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  • Configura's Grand Rapids office finds new home downtown

    Sweden-based company to expand its GR presence with move to new downtown location

    GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, USA—March 21, 2017—Swedish tech-company Configura announces plans to expand its Grand Rapids presence by moving this summer to the top two floors of the Blue35 building on Oakes Street in downtown Grand Rapids.

    “To say we’re thrilled to be investing in Grand Rapids and our team for a strong future ahead is an understatement,” Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said. “Grand Rapids is our second home – we love being here.”

    In July 2017, Configura will move to the eight-story Blue35 building at 35 Oakes St. SW in downtown Grand Rapids.

    The 12,000 square-foot-space that Configura will occupy in the 103-year-old structure – which at one time had been a hotel – builds on a high-tech foundation created by Rockford Construction. The Blue35 building offers entrepreneurs and businesses of various sizes a variety of flexible workspaces outfitted with the latest technology.

    “Blue35 was created as an innovative environment to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses, right in the heart of our city. Welcoming Configura to the building speaks to the flexibility the space offers, and the continued desire for companies to be located in downtown Grand Rapids. This is a perfect addition to Blue35, and a great fit for Configura,” said Mike Mraz, the managing partner of Real Estate Development at Rockford Construction.

    Configura will enhance its two-story space with furnishings and the latest technology made by its customers – with, of course, a nod to its Swedish roots and design aesthetic.

    Configura Interior Designer Kendra Steinhaus is using the company’s CET Designer software to design and specify the interior spaces as well as an outdoor, rooftop terrace area.

    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 contract furniture, material handling, kitchen and bath, industrial machinery and laboratory/healthcare. In addition to automatically generating bills of materials and installation documents, the software yields photorealistic renderings, fly-thru videos and virtual-reality experiences of a designed space.

    Steinhaus has been holding “design charrettes” with Configura employees to create an environment that appeals to the multiple cultures and generations of people who work in the company’s Grand Rapids office. The space is also being designed to accommodate large groups of visitors from Configura’s Sweden headquarters and its Malaysia office as well as CET Designer users in town for software training sessions. In addition to workspaces, there will be a large open-kitchen area, places for dining and for play, and plenty of soft seating. The rooftop will be available for entertaining and as a place for employees to relax outside.

    “It’s about creating spaces that attract and retain the best of the best,” Steinhaus said. “Working in Grand Rapids is just as cool as working in Silicon Valley or anywhere in the world.”

    Steinhaus, who grew up in West Michigan and studied interior design at Michigan State University, also oversaw the design of Configura’s brand-new corporate headquarters in Linköping.

    Real estate agent Jeff Karger, who helped Configura when it first came to town in 2006, was instrumental in Configura’s latest move in Grand Rapids.

    “Our goal was to seek the ideal space to meet Configura’s goals and needs. With a solid understanding of the downtown Grand Rapids market, we helped lead Configura to Blue35, which met all of their goals,” said Karger, senior vice president in the Grand Rapids office of commercial real estate services firm JLL. “JLL is thrilled to have partnered with Configura and Rockford to make this move happen.”

    ###

    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.

    About Rockford Construction

    Established in 1987, Rockford Construction (Rockford) is a nationally recognized construction, development, and property management provider. Rockford is licensed in 44 states and ranked by Engineering News-Record as one of the top 150 contractors in the nation. With regional offices in the Midwest and Southeast, Rockford has built projects totaling more than $4.3 billion of various size and scope in more than 800 cities across the country.

    About JLL

    JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. In 2016, JLL had revenue of $6.8 billion and fee revenue of $5.8 billion and, on behalf of clients, managed 4.4 billion square feet, or 409 million square meters, and completed sales acquisitions and finance transactions of approximately $136 billion. At year-end 2016, JLL had nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 77,000. As of December 31, 2016, LaSalle Investment Management has $60.1 billion of real estate under asset management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.

    Media contact for Configura:
    Molly Klimas
    M: +1 (616) 443-4647
    klimas [at] intentpr [dot] com

    Media contact for Rockford Construction:
    Sarah Abel
    sabel [at] rockfordconstruction [dot] com

    Media contact for JLL:
    TJ Basalla
    Tj [dot] basalla [at] am [dot] jll [dot] com

  • Configura brings partners together for biannual meeting

    The Configura community: Swedish software company brings partners together for biannual meeting

    GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, USA—March 16, 2017—Swedish software company Configura’s biannual Partner Meeting and Developer Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, earlier this month brought “the doers and the decision-makers” together to chart the ongoing course for the CET Designer software platform.

    Configura – creator of the space-planning solution used by the world’s largest office furniture manufacturers – has been holding these events for a number of years now. This recent gathering of manufacturers and software developers was the company’s largest yet. One of the reasons is because Configura has actively grown its implementation partners program in the past year.

    “Our model is working: The CET platform is helping independent technology companies – our implementation partners – do business around our solution. This is really important for us – it’s been in our thinking for many years and is a key part of our strategy,” Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said.

    Configura has two types of business partners: manufacturer partners such as Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller and others that have invested in their own CET Designer Extensions; and implementation partners that are typically software development firms. In recent months, tech companies CHI, RSC, ofcdesk and OST have all become implementation partners, joining such companies as ProjectMatrix, KiSP and Yulio as part of the Configura community. They’re each helping to create new technologies and Extensions for CET Designer.

    “Our implementation partners bring incredible creativity – they help us to improve and deliver great things for CET Designer users,” Lyreborn said.

    Product updates

    At the meeting, Configura Chief Product Officer Nicklas Dagersten shared updates on the CET Developer platform (the programming environment used by partners to create CET Designer technologies) and what’s down the pike for users in the CET Designer space-planning solution.

    “I often get the question: ‘How do you decide what you should do with CET Designer?’ A lot of the answers come from you, our partners,” Dagersten said. “What you think is important, what our users think is important, and where Configura wants to go is important – we try to take all of this in, and we decide what to do together.”

    In the coming months, CET Designer users can expect to see enhancements to Configura’s Virtual Viewer VR Extension. Oculus Rift is already supported by the solution. In December, Configura announced a collaboration with Yulio that “democratizes” VR with use of inexpensive 3D headsets.

    Support for HTC Vive launches in the first quarter of this year, and Hololens is expected to be supported in CET Designer starting in 2018.

    “Virtual reality is a rapidly changing industry and technology; we’re continually reviewing the latest, and we encourage our partners to let us know of technologies that they think we should be supporting,” Dagersten said.

    Configura also has begun researching how augmented reality (AR) would work with CET Designer.

    “It’s interesting to look at the possibilities – should AR be for a salesperson who is showing a customer some ideas in a space, or for an installer so he knows where to place a desk, or for something else entirely? There are a lot of ideas to consider – but most of all, we need to be driven by what problems AR will help to solve,” Dagersten said.

    Although AR in CET Designer is just in the early stages, users only have to wait a few more months for the ability to create 360-degree movies in the software. Configura is also working on making it easier for users to produce photorealistic renderings. Plus, the company is enhancing collaboration possibilities for large drawings where different users can work on separate parts of the same drawing and see each other’s work.

    Available now is a new CET Designer Extension that supports IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) export. The IFC open-format data model is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) standard intended to describe building and construction industry data.

    “With IFC being the international standard for BIM, we offer this Extension to equip CET Designer with an option to export drawings to IFC 2x3. The IFC file format can be used with Revit as well as with other BIM software applications,” Dagersten said.

    Training

    Configura Training and Support Specialist Kelsey DeBruin gave an update on the company’s latest education initiatives, including getting CET Designer and CET Developer into more colleges and universities where the technology can be taught to interior design and programming students.

    DeBruin also shared Configura’s plan for improving the training experience for those already in the industry.

    “We’ve dubbed it ‘Fika,’ which is a Swedish word that generally means ‘to have coffee.’ Our idea is for all users to attend the same core beginner and advanced training using the Fika CET Designer Extension, instead of a specific manufacturer’s Extension,” DeBruin said.

    Fika, which will be launching soon, is an Extension created specifically for training. The Extension has generic products, instead of manufacturer-specific products, to build a foundation of knowledge about CET Designer before introducing a specific partner’s Extension.

    Manufacturer-specific information will be attached to training in video module form.

    In 2016, Configura had a banner year training people in CET Designer and CET Developer – more than 1,200 people trained on the platforms via two-day in-person training sessions, five-day virtual training sessions, free webinars, customized experiences and even Facebook Livestreaming.

    “We’re growing fast, and as more people adopt our solution, we need to find ways to efficiently train a lot of people,” DeBruin said.

    Upcoming user conference

    In-person training will always be at the heart of the Configura experience. The company’s 10th annual CET Designer User Conference this Nov. 8-9 is expected to bring 500 people from North America and around the world to The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The fall Partner Meeting and Developer Conference will be held in conjunction with the user conference.

    “It will be two incredible days of learning, networking and fun,” Configura Vice President of Global Customer Experience Tracy Lanning said.

    A number of CET Designer “power peer” users have already signed on to be presenters.

    “We’re still shaping the breakout sessions, and we encourage people to let us know what they’re most interested in,” Lanning said.

    Configura will announce the user conference keynote speaker at NeoCon.

    “Our user conference is a great way to look to the future, to share experiences and ideas of how to do things,” Lyreborn said. “And it’s also so we as a company can listen – so we can hear directly from our users and partners how we can improve together. We have destiny in our own hands as a community. It’s not just because Configura wants it to happen; it’s because all of us want it to happen. We’re on this journey together.”

    ###

  • Configura partners with Constructor

    Configura partners with Constructor to develop a CET Designer software extension to simplify warehouse planning

    LINKÖPING, SWEDEN—March 6, 2017— Configura, maker of CET Designer space-planning software, will partner with Constructor to create a CET Designer Extension for Constructor Group’s brand of storage and logistic solutions. Constructor will use CET Designer to simplify how it designs spaces and specifies material handling equipment for its customers.

    “We started thinking about using a tool like CET Designer to support a key customer partnership,” Constructor Chief Sales Officer Richard Moss said. “After investigating the potential partnership with Configura, we saw additional benefits beyond, we’ll be able to give all of our customers an enhanced sales and ordering experience.”

    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 material handling, office furniture, kitchen and bath, 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. Because the solution is rules-based, it won’t let users make mistakes.

    Manufacturers partner with Configura 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.

    “Specifying warehouses and similar spaces is time-consuming and complicated, and requires an intelligent tool such as CET Designer that can handle complex product configurations and large drawings. Constructor’s CET Designer Extension will make it easy for Constructor to design and install a variety of space-planning solutions,” said Johan Bengtsson, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Configura.

    Added Moss: “Our goal is to use CET Designer to drive efficiency in the sales support cycle, which will result in faster customer responses and flexibility of design variations.”

    CET Designer is the leading space-planning software solution in the North American office furniture industry where Configura partners with such companies as Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller and others. Configura is growing in Asia, and has a large presence in the kitchen and bath industry in the Nordic countries. The company is expanding in the material handling industry in Europe and across the globe. Headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, Configura also has offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    “Configura is big enough to be stable for the future but small enough to care about its customers – that, in addition to its advanced software solution, is a key reason we chose to partner with them,” Moss said. Constructor plans to release its CET Designer Extension before summer 2017.

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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.

    About Constructor Group AS

    Constructor Group AS is a leading manufacturer and provider of high-quality storage solutions marketed throughout Europe under the Constructor, Bruynzeel, Kasten, Dexion and PSS brands. Since 2007, Constructor Group has been owned by Altor Fund II and is one of the largest providers of storage solutions in Europe. Its products range from innovative pallet racking and shelving technology to office and archive storage solutions. The company provides a complete package of services – including consultancy, planning and maintenance – whether the requirement is for the fitting of a warehouse or a shelving solution for a museum, office or library. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Constructor Group AS has modern manufacturing facilities and more than 1,100 employees and factories in Russia, Romania, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland. Constructor Group AS products are sold throughout Europe as well as globally, including in Africa, Australia, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America. More information at www.constructor-group.com/About-us/.

  • Configura signs Sunon as its newest partner

    Configura's CET Designer software will help China's largest office furniture manufacturer to grow its global brand

     LINKÖPING, SWEDEN, AND KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA—March 2, 2017—Configura, maker of CET Designer space-planning software, has signed Sunon – the largest office furniture manufacturer in China – as a partner. Sunon is investing in a CET Designer Extension in order to simplify its sales and order process and expand into new global markets.

    Configura and Sunon began collaborating to develop Sunon’s CET Designer Extension last fall, and the Extension will launch at the end of March during CIFF (the China International Furniture Fair).
    An Extension is an addition to CET Designer with functionality that incorporates all of the rules, parts and pricing of a given manufacturer's products. Manufacturers partner with Configura by investing in their own Extensions(s) in order to make selling their produccts easier and more accurate. 
    Sunon is Configura’s first customer in China.
    Sunon leadership said they chose Configura’s CET Designer software because it’s the most advanced and complete solution for the sales and order process. The platform allows for quotations, quick renderings, VR visualization, bills of materials, installation documents and more.
    Configura CEO Johan Lyreborn said the Sunon partnership affirms Configura’s vision to make Parametric Graphical Configuration (PGC) available worldwide. PGC is the technology and business philosophy on which CET Designer is based.
    "Signing Sunon is proof that Configura's vision is possible: to be the global leader and provider of PGC-based solutions for industries that make and sell configurable products," Lyreborn said.
    Sunon chose CET Designer after detailed study and comparison of other software companies and platforms. Configura’s longevity in the industry – in addition to its groundbreaking research and development through the years – influenced Sunon’s decision to partner with Configura.
    Sunon also chose CET Designer because so many furniture dealers and designers around the globe now use the software. The company expects CET Designer to help build its global brand and sales activity.
    Sunon (Zhejiang SUNON Furniture Manufacture Co., Ltd.) was established in 1991. With 2015 annual sales of 1.521 billion Chinese yuan ($220 million USD), the company has been one of China’s top commercial furniture manufacturers for years. Headquartered in the city of Hangzhou, Sunon has manufacturing facilities in the Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou and in the city of Haining. Both cities are in the Zhejiang Province of China.
     
    Sunon clients in Asia include some big names: China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Alibaba.
    “We’re looking at our collaboration with Sunon as a breakthrough for both companies – we’ll advance and grow together,” said Configura Chief Financial Officer Niels Madsen, who oversees Configura's Asia operations from Configura's Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, office. "As a leader in China, Sunon can help Configura to become the space-planning standard for the Chinese office furniture industry.”
    Configura's Kula Lumpur office, which opened in 2012, played a key role in landing Sunon as a partner. To keep up with growth in Asia, Configura plans to open an office in China in 2017. 
    Configura for years has been the space-planning solution of choice in multiple industries in Europe, and the company has grown significantly in the Americas. In addition to the office furniture inudstry, Configura provides software solutions for the ktichen and bath, material handling, industrial machinery, and labrotary/healthcare industries. The Swedish company was named "Growth Company of the Year" at Linköpings Näringslivsgala, an awards program that promotes business growth in Linköping where Configura is headquartered. The company also has a Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA office.
    “We’re about providing solutions that help companies simplify their processes, increase their revenues and make their clients really happy with a great sales experience,” Configura Business Development Manager Wanlin Chee said. “It’s because CET Designer helps at all levels of the sales and order process: Designers are more creative and efficient; salespersons provide faster customer service; and manufacturers have a better understanding of projects and their customers’ product needs.”
  • Configura to exhibit at Euroshop

    Visitors can experience Virtual Reality for Shopfitting in Configura’s booth in Hall 2 / B11.

    Configura, creators of the award-winning software CET Designer, will exhibit at Euroshop 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Swedish company has over 10,000 users around the world but is fairly new to the Shopfitting industry.

    "We visited Euroshop previously and thought it was a great trade fair,” Account Manager Johan Gustafsson said. “We decided to exhibit this year to better show how CET Designer can be used to layout and visualize large stores and design ideas."

    CET Designer is a space planning software where salespeople can plan and visualize large spaces. The visual interface and presentation tools makes it easy to present design intent to clients. Specifications, calculations and quotations for the project are created in the background during the drawing process, enabling the salesperson to produce immediate and accurate quotations.

    At Euroshop, Configura will demo their Virtual Reality solution. 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.

    "CET Designer is a multi-industry solution, and it works especially well in industries that design for large and innovative spaces," Johan Gustafsson said. “The technology we use can handle very complex products and large drawings in a simple and intuitive way."

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

    Find Configura at Euroshop in Hall 2 Stand B11. More information at www.configura.com.

  • 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 announces February CET Designer webinars

    Configura, maker of CET Designer software, announces free February webinars with CET Designer instructors:

    Getting Started with CET Designer

    Feb. 15
    Feb. 27

    ProjectSymbols in CET Designer

    Feb. 8
    Feb. 28

    Kom igång med CET Designer (Swedish)

    Feb. 16
    Feb. 27

    The free webinars are for anyone, whether a Beginner or Advanced CET Designer user, anywhere in the world. Learn more at www.configura.com/cet/training. To contact Configura with any questions or suggestions, call 877-238-0808.

  • 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.”

    ###

    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.

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