Interview: Avontus Software
By Lindsey Anderson19 April 2022
“Before I joined Avontus, I was actually a customer of Avontus,” Andrew Smith says with a laugh.
Smith, who is now CEO scaffold software provider Avontus, has been with the company for nearly eight years, originally joining in 2014 as a sales director of the EMEA region before being appointed vice president of operations in 2018. Just over two and a half years later, he was named CEO.
Smith’s experience in the scaffold sector is deeply rooted. Prior to joining Avontus, he spent over a decade in the scaffold industry working with both small and corporate scaffolding contractors. He has also been a longtime active member with the Scaffold & Access Industry Association, where he currently sits as co-chair on the Associations’ International Council.
Looking back to when he was an Avontus customer, Smith (slightly) waxes poetic. “I had purchased Designer and Quatify, our flagship products, and was able to realize that rather than just pricing to be the lowest bid, perhaps I could provide more value in being able to visualize the scaffold and share my vision with a customer ahead of the project going forward.”
From sketches to VR
As a software tech company that helps scaffolding manufacturers and contractors improve productivity and processes through digitalization, Smith knows the importance of keeping customers in mind. Some might be leap years ahead with utilizing technology. Others might still use pencil and paper. However, regardless of which side they land on, one thing remains true about current users – once they implement Avontus software or solutions, they’re ready for more.
“Our customers are constantly pushing the way that they use the software,” Smith says. “This forces us to make the software faster, make it more efficient.”
Avontus currently has four main digital solutions in its portfolio: Avontus Quantify, Avontus Designer, Avontus Viewer and Avontus Counter, each of which has numerous features and varies drastically from the other. (See box story.) Even with some of Avontus’ products having originally launched 15-plus years ago, the company never stops meticulously updating and modernizing its goods and services.
Four core products
Take, for instance, Avontus Viewer. Originally launched in 2015 as a mobile app that worked in conjunction with Avontus Designer, Viewer allowed users to put their mobile device in a small cardboard “VR viewer” and bring their 2-D plans “alive.” In the years since, Viewer ditched the cardboard and now relies solely on a small “AR target” that can be placed on a real jobsite, which users can activate with the Viewer app and then “fly” through their scaffolding design.
Some might see this as more flair than function, but Smith disagrees.
“The important part to note is that the scaffold itself is actually designed in our Designer software which is the core product,” he says. “Avontus Viewer is sort of a bolt-on to Designer for all the current users and any Designer user who wants to share a model.”
So, what’s next?
Smith says the current focus for Avontus right now is to make sure customers are getting the most benefits out of the products as possible.
“We are working on new architecture that will allow us to implement new features, new types of scaffolding, etc.”
But wait – there’s more to come.
“It’s a bit of a secret but we’re preparing for a major launch of a new product,” Smith teases. “It’s going to be something that will change and disrupt the communication of scaffold requirements on a job site. It’s not from a design perspective but I think it’s equally important to the industry as Viewer was when we brought it out.”
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