Showing posts from May, 2015

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.

Important Mobile Data update in beta test

We're really pleased to announce that we are beta testing v8.0 of Mobile Data from CreativityCorp, the software used to power our Tracker Mobile* system used by asbestos surveyors to capture data in the field.

We have been partners with CreativityCorp for over a decade now and our systems have captured more than 25,000,000 items of data in that time!

The latest version of Mobile Data, v8.0, has some important new features which will delight busy asbestos admin teams looking after data from asbestos surveyors:

- it is now possible to quickly search the "data window" to find records without exporting to Excel first

- the data window can be sorted by any column, either A-Z or Z-A

- new surveyors connecting their handsets for the first time will automatically get Tracker Mobile software installed making it even easier to set up an asbestos surveyor to work with Tracker or Alpha Tracker.

We are testing v8.0 carefully now so do not recommend that you update your own systems just yet. Do watch the blog for updates or call the Start Software Support Desk on 0845 612 2402 to check the latest position.

*Tracker Mobile is a key part of our Tracker and Alpha Tracker asbestos software systems for asbestos consultancies

Alpha Tracker Document Maker update available (v1.4.518 SVN92)

We've released another update to the asbestos report generation module in our asbestos software, Alpha Tracker.  This follows on the heel of the update released on 18 May (see

This revision, v1.4.518 SVN92, has some minor cosmetic improvements especially when asbestos reports have text or table cells and/or rows which are automatically coloured according to asbestos sample risk.

The update is available to download now from

New "clipboard replacement" features coming soon to Alpha Anywhere

Alpha Anywhere is one of our key software developments platforms and we're Alpha's UK professional partners.

One of the strengths of the development team at Alpha Software is that they never stand still - they constantly look for new technologies to build into their framework; technologies which have helped us to deliver desktop systems, web systems, mobile web apps, Android and iOS apps and much more!

Their latest innovations are centred on the use of mobile technology to build "clipboard replacement tools".  These will be smartphone or (more commonly) tablet based systems which workers would use instead of completing paperwork forms on a clipboard.

This is an area of business we're really familiar with.  Our mobile data systems have been used to capture more than 25,000,000 items of data over the last decade (primarily from asbestos surveyors using our Tracker, Tracker Mobile and Alpha Tracker asbestos software systems) but we've previously used other tools to build our apps.  Very soon, we'll be able to use the Alpha Anywhere toolset giving our customers flexibility and advantages over existing methods.

Do get in touch if you have a mobile system you'd like us to talk to you about.  No matter what industry you are in, we will be able to help you.  Contact us now.

Alpha Tracker Document Maker update available (v1.4.510 SVN91)

A new version of Alpha Tracker Document Maker is available for download.

This new release has improved the look of asbestos lab certificates in particular (when generated through Alpha Tracker) and will also enable enhanced asbestos survey reports to be generated by asbestos consultants, asbestos surveyors and asbestos consultancies.

If you need help to install the update, please contact the office.

May 2015's update to Alpha Tracker

We're combining the April & May releases for Alpha Tracker into a bumper update which will be ready in a couple of weeks.  You can find more information about the April release here:

The changes we are hoping to add in this month (in addition to those we listed in April) are:

616"No Samples Taken" to be shown instead of "Samples Analysed" on Project List
639Ability to duplicate sites
679Filter lab project list by Batch Number and Id
681Client portal should look for PDFs and DWGs for CAD drawings, not just JPGs
682Initial findings process - a "quick email" to a customer with the initial results from the lab
689More complete audit trail for client portal accesses
505Include "Sample Notes" onto Survey functions - Edit/View Samples, Edit/View Suspect Items, View Photos
530New security group Auditor, Limited to only their calendar, View only of project details, edit milestones and open site details with read only view of site details
513Provide option to change the labels on fields within the survey items screens - useful for clients working outside the HSG264 regime
711Enabling clients to update removal costs etc through Client Portal
704Limit the information a sub-contractor can see on Client Portal
704bLimit the information a sub-contractor can see on Client Portal (site groups)
714Improvements to the columns shown in Tracker Mobile
714bAdditional site staff names can be recorded in Tracker Mobile
557Specific appointment values available (eg trainee time)
127Client Portal - update your contact information page
263Further developments within plan hotspots
671New feature to disable deletion of client-added client portal documents
274Client Portal - incorporate calendar of actions
416Client Portal >> Asbestos register - Include colour coding of material assessment

We're constantly striving to make Alpha Tracker even better and even faster for our asbestos consultants, asbestos surveyors and asbestos consultancy clients.  If there is anything you can suggest to make the system better for you - just let us know!

Start Software welcomes international project manager Russ West

We're thrilled to announce that international project manager Russ West is now working with Start Software on a number of Alpha app development projects.

Russ has a huge amount of experience working in software and Internet businesses worldwide and is now helping Start to develop and deliver a number of apps.

Apps in development by Start Software include client portals, messaging apps, data collection systems for environmental & asbestos consultancies, and handheld software for sales professionals.  Start's apps work on the Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms.

Start Software's Director Robin Bennett said "Russ is a fantastic additional to our team.  His experience will enable us to deliver a number of apps in development and we will be looking for new opportunities to make the most of his skills."

If you have an app in mind for your business contact Russ now to discuss your idea.

Jack is our "hero of the week"

Support team member Jack - more used to answering questions for asbestos consultants using our asbestos software Alpha Tracker - is our hero of the week after working on a new customer app.

The app enables drivers at one of our customers to record deliveries and collections without paperwork - it's easy to use and works online and offline - a great example of the Alpha software development technology we use.

Well done Jack and hope you enjoy your treat at Bridgnorth's Graze restaurant on us.

Start Software Support Stats - April 2015 - actions being taken

The support desk has not had a good month in April.  The volume of calls was normal but our performance wasn't with 84% of high priority problems being resolved in time and 77% of all calls.

Comparing back to March's stats (see this is a quite a drop - we usually hit 90% each month as a minimum.

The support desk staff have looked hard at their performance and have an action plan in place to bring the stats back to normal, starting by allocating more 3rd-level resources at the more "sticky" problems raised.  There does seem to be an immediate impact & improvement as last week closed with literally no problems logged at all - something which hasn't happened for a while now.

We'll report back at the beginning of June with the results for May.

100 mile cycle for Motor Neurone Disease

I'll be cycling 100 miles from Preston to Shrewsbury tomorrow (Friday 8 May) to help a friend raise money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

My friend is part of an 8-person team cycling John O'Groats to Lands Ends to raise funds for MND - a charity close to their heart.  I did the "end-to-end" myself a few years ago and I'm (sort of) looking forward to sharing in their trip.  I wish I'd done a bit more training though!

You can read all about their trip and the reason they are raising money on Facebook or on their own website:

I'd be so grateful if you could consider making a donation to support me, the team and this important cause. There is a JustGiving page for your donation:  Thanks so much.

Click the image above to make a donation - thanks

More Alpha Tracker training for Acorn Analytical Services

Kim & I had a great day yesterday with the asbestos surveyors and analysts at Acorn Analytical Services' Leeds office.  This was a follow-up visit to one we recently made to the Acorn Midlands office (see to train the staff to use the Alpha Tracker and Tracker Mobile asbestos software systems.

Here are some of the photos we took during the day:

One of the Acorn fleet

Acorn asbestos surveyor learning Tracker Mobile

Kim working with the asbestos surveyors

Acorn's range of services

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