The company is therefore focusing afresh on the area of key customer and providing a market orientated response to the increasingly complex world of e-commerce – the online configurator supports this process.
Web service for key customer catalogs. Dauphin uses the online configurator to provide its OFML data to key customers, who can integrate this into their order processing systems. The standard web interface (SOAP) makes the integration process as simple as effective.
These key customer catalogs are able to take account of individual requirements: the manufacturer decides which product portfolio and price list is displayed to which customer. It is also possible to save specific or restricted characteristics for key customer articles. Despite this individuality, Dauphin always uses the same data standard.
What does this mean for the user? The key customer accesses the manufacturer's online configurator directly from his own procurement system. He selects a product, configures it and places it in the shopping basket. After completing his selection, he can then transfer all the contents of the shopping basket to the order processing system at the touch of a button. From here, the automation process is launched as usual and the order is placed.
The key customer sees the catalog created specifically for him, including his own logos. When configuring the article, he receives a corresponding preview image on-demand. If he wishes, he can save an image of the configuration together with price and configuration information.
One concept, customer specific implementation. Electronic ordering systems of this type offer additional value, especially for manufacturers who are already using OFML. They can continue to use existing catalog data; images etc., while the appearance and article lists within the catalog can be adapted for the specific customer. In this process, the online configurator fulfils one of the most important requirements: it is a barrier-free interface to the order processing systems of key customers. The advantages of the Dauphin solution at a glance:
- One data standard, many uses
- Representing of a wide variety of product versions
- Key customer catalogs permit specific content for individual processing
- Standard web interface (SOAP) simplifies integration of the online configurator into existing order processing systems
We thank Dauphin for their partnership, which has already endured for over 10 years, and look forward to many more exciting projects dealing with all aspects of OFML and Co.
Everyone's talking about acoustics solutions. The noise level is too high, discussions are virtually impossible – it is a truth universally acknowledged that room acoustics are an important factor in improving the productivity and well-being of the workforce. The topic has been discussed widely in the sector and will rightly take its place as one of the central themes of this year's Orgatec.
The acoustics plug-in for pCon.planner 6 PRO takes up the theme at the starting point of room acoustics design – namely in the planning process for workplace and office spaces. It enables the user to create an accurate acoustic profile for the room, which can then be used to support sales activities. The solution is of equal value for both manufacturers and specialist retailers and makes the science of room acoustics to one of the core competences of sales and distribution. (Find out more about the acoustics plug-in here.)
Know-how for users and manufacturers. Planning room acoustics is not only an exciting but also a complex topic so it is essential to pass on the necessary know-how. The first user training courses – conducted by wegscheider office solution and Dr. Christian Nocke – have already taken place with great success. The next step is to provide manufacturers with skills they need for preparing their OFML data with the required acoustic information.
Data developers are therefore invited to attend a workshop in Ilmenau on June 3, 2014, which is dedicated to the addition of acoustic information to data sets. This course is open exclusively to BSO members. As a renowned expert in the area of acoustics, Dr. Nocke will be present together with our own pCon professionals.
The implementation of the acoustics plug-in is an industry project under the leadership of the bso Verband Büro-, Sitz- und Objektmöbel e. V. While Dr. Christian Nocke from Akustikbüro Oldenburg is advising the project as an expert in the area of acoustics, EasternGraphics GmbH is responsible for the technological implementation of the plug-in.
New architecture elements offer even greater value for planners. The pCon.planner 6.8 was released just a few days ago. It features new options for integrating dormers into your planning – creating realistic, detailed representations of living spaces in loft areas. The pCon.planner offers a wide range of exceptional shapes of windows that add individual atmosphere to your design. Now you can not only integrate semicircular arches and circular windows but also take advantage of the refined options for planning wall openings and niches.
A well rounded solution – new window design options offer opportunities for realistic planning. Dormers expand the room available giving an entirely new sense of space.
Plan, present and share. With the new version of the pCon.planner you can directly access the online presentation service Impress. This solution makes it child's play to produce online presentations for interested customers using photorealistic images, multi-content pictures and 360° panoramas and share these via links. The customer can access the presentation and view all containing media formats without any further registration.
Moreover, the presentation can be adapted to the requirements of the specific customer. Simplify the communication process by leaving notes for the recipient concerning the plan or specific products. This is just one of the many ways that you can use Impress to focus and support your sales and marketing activities. The interactive nature of the presentation gives the customer a completely realistic sense of space when it is viewed on a mobile device. So you easily convince.
Discover more about the new features offered by pCon.planner 6.8 in this document. Even better – try them out by yourself right now.
We would like to remind you that Microsoft ended the support for Windows XP in early April. If you still use this operating system, it might have an impact on the use of pCon products on your device. While we will be testing our final release on Windows XP this spring, Windows XP will be removed from our list of supported operating systems with the autumn release. From that point on, we will no longer be able to guarantee that our software is running smoothly on devices with Windows XP.
For further information on the termination of support for Windows XP, please consult the Microsoft website.
More than 130 people already following us on Facebook. What about you?
We launched our new fan page Inside pcon-planner.de at the beginning of this year. The main focus is on our users in the German-speaking world. The page offers exclusive insights into technological innovations along with tips and tricks using pCon.planner as well as posts on current trends from the home and office furnishings industry. You can also view attractive room planning examples created by our users.
Take a look and follow the latest news about pCon.planner - or make yourself and your planning results even be the topic!
What would you like to hear more about? Write to us and let us know..