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Austin Convention Center Adds Tablets to Tool Belts on the Exhibit Floor

In this interview series with Austin Convention Center Database Administrator Jeff Moore, we are uncovering decision criteria for Apple iPad adoption and Mobile-first application development.
Austin Convention Center Logo
Part 5 of this interview covers Mr. Moore’s views on with cloud applications impact on desktop users,
tool belts with tablets and how the iPad helped the Austin Convention
Center with their Gold LEED certification.

Joshua:    Has there been much of a change there in terms of the way the traditional desktop version users are maybe gravitating to the iPad version?

Jeff:    Well the desktop users in exhibitor services, it’s kind of divided up. We have the exhibit services employees that use the desktop application. And then the orders were processed by people in maintenance crew, the crews didn’t have usable access to the desktop application. All those team members would receive paper.

The only kind of dual purpose in terms of employees that have used both the desktop and the iPad version, would at this point be exhibitor services.

The beauty of FileMaker Go is that you can take a FileMaker Pro application and you can point FileMaker Go to that application. In most ways it will just work. So you don’t even need to do any redevelopment. But what we agreed to step back, and then asked:

  • What is it we’re trying to do?
  • How do we expect this to work on an iPad compared with other applications that I use on an iPad?

And so we came up with a group of standards for our user interface with iPad based applications. So, the way they use it on their iPad is more iOS like than the way that they use it on their desktop, which is more Windows like.

And we do use similar terms, similar types of buttons on some screens. The header is usually the same. So while the buttons are more iOS like on the iPad, our utility services manager header, it’s the same exact thing that they see when they’re on their desktop, they see on their iOS device. So there’s a bit of familiarity in application for team members.

I think they’ve really enjoyed using the technology, for the most part. Like I said, there are always those people who they’re looking at the risk side of adopting new processes and technologies. But by and large the people that we ally ourselves with are the ones that are excited about the improvements to customers and team members, and that can give you necessary feedback

In fact, the supervisors within maintenance, those team members were out there with a pen and paper, sometimes writing things on their hands, radioing things back and forth between exhibitor services. Sometimes they found themselves at a high tech event and writing on their hand.

Now they feel great because they are thinking and saying “now we get to use the high tech tools and we get to help set up this high tech event using high tech tools.

We trust them to use the new tools- no questions asked. Their managers have communicated that the teams get the job done more efficiently because they’re trusted and excited about using the same technology available to those attending the event.

Joshua:    That is a great reflection on Austin and our culture of being open to new technologies, speaking of Austin, what was the LEEDs form you wanted to talk about?

Jeff:    Thank you for reminding me. We have just recently obtained our Gold LEED certification as a facility. The team is really proud of that. In order to get that sort of certification, building must undergo an evaluation period of a year. We must accumulate a lot of data and it must be evaluated.

This is where FileMaker has been a big help. We had a purchasing application that we’ve used for a while. When I started to work here three years ago, we took it to the next level by adding a request piece on it. Basically, there is a portal where team members can make purchase requests. And then the purchase requests are translated into an order by the buyers.

And then that order gets fulfilled — then I created a module on the back end of the process where the employees down on the dock and they’re checking in the products. We ordered this many, this is how many were received, etc. So we have a creation to cremation tracking system.

This system had been built shortly before we realized that LEED certification required us to gather a little more information about sustainable products that we’re purchasing, or whether our products just aren’t sustainable at all, and what percentage of them are.

ACC Solar AtriumSo we were able to use FileMaker for the application initially. Based on
those early requirements, we started to evolve the application to meet
LEED specific requirements. 

For example, instead of requesting a
product only, now we request a chair, but we go through and categorize
the purchase in a three tiered method. We store the sustainability
metadata with the order, and then we built in reports for our
sustainable employee that was supporting our LEED certification effort.

LEED Logo GoldWe extended the LEED certification application to the iPad. Again, we
used FileMaker and FileMaker Go to develop a facilities audit. So the
employee that would perform the audit would take their iPad around the
facility at set intervals. They would gather information about the
facility. And they’d do it on the iPad using FileMaker Go. All the
collected data goes in to the main system and used as part of our LEED

In this blog, Mr. Moore shared his experience with cloud applications impact on desktop users,
tool belts with tablets and how the iPad helped the Austin Convention
Center with their Gold LEED certification.

Part 1 – Austin Convention Center chooses iPads over Android and Considers Cloud Storage for File Synch and Share

Part 2 – Austin Convention Center considers New iPad for Camera to Support Facility Incident Application

Part 3 – Austin Convention Center Ditches Laptops and FTP for iPads and Cloud Application Storage

Part 4 – Austin Convention Center Embraces Cloud Application Storage


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