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Configura's 10th annual CET Designer User and Developer Conference draws global audience

Configura’s 10th annual CET Designer User and Developer Conference draws global audience

Configura announces that the 11th annual conference will return to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., USA—Nov. 15, 2017—Configura – the Swedish technology company that makes space-planning software – recently wrapped up its 10th annual CET Designer User and Developer Conference, held earlier this month at The Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

Breaking attendance records, the event drew more than 425 people from the office furniture industry and beyond.

Designers, dealers and manufacturers Allsteel, Global, Haworth, Herman Miller, HNI, KI, Kimball, Knoll, Kokuyo, Maars, Midmark, National, OFS Brands, Steelcase, Sunon and Teknion participated.

Also attending were Configura software application development and implementation partners; representatives from additional industries now using CET Designer; and many Configura team members from the company’s Sweden, Asian and North American offices.

“With representatives from all major furniture manufacturers in North America and a growing number of partners from all over the world, this event solidifies that CET Designer has become the primary specification tool in the contract furniture industry,” said Configura Vice President of Global Customer Experience Tracy Lanning, who oversaw planning for the multiple-day event.

The evening of Nov. 7, Configura hosted welcome events for attendees arriving early – opportunities to take in a Vegas show, tour The Strip or dine at a famed restaurant.

The conference began in earnest the morning of Nov. 8, starting with a video featuring dancing “Configurans” interspersed with hilarious clips of Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn and Vice President Peter Brandinger trying to find the 10th annual conference. To the delight of the hundreds of people in attendance at the actual conference, Lyreborn and Brandinger burst into Sands Expo’s large meeting space in person, accompanied by “Elvis,” Vegas show girls and Configura employees tossing t-shirts.

“When we started this conference in 2008, we had no idea it would grow into this fantastic CET community. The software we’ve created together is changing industries, and, because of you, it keeps evolving and improving,” Brandinger said to the audience.

During the opening remarks, Lyreborn took a moment to honor a few people who have participated in every single user conference, including Steve Eriksson who led Steelcase’s transition to CET Designer; and Cate Sword and Paul Riches, both CET Designer “power users” who, through the years, have worked closely with Configura to advance the solution.

“Steve, Cate and Paul – and many others – have helped us to develop along the way, to get where we are today, maybe even giving us an extra nudge or two when we needed it,” Lyreborn said.

Industry Leaders Presented

Contract magazine’s 2017 Designer of the Year Suzette Subance Ferrier, IIDA, keynoted the 10th annual conference. A studio design director at New York-based TPG Architecture, Subance Ferrier specializes in helping organizations transform through how they use space.

“The workplace is a catalyst for change, where designers have the power to use space to transform culture,” Subance Ferrier said during her presentation. “We as designers can’t take that lightly. What we do makes a difference and changes lives.”

Another keynote presenter, interior+sources Editor in Chief Kadie Yale, echoed Subance Ferrier’s words and talked about the power of design to do good for the sake of doing good. She offered multiple examples of how capitalism can promote activism.

“Society will tell us that companies won’t do anything without making a buck. But we’re finding that design companies want to do good. Removing the narrative that all companies are evil breaks down barriers and promotes the normalization that everyone can do good,” she said.

Susan Wiggins, senior strategic advisor for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), also presented. She shared information from ASID’s 2016-17 Industry Outlook report, and the future looks bright for designers. In the United States today, there are approximately 66,500 interior design jobs. More than 3,300 new jobs – an increase of 5 percent – are expected to be added by year 2026. The number of interior design companies is also rising, and 29 percent of firms are hiring, according to Wiggins.

Other speakers, presenters and workshop leaders featured CET Designer team members and power users.

Breakout sessions at the conference, which continued through Nov. 9, included such topics as Management Best Practices, IT Best Practices and Hardware for CET Designer, Close the Deal with Live Design, Rebel Design, Advanced Rendering in CET Designer, CET Designer and Universities, Virtual Reality and 360 Renderings, CET Designer and Architecture, Chat with the Programmers and CET Designer Jeopardy.

All told, nearly 60 educational sessions were available to attendees. Many of the sessions were approved for Continuing Education Units by the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC).

“The most important thing I got out of attending the conference was the ability to discuss ideas with other specifiers and with the software developers. The conference was a great value, and I appreciated that Configura provided a venue for us to fall in love with our CET Designer software all over again,” said Sarah Payne, an interior designer at Brigham Young University’s Planning Department in Provo, Utah.

Developer Conference

Concurrent with the CET Designer User Conference was the CET (Configura Extension Technology) Developer Conference, a twice-yearly gathering of the Configura-employed and external software developers who work on the core software as well as CET Designer Extensions.

The blending of the developer and user conferences gave the people who make the software – and those who use the software – the opportunity to interact with and learn from one another.

In the past several years, Configura has opened its programming language, code and PGC philosophy to external software developers – Configura refers to them as Implementation Partners.

One of the newer partners is Open Systems Technologies (OST), headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Getting to hear from the executive leadership at the conference about some of their goals and strategies has helped to focus our thinking about our own strategies and tactics. Many of the user and developer sessions provided some great new insights as well,” OST Senior Consultant Nathan Bonner said.

Partner Meeting

The day before the user and developer conferences began, Configura held its fall Partner Meeting. More than 80 Manufacturer and Implementation Partners and Configura leadership attended.

Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn presented a business update, announcing that in the past year, the company has experienced 7 percent sales growth and has seen CET Designer licenses increase by 26 percent.

“Our vision is to be the leading global company focusing on designed spaces. Configura Extension Technology can do anything, and we are opening the possibilities to completely new industries – not just industries like furniture and material handling but any industry that has space and requires space planning,” Lyreborn said.

Configura Chief Product Officer Nicklas Dagersten also gave an update on new features and Extensions coming soon to CET Designer, including the ability to measure and add dimensions while working in 3D, plus an Extension that has structural beams. Also in development: A sales user interface – a version of CET Designer that will be simple for salespeople to quickly use.

One of the Partner Meeting attendees was Denise Greenhaw, manager of dealer engagement and capabilities at Allsteel. Greenhaw’s team is responsible for rolling out CET Designer to Allsteel’s distribution network.

“The Partner Meeting was very collaborative – it showed how everyone wants to do better together for industry,” she said.

Sponsors with the Latest Technologies Exhibited at the Conference

A number of conference sponsors whose technologies already integrate with Configura’s (or will soon) were exhibiting at the conference – including HIDevolution, MyResourceLibrary, Praxik and ProjectMatrix.

Praxik has developed an AR solution that soon will be available as a CET Designer Extension. Dubbed “InstantAR,” it will let CET Designer users “project” their designs into a client’s space using a phone or tablet device. The beta version of InstantAR launches in December and the full Extension goes live in early 2018. View a demo at https://www.praxik.com/instant-ar.

MyResourceLibrary also exhibited at Configura’s conference. A virtual library serving the contract furniture market, MRL offers access to resources normally found in a physical library binder, but now digitally in the cloud, in an ultra-portable format. Nearly all of the major commercial furniture manufacturers’ products are available in MyResourceLibrary. Founder Jeff Carlson said his company is working on connecting the MyResourceLibrary resources to CET Designer, which is expected to launch in June 2018 during NeoCon. Learn more at https://myresourcelibrary.com/Home.

The 10th annual CET Designer User and Developer Conference was sponsored by Diamond Sponsors HNI and Open Systems Technologies; Gold Sponsors Herman Miller, HID Evolution, MyResourceLibrary, National, ProjectMatrix, officeinsight, OFS Brands and Steelcase; Silver Sponsors American Society of Interior Designers, interiors+sources and praxik; and Bronze Sponsors Bellow Press and TPG Architecture.

An Evening Gala and the CET Designer Awards

To mark the very special 10th anniversary milestone of the conference, Configura hosted an elegant evening gala called A Night to Remember. Attendees dressed to the nines enjoyed cocktails followed by dinner and then an after party, which featured some Configura team members – including the CEO – performing on stage as a cover band.

Configura also held its 10th annual CET Designer Awards ceremony during the conference. On display throughout the main conference hallway were the submissions from CET Designer users: photorealistic renderings, fly-thru videos, 360-degree panoramic renderings and user success stories. The award recipients were announced at the conference and the complete list of winners – along with their work – is posted at https://www.configura.com/userconference#awards

Presentations, Videos, Photos and Upcoming Events

Presentations, videos and photos from the conference will be available at configura.com/userconference/2017

Configura’s spring Partner Meeting will be March 21, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Configura’s 11th annual CET Designer User and Developer Conference will be Oct. 17-18, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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