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.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Techforce Pro Huge Update! Big Changes to Floor Plans

Over the past month, we have seen Techforce Pro being used in ways we didn't think of.  This led us to realize that there is a problem with having the large icons of the real products and diagrams directly on the floor plan, especially when there are many of them close together.

I personally sat with many of you watching how you used Techforce Pro, and based on my observation, your feedback, we have made great improvements that we think you'll like!

First, we added an easy way to copy parts and diagrams without having to add the same part/diagram over and over again.  When you hover one of the icons, not only will the arrows to add wires appear,but also a "Copy" icon that makes an exact duplicate of that item.  This will greatly improve productivity for items like smoke detectors, and camera's.  This feature is available for parts and diagrams.

The next part of this update is the ability to separate the icon from the wire's drop point.  That icon takes up a lot of space, so get it out of the way while keeping the wire drop point where it should be on the floor plan.  This is available for parts and diagrams.

The next two updates are for Parts only.  Sometimes, you add many parts to a floor plan that are very close together.  You now have the option to switch out the icon for a different icon.  When you make a copy of the part, the icon settings and label copy too.

Now the problem with changing out a part for an icon is that you no longer have the image of the original part.  So you need to add a reference somewhere to indicate what part that icon represents.  This is done by adding a legend for the item.

Notice at the end of this short video how changing the color of one of the icons to blue, also changes the color of all other icons for that specific part, as well as the legend.  Any changes you make to the icon get applied to all icons of that part.  Separating the part from the wire drop point, and editing the part label only apply to the part you are editing.  These icons all change size with the global settings icon size setting.

So this update will really clean up your floor plans by allowing you to move items off the actual floor plan that don't need to be there.  And by using the quick buttons for duplicating parts and diagrams, your productivity will skyrocket!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Your Company Logo and Label on your Floor Plans

When you leave behind your documentation for your customer, you want them to know and remember your brand.  Techforce Pro now enables you to upload your own company logo, and add that logo with a label to your customer floor plans.

First, go to your "Manage Account" page.  You will see the default logo in the upper right, and a "Change Logo" button to the left.

Click the "Change Logo" button and upload your logo.

When you go to edit one of your customers floor plans, the "Show Floorplan Label" option is found under Menu=> Settings.

Checking this box will add the label to the upper left corner of the floor plan.

As you can see, this label includes:
  • Your branding
  • The last modified date
  • The floor plan title, and description
  • The customers name

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feature Update: Wiring Diagrams just got Easier!

At the core of Techforce Pro is creating wiring diagrams.  You drag one terminal to another, change it's color, and you're done.  You can also manipulate it a little but there isn't much more you can do...Until now.

You had the ability to split wires on your customers floor plans already.  This feature was introduced there because the positioning of the wire is very important when viewing the wire's length.  However we found that you needed the ability to move wires around like that in the diagrams as well.

Splitting a wire adds the handle as you see in the above short animation.  Sometimes, the wire doesn't do exactly what you want when dragging the handle around, so we added the ability to rotate the handle changing how the wire and handle interact.  Rule of thumb: rotate the handle away from the direction that both parts are located, so in the animation below, the best rotation is down.

What makes splitting a wire in the diagram creator even sweeter?  Being able to drag a wire to the handle to create a splice point:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Techforce Pro Update: Changes to How You Wire Floor Plans

We have updated the way you create wires on your customer floor plans.  From your feedback, this update will make the task of creating your wire runs faster and easier.  The process is more intuitive as you never leave the view of the floor plan.

Simply hovering over the part or diagram will make the 4 arrows appear.  When you select a direction, all other part and diagram arrows will become visible for you to complete the wire run.  You will also have the option at the bottom to cancel the wire run if you change your mid or accidentally press an arrow.

With the arrows moved, clicking on a system or part will allow you to change the label.  Previously the items label was at the bottom of the page.  We moved it to the same location that the label is on the floor plan so it makes more sense.