Version 4.8.0a Broadcasting Module and Feature

The concept and demand arose especially when large law offices started utilizing A1-Law.  However, the broadcasting module may be utilized by any office.  The Broadcasting update provides several huge advantages over the current communication methods in A1-Law.  However, the Broadcasting module must be turned on in Configure System Defaults as well as in the A1-Comm program.  If it is not turned on, then version 4.8.0a will continue to use the current communication methods in prior versions.  You  must have TCP/IP protocol on all the workstations in order to utilize the A1-Comm program.

The A1-Comm program and the broadcasting update offer the following:

1.  A1-Law runs much faster with far fewer pink error screens especially on larger network installations.

2.  Instant Messages are almost immediate as opposed to anywhere form 3-8 seconds.

3.  Email Notifications are almost immediate as well.

4.  Chat Notifications are almost immediate.

5.  The new Voice Intercom module (Tools, Send a Voice Message) is also almost immediate.  This feature is available with or without utilizing the A1-Comm program.  However, it will communicate the voice message almost immediately with the A1-Comm program.  This feature requires that you have speakers as well as a pc microphone to speak into.  You may broadcast a voice message to one, several or all users on A1-Law.  This feature may be useful especially if your office does not have a loud speaker.

6.  The new Broadcasting interface is almost immediate and perhaps the most useful of all the communication methods as of yet.  This feature is not available in version 4.8.0a unless you run the A1-Comm program.  The Broadcasting feature is extremely useful for large offices.  Click Tools, Broadcast, Send a Broadcast.  Or, you may also double click an item in the list in your broadcast window.  The broadcast feature may be used to find a person, to find a file, or to gather information.  You just send a broadcast to an individual or more likely a group or the entire staff signed on and then everyone immediately sees the broadcast and may respond.  So, if you are looking for someone, you send out the broadcast and if that person is walking by someone else they may tell them they are wanted on the second floor, or tell them to call the receptionist, etc.  It's a quick way to communicate something to the entire staff signed on A1-Law.

Installing the Broadcast Module
The module is relatively easy to install but there are some requirements.  First, A1-Law uses  "notifications"  to indicate when you have an Instant Message, Email, Urgent Email, Chat, Broadcast or Voice Message.  However, all of the workstations must now use one method of communication.  In prior versions there was only one method.  This new method utilizing TCP/IP along with the A1-Comm server program is strongly recommended.  If you want to continue utilizing A1-Law's legacy method, you don't need to do anything.  But, as indicated above, if you choose to take advantage of this new method, A1-Law will run faster and will be more reliable and communication between workstations will be almost instantaneous.  Also, you will be able to take advantage of the broadcasting feature.  So, it's highly recommended especially for large offices.

First, you must run the A1Comm.exe on either the server or ANY workstation.  It's strongly recommended that you run the A1Comm program on a computer that is not utilized much so that it is not accidentally reset.  Just like the file server, you want the A1Comm program to be running all the time or users will not be able to receive notifications.  Therefore, consider running the A1Comm program on the file server or a dormant workstation.  You may only run the A1Comm program on one computer.  You will find this program in the A1Law\Extras folder.  Just copy it to the workstation you want to run it on.  You must install and run version 4.8.0a one time on the computer you want to run the A1Comm program on.  You do not need to have A1-Law running on the computer while running the A1Comm program.  Just run A1-Law one time on that computer and you may then quit out and run the A1-Comm program.  In fact, it's best to have as little as possible running on that computer except the A1Comm program.  That's why it's recommended to run it on the file server but you may run it on any computer.  Check with your system administrator.

When you run the A1Comm program, click Options and then check the box to Enable A1-Law to use with A1-Comm.  Next, you may use or change the other defaults and click the Save button.  Now, A1Comm is ready.  Any time you run the A1Comm program, just click the Listen button.  The A1-Comm program will the be ready and in control.

Next, run A1-Law on any workstation and click Tools, System, Configure System Defaults.  Scroll all the way down to the last selection, A1-Comm Settings.  Check the first box so that A1-Law will always look for the A1-Comm server.  Check the second box so that the broadcasting window is in A1-Law.  If your staff works with many programs, you will eventually want to override that and have a separate window so that broadcasts may be viewed regardless of the program your staff is running (ie: Word, Corel, Internet Explorer, etc).  You may click the Form and Style dropdowns to configure these settings any time.  For now, just ignore those or set them to Use Staff Settings.  Each staff member may override those default settings after they sign on A1-Law but only until they sign on again.  Click the Save button.

You are done with the installation.  A1-Law will now automatically try and connect to the A1-Comm server.  You may sign out of the computer you are on and back on again and A1-Law will try and connect to the A1-Comm server.  Or you may click Tools, Miscellaneous, Reconnect to the A1-Comm Server.  Everyone should sign out and back on again so that they may receive notifications because their next A1-Law session will connect to the A1-Comm server.

You will immediately see the Broadcasting window.  You may double click on any item in the window and you will then see another window which is fairly self explanatory.  You may also click Tools., Broadcast, Send a Broadcast.  Just like Email, type an asterisk to send a broadcast (or a voice message) to the entire staff.  You may double click on any broadcast you send and then mark it Cancelled so if you are asking a question, you don't get that question answered 10 or even 20 times by other staff members.

If you have a firewall, you  must be sure to configure your firewall software so that it allows the workstations to use the A1-Comm program.

More documentation later.  Feel free to post your comments, questions and feedback on the Support Forum.