Subscribe to Our Blog Stay up to date with the latest tips and news.
Filter By:
Sort By:

Productivity just got easier with Google Workspace and AppSheet!

Today, Google unveiled Google Workspace, an integrated platform that seamlessly brings together Google’s communication and collaboration tools with messaging, meetings, docs, and tasks all in one place. Google Workspace makes it even easier for teams to use the tools they love and work better together. That’s why starting today, Workspace users will be able to create AppSheet apps directly from Google Sheets. Plus, Workspace customers using AppSheet will be given access to our Free plan, and Workspace Enterprise+ can now have full access to AppSheet Pro. Interested in trying it out? Open up a Google Sheet with data you’d like to turn into an app. Go to Tools > Open in AppSheet and create an AppSheet account if you haven’t yet. Then AppSheet will immediately analyze the data structure and automatically create a prototype app. Note: We’ve just begun rolling out this feature and it's possible that you may not see this option in your Tools menu. If so, the feature should appear within a few weeks. In the meantime, you can always connect to your Sheets data via the My Apps page. Google Workspace and AppSheet empower customers to build custom solutions to help solve their most pressing challenges. For example, you could improve workplace safety with a custom-built safety app linked to Google Docs, or you could boost a repair team’s productivity by building a work order app that integrates with Google Meet. To help customers take full advantage of the two platforms’ integrations, we’ve put together a library of Workspace + AppSheet templates that you can access here. This is just the start. As we continue our mission of improving productivity and collaboration for everyone, we will be making it even easier for you to leverage Workspace and AppSheet together. Happy app building!

Solar energy project manager in India tracks data from the field with Google Cloud’s AppSheet

From his office in Mumbai, Munjal Savla keeps tabs on work bringing solar water pumps to remote farms with AppSheet  Mechanical engineer Munjal Savla started his career in the fast lane. Literally. He won victories as a racing driver for Volkswagen Motorsport. He also worked as an automotive industry writer and sales data analyst, and a senior performance driving instructor for Jaguar Land Rover India. After a few years, he shifted to pursue a new calling — solar energy. Since 2019, Munjal has been a project manager for Ravindra Energy Limited, which brings  accessible, sustainable solar energy systems to remote areas that need electricity. He reflects on one of his more challenging projects bringing solar power to remote small farms. “Getting electricity to small farms far away from the city of Mumbai is very difficult, because you have to pull the electricity lines really far,” Munjal explains. “There is no electricity connection to [power] the water source inside the farms. Many of these farmers are poor. So the government created a program to subsidize the installation of solar-powered irrigation pumps for smaller farms in remote areas. We are one of the agencies implementing this project.” With engineers and technicians spread out across the state of Maharashtra, Munjal struggled to find a mobile solution to keep the multi-faceted project on track. The challenge: Dispatches from the field Munjal was charged with managing field activities and keeping the energy company’s client — the electrical company — well informed. “Mobile networks are pretty well established in and around the areas where we operate,” Munjal recalls. But the networks were only as good as the mobile solutions available to help manage such a complex, large-scale project. “We faced challenges because our guys were all over the state,” he says. Munjal coordinated with regional managers, who in turn worked with contractors to install solar-powered water pumps in remote farm locations. Activities needed to be logged. Equipment needed to be tracked. Bills needed to be submitted and payments collected. Munjal received information from field workers sporadically via instant messaging — a method that wasn’t consistent or reliable, and didn’t scale. “It would all get jumbled up,” he says. “It was a big problem [for me] sitting in Mumbai, trying to manage this project, and understand exactly what is going on in the field.” He began to brainstorm more efficient ways to collect and record information from a mobile workforce operating in remote locations. “We needed something mobile,” Munjal shares. “We couldn’t use computers or Excel because these guys are traveling [and] it's difficult for them. They can just pick up a phone. That is where we [realized], ‘OK, we need an app." Choosing Appsheet: Tracking data off the grid Munjal took to the Internet to find a solution that wouldn’t require a complete system overhaul. “I searched on ‘easy app development,’” he recalls. “I thought, OK, I need an app that could directly edit our database Excel files on Microsoft OneDrive. That's where I came across Google Cloud’s AppSheet, because that is one of its use cases.” The ease of use of AppSheet’s no-code platform intrigued Munjal. Though he learned some Python coding skills while in graduate school, he admits, “I’m not the IT guy on the team. In fact, we don’t have an IT person on this project.” AppSheet’s no-code platform was a fast and flexible solution to Munjal’s data management challenges for his remote field project. He reflects on what became an easy decision to choose AppSheet. “Creating an app [with code] was out of the question,” he remembers. “I did not have the time to create a front end or UI and understand the tools or a new [programming] language.” And hiring a developer to customize off-the-shelf apps, he says, “just becomes slow and expensive.”  He chose AppSheet for its simplicity and power to enable developers to push no-code apps into service quickly. “AppSheet works really well because I did not have to [create] a front end, which was done by AppSheet itself. For the kind of data we want to show, it works really well.” His AppSheet-powered app integrated easily with the energy company’s data management system. “We are running off Excel rather than having a SQL database, which would be ideal,” Munjal says. “These kinds of challenges are very common across developing phases of a project or system. In that sense, AppSheet works very well because it directly integrates into the tools we use, rather than our having to migrate our database [to a different platform]. That is the key.”. Munjal also liked that AppSheet can function offline — a huge plus for field workers in remote areas where connectivity can be spotty. This offline capability is made possible because Information needed to run the app is stored locally on the mobile device. Field workers can use the app to log the specific water pump installed at each farm location, and update the database when connectivity becomes available. And he can manage the remote field work at farms throughout the state from his office in Mumbai.  The results: Connecting people and data Munjal rolled out his AppSheet-powered app for Ravindra Energy’s field workers in February 2020. “The guys in the field input data coming into an Excel file on OneDrive, which then integrates with our other systems,” he explains. “That data directly shows up in my database,” providing the real-time information he needs to keep the solar water pumps project flowing. “The data is always crystal clear. There is no confusion about what is done or what is not done.” His AppSheet-powered app was easy for people in the field to use. He says, “Once they understood the [app’s] benefits, I don't think they could function without it now.” When new issues crop up in the field or the home office, Munjal can quickly adapt his AppSheet-powered app to handle any changes. “That's where AppSheet works out really well, because I can iterate [a new solution] very quickly,” he says. “I can think of something and within a half an hour, I can iterate it. That is a very powerful tool to have.”  He also likes that AppSheet works across devices, giving workers the flexibility to work wherever they need to. “They not only use our AppSheet app on their phones when they’re traveling, they use the web interface as well, whenever they are on their laptops.” Going forward, Munjal sees many opportunities for the energy and construction industries to take greater advantage of no-code apps built with Google Cloud’s AppSheet. “The whole of our industry has not moved to digital, like our clients,” Munjal says. Yet, there’s a world of opportunity for citizen developers like him to use AppSheet’s no-code platform to improve how their businesses operate.    “Creating apps is not my main job,” Munjal asserts, “so AppSheet was very useful.” Are you ready to kickstart your next data-driven citizen development project? AppSheet is always free to start:

Jewelry store owner brings family business into digital era with Google Cloud's AppSheet

Lohith Dhaksha is a fifth-generation owner and operator of his family business, P S Jewellery. Founded in 1896 and based in Tiruttani, Tamil Nadu, India, the company sells jewelry and watches for men, women, and children. The shop has thrived for more than a century by providing quality, fashionable accessories made from gold, silver, and other precious metals. They also sell diamonds and gemstones. A qualified chartered accountant  with an interest in computer programming, Lohith was tapped to step in and run the business, taking the torch from his father. “We wanted to expand our business to all over India,” Lohith says. “But my father was initially reluctant to invest in and embrace technology.” After rounds of discussion with Lohith, his father was ready to embrace digital transformation. Now, Lohith is about to launch his e-commerce website in October, 2020, to attract customers beyond their loyal, local base. “We’ve built our family business on loyalty and trust,” he says. “We may be a little pricey, but we guarantee quality. But I realized, even though we’re a very old business, we didn’t have a way to keep track of our customers — including those families who purchased jewelry from us for generations. I figured we were losing business to other shops because we didn’t track our visitors.” To remain competitive in the 21st century, P S Jewellery needed to establish an online presence, kick e-commerce into full gear, and modernize its customer communications, data tracking, and marketing. Says Lohith, “The biggest problem I faced was logistics.” The challenge: Kickstarting a digital transformation Lohith acknowledges his family business was slow to adopt technology. “We should have done some of these changes in the early 2000s,” he laments. “Now, I am running to catch the bus.” But they didn’t survive 125 years only to be left behind. Lohith knew he had to get the business online and create mobile-friendly tools for company communications and other essential operations. It was now or never. They started gathering customer information the old-fashioned way — using a sign-up book in the shop. Employees entered the sign-up data into Google Contacts. This synced with Lohith and his father’s company Gmail account, which the business owners accessed from their mobile phones. It also provided a central means for father or son to respond to customer inquiries. “But the problem was, since mobile numbers are very sensitive [one digit off and it’s wrong], they are prone to error while typing,” Lohith recalls. Trying to decipher customers’ handwriting wasn’t working. “What I needed was an app, so employees could enter customers’ information before they leave our showroom.” Lohith began searching for apps, but soon realized “I was not in a position to invest a lot” in off-the-shelf software. “I was searching, searching, searching,” he says. “I found some other companies that offered no-code app development. But what struck me about Google Cloud’s AppSheet was it worked with Google Sheets.” Choosing AppSheet: Finding gold in no-code apps Lohith had some experience with survey creation tool Google Forms, and he and his father already shared a company Gmail account. So he was comfortable working with GSuite tools and made an easy leap to AppSheet. “I wanted to build a database in Google Sheets,” he explains. “I was struck that AppSheet could [connect with] Sheets or any other database. It even provided me with a neat interface for the staff to use.” Lohith’s first AppSheet-powered app works with SMS by Zapier Integrations and MSG91 communications API. “AppSheet captures the raw data, which goes into Google Sheets,” he explains. “I can make Google Sheets [data input] as a trigger. So whenever a new record is created or updated, it will automatically go and create a contact in Google Contacts. And at the same time, it will trigger a personalized SMS. Whenever the customer purchases something, and before leaving the showroom, they'll receive a thank-you SMS message.” He then created a second app with AppSheet for inventory management. P S Jewellery sells a wide range of bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and anklets in different styles, both elegant and casual. “With jewelry, you have very minute differences in the various designs,” Lohith says. “When we give orders to our suppliers, we have to specify all the specifications and variations in designs,” including, for example, the weight and measurement of anklets. Lohith’s father had traditionally written down these specs on a piece of paper. Like the sign-up book in the store, this left room for interpretation — and errors. “There was too much lack of clarity in communication between us and the supplier,” Lohith says. “[This results in] too much discrepancy in the design. So I created an AppSheet app to track inventory and create a supply order, which specifies anklet weight, length, design — all those things.” This ensured suppliers got the right orders, and the store got the anklets customers desired. The results:  Bringing a family business into the future The next AppSheet-powered app on Lohith’s list to develop? Customized text message marketing for customers at different stages along the sales funnel. “We want to customize our SMS messages for a new visitor, a returning customer, and a retained customer,” Lohith says. “We’re exploring ways to create an app with AppSheet to provide different content for our customers.” No-code development gave Lohith the opportunity to flex his technology skills and become a true citizen developer — while modernizing his family’s business operations and paving the way for the future. “My childhood dream was to become a software engineer, but that never landed me a job,” Lohith recalls. “I chose finance as my profession. But I always had a passion for technology. Even still, I have a dream to learn a programming language.” By building no-code apps with AppSheet, Lohith can continue to expand his technology skills while finding fast-and-easy solutions to his family’s business challenges. His father is now the best QA expert and tester Lohith could ask for. “He now understands the benefits [of no-code apps] and how efficient we can run things,” Lohith says. “He started to adapt to the changes. And he started to give me suggestions. ‘Can you try this?’ For him, he just needs a base. I learned all the complexities of the business and different situations through him. He always tells me one thing: ‘When you see through your eyes, you won't get that error. When you see that through someone [else’s] eyes, they will easily find that error.’ He’s the perfect tester.” The family will continue to explore how no-code apps and other technology tools can help keep their jewelry business sparkling for generations to come. Adds Lohith, “I am sure no-code will be the future.”

Feature Friday | September Recap

Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase both new and favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.  September: Month in review  September brought the change of seasons and a few notable announcements of updates you'll be able to experience in AppSheet soon. Most of the product enhancements made came from months of small, incremental steps that led to larger releases.  Below is a recap of some of the key features and areas of focus we’ve been working on behind the scenes:  Next OnAir announcement of AppSheet Automation Completion of our migration efforts to expand our GCP integrations Testing phase of our PDF Creation Facility  UI refresh with updates Google branding  Apigee Data Source moved to general availability  Improved chart rendering  SOC 2 Type II compliance  We also held our Quarterly Office Hours webinar where we discussed what we've worked on over the past few months and what you can expect over the next quarter. If you missed the live webinar, you can review the recording of it on our Office Hours Youtube playlist.   A number of these features were made possible by the feedback and adventurous spirit of each of our app creators. Thank you to each and every one of you who continues to volunteer for early testing and feedback opportunities.  We have a lot more in store before the end of the year. Follow along with our feature release notes in the AppSheet community to gather more information as it becomes available. 

Feature Friday | Editor Refresh Q&A

  Welcome back to AppSheet’s Feature Friday where we showcase new and favorite features. This quick guide will help you build your apps faster so you can focus on what matters.  Editor UI Refresh Q&A with Carie Phon  Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. What is your current role at Google and what area of AppSheet are you currently working on?  I’m a UX/UI Product Designer. My main area of focus is improving the app creation experience for both new and existing app creators. At this very moment, however, I’m working on refreshing the App UI, the apps being created by app creators (more information to come!)  You've been working on refreshing an important part of the AppSheet experience. Can you tell us what that is?  Now that we’re a part of Google Cloud, there has been a huge effort across AppSheet to integrate. The Google UI refresh was no exception. To ensure an integrated experience without breaking existing functionality, we adopted Google’s Material design standards into the product. The refresh introduces accessible colors and contrast, recognizable Material UI patterns, visual hierarchy, and minor usability improvements to the Editor.  You worked closely with our Creator Community on this project, can you explain what that relationship is like?  The Creator Community was instrumental in how quickly we were able to deliver the refreshed UI to the public. From day one, I was thrilled at the number of people who volunteered to beta-test the product. The Editor refresh was a substantial change, so the fact that so many people readily opted into the new interface was incredible. Thanks to the beta-testing group, we got a lot of great, honest feedback and were able to correct a number of issues right before launch. If it wasn’t for these dedicated testers, I don’t think we would have felt as confident about rolling out to the public as soon as we did.  Was there a challenge you didn’t anticipate that ending up turning into something you really enjoyed?  At first, the Editor was intimidating. App creators use the Editor on a daily basis, it was a real challenge to incorporate Google design patterns into such an intricate interface using only CSS updates. However, what was intimidating at first quickly became a fun collaboration between cross-functional teams. Together, we were able to make AppSheet look and feel like a Google Cloud product and improve usability without any major functionality changes. It looks so different and yet it’s still the same AppSheet under the hood! What was your favorite part of the refresh experience?  It’s hard to pick just one part, I’ve learned so much from this experience, but one moment that really stood out to me was the first time I saw an AppSheet demo using the new UI. That made me really happy to see someone making an app, end-to-end, using the designs I created.  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?  This was a collaborative effort, a special shout out to the entire team who made this all possible: Nico, Seth, Maria, Arthur, Mike, Chris H, Josh, Morgan, Peter, Jeff, Christina, Lilia, Dallas, Devin, Chris B, Praveen, and Theirry. The refresh is but one of many improvements to come, stay tuned for more updates to the app creation experience!   Thank you again to Carie from our incredible engineering team for your contributions to this week's post. Be sure to follow along in the AppSheet Creator Community for additional updates and get started building your next app today.   

Event coordinator helps track mountain bike racers during COVID-19 with Google Cloud's AppSheet

An avid cyclist and mountain biker who studied industrial engineering, Hennie Scheepers found his dream job as Information Systems Manager at Faces Advendurance. The South African company organizes a wide range of adventure endurance sporting events including cycling, mountain biking, obstacle course racing, and trail running. The Nissan Trailseeker Series is one such event, known for its outstanding trails, scenic locations, family-friendly experience, and competitive field. Held in the outskirts of the capital city Pretoria, the race is open to both novice and professional mountain bikers and runners of all ages. For months, Hennie prepared for this highly anticipated event, which took place on September 4–6, 2020.  Since 2017, Hennie had been using Google Sheets to manage the Faces Advendurance registration process.  “An events company’s biggest asset is its database,” he explains. He says it became costly and time consuming to outsource registration to a third-party vendor. So Faces Advendurance took the function in-house.  “I built our registration system onto Google Sheets, which I liked very much, so we could do registration on our own,” he says. The solution worked, though he had to teach numerous volunteers, including many students, how to use the system on race mornings. Sometimes, mistakes were made. He knew he had to find an easier way to track race participants and update data on the fly.  Then, COVID-19 made everything even more challenging. The challenge: Rethinking race registration Hennie admits he’s not a programmer, though he enjoys keeping up with technology trends. As an info systems manager, it’s his job to find software and apps that keep his company’s services up and running smoothly. Bringing the digital and physical worlds together can be a logistical challenge, especially for events in remote locations.  When the coronavirus pandemic put new restrictions on sporting events — including how many participants could enter a race course at one time — Hennie started brainstorming easier ways to manage registration and participant activity. He needed to find something that could quickly and accurately pull in database records; track participants’ start, checkpoint, and finish times; and be easy for multiple event volunteers to update data in the field from their mobile phones.       “We started printing QR codes on timing boards in January 2019, but could never find a way to efficiently scan the codes and submit the number to a database,” he explains. “When we went into lockdown, I was searching for QR code scanner apps, and somehow, I stumbled across AppSheet's no-code development platform. At the time, I didn’t even know no-code existed. I liked that AppSheet could pull in data from Google Sheets. I’m such a nerd, I stayed up in bed at night watching AppSheet YouTube tutorials to learn what it could do. I thought, ‘I can do this. Let’s give it a try.’” Choosing AppSheet: Making course corrections “The Nissan Trailseeker is the biggest mountain bike series in the world, with six events per year attracting 3,000 riders per event,” Hennie explains. Some events, such as the Pretoria mountain bike race in September, span three days and conclude with a trial run attracting between 400 and 1,000 runners per event. That’s a lot of mountain bikers and runners, trail courses of varying distances, and time slots to manage and track.  “Now, our COVID regulation stipulates that we’re only allowed 300 people at an event,” Hennie continues, “and we must start them in batches of less than 50.” To foster social distancing and limit the number of people on the course, they broke the big race down into six smaller events, totaling 1,800 participants to register and time. Google Cloud's AppSheet enabled Hennie to build a quick-and-easy app that imports data into Google Sheets from race participants who have pre-registered online through their entry platform. He then installed his custom app onto 20 race phones and distributed them to students and other volunteers. Volunteers can use the app to register new participants as they arrive at the event, assign them race numbers, and plug them into available time slots. Faces Advendurance uses an RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) timing system, where race participants get a tag with a tracking code that is automatically scanned by RFID readers as participants cross the finish line. Participants’ results automatically update in Google Sheets and are then made available in the app in real time for race organizers. When mountain bikers and runners cross the finish line, the RFID system enters their race number and a timestamp is added to Google Sheets and Hennie’s AppSheet app. “I built the app in such a way that anyone can register at any time,” Hennie says. “I know when they start, I know which batch they start in – and compared to what we were doing before, no one can make a mistake now. So I can literally give the phone to a student and show them in one minute what to do.”  The app has also improved handling of event logistics. “In the past, everything had to be done on laptops,” Hennie says. “The challenge with that is we have to set up tables with generators and electricity and WiFi. When there are 3,000 people on the venue the [cellular] tower struggles to handle it. When I read that AppSheet-powered apps can go offline, it was a colossal plus. So I bought phones with dual SIM cards and two providers. Now, there’s no problem at all if there’s no connectivity.” Hennie’s new AppSheet race registration app was put to the test at the September 2020 event.  “It could hardly have gone better!” he says. “We received so many compliments from participants about the new registration system.” Thanks to the app, the company created a much faster registration process, a neater registration area (“no laptops, cables, or power supply units!”), improved timing accuracy, and offered greater convenience for racers in the field (no need to return to the registration table to make changes). Limited Internet access did not slow things down. Hennie also combined COVID-19 screening into the app’s registration process, cutting out an extra step.  And when the timing scanners hiccuped at the mountain biking finish line, Hennie “quickly built a backup timing solution in AppSheet, enabling our staff to scan each finisher's race number using the QR code we printed in the number board.” The app has also enabled event organizers to more quickly handle race participant queries after the event. The results: Getting out in front of the race With Hennie’s custom-built Google Cloud's AppSheet app, he and Faces Advendurance can now focus on running sporting events — often in remote areas — and on timing race participants, without worrying about connectivity issues and other technical difficulties.  “The results are fed directly from Google Sheets to WordPress,” Hennie says. “So when someone crosses the finish line, their result is posted online immediately. Our admin staff is incredibly impressed by this new functionality. It made their lives much easier. They are able to provide quicker and more accurate service to our participants.”  Hennie says the sky’s the limit with Google Cloud's AppSheet. He’s now experimenting with breaking down different types of relational databases into subsets (e.g., batches of participants, course lengths) and specific disciplines (mountain biking, trail running, and road racing), for even more precise event management and better customer service for participants. He’s even built a COVID-19 compliance app for his children’s school to allow administrators to take students’ temperatures and enter them into a Google Data Studio dashboard.  “In our world, this is a game changer,” Hennie says. “No one in South Africa is doing it this way because there are too many variations for a standard [off-the-shelf] app. Now I’m building an AppSheet-powered app for our obstacle races. Our two biggest events are a cycling event (Ride Joburg) of 20,000 cyclists and a running event (Cape Town Marathon) with 25,000 runners. And both of those have registration challenges. I think our apps are going to answer all of that.” Ready to become an app creator like Hennie? Start building for free on AppSheet today.

We Love App Creators

Millions of people use no-code development platforms like Google Cloud's AppSheet to build custom business applications that help improve processes in the workplace. To get a better understanding of no-code app creators, their goals, and their motivations, we recently partnered with TechValidate to collect more than a thousand responses from AppSheet app creators. What we discovered is a diverse set of app creators, with even more diverse goals and motivations, who have all embraced no-code app development as a way to optimize business workflows. Now, let’s take a look at the data. Let's start with technical ability. While 35% report having beginner’s knowledge of traditional coding skills like Java, Python, or C#, 39% reported having no traditional coding knowledge at all. This means that roughly 74% have little to no traditional coding skills when they start using AppSheet. This statistic helps provide insight into the results of next question. We asked app creators why they chose a no-code platform over a low-code platform. For context, no-code and low-code platforms represent different approaches aimed at different users. Low-code platforms involve coding and are intended for traditional developers to provide them with a faster development environment. No-code platforms require no coding (hence the name) and expand the definition of who can be a developer. No-code empowers anyone — even those without technical ability — to build apps. It’s no surprise then that our app creators, most of whom have little or no coding skills, chose no-code app development over low-code app development. Respondents said that no-code development is easier (57%) and more flexible (36%) than low-code development, affording problem-solving technology skills to anyone in an organization regardless of coding knowledge or ability.  And where do people use their no-code apps? The vast majority of people we surveyed use no-code app development on the job, either to build apps for their teams (47%), for other people or businesses (43%), or for their own business (38%), though a smaller number (24%) do use AppSheet as a hobby or at school (5%). Our survey found that 80% reported that they started using no-code development for “general business needs,” and a smaller percentage (14%) began to fill an educational or non-profit need. Regardless of where people use no-code application development, they’ve chosen to do so for a variety of reasons. Speed is the most common response, as 32% of respondents report the quick time to develop an app as the “best thing about no-code app development.” Other reasons people use no-code app development are flexibility (17%), the low barrier to get started (17%), ease of use (15%), low cost (7%), and the creativity afforded by the platform (8%). Saving time and money are top benefits for app creators: 82% say that no-code development saves them time, and 60% say that no-code development saves their organization money.  “The future is no-code app development,” says one app creator who works as a project manager at an independent retail business. “Creating an app from a simple spreadsheet opens up endless possibilities in making business processes seamless.”  We love app creators for their ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creativity. That's why this September and October, we'll be running spotlights of AppSheet app creators on our blog to showcase the various use cases for the no-code platform. App creators span the globe and work in various fields. However, they always have a few things in common: they want to jump-start digital transformations in their workplaces and bridge the physical and digital worlds. Read our first app creator spotlight on Hennie Scheepers, who uses AppSheet to build apps for his company, Faces Advendurance.  Ready to become an app creator yourself? Start building on Google Cloud's AppSheet today:

We Are Still All In This Together

Google Cloud AppSheet extends COVID-19 support through June 2021 With disruptions related to COVID-19 still rippling across the globe, enterprises need to reimagine how business gets done. No-code development is emerging as an important tool in many organizations’ efforts to become more resilient, helping them extend the ability to create much-needed line-of-business apps and to optimize business workflows outside of traditional IT.  By enabling those closest to challenges to build apps or workflows without programming, no-code platforms can free up IT to work on more sophisticated strategic initiatives while also eliminating the backlog of line-of-business apps in IT’s queue. With more people able to harness a company’s valuable data for new uses, no-code platforms help accelerate the development of new apps while still maintaining administrators’ control over how and by whom data is accessed and used.  Earlier this year, Google Cloud offered AppSheet, our no-code platform, at no cost for any use cases related to COVID-19, and we’ve been inspired by the thousands of apps that have since been built and are in active use. The AppSheet team collaborated with app creators to create a multilingual app, for example, that supports more than 100 languages and can serve as a baseline for creators around the world.  Having heard from our customers and the market that no-code solutions are a pressing need, we are extending the COVID-19 promotion through June 2021. These are uncertain times and like so many others, we are grateful to be in a position to help. There are, of course, countless other examples of how app creators have leveraged AppSheet’s no-code platform to respond to the pandemic, and while we cannot cover them all, here are two that illustrate the innovative ways in which app creators have risen to the tasks at hand. Tracking and managing critical medical equipment Under the guidance of USMEDIC, a provider of comprehensive equipment maintenance solutions to healthcare and medical research communities, AppSheet, along with other companies collaborated to build and deploy a  medical equipment tracking and management solution that would support healthcare organizations in their COVID-19 response. During the course of its work with various healthcare organizations, USMEDIC realized that hospital staff were often spending many hours a day trying to locate vital medical equipment which was often redistributed due to surging patient volumes. Traditional tracking options, while available, took months to develop and were expensive to implement. The challenge? Building an alternative solution that could be launched in days, without system integration or the need to purchase expensive equipment. Thus began a cross-functional collaboration and within two months, this team built a solution that can be used by hospitals that have not already implemented a comprehensive equipment management system or to augment existing ones. An app built on the AppSheet platform is what hospital personnel would use to manage and track emergency assets and we all hope that this solution will provide relief for hospitals struggling to locate much needed equipment Supporting needy individuals in the form of digital aid During the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa has been in some form of lockdown now for some 137 days, preventing people from working and earning an income for basic necessities. It is estimated that 47% of households ran out of money to buy food in April coupled with a rising  fear that the traditional method of delivering food parcels would be overwhelmed. Enter the Mthunzi Network, a not-for-profit organization that delivers much needed assistance in the form of digital food vouchers directly to those most impacted populations: assisting mothers of young children, the homeless, refugees, and those not receiving support from the South African government. To manage this effort, Mthunzi built a simple, easy-to-use AppSheet-powered app that automated the beneficiary registration and digital aid redemption process. Development organizations in local communities would register individual households in need of support through the app and specify the type of aid needed — food vouchers redeemable at beneficiary selected corner shops or retailers. Mthunzi would then send those digital food vouchers to the registered beneficiaries and using the app, the development organizations would support beneficiaries with the redemption of the aid. To date, Mthunzi has helped over 25,000 beneficiaries with digital aid and expects to see this number grow to 60,000+ within the next three weeks. Lifting up app creators It is safe to say that every one of us across the global community has experienced a roller coaster of emotions as we come to terms with everything that has changed. But I hope that you, like me, are able to also see the helping hands that are doing their best to lift us up. We are so very proud and grateful for the help that our AppSheet creators have provided and we look forward to continuing to support them. To learn more, go to our COVID-19 support guide.

8 No-Code Sample Apps to Reduce Workplace Risk During COVID-19

Up until a few months ago, it was normal for workers to gather in conference rooms, around the water cooler, or on a job site, or to have impromptu chats in the hallways of an office building. This kind of real-time in-person connection helped make workplace communication and collaboration fluid and happenstance in a positive way.  Fast forward to today and the working world is pretty unrecognizable from that time. Nearly every aspect of the workforce has been transformed — in many cases, overnight. Conference rooms have been replaced with video conferencing software, businesses that relied on paper for record keeping have had to quickly transition to storing and sharing their documents online, and office chit chat now takes place over group texts. Long story short: businesses are relying on cloud services more than ever to adapt to the ever-changing landscape caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Cloud computing software has not only enabled work to continue, it’s also helped front-line workers stay connected (while keeping physically distant) and reduce potential risk factors in an increasingly harsh environment. And with so much changing on a weekly (or sometimes daily) basis, businesses are increasingly turning to no-code development platforms like Google Cloud AppSheet in order to quickly build and launch apps that are not only critical to keeping businesses running, but also keeping everyone safe. No-code app development allows anyone to build custom apps, even with zero coding experience. With no-code, workers on the ground who understand the day-to-day business needs, customer needs, and problems best are empowered to build solutions themselves. So businesses have naturally been turning to platforms like Google Cloud AppSheet during this Covid-19 pandemic to quickly develop and launch apps that improve communication across remote workers and allow teams to scale their processes safely. By empowering the entire workforce to build the solutions they need to get things done, businesses are able to bypass the hurdles of waiting on engineering or IT resources and the one-size-fits-all approach to purchasing and deploying off-the-shelf apps that often don’t fully meet workers’ needs. Here are several no-code workplace apps (also built with Google Cloud AppSheet) that you can copy and customize to address specific health and safety concerns during the pandemic. Building Inspections This sample no-code app makes tracking building inspections and safety measures simple. Using data from a Google Sheet, you can track, monitor, and take action to make sure your building is up to code and that you’re keeping up with all the latest recommendations and requirements for Coronavirus safety and prevention measures. Safety Reporting When it comes to safe working conditions, every team member has a responsibility to keep a watchful eye. With this sample no-code app, people working in construction or any workplace can report and track issues and accidents.Workers enter their job site and submit a report that includes a priority level, detailed description, and relevant photos. The site lead can then review new issues and track open tickets. Finally, the safety board dashboard allows select users to create maintenance tickets with priorities and deadlines. Building Management Because of Covid-19, some businesses are having to rethink their office spaces and building use to keep workers safe. This sample no-code app helps with building management. You can plot your floor plan, organize and maintain your office furniture supplies and costs, and so much more. As you think about returning to the office or factory floor, you can use an app like this to reorganize workspaces for social distancing and prepare for safe office re-openings. Approved Disinfectants Keeping workplaces fully stocked with necessary cleaning supplies can reduce the risk of virus spread and help your team maintain a healthy work environment. Using data from a Google Sheet, this sample no-code app provides a list of all the disinfectant products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and lets you order them directly from the app. Surface Sanitation Having the right supplies is the first step, but making sure you clean and sanitize surfaces regularly is key to guarding against Covid-19. This sample no-code app makes it simple to manage a checklist of surfaces that need to be cleaned on a regular basis. The default frequency cleaning alert is set for every 24 hours, but you can easily update that timing. Users are notified when it’s time to get scrubbing. And here's a list of sample no-code apps built with Google Cloud AppSheet that you can copy and customize to assist with personnel, workplace, and health needs during Covid-19: Community Support During times of crises, our friends, neighbors, and coworkers can become trusted networks that help us get through challenging times and increase recovery efforts. This no-code app built using Google Cloud AppSheet allows community organizers to easily track, manage, and fulfill safety requests from people in their nearby areas by pulling data from Google Sheets. The app makes it easy for members within a community to make requests and helps organizers fulfill those needs. Team Alerts Staying informed and keeping information flowing in real-time is fundamental to remote work situations. The ability to alert your team to relevant news and updates is essential. With this sample no-code app, team leads can create groups, send alerts to their groups via push notifications and emails, and easily share helpful resources. Out of Office Ensuring coverage when colleagues are out of office is critical to maintaining efficiency and preventing gaps in work streams. Whether workers are out of the office due to a family emergency or a planned vacation, this sample no-code app makes it easy for employees to share when they’ll be unavailable by logging in and entering their out-of-office days. Anyone with the app can easily see everyone’s logged days in a calendar or table view. If you’re inspired to build your own no-code apps, use the apps above as a starting point. Just copy the apps and customize them to your business needs with AppSheet, using our support guide as a reference. And always be sure to consult the official CDC guidelines for office buildings and workplace safety, to ensure your measures meet the highest health standards possible. Ready to build apps from your own data sources? Try Google Cloud AppSheet today:

2of59