I’m David, Toolsquare’s CTO. First off, I hope everyone was able to re-energize during this summer! We’re happy to let you know that we did not only drink cocktails on the beach but also managed to release some features we hope you’ll appreciate. You’ll probably recognise some of them as we’ve been discussing them with most of you for a while now. So let’s jump in!
This feature has been quite long in the making, mostly because of the flexible we needed to easily add more features in the future. A checklist is a kind of flowchart. Each question has up to 3 answers (right now), each answer (or a non-answer) triggers an action. Usually that will be the next question, but it could also put the machine out of order or unlock it. We’ve written a blog post on the subject so check that out for more background. Here’s also a video:
Next steps for the checklists is processing the feedback data to turn it into useful things such as invoicing of the used material or booking a job on a selected project.
Reach out if you would like to give it a go, we’ll help you to get started. Also any other feedback or remarks are welcome at email@example.com.
Easy onboarding new users is high on our priority list. When a new user comes to a unit today he or she is not guided towards using the machine… Together with Made we’re working on a way to make this a breeze. The plan is there, we’re now breaking it up into small steps. Here is a first one:
Next up is easy access request to a machine. Instead of saying “You don’t have access to this machine family”, it’ll become something like: “You don’t have access yet, would you like to send a request?” with a button below.
We also added a chatservice to our main website! If you need quick assistance you can also find us there. If that works fine we’ll expand that to all our tenants, so help is just around the (bottom left) corner 🙂
3. Machine access
Machine access overview
We heard several times that it was impossible to get an overview of who has access to a certain machine family. Now with each family or for each machine you’ll find a new tab: access! There you’ll get a full list of people. You can add or remove people as well. Be aware that you always give access to the family the machine belongs to, not only to that machine.
We’ll make it easier to request access to a machine via the unit. Stay tuned for more!
4. Technical contact
If you’re a tenant manager, you’ll probably have seen the out of order emails. We used to send these notifications to all tenant managers. In large lab’s this can be confusing: the machine could be in another lab and you actually don’t care about its status. So we’ve added a technical contact to each machine. Now only the right people are notified and you could also add non-tenant managers.
So please go ahead and assign the right people to each machine (you can add more than one). As long as you haven’t done that we’ll still send a mail to all tenant managers.
Right now the only role we have is tenant manager. He or she has all rights on the platform. Soon we will need a more fine grained structure there as you don’t want a lab manager of a different lab managing the access to your equipment. That’s on the list.
5. Location and owner
This is something even I struggled with. We used to have a field called Workspace. For a while it made sense, but after a while it wasn’t really clear of what that actually was. So we broke it down into 2 fields. The old Workspace is now called Owner. That should be self explanatory. The new field is called Location, which should be a lot more self explanatory. These fields can be used to more easily find a machine, but another key reason is to make it much more clear in the data analysis. You’ll now get a good overview on a specific piece of equipment. So have a look at your machines and feel free to add the location and check if the Owner field is correct. Once everything is rearranged we’ll reset the data analysis so the changes are processed.
6. Comment field
We also received a request to track machine maintenance, issues or other data. To get started we already added a comment box in the general settings tab for each machine. Feel free to let us know how you will be using it. Again next steps are coming up as we would like to make it easier for the end users to report any kind of issues they might experience.
7. A get started for tenant managers
We try to onboard each lab/workshop managers individually. But our community is getting bigger as well as the things you can do with our platform. So it’s about time to document everything so you’ll have something to fall back if you’ve forgotten something. Check it out here. We’re also working on a FAQ.
Note that that doesn’t mean that you can’t call us anymore!
8. Next up
We’re already working on our next features, but one of them is actually a product itself.
Right now we only take care of fixed equipment. But there’s a lot of other things around a lab as well: hand held devices, dangerous/expensive materials, .. We’ll start with a proof of concept (POC) somewhere in September at the TUDelft. There will be 3 possible flows that we will support:
Takeout: a user will use their badge, next we know to which locker (piece of equipment) they have access to. A user can select something, next they might get a checklist if needed.
Bring back: each equipment will get an NFC tag, so if you would like to bring back something, just scan the tag and we’ll know who’s bringing back something and which locker to open. We’ll ask if everything was fine with the usage
Open: this is the most basic flow, you can just open a door where you have access to, but we don’t know if something has been taken or brought back. This is more a project locker that can be used to share things with your team.
For the POC not all features will be deployed, we’ll start with the basics and in a co-creation with Delft we’ll make continuous improvements. If you would like to get involved reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks for reading!