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ACP Feature Article: New Software, New Choices

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Maxwell Systems 2012 Annual Conference Sparked Conversations and Progress for Construction Professionals Using Business Management Software

Maxwell Systems, Inc., a provider of complete construction business management software solutions, today announced the resounding success of its 2012 Annual Conference, held March 12-14 in Las Vegas, Nev. Hundreds of contractors attended the event to participate in training, hands-on labs, networking activities, expert consulting sessions, and more. Maxwell Systems hosts this exclusive conference to help construction professionals to best use construction management software in order to maximize productivity and increase profitability.

“At the 2012 conference we gathered with contractors to focus on the theme Building for the Future to help prepare our customers for greater success by effectively managing day-to-day tasks, improving communication and workflow, and making it easier to work with speed and accuracy,” said Jim Flynn, President & CEO of Maxwell Systems. “Our mission continues to be helping construction companies achieve the best productivity and profitability possible. Our annual conference is a great experience for us and our customers to actively partner, exchange ideas, and participate in valuable training and education.”

The 2012 Annual Conference featured many training and networking opportunities for the attendees, which included construction company owners, presidents, managers, accounting staff, project managers, IT managers, and estimators using Maxwell Systems solutions, including ProContractorMX™, American Contractor™, Management Suite™, StreetSmarts®, and Estimation®. Attendees were able to take advantage of more than 160 educational sessions and hands-on labs, as well as participate in 
one-on-one consulting sessions and peer networking opportunities.

The feedback from attendees was very positive:

“Nice job! Valuable information,” said Jeff Garber, CFO, Sunset Air, Inc.

“The breakout session lineup was great! We are going home with several ideas and features to implement,” said Jane Pringle, Controller, Bayer Construction Co. Inc.

“Well worth the time spent. Very professional staff,” said Sharon Weber, Internal Auditor, Gateway Building Systems.

“Maxwell employees are very engaged and it is clear that the company culture shows a very positive attitude from the top down. Very impressive!” said Cindy Blair, HR Manager, Borland Construction.

“I truly learned more than I ever expected to. I did not know how powerful [my Maxwell software] really is! Excellent experience,” said June Woodard, Controller, Maynard Select.

“One-on-one training was very beneficial. I was able to get all my questions answered and trainer was very friendly and knowledgeable,” said Tammy Clark, Office Manager, Rick’s Electric, Inc.

“First time! I learned new things and I was reminded of things I had forgotten,” said George Weber, Senior Estimator, G.M. McCrossin Inc.

“Great educational conference, very professionally done, and very worthwhile,” said Kenneth Muchmore, President, Anderson Bros. Electric, Plumbing, & Heating, Inc.

“It is an awesome event to learn new tricks and tools of our accounting and estimating software as well as meet and network with fellow users,” said Rhonda Lewis, CPA, Vice-President, Tezak Heavy Equipment Co. Inc.


Maxwell Systems is a provider of complete construction business management and property management software solutions and services. To deliver true end-to-end control of critical business processes, the company’s product offerings include: ProContractorMX™, American Contractor™, Management Suite™, StreetSmarts®, and Estimation®. To further help customers grow their business while maximizing the return on their technology investment, Maxwell Systems provides comprehensive support and maintenance, training, and consulting. The company’s headquarters are in King of Prussia, Pa., with offices in Baltimore, Md., Fort Collins, Colo., Santa Cruz, Calif., and Sarasota, Fla. More information is available at www.maxwellsystems.com.


Dexter + Chaney Launches New Construction Operations Software

Dexter + Chaney (www.dexterchaney.com), makers of Spectrum® Construction Software, launched Venture™ Project Collaboration Software – a new web-based software product targeting the needs of construction operations professionals at this years’ World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas Jan. 24 – 27, 2012.

Venture is the first product release from Dexter + Chaney’s newly formed Operations Group.  “Our product line delivers a new approach and a new platform for collaboration across the entire lifecycle of a project,” said Mark Reich, senior vice president, Operations Group.  Venture addresses the needs of construction operations professionals, uniting the management of project documentation, people, and communications on one easy-to-use platform.  Venture keeps the threads of communication and information flowing between all team members throughout a construction project. “There are too many starts, stops, and restarts in today’s typical construction project,” said Reich. “Venture facilitates the sharing of documents and information throughout the entire project lifecycle.”

Venture’s many features work together to help operations professionals assemble bid teams, share and manage documents, control versioning, automatically send alerts and create project logs, take control of issue management, and much more.  “Contractors we’ve worked with as we developed Venture were typically using four or five different applications to manage all the information and people associated with a project,” said Reich. “With Venture, they have one product that does it all and that keeps their information flowing seamlessly across all the phases of a project.”

Venture saves contractors money by reducing the number of software applications they need and by providing web-based access to all of its features.  “Venture is a complete hosted solution that is ready to use. To get started, just open a browser and log in,” explained John Chaney, Dexter + Chaney co-founder and president. Venture is also “free-to-play” for all project team members.  “If you use Venture, your subs and vendors pay nothing to access and use Venture for your projects as well,” said Chaney. “This gives Venture users a competitive edge in building stronger teams and streamlining project execution.”

Dexter + Chaney has been providing complete construction management software for over 30 years. From the office to the field, from accounting to project management, Dexter + Chaney software is used by over thousands of companies. Their clients come from all segments of the industry – heavy highway & utility, general contractors, electrical, mechanical, and specialty subcontractors – and companies of all sizes, from locally owned subcontractors to some of the world’s largest construction firms. Every client is different, and the modularity and flexibility of Dexter + Chaney software allows customers to create a software solution that suits their needs and works the way they do. For more information about Dexter + Chaney’s products and services, contact Wayne Newitts, Director of Marketing, Dexter + Chaney, 9700 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115-2347; phone: 800-875-1400; e-mail: info@dexterchaney.com www.dexterchaney.com

Xplore Technologies Tablets – Which Tablet Is Best For You?

The following is not intended as a commercial or endorsement for Xplore Technologies Tablets, only a review of the product.  With literally hundreds of tablets on the market it’s easy to get confused and not know which will work best for you. I thought I knew about all the tablet brands ranging from A to Z. There are virtually dozens. When I received a product release on this line I was surprised and started doing some research which lead me to the company website http://www.xploretech.com/ and also an interview with Mark Holleran, president and COO.

After extensive reading and the conversation with Holleran I felt that pointing you to the product would be helpful in making a decision about integrating tablets into your operation and making a selection that would be good for your business.

If you’re in construction you may have asked yourself some of these questions:

  • Do you have business-critical tasks working in hazardous or harsh environments that require a mobile PC that won’t break… whether in driving rain, blowing sand and dust, constant vibration, shock, submerged, extreme temperatures?
  • Do you have crucial tasks that require next-generation processing power to run high-performance applications ensuring you have the computing power you need today and well into the future?
  • Do you have to run standard and customized applications already developed for a PC platform and want to avoid the massive expense of re-development?

What are your choices?

You could try a consumer tablet–like the iPad.  It’s fun, thin, light and has lots of apps.  Unfortunately, it is a delicate indoor executive’s tool–not tough enough to work in the field: it splinters if dropped, or snaps like a cracker if sat on, will scratch or short out if splashed with water, mud, oil or blood, and fails in heat, cold or dust. However, it runs lots of apps–just not the heavy-duty customized Windows-based apps you already use.

You could try some of the semi-rugged PCs.  They “look” rugged (heavy), but they barely withstand a knee-high drop to wood (let alone solid concrete) and are not waterproof.

You could get a rugged PC.  However, all rugged PCs are not the same. Some are armor-coated laptops (that weigh a ton), and some can be dropped (but only onto plywood while turned off–like that’s going to happen), while others can only be lightly sprayed or splashed–how about dropped in the pool?

Or you could consider Xplore tablets, developed by XploreTechnologies. With over 100,000 deployments, Xplore’s tablets are consistently rated the #1 most rugged, most powerful tablet PCs in the world.

Xplore Technologies Tablet

Xplore tablets are more rugged and tested more vigorously (most test performed while “on” ) for shock, thermal, vibration, impact, ingress and emissions than any other PC in the industry, and have an IP 67 Rating.  (link the IP 67 rating to http://www.ruggedtech.com/ip.

  • Drop test. Xplore tablets can withstand a 7′ drop to plywood and a 4′ drop to concrete (while on). Closest competitors don’t certify drop to concrete and most competitor’s testing is done while the PC is off.
  • Water test. Most competitors can be sprayed or sprinkled at best–Xplore tablets can be fully submersed (up to 30 minutes), without failure.
  • Dust & debris test. Impenetrable to dust and debris–achieving the highest industry rating. A 40 mph sand or dust storm and corrosive salt fog will not harm your PC.
  • Hazardous test. Pass the Hazardous Location (UL1604, Class 1/Div2) certification test. They can operate in explosion-prone areas without causing sparks–unlike many PCs that can explode in hazardous gas conditions.
  • Temperature test. Xplore tablets can operate in -4°F to 140°F temperatures, and can be stored at -40°F to 167°F (89°F greater temperature variable than the standard laptop) making it usable in the most extreme environments (including in the freezer, out in the dessert, in the trunk in the winter, or on the dashboard in the summer.)
  • Crash test. Combining the high density, light magnesium alloy chassis, compression seals, structural frame, ISO-damp LCD cushioning, contour bumper protection (from 26 directions), with the non-moving thermal management system, and solid state drives (SSD), Xplore systems are engineered to withstand damage in the harshest environments.

Testing results are verified by independent third parties. Most are conducted with the PC turned on, and is warranted to meet published specifications.

Most Powerful In Their Class Ensuring the Longest Life

Aside from being the most rugged in real-world scenarios, Xplore tablets have the highest performance in their class while also enjoying the longest average PC life-cycle before replacement.

  • Intel i7 Processor, plus Turbo Boost. Most Xplore tablets use the i7 class dual-core processor (up to 3x faster than competitors), along with Turbo Boost,  which provides the power to run the simplest to most demanding applications—ensuring the most advanced computing power today and into the future.
  • Solid State Drive (SSD). Tool-less removable SSD storage in patented protective cartridges provides the fastest data access speed, maximum shock resistance and the longest drive life.
  • RAID 0,1 Option. The only rugged PCs with optional dual SSD drives supporting RAID 0,1 for either un-matched drive performance, or data redundancy, fault tolerance and maximum data protection.
  • AllVue Xtreme LCD. Available with hi- performance, sunlight-readable, automatic light sensor hi/lo night vision in a 10.4″ LCD screen–described as “among the very best displays” ever made. Xplore provides the best field usability with reliable viewing in virtually any light conditions–including direct sunlight. There is also a dual-mode touch screen/active digitizer.
  • Built-In Advanced Security. Biometric finger-swipe finger print reader, tied to pre-boot authentication insures military, police and corporate grade security.  Ensures maximum security and data protection for your most specialized needs.
  • Real-time Customization. Only Xplore tablets that can customize all sound, viewing, radio, fan, and quiet mode settings to user’s specific needs and wants. This unique feature allows for personalized settings for different situations and industries.

Xplore tablets provide the most powerful, modern processor, combined with the fastest and most durable disk access (with an option for even more storage, speed or data redundancy), in one of the most secure and durable tablets in the world.  This ensures you have the computing power you need today and tomorrow.  They also lasts longer before becoming obsolete, maximizing your ROI.

Maximizes Industry Standards and Connectivity

Unlike some tablets that use light-weight, mobile or non-standard operating systems, Xplore tablets ship default with Windows 7 and support most standard hard and wireless connectivity.

  • Windows 7 and Virtual Machines. Xplore tablets ship with Windows 7 Professional–the most stable, full-featured industry standard OS available. With the built-in processing power, you can also run other OSs within a virtual PC–to run just about any modern, legacy, or custom applications  regardless of the platform.
  • USB, RJ-45 (10/100/1000), Serial Port, and MicroSD support. Standard connectors allow you to run non-proprietary accessories–even though the connectors are sealed or internal, with tool-less access to ensure rugged durability.
  • Bluetooth. Built-in Bluetooth allows you to connect to other Bluetooth devices.
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n. Integrated Intel advanced wireless. Allows you to connect to newer and older wireless networks with fewer dead zones and more consistent connectivity.
  • Optional GOBI 3000. The GOBI 3000 WWAN enables network agnostic (choose Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc. later) broadband connectivity. Stay connected to your network and the Internet, regardless of your location.
  • Optional Sub-Meter GPS. Xplore tablets have the only tablet GPS that hot-starts in less than one second with guaranteed accuracy within one meter, providing pinpoint accuracy for GPS driving and specialized GPS applications.
  • Advanced Mobile Broadband. A custom engineered, high gain mobile broadband antenna enables continuous connectivity on the fringes of the network, so you can stay connected where others can’t.
  • Pin and Pad Docking Connector & XPL.  In addition to standard connectivity, Xplore tablets also include specialized gold plated proprietary connectors to hook into Xplore docking stations and accessories–providing further expandability, plus the flexibility to use as your primary PC in and out of the office.

Xplore tablets are full-performance tablet PCs that can run all your normal and specialized applications–without requiring re-development for mobile deployment.

Worth Pointing out

  • More Standard Features. Xplore tablets include a 3 mega-pixel camera (great for Geo tagging), speakers, noise cancelling mic, barcode scanner, security fingerprint reader, sunlight-viewable display, and unsurpassed ruggedization… all standard.
  • Field Repairable/Upgradable.  Industry’s only field reparable/upgradeable rugged tablet PCs. Easy, tool-less access to internal SSD, SIM, Micro SD, battery, memory and wireless. In-field repairs eliminate user and transfer downtime and shipping cost.
  • 3 Year Warranty. As a leader and pioneer in rugged PCs since 2002, Xplore’s comprehensive approach to service sets us apart. The objective of our approach is to support and maximize the value of your mobile computing investment. We warranty each PC to meet published specifications with one of the industry’s highest standard 3-year warranties, including single point-of-contact support.

Migration to tablet computers is inevitable. Do your homework and research the products that are available and find the ones that will work best for your application. Like every investment you should be focused on getting the best possible ROI available and computers are an investment; they are also a piece of indispensable equipment.

This article appeared in the February 2012 issues of the ACP Magazines

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder.