Friday, December 29, 2017

TFP Preview: Don't show it all on one floor plan!

Earlier this year, we released a feature where you can group the items on your floor plan.  You can put all your red wires in one group, and hide/show them as needed.  This helped alleviate a busy looking floor plan, but it still wasn't a perfect solution to the problems I saw happening.

After discussing with many of you, we came to the conclusion that one layout per floor plan wasn't enough.  You needed the ability to have a multiple layouts for the same floor plan.  Such has one floor plan showing power runs, and one floor plan showing the network runs.

Were not done with this feature yet, but we are far enough to give you a preview and get your feedback.

Friday, June 9, 2017

How Much Wire does a Job Need? Answered!

Techforce Pro has an awesome feature where you can set the scale of a floor plan and see the wire length of each wire run, even adding slack to the run to compensate for vertical runs and in-between floors.

But what about when you have to estimate how much wire the floor plan has all together, or for that matter, how much wire the customer has so you know how much to order.  Techforce Pro now helps out with this by adding up your wire runs per floor and displaying them at the customer level, and floor plan level.  Know exactly how much wire of a certain color is configured to be used for the customer when you are done creating your floor plans.

Now remember, Techforce Pro can only measure the wire run distance as the bird flies, so if you think there should be added slack to a wire length, be sure to add it.  And even with that, round up and add a bit to your order.  But this should give you a quick estimate to help out when you are ordering wire.

You will need to correlate the colors to a specific wire type, like using blue wire for CAT-5 or red for power.  Down the road we will be adding a means for setting different names to the colors to help out with this.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Group items on your Floor Plan

If you have been using shapes to space your parts apart, you probably don't want those shapes showing up when you save the image.  There also may be other parts, wires, or systems that you don't want to show in the final drawing.

Step 1 is to create the new group.  You will want to name it something that is easily understood, such as "Red Wires" or "Smoke Detector Spacers".

The next step is to apply the group to the item by selecting the shape, system, part or wire, and changing the group.  Thats it!  You can then go back to the group and hide or show it by clicking on the eyeball.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

TFP Update: Rotate your Floor Plans

You scan your floor plan and upload it to Techforce Pro only to find that you scanned it upside down or sideways.  Not a problem anymore.

Click into your plan settings and at the bottom, you will find two new buttons to rotate the floor plan 90 degrees to the left or right.  Click multiple times to rotate 180 degrees.  This can be done at anytime.

!Important Note:  Rotating the floor plan image does not rotate the parts, wires, systems or notes added to the floor plan.

That's it, very simple addition to Techforce Pro.  Please comment below with any questions about this new feature.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Techforce Pro Update: Set Parts Equidistant from Each Other

Placing parts repeatedly on a floor plan is a common task.  Smoke detectors need to be placed every 30-40 feet, and wireless access points need to be placed about every 150 feet.

Techforce Pro is making this task easier by using shapes to properly place parts at equal distances to each other.

  1. Add any shape (typically a circle)
  2. Type the proper size into the "Size" text box and press the "Set" button.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Feature Update: Share Floor Plans with Sub Contractors easily with Techforce Pro

Techforce Pro is a great tool for creating and sharing your wiring diagrams and customer floor plans with your staff.  But what if you want to share this information with a third party sub-contractor.  There is a good chance that your company isn't the only company on the job.  You can print up the pdf needed and email it to them, but it would be nice to share the customer floor plan with them the same way you do with your own staff.

Techforce Pro now lets you create a partnership with other Techforce Pro members of any subscription level, even the free version.  You send them a partnership request, and when they accept, you can share your customer information with them.

If you don't want them to have the ability to edit the information, you can give them read only access.  This will allow them to add pictures to wiring diagrams, and schedule their own staff for service calls for this customer.  They will not be able to edit the customer information including the floor plans, or wiring diagrams.

If you want them to create as-built diagrams, you can give them full access and they will be able to edit the customer information as though they were on your staff.

This feature is secure but still experimental, and is open for all to try out.  This is the first installment of many updates around this feature such as:

  • Only share your parts to be used in diagrams with your partners
  • Share service calls with your partners
  • Share the systems not in customer facilities with your partners (good for training and removes the need for manuals)
Let me know what you think and give me feedback on what you like/dislike.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Showcase Videos for Techforce Pro

We have added many new features over the past six months.  Time to remember why those features are in place.

The three videos in the above playlist introduce the problems that Techforce Pro fixes.  They are common problems that have plagued the security, fire security, and home automation industries for decades.

Video 1: System Diagrams:
I was a field technician for much of my career.  Something that always bothered me was seeing wiring diagrams written on napkins, or chicken scratched together.  There are tools for showing workflows like Visio, and there are tools for making circuit board diagrams, but nothing for making system for this industry.

Techforce Pro's initial goal was to create a site where you can easily create wiring diagrams with the real parts from the manufacturer, and share them with colleagues via mobile device, web or paper. Partner this with the ability to add your own parts quickly and you have a great tool for managing your system diagrams.

Video 2: Customer Management:
Adding the systems and parts to a customers floor plan is typically done with the same cad tool used to create the floor plan.  This results in a drawing, but no way to tie the drawing to what is actually on site.  There is duplicate work that is needed to keep the drawings up to date, and typically, they get out of sync.

Techforce Pro is the only tool that allows you to add the wiring diagrams you created, and real parts you use, to these floor plans.  Wire lengths are calculated, and part lists are created based on the scale you set, and the parts/systems you add.  Now, create interactive, live floor plan drawings that will keep in sync with future changes to the customer.

Video 3: Jobs and Service Calls:
As a field technician, another pain point I had was receiving a service call with hardly any information about what is broken.  The customer already called in, told someone enough information to deem a service call worthy, but I am going to get on site and have to ask all the same information.

What if it is something I haven't worked on before?  What if I look like I don't know what I am doing in front of the customer?

Your technicians need to at least appear to know what they are doing when they get on site.  Your technician needs confidence, and your customers need trust.  Techforce Pro jobs and service calls can be created by anyone as long as they know where the problem is located in the building.  The technician will receive the service call on their mobile device with Techforce Pro Mobile showing where the service is needed, what exact diagram is tied to the system, and even pictures that were taken on install.

Wrap Up:
Jobs and Service calls are just one example of how valuable live customer floor plans can be for your team.  Techforce Pro also provides a back end API for your IT department to use to populate your existing customer management system with part lists and images.

We are continuing to update the list of parts available to you, and adding features to make Techforce Pro a productivity booster for your business and team.