I wish I could say I have a gift for presenting on stage, or that my name alone is capable of drawing standing room only crowds. But the truth is that SketchUp stole the show at Coverings 2012. I was just a guy fortunate enough to get the opportunity to bring this innovative tool to the attention of over 100 designers, contractors and manufacturers who attended my session: Selling tile and stone with SketchUp.
The striking thing was how hungry everyone was to soak-in a software demonstration. Was everyone just showing up for a comfortable place to take a nap? Turns out, there’s a big need in this industry for a simple tool that can quickly visualize what tile will look like in a given space. So much so that not one person in the crowd fell asleep in their soup!
My presentation showed the basics of SketchUp as well as the add-on Product Connect — our technology for making product information available to SketchUp users. Some well-received highlights included:
Manufacturers can convert images of their products for use inside SketchUp, by in-house designers or outside customers
Designers can use these catalogs to help sell their design ideas to clients
Contractors can preview installation problem areas or complete take-offs for estimates and orders
By the end of the presentation, I was keenly aware of this industry’s need to be served with better software. These days, we all use software on a daily basis. So much so, in fact, that it doesn’t feel like software at all. “There’s an app for that” is a phrase that sums-up what we expect of our technology – we need tools that “just work” so well in fact that we don’t think of them as work related “software.”
I hope SketchUp, and our Product Connect add-on, can be tools that just work for showing your customers what your products and design ideas will look like. And I hope to get a chance again at Coverings 2013 in Atlanta to tell the story again – hopefully with success stories for what designers and manufacturers have done since our meeting earlier this year in Orlando.
Alex Oliver is one of the founding partners in the training and development firm Igloo Studios. You can find Alex and Igloo Studios on their website, on Twitter and on Facebook.