Recently, our Spruce team organized a small luncheon presentation and open forum for local business and organization leaders. Spruce founders and developers demonstrated the various uses of the Meetings and Directory applications, elaborated on recent updates and bug fixes leading up to the official launch of Spruce as well as answered pertinent questions and concerns from an engaged audience. Below are some of the questions that were answered by our team.
Meetings Powered by Spruce
Q: Will Spruce be available for Android devices in the future?
A: Yes, we do have a plan for Android devices and we are working on it. We released the iPhone application at the end of December and recently launched the latest update with the passcode just a couple of weeks ago. So, we just finished that process and the next step we want to achieve is developing compatible software for Android.
Q: Is there a limit to how much material you can load onto each Meetings application?
A: We don’t have a cap on how much you can store in your media library or how many sections you can add. We want you to be able to upload as much information and create as many sections within the app as you want. However, I wouldn't upload something as long as a feature length movie. It’s possible, but it would yield some sluggish and buggy results. Regardless, running out of space is not going to be a problem.
Q: Can you customize the thumbnails?
A: No, you cannot customize the thumbnails. But, we have had several people ask about that. The thumbnail automatically produces images of what you are uploading. Custom thumbnail images is something that we are definitely open to.
Q: If you’re in a meeting and someone doesn't have Spruce, can you share materials from Spruce with non-Spruce users?
A: No, you have to share the passcode to that particular meeting. What we are finding out is that Spruce is not necessarily recommended for first-time meetings with clients or colleagues. It’s much more effective and far less intrusive if everybody takes the time to download the app beforehand and establishes how they are going to use the interface and how it should be introduced to one another.
Q: When you are introducing new people such as new board members to the Spruce App, do they then have to pay for the app?
A: They do not. Anybody that you share the app with has free access to it. You can share it with as many people as you want. The $10 a month subscription gets you access to the dashboard and allows you to create the application. Spruce is free to download, but you will not have access to the applications until someone sends you a passcode or you purchase a subscription.
Q: Can you walk us through the interface? What would be the typical order and process in which I could present clean and organized information?
A: People can flip through the presentation however they want to. It’s a matter of how you would want to control your meeting. Spruce is designed in a way to maximize simplicity and meeting organization as well as improvisation. One of the huge perks of Spruce is the ability is has to allow you to take any of your meetings home with you. Until you set a meeting expiration date, you can access any past meeting on your personal device whenever you want to review the materials at your leisure.
Q: How do the passcodes work?
A: Everything on the dashboard is very secure and controlled strictly by a passcode. Everything that’s on the application you can keep as secure as you want to. Let’s say you want to share slightly different materials with two different people on your team while essentially drawing from the same meeting. You would create a passcode and send it to one person. Then you would create a different passcode, remove or add the selected information and send that passcode to the other person. Passcodes help to make things more private.
You can also set passcodes to expire after a certain point. I would recommend, with any meeting, adding an expiration date. You can always come back to the dashboard and create another passcode. It’s as easy as clicking the ‘delete’ button to remove passcodes and clicking ‘create’ to create a new one.
Q: Can you copy any of the sections and reuse them for other meetings?
A: That’s a functionality that we are actually working on building right now. Being able to simply copy and paste sections and directories would be useful. Keep a look out for that soon.
Q: Could you use just the dashboard display to present content or would you have to use the app?
A: The dashboard is mainly for editing and maintaining your different meetings or directories. This can be accessed online at www.getspruceapps.com. I wouldn't recommend presenting your materials through the dashboard. You could certainly get through a presentation that way, but it could be intrusive, especially if you’re managing multiple meetings and directories with private information that you do not wish to share with everyone you are presenting to.
Q: Do you have to have an active data or internet connection at all times to use Spruce?
A: No you do not, and that’s one of the major benefits of Spruce. To download the app you must have an active internet or data connection. But for example, if you are going to visit a client and you are not sure if there will be an internet connection or even a 4G or LTE data connection, you can already have your materials preloaded on the Spruce app. Of course, you would have to have an active connection if you wanted to update the app in real time.
Q: Even if it’s a video?
A: Even a video. If you load it onto Spruce it’s ok to access anywhere at any time.
Directory Powered by Spruce
Q: When you build your Directory on Spruce, can you dial your contacts’ numbers the way you would on your phone contacts list?
A: Yes. Directory is designed to feel and operate like the contacts list on your phone. In your personalized Directory if you would like to call a contact all you do is push their number and it will dial them straight away.
Q: Email too?
A: Yes. Click on your preferred contact’s email address and you can email them as you would through your own email platform.
Q: Can you generate passcodes for the Directory as well?
A: Yes. It works the same way. Choose whoever you’d like to share the directory with and send them the passcode link in an email.
Q: I’m confused. Are Meetings and Directory the same thing or are they different? What’s the point of Spruce?
A: Directory and Meetings are two completely different products. They are all running on the same platform (Spruce) but they are different subscriptions and they are managed separately. You would have a different dashboard for Meetings as you would with Directory. The separate media libraries will show different materials and do not intersect. If you were to update and share information on Meetings then that action would not be reciprocated on the Directory app and vice versa. Each must be managed separately. Security is the main reason for this divide. It also helps to keep things a little bit cleaner and smoother.
Q: Is there a free trial period that I could use to test out the dashboard?
A: Yes. No credit card is required to begin your 14 day free trial. This will give you access to all the dashboard features and walk you through the process of setting up your Meetings and/or Directory applications.
Q: Can you share just one person or one contact?
A: Only if you have added one person to one directory. But, if you’d like to do that, it’s as easy as creating a new directory and adding one “item” or person and then sharing it. To share a directory with someone, it’s as easy as clicking the “share” button on the screen.
Q: Are there plans to have Meetings and Directory work in conjunction with one another? Could I add a directory to a meeting app?
A: Yes, you can do that now. In Meetings, you can create a directory but it’s a little bit different; sort of like creating a catalog. You can also create two different apps: one that’s a meeting and one that’s a directory. There are some functionalities that will overflow, but generally we would like to keep Meetings and Directory separate. Our goal as a business is to keep creating new products and for those products to be stand-alone products. We want to make the best Meeting app and the best Directory app that we can make and not allow the two to be confused.
Q: Where did you get the name Spruce?
A: I’m a big tree fan. Green is good.
Recorded and transcribed by Cole Eady at Bottle & Bone restaurant in Birmingham, AL. February 6, 2015. Answers by Mike Goodrich, Taylor Wyatt and Ponya Parks paraphrased and abridged by Cole Eady.