February 2022 kicked off the International Year of Glass (IYOG 2022) as designated by the United Nations (UN). This designation allows us in the industry to highlight the transformative aspects of this essential building material.
When I entered the industry 3+ years ago, I was naïve to the fabrication process of glass, its ability to be 100% recycled, and so much more! Clearly this has changes, which prompts me to utilize the UN’s designation as an educational opportunity for industry outsiders, who were like me. (It also allows us to imagine ingenious ways to entice new, skilled, excited workers to our industry, but more on that later.) Some industry outsiders are passing legislation and regulation (Please see difference between terms here.) at the state, county, and city level that affect our industry (in both positive and negative ways). This legislation and regulation includes bird-friendly glass, energy efficiency, and conservation.
As a disclaimer, I understand that not everyone in our industry supports the United Nations. However, I see the IYOG 2022 as a unique opportunity for our industry to highlight the importance of glass and work toward a common goal, enlightening industry outsiders to the energy efficiency/generation, daylighting, recyclability, and versatility of glass! This allows us to help positively influence legislation and regulation with a seat at the table. Legislatures can learn from us as we learn from them.
Returning to the IYOG 2022, glass addresses several of the United Nations’ 2030 strategic development goals (SDGs), including affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production. These are areas, where companies like A+W can work with industry outsiders to highlight and promote the uniqueness of glass along with its transformative capabilities.
One way A+W Software is accomplishing this is through partnerships with our customers. For example, we worked with fabricators to develop innovative technologies that require less physical paperwork, such as A+W Smart Companion. This software solution allows you to securely and accurately scan barcodes individually or in continuous mode, while reducing our use of paper. A+W iShape uses your smartphone to take a photo of a template, de-blur the photo, and then transfer it directly to your CAD Designer as a DXF file before cutting. These are two examples of digitalization with great practical value −two small pieces of Industry 4.0, which will help develop sustainable cities and communities along with responsible consumption and production.
As glass technology evolves, it allows our industry to meet the United Nations’ 2030 SDG goals not to mention the needs of our customers, while allowing us to continually innovate. Innovations advances glass’ ability to protect vulnerable animals through bird-friendly glass and generate energy through photovoltaic glass, both of which aim to protect our environment.
Speaking of the environment, environmental causes are important to Millennials and Gen Z students as well as workers looking for careers. Staying apolitical here, our industry is transitioning to a more green-energy industry. That “label” affords us the opportunity to attract new talent by highlighting our technological advancements, range of opportunities, skill development, use of technology and software, etc. By working in conjunction with the NGA, for example, we can highlight multiple career paths for students to positively impact the environment for flora, fauna, and humans. We can also highlight the advanced technology used to fabricate glass from software to complex machines that power our advancement towards robotics, automation, and smart factories.
Coalescing all of this together, let’s embrace the IYOG 2022 as an opportunity for us to communicate with legislatures and future workers/glass business owners about the exciting future glass has in and beyond construction!
How can A+W Software partner with your company to expand your abilities and meet the needs of the world today and in the future? Contact us to learn more!
*This blog was originally written for the National Glass Association and was replicated on A+W's website for your reading pleasure.