Company

BitCamp shows that software development isn’t just for guys

Swedish software company Configura hosts BitCampGR for girls in Grand Rapids

Swedish software company Configura hosted a SoftwareGR BitCamp in Grand Rapids as part of helping to change perceptions and increase IT opportunities for girls.

BitCamp is a half-day to daylong event for 7th and 8th grade girls to learn what it’s like to be a software developer. It’s an initiative of Grand Rapids-based SoftwareGR, originally conceived by technology company Atomic Object, and made possible through the support of sponsors, hosts, volunteers and partner organizations like Configura.

“The tech industry has a gender diversity problem, and Configura proud to sponsor and host a BitCampGR event to do something about it,” Configura Business Development Manager Brooke Snow said.

There is a growing demand for software professionals in the U.S. and an acute shortage of women in the industry. A 2016 survey by Stack Overflow of more than 56,000 coders from 173 countries showed only 5.8 percent of respondents identified as female; meanwhile, 92.8 percent of respondents identified as male.

To meet this challenge, SoftwareGR implemented BitCampGR as a hands-on introduction to the software development profession — presented in a fun and supportive small-group environment. As part of the activities, the students learn to code a basic website.

“We believe support and exposure are the best tools for introducing young women into a male-dominated profession,” said Beth VanSlyke, talent acquisition lead at OST who helps to coordinate BitCampGR activities.

Michigan-based Atomic Object launched BitCamp in Grand Rapids in 2006 as a one-time event; the company then introduced BitCamp to Detroit in 2012. SoftwareGR officially began producing the camps in 2014 and has coordinated about 20 camps in the region since then, impacting more than 400 girls.

In addition to programming and other hands-on activities, Configura’s BitCampGR event featured a tour of the company’s Grand Rapids office and the opportunity to meet with programmers, including women.

“I like that we got to learn about coding and learn about how to do different things like create a website,” said Stacy Delgado, a 7th grade student at Godwin Middle School who participated in the BitCamp. About 20 girls attended the daylong camp.

When Peter Brandinger opened Configura’s Grand Rapids office in 2006, he brought with him a handful of programmers from Sweden – all male. Since then, he’s worked to bring both cultural and gender diversity to the Grand Rapids office. Today, Americans and Swedes, male and female, work side by side in software development and support roles.

The company as a whole has expanded a diverse global footprint, including opening an office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2013 – and actively recruiting females at this office as well as at headquarters in Linköping, Sweden.

But Configura, just like other tech companies, acknowledges it has a long way to go in terms of hiring more female programmers.

“We have 84 application consultants worldwide, and eight of those are women – so 10 percent of our developers are female,” said Brandinger, who is a vice president with the company. “We want to hire more female software developers, but there aren’t enough out there yet. As company, we need to do everything we can to educate and promote computer programming in our schools and with the younger generation. Activities like BitCamp help with building that awareness.”

One of Configura’s Grand Rapids-based software developers is Alina Barnett. She’s been programming for eight years. She started as a fine arts major with an affinity for painting but switched to focusing on programming.

“In college, I had to take a basic programming class as a core requirement, and I ended up really loving it – so much so that I switched my major to computer engineering. It gives me the same satisfaction that painting does,” Barnett said. “Programming might seem like an ‘unknown’ to people, but once you break into it, it’s really interesting – it opens up this whole new world.”

### About BitCampGR Learn about BitCampGR at its website http://bitcamp.softwaregr.org/ and on its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BitCampGR/.

Configura announces dates, location of 10th annual CET Designer User Conference

Conference heads back to Las Vegas where it all began a decade ago

Configura, maker of CET Designer space-planning software, will hold its 10th annual CET Designer User Conference Nov. 8-9, 2017, at The Venetian-Palazzo resort and conference center in Las Vegas. Pre-conference welcome events will be held the evening of Nov. 7.

The conference returns to the city where it first started a decade ago.

"Each year, we ask our attendees, 'Where should we hold next year’s conference?' This year, Las Vegas won the popular and sentimental votes,” Configura Vice President of Global Customer Experience Tracy Lanning said. “We’re excited to be heading back to the vibrancy that’s Las Vegas!"

The CET Designer User Conference is for contract furniture dealership and A&D interior designers, dealer IT professionals, office-furniture dealer management and facilities managers.

The annual conference is a blend of educational sessions led by CET Designer “power users” and Configura team members plus events designed for networking, fun and relaxation.

"It’s so much more than learning about the software: Designers share business best practices and design strategies in a spirit of camaraderie. Our event draws incredibly creative people who support each other," Lanning said.

Past keynote presenters and speakers have featured such notables as Contract magazine Designers of the Year Joey Shimoda and Primo Orpilla; renowned color expert Laura Guido-Clark who founded Project Color Corps™; Design the Life You Love author and product designer Ayse Birsel; 2016 Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame inductee Cheryl Durst, who is executive vice president and chief executive officer of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA); American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Fiser; and Debbie Millman, host of the radio show and podcast Design Matters.

Putting people together

As with the 2016 event, the 2017 conference will include a Developer Conference, bringing CET Designer users together with the developers that create the software. Also preceding the conference will be Configura’s biannual Partner Meeting, with many partners staying on for the combined conferences. Manufacturing partners who have invested in Configura’s solution include Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller, Teknion, KI, Inscape, OFS Brands and a host of others in the Americas and Europe. Configura also has a growing client base in Asia.

"Our conference puts the people who invest in, develop and use our software closely together," Lanning said. "It's an incredible opportunity to connect."

The first conference in 2008 started small, and some of the original attendees have been to every single conference – including CET Designer user Paul Riches. He’s used CET Designer for a decade, first as a design manager for a Steelcase dealership and now for Workplace Resources, a Herman Miller dealer in Vancouver.

"Short of the TED events, I have never attended a convention (software or otherwise) that is so completely and totally focused around the entire user experience. … Configura has built something far more powerful than just a community of users; they've built a tribe," Riches said.

Today, more than 10,000 people around the globe use Configura’s software. The Sweden-based company expects about 500 people to attend the 2017 user conference.

"We’re now a global company – but we like to have fun and reflect on how close-knit we really are as a community of partners, developers and users," Configura Vice President of Business Development Peter Brandinger said.

Configura began holding user conferences a decade ago to serve a small but growing CET Designer user base in North America. The conference remained in Las Vegas for the first five years, growing each year in number of attendees. In its sixth and seventh years, Configura moved the conference to Grand Rapids, Michigan – home of its North American office as well as the hub for many global office furniture manufacturers. Year eight brought the conference to Orlando, and the ninth conference was again in Grand Rapids. The most recent event attracted more than 350 people.

Awards program, CEUs and more

Configura’s annual Best of CET Designer Awards program is held each year in conjunction with the user conference. The program honors the best uses of CET Designer in multiple award categories. The call for entries will be announced this summer.

As in past years, many of the user conference sessions – led by industry leaders, educators, Configura team members and CET Designer users – will enable attendees to earn continuing education units (CEUs) approved by the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC). The CEUs are recognized by such participating associations as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

Configura will announce its 2017 user conference keynote speaker and full lineup later this year. People can learn more and get a flavor for past user conferences at www.configura.com/userconference.

All CET Designer users, developers and partners are welcome to attend. Registration details will be announced soon.

Configura exhibits virtual reality technologies at Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair

Company makes space-planning software used by European, global office furniture manufacturers

Configura, maker of intelligent space-planning software, will exhibit and demo its industry leading space planning software – with virtual reality (VR) capabilities - at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair this Feb. 7-11 in booth AG:29.

The Linköping-based company is the leading provider of design, specification and ordering software that enables 2D and 3D design, photorealistic renderings, fly-thru videos, instant bills of materials and installation documents. The company offers software solutions built with Configura Extension Technology (CET) which enables manufacturers to create their own Extensions to be plugged into the core software CET Designer. The newest addition is the virtual reality experience, which will be demo’ed by Configura at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair.

Configura’s solutions are used by Kinnarps, Marbodal, Kvik, Bisley, Herman Miller, Steelcase, Haworth, KI, Inscape and dozens of other office furniture and kitchen manufacturers. More than 10,000 designers and salespeople around the world use Configura’s software solutions.

High-end VR experiences

Configura introduced virtual reality technology in 2015 and officially launched the CET Designer Virtual Viewer Extension in June 2016 at the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago. Virtual Viewer lets users wearing Oculus Rift goggles to “walk around” in a drawing using gaming controls. (View a video of how Virtual Viewer works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83-xNe9yCWo.)

Virtual reality for CET Designer was the first immersive, industry-wide VR solution introduced on the market that supports multiple office furniture manufacturers’ products. It allows the furniture buyer to virtually “walk through” their space before they purchase.

“The feedback so far has been great. The Virtual Viewer gives the customer an immersive VR experience of an environment before they buy anything,” Configura Key Account Manager Johan Gustafsson said. “They can walk down corridors, along hallways and into rooms to really get a sense of a space.”

Democratized VR experiences

In their latest release of CET Designer, Configura introduced 360-degree renderings. The technology lowers cost of VR as images can be viewed in a simple cardboard VR on a smartphone. “360 renderings are an inexpensive way for an office furniture dealer to offer the immersive VR experience to customers,” Gustafsson said.

In December 2016, Configura announced a collaboration with Toronto-based company Yulio. With Yulio’s Extension – an addition to the core program like an app or plug-in - the 360 degree VR experience can be shared directly to a customer’s smartphone or other devices for viewing. Livestream collaboration functionality lets designers walk and talk a customer through their designs.

“Visitors to our booth at the Stockholm Furniture Fair can get their own free cardboard VR headset,” Gustafsson said. “It’s fun and easy – whole new way to experience our technology and a designed space.”

Visit Configura at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair in Booth AG:29.

Configura announces partnership with Open Systems Technologies

Collaboration means OST is now an additional software company authorized to develop CET Designer Extensions

Configura, maker of CET Designer space-planning software, announces a collaboration agreement with Grand Rapids, Michigan-headquartered Open Systems Technologies (OST) that will increase opportunities for more CET Designer Extensions around the globe.

Through the agreement, OST – a technology firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, with more than 225 employees worldwide – is now a formal Implementation Partner of Configura authorized to develop CET Designer Extensions.

“With current customers wanting even more from CET Designer, and with many new manufacturers adopting our solution, we need Implementation Partners like OST to help us serve our rapidly expanding base of customers,” Configura Vice President Peter Brandinger said. “Through our collaboration with OST, we can develop and offer more Extensions, products and functionality to our manufacturer customers and end users. Any manufacturer and dealer that makes and sells configurable products can benefit from our solution.”

The OST Configura Services team based at OST’s headquarters in Grand Rapids already has six employees and two contractors working full-time on CET Designer Extension development.

“This is a practice around developing and supporting CET Designer Extensions,” OST Marketing and Communications Director Michael Lomonaco said. “OST’s close partnership with Configura, combined with a close proximity to Configura’s U.S. office located in Grand Rapids, uniquely positions us to be a strong, value-added partner to both Configura and the entire ecosystem that the company serves.”

Used by thousands of people globally, CET Designer helps manufacturers and their dealers by providing a single software solution for space planning and product ordering. The solution is used in a number of industries that manufacture and market configurable products; industries include office furniture, kitchen and bath, material handling, industrial machinery and laboratory/healthcare.

CET Designer is Configura’s “core” Parametric Graphical Configuration (PGC)-based software platform; an Extension is an addition to the program with functionality that incorporates all of the rules, parts and pricing of a given manufacturer’s products.

The OST partnership will help Configura to expand into new industries. Although Configura’s CET Designer software is widely known in and used by the global office furniture industry, Configura is active in other industries in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, is expanding in Asia, and is increasing its footprint in industries beyond office furniture in North America.

Manufacturers partner with Configura – and with Configura partners like OST – for CET Designer Extensions in order to make selling their products fast, easy and extremely accurate. The highly visual software enables 2D and 3D design, photorealistic renderings, fly-thru videos, instant bills of materials and installation documents, and now, virtual reality experiences.

OST has offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. The partnership with OST increases Configura’s network of highly skilled developers around the globe who offer new ideas and solutions.

Herman Miller – one of the world’s largest office furniture manufacturers – signed with Configura for a CET Designer Extension in 2015 and is among the customers now collaborating with OST for further development of its CET Designer Extension, expected to launch in 2017.

“What started out as an ideation session at Herman Miller quickly evolved into a full service, custom configuration offering from the OST and Configura teams. In today’s digital world, it is partnerships like these that help us succeed; ones in which we not only ideate together, but drive to solutions that are mutually beneficial and create value for all parties,” Herman Miller Chief Information Officer Jeff Kurburski said.

2016 was Configura’s best year to date for new customers and sales, and the company continues to add more employees in its locations around the globe. Configura was founded in 1990 and today has two locations in Sweden; an office in the United States (Grand Rapids, Michigan); an office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and has plans to open an office in China in 2017.

“Configura is building a community and network where Implementation Partners like OST help drive the innovation and growth in new areas and in new ways, Configura Vice President of Global Customer Experience Tracy Lanning said. “We work closely with our Manufacturing and Implementation (software) Partners and our CET Designer users, who come together for common purpose of advancing the software.”

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About Configura

Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, and Laboratory and Healthcare industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 130 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $13 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

About CET Designer

Based on technology created by Configura, CET Designer is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. In CET Designer, components that represent manufacturers’ products look and behave like actual products. Users drag and drop components into 2D and 3D virtual environments; behind the scenes, the software tracks components, calculates pricing and prevents user errors. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. CET Designer is the future of space planning. More information at www.configura.com/cet.

About Open Systems Technologies

Open Systems Technologies (OST) is an award-winning, 225-person, $160m global technology and design firm focused on enterprise data centers and business transformation services such as design strategy, software development, data analytics and IoT. From designers, developers and data-gurus to data center specialists and experts, OST has been providing solutions to global Fortune 1000 companies for 20 years within key verticals such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail, insurance and finance. This is all wrapped in a friendly, flexible, people-centered culture. OST has been recognized in Inc. Magazine’s 5,000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for nine consecutive years, CRN’s Tech Elite 250, and a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. OST offices are located in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. More information at www.ostusa.com.

Configura to exhibit at LogiMat for the first time

Visitors can experience Virtual Reality for Material Handling in Configura’s booth in Hall 1 Stand 1L24.

Configura, creators of the award-winning software CET Designer, will exhibit at LogiMat 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Swedish company has worked with companies in the Material Handling industry for many years but has not previously exhibited at industry trade fairs.

"We visited LogiMat last year and thought it was a great trade fair,” Account Manager Johan Gustafsson said. “We decided to exhibit this year to better show what CET Designer can do for the Material Handling industry."

CET Designer is a space planning software where salespeople can plan entire warehouses, conveyer solutions, pallet racking, etc. to present a visual image to a client. Specifications, calculations and quotations are simultaneously created in the background during the drawing process, enabling the salesperson to produce immediate and accurate quotations.

With the Virtual Reality Extension for CET Designer, it’s possible to walk around inside a drawing to get a better feel of the space. Configura will demo Virtual Reality in their booth at LogiMat.

Besides Material Handling, CET Designer also has a strong presence in the North American Commercial Furniture industry and Nordic Kitchen and Bath industry.

"CET Designer is a multi-industry solution, and it works especially well for Material Handling since the products are so complex," Johan Gustafsson said. “The technology we use can handle very complex products and large drawings in a simple and intuitive way."

Find Configura at LogiMat in Hall 1 Stand 1L24. More information at www.configura.com or watch video.

About Configura

Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, and Laboratory and Healthcare industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 120 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $13 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

About CET Designer

CET Designer is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. More information at www.configura.com/cet.

It’s a wrap: Configura’s 9th annual CET Designer User Conference in Grand Rapids breaks attendance records

Configura announces that the 10th annual conference will return to Las Vegas

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., USA—Oct. 31, 2016—Configura, maker of CET Designer software, recently wrapped its 9th annual CET Designer User Conference with record-breaking attendance from people all over the world. Nearly 350 global contract furniture manufacturers, dealers, designers and IT leaders attended the conference held Oct. 18 and 19 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It was Ali Rogers’ first CET Designer User Conference. The designer with Haworth dealer Business Interiors of Idaho in Boise, Idaho, said, "I loved that they offered classes to drive the passion of design. And the way that Configura opened the conference with the nod to the Olympics – that was hilarious."

She’s referring to how team members from Configura – “Configurans” as they call themselves – were featured in a short film spoof in the style of The Three Stooges that showed them preparing for their own version of the Olympics. The film opened the user conference and, as the lights then came up in the large meeting hall, Configurans from the company’s Sweden, Malaysia and USA locations marched into the room bearing flags from their respective countries.

"We’re now a global company – but we like to have fun and reflect on how close-knit we really are as a community of partners, developers and users," Configura’s Vice President of Business Development Peter Brandinger said.

Paul Riches is one of those users – in fact, he’s used CET Designer for nearly a decade, first as a design manager for a Steelcase dealership and now for Workplace Resources, a Herman Miller dealer in Vancouver. He’s attended every user conference.

"In a very short period of time, Configura and CET Designer have gone from this little-known product that everyone was kind of scared / apprehensive / cynical of instituting to a global brand that has effectively and efficiently captured a corner of the market without losing a sense of who they are and why they are doing this," Riches said.

This year for the first time, Configura combined its annual CET Designer User Conference with its annual Developer Conference, bringing users and developers together for a number of sessions. Preceding the conference was Configura’s biannual Partner Meeting, with many partners staying on for the combined conferences. Partners who have invested in Configura’s solution include not only Steelcase and Herman Miller but also Haworth, Teknion, KI, Inscape, OFS Brands and others.

"We need to put the people who invest in, develop and use our software as close together as possible,” Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said. “That’s what these opportunities to meet are all about."

At the Partner Meeting, Lyreborn announced sales growth of 30 percent during the first three quarters of 2016. One of Configura’s newer products, CET Developer – which makes it easy for external developers to create CET Designer Extensions – saw 70 percent sales growth since the beginning of the year. External developers now include those within some of Configura’s manufacturer-partners as well as software development companies.

Lyreborn also discussed Configura’s expansion beyond office/contract furniture in North America and into such industries as material handling/storage and healthcare/laboratory, as well as Configura’s expansion in Asia with the plan to open a China subsidiary.

"People around the globe are realizing the power of Parametric Graphical Configuration [the technology and philosophy on which Configura’s solution is based]. So the issue for us no longer is one of getting people to understand our vision; now, the issue is talent and how we go about recruiting the best of the best," he said.

He noted that Configura’s business model means one doesn’t have to literally work as an employee of Configura – or even be in a city or region where Configura, or even its current partners, has a presence.

"That’s the beauty of it – with our platform, you can be anyone, anywhere in the world, and be a part of Configura and what we’re doing. You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley; you can be in Iowa or China or wherever and be doing great things in software development,” Lyreborn said.

CET Designer User Conference and Developer Conference

The 9th annual conference began with an update and sneak peek at CET Designer 7.5 (releasing Nov. 21) presented by Configura Chief Product Officer Nicklas Dagersten.

With 7.5, users will be able to produce 360-degree renderings that can be viewed on various kinds of devices, including smart phones and Google Cardboard. Users will see more accessory options with 7.5, enhancements to CET Designer’s Movie Studio and virtual reality technologies, and an added dimension tool on the 2D toolbar (a feature requested by users).

Dagersten said Configura also is looking at ways the program can be customized depending on the user. For example, in 2017, the company will launch a beta version of CET Designer specifically for salespersons.

"The user interface will be simplified with functionality geared specifically toward the sales end-user,” Dagersten said.

At the dealership where Tami Shulsen serves as director of design, various users already are adapting CET Designer to meet their specific needs; CET Designer in turn has changed the way the dealership works. At the user conference, Shulsen led a session called “The Changing Role of the Designer” and talked about how her dealership, Midwest Commercial Interiors, has embraced evolving workplace roles.

"Tami’s session hit me hard because we just rolled out a new procedure in our company with designers taking on more of the (sales) responsibility. Hearing her presentation was very eye-opening," said Rachel Scholtes, design manager at Business Furniture, a Steelcase dealer in Indianapolis.

Scholtes had been to a previous user conference in Las Vegas and enjoyed her time in Grand Rapids equally as well. "The conference was excellent – a ton of breakout sessions, great info and I definitely feel more connected with the CET Designer user environment," she said.

In another breakout session, Configura’s "PGC prophet" – Göran Rydqvist – spoke to designers and developers alike on the absolute importance of quality.

"Quality needs to be driven all the way through – even where you’re never supposed to look – and especially in programming code. We must program for the user," said Rydqvist, who is Configura’s vice president of research and development. He, along with his father Sune Rydqvist and Johan Lyreborn, founded the company in 1990 in Linköping, Sweden.

Göran Rydqvist developed the original programming language on which Configura’s solution is based. He has mentored many other programmers and has been key to launching Configura’s CET Developer program around the globe.

Other conference presentations veered into both technical and design discussions. Steelcase dealer Atmosphere Commercial Interiors’ Jason Lund presented on IT best practices and how to integrate Configura’s virtual reality technology with live design. Atmosphere’s Kari Anderson and Configura’s Tracy Lanning expanded on the discussion of live design with hands-on tips and tricks for interior designers to implement.

Brigham Young University’s Julie McHood and Configura’s MayLee Lai talked about Configura’s RevLink Extension, which connects CET Designer to Revit. McHood is part of BYU’s facilities planning group where she uses CET Designer to plan spaces and specify furniture for campus remodels and new buildings.

One of the people attending these sessions was Visualization Architect Amy Edington, who joined Herman Miller earlier this year to help launch its CET Designer Extension in North America and across the globe. She started using CET Designer – and training others in CET Designer – as a team member at Configura where she had worked for a number of years.

"Having worked for Configura, I think they’re amazing, and that’s why I attended (the conference). I’m passionate about CET Designer and what it has to offer to the dealer community, to make dealers more efficient in the sales and ordering process," Edington said. "All of the conference sessions were very helpful not only from a manufacturer’s standpoint but also as a way to help our dealers prepare for the journey they’re about to go on as they transition to CET Designer."

All told, the user conference featured 41 presentations and sessions over the course of two days. Most of the sessions offered continuing education unit (CEU) credits with the Interior Design Continuing Education Council.

Most notably were presentations by two internationally known design leaders.

Laura Guido-Clark – Design for Change

Renowned designer Laura Guido-Clark keynoted the CET Designer User Conference. Founder of the eponymous design firm based in Berkeley, California, Guido-Clark specializes in the skin of products – their colors, materials and finishes. She’s designed for such clients as Toyota, Hewlett-Packard, FLOR, American Seating and Herman Miller.

At the conference, she spoke about how design creates change.

"We use design to create an emotional connection – it’s why we’re here [as designers] – and it’s why design matters so much," she said.

Much of her presentation focused the visual, particularly on the power of color.

"Color is a language that precedes words; it’s one of the most powerful languages," she said. "Within 90 seconds of viewing something, people make a decision, and 60 percent of that decision is based on color."

In 2011, Guido-Clark launched Project Color Corps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to painting urban neighborhoods with color and pattern to convey messages of optimism and hope. She calls the work "optical optimism. … We're taking neighborhoods and schools and places that look bleak and transforming them."

To date, she and her team of professionals and volunteers have completed eight projects in California and are looking at expanding to locations across the country.

Cheryl Durst – Design & Culture: A Global Imperative

Another renowned design leader – Cheryl Durst, executive vice president and CEO of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) – spoke the following day at the CET Designer User Conference.

"Design is important because chaos is so hard. Without design, we live in a world of chaos," she said.

And yet, design itself is in tumult: "Why we design used to be about making a living, client satisfaction, building a project. Today, it’s about making a contribution, dream fulfillment, building a better world," she said.

Other factors are driving modern design, according to Durst: the need to feel connection and a sense of place, the continuing rise of cities (especially smaller cities), increasing polarity in the populace and need for the nostalgia in the midst of complexity.

She also described how design used to create experiences for consumers – but now, design creates experiences for tribes.

Configura has already intuited this design shift, said Paul Riches: "They have built something far more powerful than just a community of users; they've built a tribe … a dynamic collective that is so much more than just the superficiality of its parts … corporate allegiances are tossed aside and users truly exemplify the nature of collaboration. It's a gathering of curious minds who are constantly reaching, exploring, questioning and inquiring of themselves and each other: ‘What now?'"

The question might also be "What’s next?"

And next big event for Configura, its partners and users, is the 10th annual CET Designer User Conference, which Brandinger revealed would return to Las Vegas (site of the first five user conferences) after three conferences in Grand Rapids and one in Orlando. The 10th annual CET Designer User Conference will be held Nov. 8-9, 2017, at the Venetian/Palazzo in Las Vegas.

In conjunction with the 9th annual conference, Configura held its Best of CET Designer Awards. To learn the winners and see their work, as well as to view videos, photos and presentations from Configura’s 9th annual CET Designer User Conference, visit www.configura.com/userconference.

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About Configura

Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, and Laboratory and Healthcare industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 120 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $13 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

About CET Designer

Based on technology created by Configura, CET Designer is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. In CET Designer, components that represent manufacturers’ products look and behave like actual products. Users drag and drop components into 2D and 3D virtual environments; behind the scenes, the software tracks components, calculates pricing and prevents user errors. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. CET Designer is the future of space planning. More information at www.configura.com/cet.

Configura awarded ”Growth Company of the Year” at Linköpings Näringslivsgala

Linköping, Sweden – October 3, 2016 – Configura won first prize in the category “Growth Company of the Year” at Linköpings Näringslivsgala this past Friday.

“We have a unique idea that allows us to help our customers in a very special way. Our customers are happy and we can spread our ideas worldwide which is both great and challenging. We feel that we have a lot more to give so this is a good start,” said Johan Lyreborn, CEO of Configura.

Linköpings Näringslivsgala was first organized in 2014 to acknowledge local individuals and companies in Linköping. For this year’s growth company, the jury was looking for a company with a healthy economy and the ability to grow with good profits over time.

Configura won the award with the motivation:

This year’s Growth Company shows an impressive and sustained growth with good profitability. With 25 years of innovation, dedication, teamwork and world-class software development, their products have reached out to more than 10,000 users worldwide and thus contributed greatly in putting Linköping on the map.

Configura was founded in Linköping 1990 and has since then also opened offices in Göteborg, Sweden; Grand Rapids Michigan, USA; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The company works with and supplies software for manufacturers in mainly Europe and North America such as Kinnarps, Marbodal, Steelcase and Herman Miller to name a few. Configura has in the past years started to work with companies in Malaysia and China.

See an interview with Johan Lyreborn about the award here (starts around 1:05): http://www.affarsliv.com/nyheter/tv-se-allt-fran-naringslivsgalan-om4318077.aspx

About Configura

Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, and Laboratory and Healthcare industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 120 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $13 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

 

Configura announces recent promotions

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., USA—Dec. 31, 2014—Configura, maker of CET Designer™ software, announces recent promotions:

   

Tracy Lanning was promoted to vice president of global customer experience. In this role, Lanning will oversee global CET Designer training and support, managing teams at Configura’s offices in Sweden, the United States and Malaysia. She will be based at Configura’s North American offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

 

Brooke Snow was promoted to business development manager. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Snow will assist Configura Vice President of Business Development Peter Brandinger with growing sales and adoption of CET Designer in North and South America.

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About the company

Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling and Industrial Machinery industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer®, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 90 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $10 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

About CET Designer®

Based on technology created by Configura, CET Designer® is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. In CET Designer®, components that represent manufacturers’ products look and behave like actual products. Users drag and drop components into 2D and 3D virtual environments; behind the scenes, the software tracks components, calculates pricing and prevents user errors. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. CET Designer® is the future of space planning. More information at www.configura.com/cet.

Configura launches a new blog about space planning for manufacturers of configurable products

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., USA—Dec. 4, 2014—Configura, maker of CET Designer software, has launched a new blog about space planning for manufacturers of configurable products.

“With the blog we’ll provide education and insight to industries that deal with the manufacturing and space planning of configurable products. We’ll talk about how software technology can streamline the specifying and selling of these products,” Configura Communications Manager Jon Lindholm said.

The blog is especially geared toward business leaders, IT professionals and software developers who work with configurable system products and want to learn about the latest in configuration technology and related business solutions.

“When we founded Configura over 20 years ago, no one was talking about configurators – essentially, software that guides a user through the configuration process. Today, the term ‘configurator’ seems to be all over the place, and there’s a lot of confusion out there – but our blog helps companies understand the fundamentals and benefits of a configurator,” Lindholm said.

Configura’s CET Designer space-planning software is a configurator built on Parametric Graphical Configuration (PGC), which is a technology and a business strategy developed by Configura that makes selling configurable and parametric system products simpler and more efficient. CET Designer supports and simplifies space planning for industries that manufacture:

  • • Commercial/office furniture
  • • Kitchen and bath cabinets
  • • Material handling and industrial machinery products
  • • Laboratory/healthcare fixtures
  • • Wall systems
  • “People who work in these industries will particularly benefit from the blog,” Lindholm said. “They’ll hear from peers in their industries who are taking the next step in modern space-planning processes.”
  • The blog is at http://www.configura.com/blog.
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    About the company

    Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling and Industrial Machinery industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer®, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 90 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $10 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.

    About CET Designer®

    Based on technology created by Configura, CET Designer® is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. In CET Designer®, components that represent manufacturers’ products look and behave like actual products. Users drag and drop components into 2D and 3D virtual environments; behind the scenes, the software tracks components, calculates pricing and prevents user errors. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. CET Designer® is the future of space planning. More information at www.configura.com/cet.

Configura teams with Inscape and KiSP to create Inscape’s new F.I.R.E. solution

New integration with multiple software solutions will create a customer-centric experience unlike any other in the marketplace

 
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., USA—October 29, 2014—Configura, maker of CET Designer software, announces a major technology collaboration with Inscape Corporation (TSX: INQ) and KiSP Inc. for the development of Inscape’s new F.I.R.E. (Fully Integrated Resource for Enterprise management) solution.
The collaboration will build on Inscape’s existing CET Designer Extension, and integrate new Configura and KiSP technologies, to create a customer-centric solution unlike any other. It will result in a single, seamless solution for dealers specifying Inscape products and will transform client engagement and enterprise management experiences.
 
“F.I.R.E. will position us at the forefront of the customer experience in our industry and greatly reduce redundancies. Our dealers will benefit from reduced errors, greater efficiencies and improved margins,” said Jim Stelter, CEO, Inscape.
Configura first collaborated with Inscape several years ago to create Inscape’s CET Designer Extension, which enables Inscape and its dealers to quickly and accurately specify and order Inscape’s Addwall product.
 
F.I.R.E. brings Inscape’s investment to the next level: It will incorporate not only Configura’s Parametric Graphical Configuration (PGC) technology but also its newest product, Catalogues, as well as KiSP’s KITS collaborator™ mobile platform, in order to create a total solution for client engagement and enterprise management.
 
“We’ll be working with KiSP to create a unique solution so the user can seamlessly get the benefits from both technologies,” said Tim Deemter, production team leader, Configura. “Our Catalogues technology will be the backbone of how this new Extension is implemented. The goal is that the results and successes of this project will be extended to other software platforms.”
 
The Configura project team will also work closely with Inscape and KiSP leaders to streamline procedures in the total selling process, from specification to ordering. It is an important opportunity to look at previous experiences in order to develop improved software solutions, according to company leaders.
CET Designer is Configura’s “core” PGC-based software platform; an Extension is an addition to the program with functionality that incorporates all of the rules, parts and pricingof a given manufacturer’s products. Manufacturers invest in proprietary CET Designer Extensions to make selling products easier and more accurate.
 
Configura’s Catalogues solution is another way for manufacturers to get products into CET Designer; it is a step before the full PGC-based solution. A Catalogue is a collection of a manufacturer’s products, stored in an online database managed by Configura and made available to thousands of CET Designer users around the world.
 
KiSP’s KITS Collaborator is a mobile concept ideation, budgeting and rendering tool that works with modern tablet devices such as the iPad. Designed specifically for the furniture sales professional, this powerful yet intuitive application provides instant access to help find, visualize and quote product solutions when working with customers.
 
“This collaboration takes the best of each partner’s capabilities to create efficiencies for our dealers, and it will help designers to visualize solutions quickly and without the encumbrance of existing processes,” said Phillip Damianidis, director of information technology, Inscape. “F.I.R.E. will help designers and dealers focus on the design solution and not worry about the technology or product rules – creating a true collaborative process that delivers a better result for everyone.”
 
Said Rob Kendal, managing director, KiSP, Inc.: “By partnering closely with our industry friends at Configura, we’re giving Inscape dealers and customers access to a seamless integration of these leading-edge technologies to dramatically reduce cycle times, error rates and duplication.”
F.I.R.E. will be available for Inscape’s product collection in June 2015.
 
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About Configura
Configura creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling and Industrial Machinery industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer®, are used by more than 10,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with more than 90 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $10 million USD. More information at www.configura.com.
 
About CET Designer®
Based on technology created by Configura, CET Designer® is intelligent, highly visual and intuitive space-planning software that simplifies specifying and selling of products in a variety of industries. It’s a complete solution that quickly and accurately handles every step of the sales and order process. In CET Designer®, components that represent manufacturers’ products look and behave like actual products. Users drag and drop components into 2D and 3D virtual environments; behind the scenes, the software tracks components, calculates pricing and prevents user errors. Users can create and generate layouts, quotes, photorealistic renderings, movies, installation drawings, reconfigurations and bills of materials – in other words, everything needed to propose on work and place orders. CET Designer® is the future of space planning. More information at www.configura.com/cet.
 
About Inscape
Inscape makes smart workspaces – thoughtfully designed spaces that perform beyond expectations. For over a century, we have collaborated with our clients to provide customized solutions based on their individual needs. Our meticulously engineered system, storage and wall products provide unparalleled flexibility to create unique applications at a lower cost of ownership. Easy reconfiguration and seamless integration with other products means our smart applications will work today and tomorrow. And they look fabulous. Discover more at inscapesolutions.com.
 
About KiSP, Inc.

KiSP creates, develops and provides client-facing solutions to manufacturers, dealers, interior designers and customers in the office furniture industry. Founded in 1993, KiSP is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with additional offices in Costa Rica and Argentina. More at http://www.kisp.com/

 

Configura not affected by the Heartbleed bug

LINKOPING, SWEDEN – April 14, 2014 - There has recently been a widely publicized bug regarding OpenSSL known as "Heartbleed". Since we have gotten some questions regarding this, we at Configura wanted to inform you that we have not been affected, since we are not using any of the vulnerable versions of OpenSSL.

"We’re happy that we never were affected by this bug. We’re always working to ensure security, and the integrity of our users is most important to us,” Chief Information Officer Tobias Wester said.

What is Heartbleed?

In short, Heartbleed is a bug that enables anyone on the internet to extract a random chunk of memory - up to 64k - from a server, and without the server operator being able to detect it. This means that with enough time and effort, a hacker might extract passwords, private keys and pretty much anything else located in the memory of a server.

More information about the Heartbleed bug can be found here http://heartbleed.com/

NeoCon 2012

Configura’s trek to NeoCon ’12 started with a Crown Vic – a big boat of a car that’s anything but “cool” compared to the cute izzy+ Mini-Cooper that wedges between the semi-trucks lining “Merchandise Mart row” during NeoCon Week.

Programmed for Design

Configura software is photo realistic, so the office space looks like it will when built out, complete with the proper fabrics and finishes.

Configura Las Vegas

The company’s next release, CET Designer 2.6.3 will give users the ability to add watermarks and speed up rendering.

Article by Rob Kirkbride, MMQB
This article first appeared in the Oct 31, 2011 edition of MMQB.

This Week: Configura Conference

Article by Rob Kirkbride, MMQB
This article first appeared in the Oct 24, 2011 edition of MMQB.

A funny thing happened over the course of the last four years that Configura has held its CET Designer User Conference. The user conference was designed as a way for Configura to get feedback on its space planning software from users. Yet the conference has turned much more collaborative. Users are teaching each other best practices at the conference held annually in Las Vegas. And Configura executives couldn’t be happier.

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