November-December 2014


In This Newsletter

Happy Holidays from all of us at AVAware Technologies

Letter from the President

New Metric Functionality in Response to Increased Popularity!

The “How” and “When” of Putting the Cloud to Work

AVAware Welcomes Gensteel Doors Inc.

Ensuring your PC is Running Optimally

AVAware’s Social Media Accounts are Active and Waiting for You!

 U.S. Price Books:

  • ABH
  • ASI
  • Detex
  • Ives
  • LCN
  • McKinney
  • Norton
  • Republic
  • Rixson
  • Sargent
  • Schlage
  • Schlage E.S.
  • Steelcraft
  • Von Duprin
  • Zero

 Canadian Price Books:

  • ABH
  • Apex
  • Daybar
  • Ives
  • K.N. Crowder
  • Sargent
  • Schlage
  • Yale

From the Desk of the President

To Our Friends and Valued Customers,

Here am I again, composing my annual year-end letter, and I could swear it was only a few weeks ago since I wrote my last one. I’m told it’s a function of age, that “slippage” in time perception that everyone seems to experience at one time or another. Whatever it may be, the one thing I am certain about is that 2014 was one of the busiest and most eventful years we’re seen in a long time. I suppose time flew by because we were having just so much fun!

It’s no secret that the architectural industry, along with the most of the world, has gone through an extended period of economic “recession”, initiated by the 2007 banking crisis. While we began to see signs of recovery as early as last year, 2014 undoubtedly brought with it a major turnaround.

Many of those who had contemplated software purchases throughout the past few years, finally felt confident enough to proceed; while those who had put development projects on hold, were ready to begin working on them again. As a result, AVAware has been busier in the past twelve months than we have been in many of the previous years combined. Don’t get me wrong, busy is good! The many increased demands, in addition to the ambitious development goals we set for ourselves last year meant some very busy people here at AVAware!

Our many cloud-based initiatives have been the focus of the majority of our development work this past year. AVAware launched our new web-based, individual user accounts that enabled many of the new products and features we’ve introduced and have planned. To be specific, our new “built-in” updater and catalog management tool has allowed users to download and update their subscription content without ever leaving the software – or having to “install” anything on their own. Similarly, the new cloud-based data repositories will make deploying and maintaining AVAware software easier than ever, by eliminating the need for users to even be aware of such things as software settings.

Rest assured the development team were not the only ones to find themselves with growing task lists in 2014; the catalog team has perhaps had it even worse. Gone are the days when manufacturers would issue a single catalog update each year; nowadays it seems like the major vendors are updating their books every other month. In addition to this increased burden, we added new catalogs to our library, and some of our software new features required enhancements be made to the catalogs themselves. Clearly, something had to give. AVAware welcomed two new full-time additions to the catalog team, and as always - all of them have done us extremely proud!

I would encourage all of our clients to pay close attention to upcoming editions of our newsletter in 2015. We have even more exciting new releases scheduled – both for existing products and new ones. With every new release, we work hard to reaffirm the choice our clients made when they selected our products for use in their businesses.

On behalf of all of us at AVAware, we wish to thank all our valued clients, vendors and corporate partners for all their past and ongoing support. From our family to yours, we wish to extend our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and a very prosperous new year.

All the best!

Paul S. Kirsch
President & CEO
AVAware Technologies

New Metric Functionality in Response to Increased Popularity!

Supporting metric products and pricing involves far more that merely converting dimensions between the two systems. New enhancements to the AVAproject catalog pricing engine provide outstanding support for metric-native products.

Given that we are a Canadian company, the metric system is a daily reality for all of us at AVAware. The same can be said for the growing number of international users that have come to rely on AVAproject as their detailing and estimating package of choice. In recent years, however, metric has become increasingly popular with our U.S. clients as well. Government and military jobs have been specified in metric for some time now, and it appears that the trend is making its way into the private sector as well.

AVAware features a number of catalogs our subscription library that feature metric products and pricing. While these are currently limited to Canadian and other international vendors, we suspect it won’t be long before U.S. manufacturers begin offering products in metric sizes.

For those that haven’t had the pleasure, specifying in metric is far more involved than simply converting inches to millimeters. Products come in “metric sizes” that are very close to their familiar imperial counterparts – but not exactly the same. For example, the common 2” facing for hollow metal jambs, is offered in 50mm in metric product lines. (Converting 2” into metric results in an awkward 50.8mm, which is often rounded to 51mm.) The complication continues with measurements such as opening sizes; “metric bricks” have necessitated the creation of “metric doors” to align evenly with the courses. The standard imperial 7’ doors (2134mm) is typically replaced by the metric 2150mm doors, which converts to an awkward 82 11/16”. Similarly, the 3’ width (914mm) is replaced by the 900mm (35 7/16”) standard.

If this hasn’t complicated life sufficiently, be assured that this is only the beginning. Often times, estimators provide metric sizing to refer to standard imperial products, which they expect to be provided. For example, it’s not unusual to list an opening at 900mm in reference to an opening that is actually 3’ in size. This has given rise to the terms “hard” and “soft” metric which designate whether the metric/imperial conversion is actual or simply approximate.

AVAware’s hollow metal and door catalogs provide the unique capability of automatically interpreting and pricing openings on the Openings Schedule in accordance with the procedures defined by the given manufacturer. In most cases, even for those that offer metric products, pricing rules are given using imperial dimensions. While AVAproject makes it as simple as a single click to switch between the two measurement systems, software designed to identify non-standard sizes can easily get confused by the unfamiliar numbers created by strict conversions between imperial and metric.

Typically, pricing of metric products is performed by converting the various product dimensions to imperial and applying those pricing rules, as they appear in the manufacturers catalogs. As many Canadian and international vendors are now offering pricing rules using native metric, AVAproject’s pricing engine has been enhanced to utilize native-metric pricing for product lines that offer it.

The AVAproject Material List showing the new nomenclature for metric products in the 'Price Basis' column

The result is simply perfect accuracy. Gone are the issues that arose from “rounding” dimensions that have been converted back and forth between imperial and metric. Even the Material List is now able to express the ‘Price Basis’ for metric products with clarity.

The “How” and “When” of Putting the Cloud to Work

The greatest challenge businesses will face in adapting to the increased trend towards cloud-based computing won’t be the “how” to implement it, it will be the “when” to implement it.

Anyone who has paid the least bit of attention to growing trends in technology is aware that cloud-based computing has impacted users like nothing before. Only the PC itself has had this much of an impact on how businesses have chosen to operate in recent years.

It seems the proponents of this powerful new technology would have us all move every bit of data we have into a cloud server. Companies such as Google have gone so far as to suggest that PCs of the future can do without local data storage entirely. Meanwhile, industry notables such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak have warned of the disaster that could accompany excessive dependence on off-site data storage. ("Steve Wozniak Speaks Out on Cloud Services", AVAwire, September-October 2012)

The truth of the matter is probably somewhere in the middle. While there is no doubt that cloud computing offers some very powerful benefits, it also brings with it increased dependency on outside systems as well as new potential vulnerabilities. For every article one reads that describes an exciting new cloud-based service, is another that tells of user data being “hacked” by malicious persons and groups.

AVAware has launched several new product initiatives based on cloud technologies. In doing so, we’ve been very careful to keep three important directives in mind throughout the development process:



1. Don’t use the cloud for its own sake.


As developers we must be certain that cloud-based technology is actually bringing something new in terms of features - something that goes beyond saving the mere cost of a hard drive. Cloud technology can make a lot of new things possible, but there is no need to simply move existing data and processes to offsite servers simply because we can.



2. Don’t make the user dependent on connectivity.


Put simply, there are times when people need to work where and when there are no convenient internet connections. It’s easy for developers assume that people always have access to the internet… this is not always the case. Connections go down, the kids need to play online games, there are times when we’re simply unplugged. Taking an existing tool and creating a new dependency is never a good thing, businesses can’t be expected to stop operating if their internet service goes down. As such, it’s important to ensure that while the cloud may offer new features, software must be designed to function in its absence as well.



3. Keep users in control of their data. As convenient as it is to have data accessible everywhere, that also means it could be accessed by unwanted others as well.


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Placing data “in the cloud” doesn’t means it’s actually “in a cloud” – it’s on someone else’s computers. That means you’re entrusting someone else – perhaps someone you never met – to keep your valuable data safe. For those that maintain sensitive or confidential data, bear in mind that cloud providers are staffed by normal people. If you can’t afford to let your data get into the wrong hands, begin by keeping it under your own control.

At the very least, it’s always good idea to keep a local copy of sensitive data – just in case.

These three tenants are essential considerations to every cloud-based product or feature AVAware has ever developed or contemplated. Each and every time a new product or feature is designed, our developers test it against these three basic ideas. It comes down to ensuring that we don’t create new issues while we attempt to solve others. Whenever possible, we try to think of our cloud-based technologies as “optional enhancements”. If one of our users finds themselves in the middle of a service outage, or on an airplane – we want to ensure that they can still get their work done.

AVAware Welcomes Gensteel Doors Inc.

AVAware Technologies welcomes Gensteel Doors Inc., the newest addition to our growing family of hollow metal doors and frame catalogs.

It’s with an extra special level of pride that AVAware announces the addition of another outstanding Canadian manufacturer to our library. From their head office in St. Laurent, Quebec, Gensteel Doors has established themselves and their well respected brand throughout the U.S. market by providing Canadian steel products with a level of quality and support that only a family-run company can offer.

Tony and Vince Gervasi continue the exacting tradition of quality begun by Nicola Gervasi in his family home garage back in 1969. 45 years later that home-based business has grown into an international operation with manufacturing and/or

warehouse facilities in locations such as Quebec and Ontario, Canada as well as New York and Georgia in the United States.

Gensteel Doors is a full line, hollow metal door and frame manufacturer offering everything from standard offerings to specialty products such as their “GenGuard” steel stiffened, “GenStorm” hurricane and “GenShield” temperature rise series – just to name a few.

AVAproject users interested in adding Gensteel Doors to their catalog collection may do so by contacting AVAware support. For additional information on Gensteel Doors Inc., please visit their website at:

Tip: Ensuring your PC is Running Optimally

We all know that year end is an excellent time to catch up on the little chores that we all tend to procrastinate on throughout the year. One such task is the small bit of routine PC maintenance that can prevent a lot of headaches.

The following article was originally written for the 2011 edition of AVAwire by a senior AVAware developer, and continues to be a favorite amongst our users and our staff alike. The fact that it remains every bit as relevant and important now, as it was the day it was written, has lead to it becoming somewhat of an AVAware tradition to re-publish it in each year’s final edition of AVAwire.

Before heading off for whatever holiday tradition you enjoy... may we suggest spending a few minutes with your trusty PC, to ensure it will be waiting for you in top condition next year!

Ensuring your PC is Running Optimally

As another year comes to a close, many businesses and individuals alike take advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of housekeeping to get ready for the new year. A tidy desk, clean work space and properly organized paperwork are all wonderful things to come back to after the holiday break to maximize productivity and efficiency. But what about your PC? The following are a few basic PC maintenance tips and tricks to ensure your computer is performing optimally.

Continue to full article...

AVAware’s Social Media Accounts are Active and Waiting for You!

All of AVAware’s social media accounts are overflowing with rich, informative content – just waiting for you to connect and enjoy!

Earlier this year, AVAware launched an initiative to make all the news and content traditionally offered by our newsletter and website, also available through social media. It’s often difficult to take time out in the middle of the work day to read the AVAwire newsletter, when it’s being delivered to your office email. By making content and bulletins available through social media, our clients have the ability to control how and where they receive these valuable notifications. Naturally everyone is always welcome to subscribe to AVAwire using their own personal email addresses – or take advantage of popular media to browse at your leisure!

Having made a commitment to provide high-quality content on a regular basis through each of four social media services, AVAware has already accumulated an impressive collection of ‘posts’ and content in such areas as:

  • Product and Technical content posted daily
  • New product and catalog announcements
  • Notifications of updated software releases
  • Notifications of updated catalog revisions

We’ve done our part, but the response from our customers has been less than overwhelming. We know that most of our tech-savvy users have accounts with at least one (if not several) of the services being supported. We would ask that anyone interested in seeing these value tools continue to be used, make a point of adding their names to our “followers”, “connections” and “circles”!

“Circle” us:

“Connect” with us:

“Like” us:

“Follow” with us:

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.