Trumpeting a Smarter Way to Collaborate

Trumpeting a Smarter Way to Collaborate


SmartUse is an app. Apps are simple. The SmartUse app has a simple value proposition:

  1. Collaboration trumps isolation.
  2. Technology trumps paper.
  3. Many platforms trump fewer platforms.
  4. Apps trump applications.
  5. Large screens trump small screens.

Let’s take them one by one:

1. Collaboration trumps isolation

Do we need to explain this point to anyone working in design and construction today? Everyone depends on everyone else. Everyone is smarter than someone. A team may be harder to manage than a person, but boy oh boy, can it accomplish more.

2. Technology trumps paper

Paper plans are out of date almost as soon as they’re printed. When you can update an electronic file in an instant and send it anywhere in the world in seconds, or find related detail sheets simply by tapping a link on a screen, paper quickly falls by the wayside.

3. Many platforms trump fewer platforms

This one requires some explanation. It means “software that works on many computers and operating systems is better than software that works on one machine or OS.” For the reason why, see point No. 1.

4. Apps trump applications

If people prefer paper to the software applications that run on their computers, it’s because paper is simpler. But that criticism of software goes away when we’re talking about the apps that work on your smartphone or tablet, because apps are simple and, dare we say it, fun, because it feels good to get work done, and apps make it easy to get work done in a snap.

5. Large screens trump small screens

The other reason people prefer paper over technology is that full-size plans are easier to work on than plans viewed on a screen that’s less than full-sized. Now, with Windows 8 operating systems working on touch screens that measure 40, 55 and 80 in. on the diagonal, the whole team can gather around a touch screen to view, compare, and redline full-size plans.

For a dramatic demonstration of this last point, watch Newforma co-founder and chief product officer Allen Preger (above) use an 84-in. touch screen courtesy of Steljes, the United Kingdom distributor of SMART Boards, with the assistance of Tom Bamford of TecInteractive, a Steljes reseller.

The author is a senior marketing manager in the Boston office of Manchester NH-based Newforma. He can be reached at

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