Year end review and future plans

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. – Albert Einstein

JaRay Software Inc. began as a legacy of love for our parents and continues in the service we provide for our customers. It was conceived by our dad and born in the late 70’s.  Even now, 40 years later, we remember how excited he would get when we added new features. We were one of the first companies in the world to host an enterprise application in our own “cloud” in 1999 – the year the Internet opened to commercial traffic. We take security seriously and participate in all of Homeland Security’s certification programs. In the last 4 decades, no data breeches have occurred, and we continuously add the latest in security technology. Famhost is not vulnerable to the recently announced Meltdown and Spectre processor exploits.

In 2001, we set up our server farm, started integrating other products and trademarked the Famhost and JaRay brands. BizYak (Integrated phones and media tracking), GPS, Digital Pens, and Credit Card Processing were our first integrations.

Here is a quick recap of some of the new features that were added in 2017:

  • Famalytics enables you to set up you own Key Performance Indicators with graphing and reporting functions across multiple branches. Dynamic graphs can be set up for any metrics you decide to track with drill down daughter graphs for any date range, job type, CSR closing ratios and much more
  • We’ve speeded up our mapping and added new search and view capabilities. You can now track any asset, vehicle, trailer, phone or tablet and see it on the same map as your jobs.
  • Technicians and managers can simply send a text message to get history, vehicle and tech locations, schedule jobs and other functions depending on their security levels.
  • We added the ability to print to local and network printers, create PDFs from any reports and email right from JaRay. Users can have different html signature files. All outgoing email is logged and controlled by user rights. We also added the ability to BCC and report non-delivered email.
  • We’ve added employee information and added employee vacation schedules.
  • You can now set the jobs up for auto dispatching from a queue when jobs are completed.
  • Mobile invoices can be prepopulated with special pricing and agreed upon job information from contracts. Forms can be prefilled with bid information for multi-day jobs.
  • We improved navigation throughout the JaRay system and made it easy to change the sizes of the JaRay screens and show more rows and columns on reports.
  • Mobile workers can now process refunds on credit cards from the field and process checks.
  • Mobile workers can now listen to recorded phone calls regarding bids and scheduled jobs if desired.
  • Inventory restocking parts lists can be generated from the forms and purchase orders associated with jobs update on the mobile application.

More recently, we have completed development and testing of Famhost phones and are now deploying them. The phones include gps tracking, support, management of Internet and apps, unlimited airtime, logging of activity, all incoming and outgoing calls are recorded so that any communication (photos, texting and voice) can be attached to the customer records. The phones eliminate misunderstandings regarding bids and keeps all conversations professional.

Our mobile application can now create and add multiple photo pages, contracts, bids, and even change terms and conditions depending on location, type of job, or amount. We are not a cookie cutter system where we tell you what you can do. You can have it your way. You can design and track what you want and pay for only what you want to use.

Looking back on 2017, I see that we made great strides in automating processes and workflows. We didn’t realize it at the time, but our work over the past several years is positioning us to utilize artificial intelligence, voice, sensor, and other technologies which will completely change how software works.

We are excited about 2018. Many of the new products we are introducing have taken years to develop and are in beta testing now. I predict that computer software as we know it now will change drastically. We have a Jibo in our front lobby that recognizes who comes in and is getting more intelligent daily. At home, Alexa is available for Internet searches, music, news and weather reports. Siri and Cortana have already started changing the way we use computers. Google and Bing Maps are much more powerful than Garmins and Tom Toms ever dreamed.

Every product we are currently developing is being designed to provide information to any device, any platform. Apple, Windows, Linux, and even eventually your customers TV, Alexa, Siri, or Cortana.

Here are a few of the products that are in beta. If you would like to start using them, just let us know.

  1. Dispatch ETA is our first version of a customer portal. When you dispatch a job, the customer will get a link via texting or email on any device. Nothing needs to be installed on the customer phones or tablets. Your customer will get a photo of your tech with a timeline so that they can see when they will arrive. You can even play the jingle on the customer’s phone. But most importantly, your customer can easily create reviews on your social media. As we continue to develop the portal, the customer will be able to look up history, view good, better, best options pushed from the technician, get a copy of the invoice with terms and conditions, photos, bids, inspection reports or any other digital file that the technician wants them to have. They won’t need to touch the technician’s phone or tablet to sign their ticket.
  2. Famhost RealMail enables you to send postcards for service contracts, mail invoices, bids, and letters automatically based on work flow or artificial intelligence. A post card can be sent as a reminder automatically, a year after service work was done or a thank you letter could be sent a couple of days after a certain type of job. As your JaRay system gets more intelligent, just like the Jibo in our office, all customer mailings could be automated. No more stamps, postage meters, stationary or expensive toner. No more last minute (on overtime) printing and mailing. Mailing right now is as easy as printing.
  3. Famhost Fax enables you to fax invoices, bids, and reports right from JaRay or from your technician’s mobile applicaiton. You can send and receive purchase orders, bids and automatically attach them to your customer records without printing or scanning.
  4. Financing, can be offered right from your technician’s phones or tablets. Don’t lose jobs just because the customer doesn’t have the funds. Simply offer good, better, best option with a monthly cost or zero interest. You have total control over the options, and it is all integrated into JaRay just like Credit Card and check processing.
  5. Social media and advertising tracking. It isn’t enough to just know click counts and estimate revenue. Famhost enables you to see the metrics you need to know including revenue, average ticket, and closing ratios for both CSRs and Technicians and call backs.

As technology continues to improve, you can depend on us to keep you current and keep your data safe. The structure of our software now makes it much easier to integrate into different accounting packages including QuickBooks Online, Reputation Online, and E-scheduling from your own websites, sensors, chat, and new technologies utilizing artificial intelligence. We are excited about the future and look forward to serving you into your next generation.


Famhost Phones

For over three years, JaRay mobile workers using BizYak have been able to text messages and commands into JaRay. They can look up job history, send photos of their drivers to their customers and customers can send photos into the office. Customers send pictures of their hot water tank model number, faucets, and anything they want to your office. Many JaRay users send back photos and information to their customers using the BizYak program with SMS or MMS texting. Coupons, a photo of the technician, and even photos of different types of equipment options are exchanged more and more. The technician can call a customer and their office phone number will display on the customer’s caller ID  instead of the technicians mobile number. They can fill out invoices, create Purchase Orders and Bids, do inspections, manage inventory and even process credit cards all over the phone using a Famhost app. Mobile phones have become a standard tool in the way we communicate.

These options are well tested and used by hundreds of JaRay users. They work on any phone on any carrier. But many of our customers struggle with overages and the high costs of phone plans, so we’ve put together a winning combination of software and hardware options.

Famhost Phone
Famhost Phone Specs

The Famhost Phone utilizes the latest in communication technologies. It is more than just an integration into different apps and has more functionality than phones on other carriers. Everything that happens on the phone is automatically logged into JaRay. Every conversation, both incoming and outgoing is recorded automatically. The phones even report their location every 5 minutes if they move and are displayed on an overview map which also shows the all the jobs and their status. Managers can simply text a command to see the location of the tech on their own phone and even the job they were dispatched to.

I’ve got a storage unit full of various mobile devices, phones, tablets and accessories that have been acquired for the past 20 years in our quest for getting data from the field, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt comfortable enough with a mobile phone to offer it as a service and bundle it with the accessories needed to make it a solid and dependable solution. The phones and networks are finally rugged and stable enough to be dependable.

The Famhost Phone is the ultimate mobile worker’s communication tool and includes all of the hardware and software that a technician needs to do the job right. The Famhost Phone is currently available only to customers that are already using the Famhost Real Time Forms and are using the JaRay Software system.

Before you sign up on a long term plan with a cellular carrier, give us a call and let’s talk. You will be glad you did. We’re here for you. 800-658-1676 @famhost.


CloudLinkit for Storing Video

Upload video and photos from your phone or tablet and attach the files to your records in JaRay.

LoginThe web based CloudLinkit enables JaRay users to easily attach any type of digital document, scan,  photo, spreadsheet, letter, video, or mobile form to anything in JaRay. That includes customer billing or jobsite masters, employee files, equipment and vehicle files. You can easily view the documents from JaRay, download to your local computer and open or email a link to the document to your customer right from JaRay. This gives you control over who can access the document with the famous JaRay security and if an  employee leaves your company you can instantly prevent them from logging in simply by deactivating them in the employee file.

All of the files are stored in the cloud and the cost is insignificant. (only $49.95 for the first 250 GB and 24.95 for each additional 250 GB per month. It’s easy to upload photos and video from the field using your phone or tablet or from your laptop or desktop.

Video can be automatically converted to  MP4 when you upload it so your customers don’t have to install any apps on their computers and they can play the video from their phones or tablets. This saves the time consuming step in your office of having to convert the files yourself using a 3rd party program. You can even set the links up so that they can only be accessed for a certain period of time. The MP4 is compatible with virtually any device. By storing your videos in the cloud and attaching them to the customer record, you have access from any device anywhere any time.


You can also email files straight into JaRay. Simply put the record number of what you want to attach the document to in the subject line.

All JaRay users have the CloudLinkit option if you are recording phone calls, using MMS texting, or Real Time Forms or even the older Go Formz options.

If you need a more powerful  solution, JaRay also integrates with the InteliCloud doc management system which enable you to scan documents from most newer devices and simply select where they go right from the device. You can even redact areas on the documents and set up workflows to cut labor costs and improve efficiencies.

IntelliCloud from Intellinetics on Vimeo.


Short videos can also be attached automatically using RealTimeForms. For more information, check out the user manual online or just give us a call at 800-658-1676.


Mobile Apps Buttons

Making it easy with RealTime Forms


Here are some of the new buttons that you can add to your forms to not only reduce phone calls back to the office but make it so much easier for the mobile workers:

History: The History Button pops up the history of the jobsite. Including how much is owed, priority level, payment terms, discounts, location of cleanouts, warranties, recent work done, and other important information about the jobsite.  The techs can now even look up the history on jobs that they are scheduled to after hours by the answering service.

Work Ordered: This popup on the form simply reminds the tech what the customer wanted done. . . not that they would forget!

Navigation: Opens an interactive map routing the technician to the job with turn by turn and traffic conditions.

Job Call: Plays the actual recorded phone call of the customer ordering the work. The technician can zoom quickly through the call. When the job is dispatched, any phone call can be designated.

Help: Plays a video that walks the technician through how to fill out the form. Your forms can be as complex or as simple as you want. You can have different invoices for different types of work, different bids, inspection forms, time sheets, etc.Screenshot_20170829-065310

Sketch Pad and Photos: This will create a new page. If it isn’t selected, it won’t be included. These pages can be designed any way you want. You can even sketch on top of photos.

Preventive Maintenance Contract or Customer Protection Plan: Automatically create a special contract – all filled out with whatever information you have in JaRay or elsewhere on the form.

Workflow options: How about different terms and conditions for different types of work or if the ticket exceeds an amount . . . on just residential? Want special pricing options for certain customers, or how about sending the ticket to a manager for approval before the customer signs it? If you can dream it,  RealTime Forms can do it!

Did you know that if you schedule a job from a contract, everything is filled in automatically for the technician! All they need to do is the work! Now, if we could just figure out how to do that too.





If you don’t know the score you can’t play the game.

My dad was my coach and mentor when I started my first business in 1969. He loaned me $20,000 and coached me on the numbers so I could pay it back. It took me about 4 years, but it was worth an MBA. I would have to have all my financials by the 5th of the month and we would sit down and look at the numbers every way known to man. When we “computerized” in 1978, we stretched VisaCalc to the limits. With only 48k of RAM in our TRS 80 Model 1’s that wasn’t very far. I had one sales report that ran from Friday night to Monday morning – if it didn’t storm or the computer didn’t reboot. One of my fondest memories was when Lotus 1-2-3 came out in the 80’s and dad and I took a class together to learn how to use it. The computer became my best friend. We looked at the score all of the time. We added metrics to help us understand what was driving the numbers and how to improve them.

Static spreadsheets, as good as they are, are no match to dynamic computer generated reports and dashboards. We became obsessed with reports. We drove my poor sister Jane (the “Ja”in JaRay) crazy writing reports. In order to get good reports, we needed more fields to report. We added “Callbacks” – free job reports. Of course then we had to add variables to define what a “free” or no charge job was. Was it a case where the tech screwed up and we had to do it over under warranty; was it a continued job without a ticket; was it to gather information for a bid; did one tech do the job for another or did they do their own callback; were multiple techs involved, etc. Did we pay a commission or incentive? At last count, there are over 90,000 variables defined over the last 30 years and an almost infinite number of reports depending on how you run them – commercial vs residential, by work done, employee, customer, customer type, sales volume, job counts – shared jobs, bid jobs, free jobs, “won” jobs, media campaign, phone ordered, landing page ordered, preventative maintenance, production time vs driving time, overtime – you get the picture. They enable you to know what types of jobs drive the most profitability, compare work across branches and companies and know best practices. The more integrated products (GPS, Phones, RealTime Forms, M2M, etc.) you use from Famhost, the more valuable your dashboards will become.

We want you to know what is driving your profit and alert you to trends (good and bad) that might sneak up on you. All JaRay users have Famalytics as part of your system. What you do with it and what data you want is up to you, but this is an incredibly powerful tool. It comes with some standard graphs and metrics and you can set up different dashboards for your different users depending on what is critical for how you want to run your business. If you would like us to design special dashboards for you or your managers, just let us know. There is a fee for professional services to design your graphs if you don’t want to do it yourself, but sometimes that is cheaper than doing it yourself. Then you have your dynamic dashboards the way you want them. Your personal dashboard has what you need for your eyes only “Just the facts, ma’am – Joe Friday” without requiring you to sift through mountains of reports waiting for someone to run the numbers for you. Sometimes when you depend on other people to give you information, the numbers tend to get skewed or filtered – but that is another blog.


Updating prices in Real Time Forms

Price selections for Invoices, Flat Rate, Bids, and Preventative Maintenance.

As with most data sets in Real Time Forms, when you update the databases in JaRay, all of your mobile workers’ tablets and phones are updated automatically – in real time!

You can set different customers or types of customers to use different price lists (not counting discounts). This is useful for many types of pricing scenarios, but especially for flat-rate pricing which usually has four prices: preferred, standard, preferred add-on and standard add-on, depending on whether the customer has purchased a preventative maintenance agreement or not.

Forms can be set to display only the appropriate price options. If a preventative maintenance or contract invoice is created, the invoice will automatically be populated with the contracted prices and services so all the worker needs to do is have the customer sign the ticket.In the setup for “Prices on Invoices” 5HEA where they define the line item prices, there is a new button to show “Other Price Sheets”. There are currently 10 alternate price columns for each line item, but more can be added if needed.  Forms can be programmed to display, or the technician can simply select the alternate pricing that corresponds to the price sheet of the customers. There are no limits to the workflow and data options in Real Time Forms. Only the price list options that apply to the specific customer will be displayed to the technician.


Happy 4th of July

What a great opportunity to ponder our many blessings. This photo was taken at the Veterans park next to our office last Memorial Day. The person standing in the middle of the photo is our son-in-law. Tim is a Marine and manages our security. His wife is our youngest daughter Lisa (taking a photo with her phone). She was pregnant with our grandson and future programmer, Robert Paul. 


The many memorials in the park create a serene escape where we can put aside the often trivial problems of the day and recognize the sacrifices that were made by courageous men and women who not only wanted to keep the homeland safe, but were willing to walk the talk and sacrifice their futures. We have several disabled vets who work in our company and I’m constantly in awe about how they ignore the pain and press on to the goal. Thank you Lord for allowing us to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.