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Door Tablet Newsletter - Spring 2018

1. Door Tablet V8.4.6 is out

Our newest version focuses on security, performance, and the challenges of rapidly growing enterprises.

This week sees the release of our most recent upgrade to the Door Tablet software, Version 8.4.6 -- part of a process of evolutionary improvement that has seen a number of releases which include fixes and several enhancements since our Autumn 2017 newsletter.

Inspired largely by feedback and suggestions by some of our larger enterprise clients, perhaps the single biggest focus in the latest upgrade is security. Details of much of this particular aspect cannot be disclosed here for obvious reasons. New security features have also been added to the Door Tablet AIO, our most popular hardware platform. 

For the larger enterprise we have added many new features surrounding resilience, on-boarding and performance improvements under load.

Enhancements include:
  • Release of the Door Tablet Enterprise Server
  • End user app update on all platforms
  • New check-in features
  • Better reservation logic
  • Better user experience on floor-plans
  • Easier navigation within and across multiple floors
  • Various enterprise features for administrators
  • Significant performance improvements for large systems
With this release we are ready to roll-out the Door Tablet Enterprise server - ready to download from your dashboard.

Watch out for news in the coming weeks on further enhancements and the release of new products inspired by our week at ISE 2018. And for a complete list of the fixes and improvements featured in the latest version of the Door Tablet software, click here.

Door Tablet NU - coming soon...

Stay tuned for new products in the next few months.  Among these we will be releasing our integration module with Intel UNITE, Intel's leading collaboration system.

2  Pre-ISE event was in equal parts wow and what the ?!!

The Smart Building Conference took place on Monday 5 February at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam. As a precursor to the four-day trade show Integrated Systems Europe 2018, the world’s largest exhibition for audio and video technologists, AV integrators, and technology distributors, the event was something of a mixed bag.

On the one hand, it showcased the technologies and hinted at the wonders to come in the Internet of Things and its role in redefining the intelligent city. On the other hand, the predominant demographic profile of techie conferences down the ages prevailed: an almost entirely male audience was addressed by a slate of entirely male speakers, most of them middle-aged and telling us all how vital to the future of smart buildings is the growing mass of millennials who are already shaping the workspaces of our future.

The entire day wasn’t like that. Some of the presentations were fascinating – particularly those which presented use cases and exemplars of best practice out in the real, evolving world: The Edge in Amsterdam, 22 Bishopsgate in London, and the Agnelli Foundation HQ in Milan.

Consultancy firm Accenture, also present in Amsterdam, are doing innovative work with their Dock in Dublin, and conference keynote speaker Carlo Ratti is leading a strong team of building intelligence researchers at  MIT’s Senseable City Lab in Boston.

Our challenge
The problem we all have, however, is typical of the early days of most of humanity’s Big Push ventures: in the early days of getting our collective minds around a challenge, where do we identify the focus? From what seeds of promise to we achieve the flowering of real momentum, and sustainable progress?

Conference moderator and industry journalist Bob Snyder set the scene in his opening remarks: in putting together a programme for such an event, what gets the attention? What gets left out?

Following the blaze and explosions of innovation that define the Smart Buildings comet, what inevitably follows is the long trail of cosmic dust of consultants and geeky grease monkeys struggling to keep up. Just as inevitably, some of these find their way onto the programmes of international conferences, seeking a living niche within the alphabet of progress between the Rattis and Snyders of the world. It’s a tough life.

Key questions
A focus upon what is being accomplished by the primary movers in the Smart Buildings industry throws up several fascinating questions, however, that may accelerate the evolution of our species, and these will provide the focus for future reflections on this industry here on the Door Tablet website.

Will our evolving definition of “smart” encompass an enhanced capacity for learning, with the accretion of informed experience feeding better and better data into the calculations by which our smart buildings get smarter still?

Can this aspect of humanity’s intellectual development break with the tradition of so many advances in human history by working within the eco-system of the planet’s wider environment, rather than outside or above it?

And possibly most important: will designing smarter buildings in which to work and live actually make us smarter?

3  Resellers news

By some way the most significant effect of the ISE 2018 trade show last month from a Door Tablet perspective was the interest expressed by potential re-sellers from all over the world.

A big thank you to the many dozens of people who approached us on our stand and, to them and anyone else who is inspired to join in on the Door Tablet success story, our first suggestion is to review the sales presentation on our website.

To see what is involved in the process of becoming a reseller, watch this short video on Door Tablet School.

The various marketing leaflets devised for display at ISE 2018 are now available and can be found on the Door Tablet website.

If you are interested in becoming a reseller for Door Tablet, contact sales@door-tablet.com.

4  Door Tablet has gone social

As we have grown and evolved as a company along with our customers’ needs, we too have felt the call to expand our presence online and extend the avenues for interested parties to see our brand, check out our products, and join the community of happy Door Tablet clients (in over 27 countries and growing!).  To this end, we have built our Facebook and LinkedIn company pages which include pictures, case studies, and more relevant and interesting content on the way. Watch this space!  

5  A case study in finding the semi-colon

Among our growing community of clients there are few if any which have grown as quickly from nothing as Plenty of Fish, based in Canada. Now one of the world’s best-known and biggest online dating websites, “POF” was founded in 2004 and now boasts 6-8 million active daily users – most of them in North America but with substantial numbers registered throughout the English-speaking world, as well as in Europe and, curiously, Brazil.

When POF Systems Administrator Trevor Macdonald started looking for a digital signage solution for his eleven meeting rooms overlooking Vancouver harbour, he had a few key and inter-related considerations clearly in mind:

First, office life was hectic from the off and promised to get more so – as indeed it has – so a solution that was easy to install and reliable to run had to be Priority One;

Second, an in-house answer to the company’s needs was out of the question, given that need for reliability and a robust solution that would grow as POF would do; and

Third, an external supplier had to be found who could be relied upon to provide a robust and effective solution, while also ensuring unparalleled service in those times, however rarely they may occur, when something went amiss. Within short months of getting underway with Door Tablet, Trevor was to find his three key considerations vindicated on all counts.

He remembers it as a particularly hectic time, even by POF standards: the company was bought by global market leader Match.com; new hires were pouring through the door; and all the while website user statistics were going through the roof. Busy days. Implementing a new system for managing their meeting rooms could not have seemed the most pressing of needs. Certainly, all had to run smoothly if the deployment were going to happen at all.

At first, all went fine. Quotes approved, hardware delivered, server downloaded, testing completed. The meeting room tablets were pointed at the internal server, and clickety click. All went well. A first update went smoothly, and then . . .

Devil’s in the detail
A second update uncovered a fault: there was an email corruption that required the unencrypted of a 500-megabyte file. At this point, Door Tablet CTO Avi Tchiprout was on the case and, in a matter of hours, he found the bug – the little matter of a single, missing, semi-colon. With but a single keystroke, there was an instant re-connection, and the network has operated perfectly since then.

Trevor Macdonald’s life has been full of the ups and downs of technology deployments, and he described this one as “a dream. If everything else were as reliable as Door Tablet, my life would be a lot easier.”

Life at Plenty of Fish is today as hectic and challenging as ever, but Trevor has found time to stay in touch with the Door Tablet team, and with Avi in particular. Business comes into it, of course: POF has renewed its licence agreements and ordered further tablets, but most of the communications between the two these days is about their shared tastes in music.

6  What is the cost of doing nothing about meeting room signage?

What is the typical customer journey in considering a digital signage solution for managing meeting rooms? All over the world, IT and facilities managers are considering what we referred to in our last newsletter as the “Meeting Room Grand Slam”:
  1. You want a meeting room signage solution that is easy to install and run;
  2. It needs to be robust and can integrate with a variety of hardware systems and software solutions;
  3. It needs to be cost-effective, however many software licenses are involved, but capable of scaling rapidly when business growth demands it; and
  4. It must present your business as an exemplar for operational excellence.
The three most common responses to this challenge are to acquire a solution like Door Tablet, try to build such a solution in-house (not a good idea, as we shall explore in our next issue) or kick the problem down the road: delay a decision, or simply choose not to invest in doing anything at all. The question is: what does it cost to do nothing?

A theoretical case study, based upon numbers that Door Tablet has culled from global industry research and the experience of its own customers, reveals a simple cost/benefits analysis that we believe stands up against most people’s experience of their own business.

Imagine this
Consider a business employing 250 employees in a building containing 12 meeting rooms. The enterprise has no software management system for managing these rooms. Things are done in “the old-fashioned way”, sometimes paper-based, and generally exasperating.

Say these meeting rooms are assigned an average fixed cost in the corporate budget of £20,000 per year” simply to be there” (used or unused), for a total cost of £240,000. The annual occupancy rate for the rooms collectively runs at 60%, representing an expenditure of £96,000 on a facility that is not being used. Add to this the cost of paying employees to faff about looking for meeting rooms and it doesn’t take many years of this money-flushing before the finance director determines that it’s time to up the corporate game.

Door Tablet to the rescue
Implementing a professional, Door Tablet-style solution will cost a fraction of this expense and enable higher meeting room occupancy and more efficient use of the available space. User analytics make clear the improved return on investment, while a culture of optimized efficiency in managing meetings confers benefits beyond relieving the specter of empty rooms. And the finance director is on a bonus if he can get past the question: “what took us so long?” A longer version of this none-too-fanciful anecdote can be found on our website.

7  Follow us on Twitter

By far the best way of staying in touch with Door Tablet is to follow us on Twitter. Not only do our followers keep up with developments in our software and with our marketing, but also with the wider world of trends in digital signage, the Internet of Things and, critically, the exciting and rapidly evolving world of innovations in Smart Buildings design and management.

Stories we have highlighted over recent months include a blog on the ROI in intelligent buildings, anticipations of what will define smart cities in the future, reflections on the potential for AI in making business facilities more efficient and, of course, alerts and previews regarding upcoming industry events such as ISE 2019 and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.