March 2012


In This Newsletter

AVAproject 2012: Online and Ready for Download

Major Development Initiatives Planned for 2012

AVAproject Fusion’s First Update... They Grow Up So Quickly...

Cloud Computing: the Sky’s the Limit for File Sharing Possibilities

The “Cloud” takes Project Sharing to New Heights

AVAproject Tip: Use “Attachments” to Add Stunning Detail to Submittal Packages

Electrified Hardware Detailing

Catalog Updates

 U.S. Price Books:

  • Bradley
  • Ceco
  • Falcon
  • Hager
  • Markar
  • McKinney
  • Rockwood
  • Roton
  • Schlage
  • Securitron
  • Trimco
  • Von Duprin
  • Zero

 Canadian Price Books:

  • Daybar
  • Frost
  • Yale

AVAproject 2012: Online and Ready for Download

It’s that time of year again.. AVAproject’s much-anticipated 2012 release is online and ready for users to get their first look at the newest set of features and enhancements.

It seems as though we say the same thing every year: “This year’s update is the largest and most feature rich of any we’ve ever done before.” This time we really mean it: This year’s update is the largest and most feature rich of any we’ve ever done before! Last fall brought with it the general release of our newest product offering: AVAproject Fusion. Given the substantial emphasis our development team placed on completing that product and making it everything we promised it to be – and more, we honestly thought this would be a “light” year for AVAproject updates. Things didn’t work out that way. In fact, things couldn’t have gone further in the opposite direction. As our work on Fusion continued, we

came to realize that we were ever so close to bringing a number of “future” project to an early fruition – there’s no way our developers could pass up on that!

AVAproject Fusion and the many new capabilities it brought to the AVAproject platform in general “opened the door” for a number of things we had planned for the future. As such, we found it necessary to break with tradition and split the 2012 release into multiple releases – this being the first.

Originally, our spring release was intended to be a “maintenance release”. In order to facilitate some of the advanced features in Fusion, we

had to enhance a number of internal features in AVAproject and its data export routines. In doing so, we saw the opportunity to build several exciting new features into the product.

Users can read the extensive release notes for this release of AVAproject either on the ‘Product Updates; page of the AVAware website or in the Help file included with the software. Users will be excited to find that this “interim” release contains nearly as many new features as the last two years updates combined! This has truly been our busiest year ever at AVAware as we’re extremely proud of the new release.

The AVAproject 2012 Openings Schedule. Note the row number sequencing, colored column 'Hat Bands' and red grid text. For more
information on these features, see the AVAproject 2012 Release Notes.

Major Development Initiatives Planned for 2012


The good news doesn’t end there however, this is only the first major release of the year; we expect to have at least two more before the fall. In addition to multitudes of new features and additions, AVAware’s development team is focusing on three specific projects for this year. All of them have been in the works for some time now and have been carefully designed and planned with the help and feedback of many of our long-time users.

  Fusion Accounting Series


Building upon many of the new facilities made possible by AVAware’s newest project offering AVAproject Fusion, the new Fusion Accounting module is going to make a lot of things available for our users that have never been possible before.

Over the years, AVAware’s developers have worked with several independent integrators to create export tools that move data from AVAproject into a variety of ERP/accounting systems. AVAproject Fusion will now become the basis of a standardized accounting interface that will allow AVAproject users to be able to choose from an extensive list of supported applications. Gone are the days when users are cornered into having to use only one specific accounting platform.

In addition to a number of popular commercial accounting products, AVAware’s developers are already working with several ERP integrators to build our library of supported accounting systems; a library we plan to continue to grow.

AVAproject Visual Change Tracking  


Although there are several ways to handle project changes in AVAproject, we believe we’ve come up with the absolute best. AVAproject will feature a system that not only tracks every change made to each and every product in a project over time, but allow users to recall each and every revision in an innovative – and very visual – format.

Using a “time machine” metaphor, the system will allow project data to be visualized and reported on based on any point in the project’s history. We absolutely believe that the “Visual Change Tracking” system will be the next innovation by which all others are measured.

  Catalogs - "R2"


With the number of features and “extras” loaded into AVAware’s product catalogs, one would think we had already done all there is to do them… not true.

AVAware’s development and catalog teams are already working in the nextgeneration of project catalogs, which we simply refer to as “R2”. The internal file structure of the catalogs has already been modified to support a number of new features and supplementary data that will be added to them. When adding features to product catalogs, developing the software is only the first step; the additional data has to be loaded into the catalogs before the new features can actually be used.

We hope to have the first group of R2 catalogs available very soon with all of them being upgraded as new editions are released.

If all this isn’t enough for one year, AVAware’s developers are also hoping to get an AVAcad update out for the fall as well. As ambitious a development schedule as this is, we’re all extremely excited about the new possibilities these technologies will offer AVAware users and the direction that the software is going in for the future.

For further information and updates regarding project developments and releases, please refer to the AVAware website, contact customer support, and of course... keep reading AVAwire.

AVAproject Fusion’s First Update... They Grow Up So Quickly...

AVAproject Fusion was first released at the end of 2011 to outstanding reviews and enthusiastic customer response. It seems like only yesterday that the development team was preparing that first build to go online. Here it is, the first update...

After a successful initial launch and an enthusiastic reception from everyone who’s seen the product, the first update in response to user feedback is now online for download. This and an updated AVAproject went online recently, as several enhancements have been made to both products in support of the new features and enhancements added to Fusion.

Any users that haven’t yet had the chance to see the product demonstrated are invited to contact AVAware sales or customer service to arrange a viewing.

Cloud Computing: the Sky’s the Limit for File Sharing Possibilities

It seems like only yesterday that computers themselves were considered an innovative and novel concept in the workplace. Desktop PCs, laptop computers, corporate networks, the internet…. If all that’s not enough, now the technology industry is truly reaching for the clouds.

If there’s one thing everyone can depend on with the technology industry, it’s change. No sooner does one get used to the latest and greatest innovation, but another emerges making us all wonder how we ever lived without it. No sooner than most companies have gotten comfortable with the idea of trusting centralized fileservers with their most sensitive data, have they begun to flirt with obsolescence. At first this may seem somewhat extreme, but make no mistake about it – the movers and shakers of the technology industry don’t think so.

For those that haven’t been keeping up, “cloud computing” is basically a very simple concept; Instead of companies or individuals owning and maintaining their own internal fileservers, why not set up a really big one that can service a whole lot of people. The notion may seem unrealistic, but it’s actually neither impractical nor entirely unprecedented. One would be hard pressed to find any company or organization that doesn’t have a web site today. In fact, even individuals often find it useful to set up their own personal web “presence” to share files and photos with friends and family. Of all those web site owners, how many

actually own and operate their own web server? The overwhelming majority find it far more practical and economic to simply “rent” space on someone else’s server (i.e. a web hosting company). Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Google are attempting to extend the same principle to the rest of the enterprise. Meanwhile, the more consumer-oriented companies such as Apple and Microsoft (again) are doing the same for the individual.

Here are just a few examples of how the major players are bringing cloud computing to the masses:


Consumer Offering

Enterprise Offering


iCloud is the newest, well-publicized service from Apple that offers each of their users 5gb of complimentary space in their “cloud”. This space is used automatically by Apple’s applications to store and share backup copies of documents and photos. Apple even allows people to store their entire music libraries online – for access anywhere there is an internet connection.



Like Apple, Amazon also offers their users free storage space on their servers to store their personal files as well as any music they wish to upload or purchase online. Amazon automatically places a copy of any music bought through their music store on their user’s “Cloud Drive” and allows them to play it back with a special “Cloud Player” application.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a leading provider of cloud storage to corporations and developers.


Google also offers complimentary cloud storage to their users and even provides free office-type applications that can be used online and store user data in the cloud.

Google Storage is Google’s offering to the enterprise and developer community.


Microsoft lead the cloud storage trend with the introduction of “SkyDrive”. Their product offers the best of many of the others. Naturally, SkyDrive can be used to hold personal data and music; but it can also be used to automatically synchronize operating system settings and configurations between multiple PCs. The upcoming Windows 8 will utilize SkyDrive to facilitate a number of impressive new features.

Microsoft Azure is perhaps to most prolific and well-known enterprise-class online storage services. In fact, Apple uses Azure servers as the engine behind their iCloud service.

Microsoft’s ‘Office 365’ product allows small companies to have access to Microsoft Exchange, Lync and SharePoint servers without the considerable expense and effort of setting and maintaining up their own. (Typically this type of endeavor requires full-time I.T. staff.)

Note: This table is not intended to be comprehensive. It merely provides a sampling of some of the services offered by a small group of well-known companies.

Even beyond these companies, there are many other service providers that want to rent out a piece of their cloud. DropBox is just one example of a company that has had incredible success in the cloud storage space. Unlike many of the “major” companies listed above, DropBox only offers 2gb of free storage. Why have they become so popular then? Their success is undoubtedly due to the exceptional “client” software they offer on virtually every major platform out there – from desktop to mobile. Just to be clear, a “client” in this context is a piece of software that allows users to actually access and make use of the cloud storage. Nearly all cloud storage providers offer a web interface that allows users upload or download files though the use of a web browser. Some, like Apple and Amazon, offer highly specialized apps such as their cloud-based music players to access the data stored online. DropBox has done an exceptional job of creating

elegant client applications for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android that allows users to manage their cloud storage just as though it were any other folder on their hard drive or network. DropBox even allows users to selectively share individual folders with others; a feature not currently being offered by any of the major vendors.

There is no doubt that cloud-based services will have a tremendous impact on the way many companies do business in the years to come. For the time being, it is certainly well worth exploring how some of these often-free services can open up incredible new possibilities for the way we manage and share information. At the very least, it brings a number of server-based technologies into the reach of many companies that previously couldn’t justify or afford them. Until recently, companies that wanted the benefits that came with corporate LANs (local area networks) or WANs (wide

area networks) were faced with daunting financial prospects, beginning with employing in-house I.T. staff to maintain everything.

To be fair, cloud-based services are not ready to completely eliminate the need for local fileservers. One must bear in mind that the usefulness of a cloud-based system is entirely dependent in the quality and speed on ones internet connection. At the best of times, transfer speeds will be considerably slower than what most are used to. With time, however, and with improved connectivity we may all see the day where local fileservers and network hardware may become a thing of the past.

Once thing is for certain: if anyone thinks cloud computing won’t touch their business in the near future, then they’ve truly got their head in the clouds.

The “Cloud” takes Project Sharing to New Heights

While most competing products are limited to embracing decades-old client-server platforms for storing data, AVAproject offers a discrete file format that makes projects is just at home the “clouds” as they are on the network. Designed with complete portability in mind, AVAproject files are ideal for this powerful new computing paradigm.

Networks are wonderful things. In fact, one could argue that they are an absolutely essential part of any modern business operation. The important thing to remember is that there is a difference between network-capable and network-dependent. AVAproject and AVAcad are designed for both flexibility and portability. Although server-based environments have many obvious advantages, too often the way in which software is implemented on them is far too restrictive.

You would have to have been living in a cave for the past few years to have not noticed that mobile computing is a reality that is here to stay. Most PC users have realized that it’s not enough to be able to move around within a building, but they want complete portability for themselves and their data.

Server-based applications typically answer the call of mobile users by suggesting a connection via the internet. A VPN (virtual private network) is simply an encrypted data connection made across the public internet. This is all well provided the server is up, the VPN appliance is working, the internet connection is solid and the location where users find themselves support VPN connections (not all cellular or public access points do.) Clearly this is a complex solution to a simple problem. Even if one were to accept the costs of setting up and maintaining such a configuration, they

would be at the mercy of system failures, poor internet connections or inflated roaming charges.

The obvious solution is the one employed by most major software developers. Following a model used by companies such as Microsoft (for their “Office” applications), AVAware uses discrete files to hold project data. What this means is that like Excel or Word files, AVAproject files can be copied to flash drives, emailed to colleagues or… stored in the cloud. For those users that wish to share data in a network environment, that is certainly possible. As previously mentioned, those AVAproject files are right at home just about anywhere! Many people store projects on company fileservers so that they can be accessed by multiple users while some even use management systems such as Microsoft SharePoint to administer the sharing.

A truly exciting new technology has emerged in recent years that offers another powerful option for companies interested in sharing projects beyond the confines of a building. The best thing about this option is that unlike the multiple servers/VPN solution, it’s often completely free of cost!! Sound interesting?

As discussed in our previous tech-article about cloud storage providers, there is one in particular that is particularly ideal for use in project sharing. DropBox is free/low cost cloud storage platform with a Windows-based

“client” application that makes using it nearly effortless. Upon signing up for an account, each user is given 2gb of storage space for free; additional space can be “rented” as required. Quite honestly. 2gb holds a lot of projects! The really great added feature of DropBox, however, is that individual folders can be shared between users. Within a user’s “DropBox” folder, any sub-folder can be designated as “shared”, allowing other selected users to access the files it contains. In effect, this is a “network share – in the sky!”

The “discrete” nature of AVAproject files is the final component that makes this global file sharing solution possible. Files can be saved to a DropBox folder just like any other network drive. Once the DropBox application has completed synchronizing it with the cloud, it is available for colleagues to access or to retrieve from other locations (i.e. home).

There are several other cloud storage solutions available today, and more emerging constantly. This technology is the next logical progression of the “wired” internet. Mobile computing and the call for the general portability of data is causing many software designers to re-think their outmoded practice of anchoring users to a single file server. Like other emerging computing technologies, corporate networks should be thought of as a tool for enterprise users – not a leash!

AVAproject Tip: Use “Attachments” to Add Stunning Detail to Submittal Packages

AVAware’s hollow metal and wood catalogs are truly unique in the industry because of a number of their features. In addition to the integrated program ‘scripts’ that encapsulate the individual manufacturers’ pricing ‘logic’, the catalogs also contain a number of graphical components that add an entirely new dimension to the submittal package and shop drawings.

In past issues of AVAwire, we’ve explored catalog cut sheets and the ‘profile’ templates that allow AVAproject to generate perfectly scaled cross-section drawings based on any parametric data. Another exciting feature of many AVAware catalogs is “attachments.” As their name implies, “attachments” are supplementary CAD drawings that are selectively added to the submittal package to illustrate details of a given product’s construction.

Attachments from the various catalogs are arranged into category groups. (i.e. anchors, joints, door cores, door tops, etc.) The following are a few examples of attachments that are drawn from various catalogs.

A small sample of Attachments

Attachments are carried within the various product catalogs themselves; this includes the “generic” hollow metal and wood catalogs that ship along with AVAproject. The generic catalogs naturally contain “generic” attachments – these are CAD drawings that can be used in the absence of specific manufacturer supplied details.

In order to see what attachments are installed on your system (catalogs), select the “Attachments” dialog from the Project menu.

The AVAproject Project Attachments dialog

Please note that attachments are listed in a “tree view” that groups them in their various categories within their respective catalogs.

Anyone who has used AVAproject with manufacturers’ hollow metal or wood catalogs knows that they are far more than just databases. Catalogs contain small pieces of software that breaks down each given product and identifies all the components and adds that are required to construct it. In the process of doing that, the software also adds any “attachments” that help to illustrate those components. As long as the option “Include Attachments that are automatically selected…” is selected from the ‘Attachments’ dialog, they will be automatically included in the submittal package.

The other way to use attachments is “manually”. With this option selected (in the same dialog) the user may go through the various attachments listed and specifically select which ones are to be included. It important to keep in mind that “generic” attachments will never be added to a submittal automatically. AVAproject has no way of knowing whether they are suitable to illustrate the construction of any specific manufacturer. There are, however, many exceptional CAD details included in the generic library that can add a great deal to many submittals.

As a final measure of enhancement, the preview screen for the “Attachments” section of the submittal package offers several additional ways in which you can modify their appearance. Attachments can be organized and grouped differently, printed with or without bounding boxes and drawn to virtually any size. Since all attachments are CAD drawings, they are vector-based and can be re-sized with absolutely no loss of quality.

It’s certainly a good idea to print a sampling of the attachment drawings included with your catalog library. You may be surprised to find out what treasures are sitting there waiting to be used.

Electrified Hardware Detailing
Authored by Chris Moore

In my travels I have seen a very large transformation in the openings industry over the last 10 years. The amount of electrified hardware being used today is staggering. Coming from the Manufacturing side of the fence, this trend has been encouraged by a myriad of new innovative products by the various manufacturers. These new innovative products give the Building Owners a tremendous number of features associated with the hardware they are receiving on their buildings. The key for the spec writer is to know what the customer is looking for with regards to features. Often time this will be your job to educate the Architect or End User. Coordination is also very important, as a great number of Commercial buildings have their Access Control, Alarm, CCTV, and Building Automation covered by a system integrator. It is imperative that this Integrator is aware of the means of signaling his system will receive from the specified hardware.

As the requirements for a more secure/monitored building become more and more mainstream, the need for these types of products grows exponentially. Today’s building owners do not only want to make sure the doors close; they want verification latches are in the strike pocket by using Latch Bolt Monitoring either on the Electric Strike or through the lockset. They also require verification that the outside trims are in fact locked through monitoring the locking mechanism within the lock itself. Authorized Egress is handled through the use of Request to Exit (RX) switches located in the lock or panic devices. These signals advise the Access control software that someone is leaving the building and shunts the alarm, allowing the individual to leave the building without setting off the alarm. Many retailers have embraced the use of Delayed Egress Systems on their exterior doors to prevent items walking out of the building. Where code allows this type of

system it is very important that the proper material is specified for these types of openings.

As the door becomes more intelligent we must be sure we provide all necessary material on these openings to provide the operation the end user is looking for, as well as code compliance. Manufacturers will state the listings their products carry to be sure you are providing the right product for any given opening. The Team here at AVAware does a great job of keeping this Catalog info current which is essential. These Catalogs offer all the info that is required when determining what type of hardware is going to be selected for the openings.

Things to consider when specifying electrified openings:

  1. Clear understanding of the desired Mode of Operation. From Architect and or End User.

  2. Make sure all associated trades are coordinated. Make sure the electrical guys know where as well as the number of conductors required at the openings.

  3. Type as well as frequency of use. Is this door going to be swinging like a door in Grand Central Station or is it going to be a medium or light use door? If you are providing Electrified Hardware for High Use and Abused openings, things like type of power transfer as well as grade of hardware are obvious considerations. Be sure your selection gives you the best possible life cycles to insure a long lasting opening. Also make sure if you are in an abusive area, you choose concealed hardware as much as possible to keep those little destructive hands off the product.

  4. Know what areas you as a Hardware Supplier are responsible for. If there is a System integrator involved for the building Access Control, it is always a good practice to coordinate your schedule with them to insure you are both singing from the same song book. The integrator requires signals from your hardware in many cases and it makes sense to be on the same page.


In summary, the Architectural Hardware Industry is moving towards intelligent openings. We as Specification/Schedule writers must be sure we take care in the creation of these openings; to ensure the requirements of the end users has been met. Take the time to obtain training on the myriad of new products that are offered by the various manufacturers so you are aware of the many new products manufacturers have brought to market.

We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions about any topic mentioned in this edition of AVAwire. Please visit our website for more information, or contact us directly at (416) 239-9099.