Showing posts from July, 2013

About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

More about Asbestos Vault and the tie-up with Start Software's Alpha Tracker system for asbestos surveyors and consultancies

Asbestos Vault is a secure, easy-to-use and affordable on-line system for storing and retrieving asbestos reports and other asbestos documentation.  We announced an exclusive partnership with Asbestos Vault a couple of weeks ago (see explaining how Asbestos Vault and Alpha Tracker can work hand-in-hand.

Our friends at Asbestos Vault have posted more information about how the two systems can work together - take a look at their website for more info:

The Samsung S4 Zoom - a "smart camera" perfect for asbestos surveyors using Tracker Mobile

Samsung's new Galaxy S4 Zoom is the latest "smart camera" device, perfect for asbestos surveyors using our Tracker Mobile handheld asbestos data capture system.

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Camera (another Android smart camera device I blogged about here the Galaxy S4 Zoom is also a fully functioning phone, giving asbestos surveyors a top-end phone and 10x zoom camera with flash and Tracker Mobile asbestos survey data capture device - all in one lightweight unit.

For more information about using our Tracker Mobile asbestos surveying software or to try our loan Galaxy S4 Zoom yourself, please contact us.

Note: Tracker Mobile is the handheld asbestos surveying data capture system used with the Alpha Tracker and Tracker asbestos consultancy software systems 

Start Software's biggest Mobile Data Studio customer!

We've been doing some mobile data capture consultancy with one of the world's leading manufacturing companies (a $30 billion multinational).  Our contacts there are pretty self-sufficient now (having received training and mentoring support from us with the Mobile Data Studio product) but still keep in touch to ask for advice about mobile data form design, especially as they are now capturing data in the field on a wide variety of devices - Android, iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Windows Mobile.

They have recently been using Mobile Data Studio at trade shows, enabling them to build data capture forms for salespeople to gather information from delegates as they visit the stand.  The information captured is transmitted via the 3G mobile phone network back to head office where the data is used to build databases of leads and prospects.

We previously helped with a field service engineer data capture form used by staff on the road to complete maintenance records direct from the customer's premises.

Do you need to capture information on mobile devices?  Do you want the flexibility to use whatever device you choose from iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, Android tablet or ruggedised Windows Mobile unit? Get in touch and we can build the data capture application for you and faster and for less money than you imagine.

Daily diary summaries from Google Calendar

I blogged a couple of weeks ago to explain how to be automatically reminded of appointments created through Resource Tracker Sync.  Resource Tracker Sync enables asbestos surveyors and other staff to have their diaries available on their PC, smartphone or tablet with their diaries automatically updated from the Tracker or Alpha Tracker calendar.

There is another feature in Google Calendars which is really useful and very easy to enable.  Google can automatically email daily digests (summaries) of your diary at, typically, 5am so that an asbestos surveyor or other member of staff can get an automatic summary of their day sent to them by Google in their email ready for when they start work.

Go into Google Calendar, choose Settings, then Reminders and Notifications, then tick the box as shown below:

Training pays - get the most from Microsoft Office

An old trainer colleague of mine - Les Gutteridge from 101 Computer Services - emailed me this week with a new YouTube video he's created to promote his Microsoft Office training business.

It rang a lot of bells when it came through - training really does pay dividends, and when we revisit Tracker clients (for example, to provide refresher training for asbestos surveyors or asbestos administrators) I'm often surprised how staff manage to "muddle through" without proper training and how much more productive they can be when they've had some proper guidance.

Les is a really good guy - very professional and very focussed - and it you need Microsoft Office training he's the man to contact:

Les is also able to provide Microsoft Access training to help Tracker system administrators with data extracts and report customisation.

New Alpha Anywhere developments on track

We're working on several Alpha Anywhere software developments this month, building interactive systems suitable for web and mobile access.

Alpha Anywhere is our favourite development tool, enabling us to build feature-rich systems incredibly quickly for the benefit of our customers.  I've personally been working on two "portal" systems this week, enabling users to access their data and documents via web and mobile.

The first is for a large manufacturing company and the system is targeted at the company's salespeople.  Out on the road, they will be able to look up information about customers, orders and stock from their PCs, tablets or smartphones.

The second system is for one the UK's largest asbestos and environmental consultancies. Their portal will be used by their clients to access PDF versions of their reports, view asbestos site summaries and map all of their data via Google Maps.  This system is really coming together now, offering a really powerful desktop web and mobile experience.  The mobile development is especially good fun!!

Reminders with Resource Tracker Sync

Resource Tracker Sync is one of the Tracker and Alpha Tracker asbestos software system modules.  It is used to automatically synchronise the Tracker work calendars across to Google Calendars or Microsoft Exchange calendars so that asbestos surveyors and other staff can access their diaries on whatever device they choose.

We use Resource Tracker Sync ourselves and up to now the only problem I've come across with my own diary is that my phone hasn't automatically reminded me when an appointment was about to start and I couldn't see how to set the reminders easily.

We were thinking about a programming fix for this but actually it turns out that phones and tablets (including iPads) that are set to sync with Google Calendars can be told to automatically set the reminders.

For example, on my own HTC One Android phone, here is the setting within the phone's calendar app:

Having set this option, all new appointments created within a Tracker or Alpha Tracker diary now appear on my phone and automatically reminder me 15 minutes before the event.

If you need any help with this setting or would like more information, please contact our support line as usual.

Resource Tracker Sync can help your asbestos, legionella or environmental consultancy to be more efficient enabling site staff to see their work diaries from any device they choose at any time with the diary always automatically updated.  If you don't use Resource Tracker Sync, get in touch and we can discuss how to integrate it into your business.

Alpha Tracker new release (SVN138)

The latest Alpha Tracker release has gone live today at all sites.

Alpha Tracker is the web/cloud version of Tracker, the end-to-end software solution for asbestos and environmental consultancies.  The latest release, SVN138, has improved facilities for:

  • importing project, site and building data from Excel spreadsheets
  • exporting data to other systems including Promaster
  • data collection for asbestos labs.

Tracker Web Server v1.5.452 SVN62

This new release of Tracker Web Server, the client web portal for customers of asbestos consultants and asbestos consultancies working with Tracker and Alpha Tracker, has these improvements:

  • linked graphics now display without blue borders when the Tracker Web Server site is accessed using Internet Explorer
  • if there are no remedial actions logged, the system will not attempt to calculate overdue action percentages
  • performance improvements and better error trapping throughout.
Please contact the office to request this update which is free to all Tracker customers with active support contracts.

Alpha Tracker new release (SVN135)

Alpha Tracker, the web/cloud based software system for asbestos consultants, asbestos surveyors and asbestos consultancies has been upgraded to version SVN135.

This latest release has improved asbestos lab functionality (for asbestos bulk samples and identification) and also has improved searching throughout the system.

The next release (due next week) will have much improved customer and contact management ("CRM") built-in.

For more information about Alpha Tracker click here or email

Start Software and Asbestos Vault announce exclusive partnership

We're delighted to announce that Start Software and Asbestos Vault have formed an exclusive partnership for the benefit of asbestos consultancies using the Alpha Tracker software system.

Alpha Tracker from Start Software and Asbestos Vault form exclusive partnership
Asbestos Vault provides a secure online document storage facility for all types of business and organisation, enabling key asbestos documents (such as asbestos reports, asbestos lab certificates, clearance certificates and the like) to be stored and retrieved by anyone with the appropriate security rights.

Alpha Tracker is the leading online automated software system for asbestos surveyors, asbestos consultants and asbestos consultancies and the new partnership with Asbestos Vault gives Alpha Tracker users the means to automatically store finished asbestos reports within a vault on behalf of the building owner or manager.

Alpha Tracker customers also obtain preferential pricing from Asbestos Vault enabling them to resell the service to their clients as an additional profitable service.  Details of the preferential pricing can be found here:

For more information, contact Asbestos Vault's Director, Mark Armstrong ( or Start Software's Director, Robin Bennett (

Start Software join UKITA

UKITA is the UK IT Association, the leading body in the UK for IT companies.

Start Software has been awarded full member status (see and we are working towards the UKITA Quality Mark accreditation as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring the quality of our products and processes.

Start Software join the UK IT Association
(note to editors: Start Software are a specialist software development business specialising in Alpha Five, Alpha Anywhere, Mobile Data Studio and SQL Server development tools.  Start Software's Tracker and Alpha Tracker products are the leading automated software systems for the asbestos industry helping asbestos consultants, asbestos consultancies and asbestos surveyors to automate their asbestos surveying and reporting)

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