Showing posts from 2016

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.

Alpha Tracker performance patch available

We have released a performance patch for Alpha Tracker systems.

You can download and apply the update (known as SVN2203) via the Setup|System|Software Updates screen.  Customers with document folders containing large number of files will notice the biggest improvement in performance.

This patch is also part of the upcoming Release 24 of asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Alpha Tracker asbestos software manuals updated

Kim has been busy updating our Alpha Tracker asbestos software manual set - the User Guide, Technical Guide and Client Portal Guide.

You'll find the updated documents on our website, here:

Alpha Tracker Release 23 YouTube summary video available

I've just posted a YouTube video summarising Release 23 of asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

It's only 3 minutes long so please do watch it if you can so you know whether you should be updating to the latest release in your asbestos consultancy business.

We've started Release 24 (spring 2017) so do get in touch with ideas for features you'd like to see in the next update.

We're donating to Mesothelioma UK this Christmas

This year we have decided to donate to Mesothelioma UK instead of sending Christmas presents to our clients.

As you know, we specialise in asbestos software and Mesothelioma UK do incredible work to support those suffering from asbestos-related diseases.  There is a particularly personal connection for us this year as one of Robin’s friends and neighbours has been diagnosed with this terrible disease and is bravely fighting it as best he can.

We hope you’ll support our decision to make a charitable donation this year and wish you and your friends, families and colleagues a very special Christmas and a happy & healthy New Year. 

Another two asbestos consultancies switch to Alpha Tracker

We've had a really busy week with another UK asbestos consultancy - Qualsurv - and a New Zealand environmental business - Major Consulting Group - both receiving their Alpha Tracker asbestos software training.

We still have some availability for installations in late February and early March so do get in touch if we can help your asbestos business to reduce admin, increase efficiency and improve productivity.

Contact us via our UK website or Australian/New Zealand team.

Asbestos software Alpha Tracker Release 23 now ready

Our winter 2016 update to asbestos software Alpha Tracker is now ready and available for download. This version is known as Release 23 and is the update to our autumn 2016 release, Release 22.

This update has 70 updates, new features and performance updates together with the framework for a new hazardous materials section.

Keep an eye on this blog and our websites (UK and Australia/New Zealand) for the updated release notes and video next week.

Leicester City Council switch to Alpha Tracker

Another week, another new asbestos consultancy client goes live with Alpha Tracker!

Leicester City Council's well-respected asbestos surveyors have been trained to use Alpha Tracker and site asbestos data capture system Tracker Mobile.

Here are some of Kim's photos from the training day:

Robin's webinar for Alpha Software "Developing Reliable Mobile Data Collection for Field Teams"

I had great fun presenting a webinar on Wednesday for Alpha Software giving the benefit of our decade of experience creating field data collection apps.

If you missed the webinar and want to watch the recording yourself, here it is!

If we can help you with mobile site data collection systems, do get in touch.

Support stats are in for November 2016

In our busiest month on the Start Software Support Desk for 6 months, the team performed well and resolved nearly 90% of the 533 calls taken on time.

Jack on the support desk looking forward to Christmas!
Hopefully December will be a little quieter and the team can have a well-deserved break!

Great interest in Alpha Tracker from Australian and New Zealand asbestos consultancies

Judy & Leanne have just finished contacting all of the leads from the International Asbestos Awareness and Management Conference held this year in Adelaide.

There was great interest in asbestos software Alpha Tracker and we already have firm orders from consultancies switching across to our software platform to reduce their administration and increase productivity and quality.

Here are some photos capturing moments at the event:

Alpha Tracker Release 23 final testing (Release Candidate 2 available)

The latest version of asbestos software Alpha Tracker is being checked.  This second "release candidate" version is available now to download by our beta test customers.

The Client Portal demo video has also been updated to reflect the new features available.  Watch it here:

Start Software welcomes two new asbestos consultancies to the Alpha Tracker family

We're delighted to announce that two more asbestos consultancies (one in the UK, one in New Zealand) have received their Alpha Tracker asbestos software training and are now starting the process of going live.

Green Shield Environmental ( and Asbestos Risk Management ( are both looking to use Alpha Tracker to reduce admin, increase productivity and improve the service they deliver to their clients.

It's great to have them on board and we look forward to supporting both consultancies as they go live.

Judy & Leanne at the Asbestos Awareness & Management Conference

Judy & Leanne are starting to put their stand away for another year after a really successful couple of days at the International Asbestos Awareness & Management Conference being held this year in Adelaide.

Leanne & Judy, Alpha Tracker
Leanne (left, in the photo) enjoyed meeting asbestos consultancies interested in streamlining their businesses through the Alpha Tracker asbestos software platform.  Consultancies of all sizes benefit from the use of Alpha Tracker with huge savings possible in site and admin time.

Judy's focus was on discussing our current and future software plans with asbestos consultancy clients old and new.  With more than 15 consultancies already using Alpha Tracker in Australia and New Zealand she is collating ideas for the product and discussing potential improvements and new features to keep Alpha Tracker at the top of the market.

Judy also told customers about the new Alpha Tracker App for Android and Apple devices.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by and said hello.  See you again next year!

Alpha Tracker stand ready for day 1 of the International Asbestos Awareness conference

Judy and Leanne have been hard at work setting up our asbestos software Alpha Tracker stand at the International Asbestos Awareness conference in Adelaide.

Alpha Tracker at Asbestos Awareness & Management

Our stand ready for the opening day

They're ready to meet asbestos consultancy clients old and new - come and say hello!

Start Software welcomes Rohan Shenoy to the team

We're delighted to announce that we have another new Alpha Anywhere developer in our team - Rohan Shenoy.

Rohan Shenoy
Rohan has been supporting Start Software "Tracker" systems at a large asbestos and environmental consultancy whilst developing desktop/web and mobile systems in Alpha Anywhere.  

His experience with our asbestos and Legionella systems together with relevant software development experience has helped him to fit in our team very quickly indeed.

Rohan's first Start Software projects are already underway for a major Australian structural engineering consultancy.

Alpha Tracker Release 23 beta 3 released

Beta 3 of our asbestos software Alpha Tracker is now available for our beta testing customers to download and install.

There are several improvement to data importers in this release including from alternative asbestos software products (helping customers switching from other software to import their old data).

Alpha Software webinar to feature Start Software

Alpha Software (creators of the awesome Alpha Anywhere software development platform) are running a series of webinars throughout the autumn and Start Software's director Robin Bennett is presenting on 30 November.

With a title like that, if you have trouble sleeping it may be the webinar for you...!

Start Software nominated for "Technology Firm of the Year"

One of leading publications in the building industry has nominated Start Software for their "Technology Firm of the Year" award reflecting our developments in the asbestos software market including our new Alpha Tracker app and our partnership with technology innovators Asbestoprobe.

We'll await the results with interest!

9 out of 10 support queries solved in time in October 2016

We've just had the October Start Software Support Desk stats through and the team have done well again resolving 9 out of every 10 calls for assistance within the timescale specified by the caller.

This is good going especially given that it was a busy month for us with nearly 500 calls for assistance being answered by Jack and his team.

Tracker Mobile companion app Floor Plan Creator update available

Our site asbestos software Tracker Mobile - part of the Tracker and Alpha Tracker asbestos software family - can be used alongside any floor plan or site sketching software available from the Google or Apple app stores.  This is one of the strengths of our software - you can choose the best of the best plan software for your asbestos surveyors to use alongside Tracker Mobile.

Floor Plan Creator is one of the most popular drawing programs for Android devices and it has just been updated again.  Well worth a look if you want your surveyors to be drawing live on their tablets.

New training module available within Alpha Tracker

Do you run asbestos awareness training courses?

Do you run other training courses?

Asbestos software Alpha Tracker now has a comprehensive training module available within it.

Contact Elaine for details and how to activate the module.

Alpha Tracker Release 23 beta 2 available for download

Release 23 beta 2 of asbestos software Alpha Tracker is now ready for download and testing by our beta-test users.

We've improved a number of areas including adding new features enabling consultancies switching from other asbestos software to Alpha Tracker to import their existing asbestos reports and data.

Please contact our support desk if you be part of our beta-testing panel.

New video on Asbestoprobe website

Take a look at the Asbestoprobe ( website - there is a new video which explain the technology behind the project and the partners involved (including us at Start Software!).

Watch the new video at

Start Software director Robin Bennett endorses partnership with Asbestoprobe

Robin recorded a short video this week to help Start Software partner Asbestoprobe with their nomination for the Penrose Innovation Awards (see

We're looking forward to helping Mark, Jeff & the team to bring this innovative asbestos detection device to market with really tight integration with asbestos software Alpha Tracker and site asbestos data collection system Tracker Mobile.

Kim & Elaine at Contamination Expo 2016

Kim & Elaine were at the Contamination Expo at Excel London yesterday meeting lots of our asbestos software clients and friends in the asbestos industry.  They were talking to asbestos consultancies about asbestos software Alpha Tracker and our new Alpha Tracker App.

Here are some of the photos from the day:

Elaine & Kim at the LifeOnline stand (LifeOnline is a Start Software development)

Elaine speaking to Tracker user Environmental Essentials

Elaine with Patrick from Alpha Tracker client NATAS

Alpha Tracker App released to Google & Apple at 10:10 on 10/10!

As the final celebration of our 10 year anniversary here at Start Software we've released our new Alpha Tracker Mobile app to Google & Apple for verification.

We released it at 10 minutes past 10 on the 10th day of the 10th month (thanks Elaine for the idea!).

The app enables Android and Apple (iOS) users to perform many of the functions of asbestos software Alpha Tracker - all from a smartphone or tablet.

Once we have approval from Google & Apple and the app is in the app stores, we'll be in touch.

Thanks again to our beta testers for their help in bringing the app to market.

Start Software partner Asbestoprobe nominated for Penrose Innovation Award 2016

The nominations for the prestigious Penrose Innovation Awards for 2016 have been announced and we're delighted to confirm that Start Software partner Asbestoprobe is one of the nominees.

Penrose Awards website

Nominations list for the 2016 Penrose Awards

Asbestoprobe has been nominated in two categories - Innovator of the Year & Product of the Year. Last year's winner, What3Words, received worldwide publicity after winning the award.

Start Software is bring its experience of the asbestos industry (more than 25,000,000 items of asbestos captured generating approx. 500,000 asbestos reports in asbestos software Tracker and Alpha Tracker) to the Asbestoprobe project.

Start Software - new website taking shape

Hot on the heels of our new local rate UK number - 0333 301 1010 - is our new website which is starting to take shape.

Start Software's new website at
The new site is better designed, is completely "mobile friendly" and will contain lots more information about our software for asbestos consultancies, Alpha Tracker, and our software development services.

The site is still in development but you can see where we are heading with it.  Expect to see the finished version later this month.

Slight dip in support stats for September

It looks like the holiday season and our time at the Boston Alpha Devcon (see have had a small impact on our support performance.

Start Software support statistics for September 2016
Over the whole of September, we solved 93% of urgent problems on time and 89% of all problems. That's not bad but not quite as good as normal.  We'll be looking to get the stats back up again for our asbestos software customers in October.

New local rate telephone number is live for Start Software - 0333 301 1010

To celebrate our 10th birthday (see we've invested in a new local-rate number to save our customers money when calling us for support.

The new number is 0333 301 1010 and is live today.  The old 0845 number will continue to work for the rest of 2016 but please update your phones and address books with the new number as it will save you money when ringing us.

(see for details of other ways of contacting Start Software)

Asbestoprobe and Alpha Tracker project moving forwards at pace

We've had meetings this week with Asbestoprobe's hardware partners to discuss how the handheld asbestos probe could integrate with our asbestos software Alpha Tracker and handheld site data capture app Tracker Mobile.

There is still a long way to go in the project and many technical hurdles to overcome, but with Alpha Tracker labs now getting involved with product testing there is real momentum behind the development.

Robin presents the Cotswold Archaeology tablet app at Alpha Software DevCon 2016

We're working with the UK's leading archaeological consultancy, Cotswold Archaeology, to change the way that field data is collected and to introduce genuine innovation into the industry.

Head of fieldwork at Cotswold Archaeology, Simon Cox, gave us this challenge:
“to build an innovative paperless recording, analysis and archiving system that sets the standard for British archaeological contractors”
We're using our skills with the amazing Alpha Anywhere development platform to create a mobile, offline-capable field app to capture rich data - photos, sketches, text data and more.

All week some of the Alpha developers at Start Software have been at the Alpha DevCon in Boston, USA, and Start Software director Robin Bennett presented to discuss some of the design & build challenges that have been faced during the development.

Robin presenting at Alpha DevCon 2016
Can we help you to build an innovative mobile smartphone or tablet app for your organisation?  Get in touch.

Alpha Tracker Release 22 announced in Boston - it's truly "Bostin"!

This blog title has to be the worst pun ever - and may not make sense unless you're familiar with a bit of UK slang!  "Bostin" means great see (see and we've announced the summer/autumn 2016 release whilst being at the Alpha DevCon in Boston, USA.

This update is Release 22 (SVN2136) of asbestos software Alpha Tracker and has been made public following the beta testing from our valued beta tester asbestos consultancy customers.

Here's the introductory video for Release 22:

I've picked up on 5 of the main changes in this video but there are plenty more updates, bug fixes and performance improvements throughout the build.

Kim has produced the detailed release notes as usual - ready for you to use to update your Quality Manuals - and these are available here:

Release notes are available online for Alpha Tracker Release 22
We've started the design and build process for Release 23 which will be available later this year.

Start Software and Asbestoprobe announce partnership

We're really pleased to announce that Asbestoprobe have chosen Start Software to be their strategic asbestos software partners.

Asbestoprobe is a new device for the detection and identification of asbestos and is the result of years of intensive research & development effort.  This development process is nearing completion and we're working with the team at Asbestoprobe to ensure that the process of transferring results from the probe to asbestos software Alpha Tracker or Tracker Mobile is easy, seamless and secure.

The team at Asbestoprobe are looking for an asbestos lab to assist with their final product testing.  If you would like to know more about this, do get in touch.

We'll be posting more information about our partnership over the next few months.

Start Software at Alpha Software's DevCon2016

We're in Boston (USA) this week for Alpha Software's annual developer conference - DevCon2016.

Tom, Jack & Dan at Alpha's DevCon2016 (Robin was taking the photo!)

We've brought four of our Alpha Anywhere development team over to learn about the new features and facilities Alpha are introducing to the product over the next 12 months; features which will help us to build great software products for our customers.

Tom deep in concentration working with the improved mobile form controls

Dion McCormick from GiantKillerTraining is leading today's training

Goody bags!

Final test version of Alpha Tracker Release 22 is now available

The beta released on 2 September has received good feedback from our valued beta testers and so we've published the "release candidate" version RC1.  This should be the final Release 22 code - as long as it passes our final checks we'll make this available this as the Summer/Autumn 2016 version of asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

What can you expect from this release?  It is our fastest, most stable version of Alpha Tracker ever with improvements across the board - calendar, risk assessments, reporting, security and usability.

International Asbestos Awareness & Management Conference (13-15 November 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia)

We'll be exhibiting our asbestos software Alpha Tracker and the new Alpha Tracker app at the International Asbestos Awareness & Management Conference.

This year, the conference is being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia, which is conveniently very close to our office!  The conference dates are 13-15 November 2016... see you there.

Patrick Parsons go live with Alpha Tracker

Consulting engineers Patrick Parsons have switched their specialist asbestos team to Alpha Tracker from Start Software.

 Patrick Parsons

As firm believers that diversity of expertise is a key ingredient to enhanced client satisfaction, Patrick Parsons has spent years building a team of multi-disciplinary experts and Associates that provide a wealth of expertise giving them the capability to address the most environmentally sensitive sites. These experts and Associates including specialist asbestos staff able to provide the full range of asbestos surveying services.

The Patrick Parsons asbestos surveyors visited our Telford office to receive their training.

RSK switch to Alpha Tracker

Asbestos and Legionella specialists RSK have launched Alpha Tracker into their business with intensive training sessions at their UK sites this week.

RSK will be using the latest Alpha Tracker software and apps to enhance their service delivery and customer experience.

Trainer Kim was made very welcome by the asbestos professionals trained this week and here are some of the photos she took whilst on site:

Tracker Mobile can be used on tablets or smartphones

RSK have a reputation for quality and service

Use the tablet's built-in camera to take sample photos

Tracker Mobile can be used by teams of surveyors

Use any sketch apps from the app store for floor plans

You can also use paper plans - simple scan them into Tracker Mobile

Our 10-year anniversary celebration lunch was pure magic

Our celebration lunch was quite an event today.  And so it should be - it isn't every week that you have chance to gather your work family around you and celebrate a decade of being in business.

It was a lunch of 10s... 10 staff, 10 years of trading as Start Software and a perfect "10" for the food and service at Purnell's in Birmingham.

The icing on the cake (actually, we forgot to have a cake!) was a magical, touching and inspirational performance by master magician Michael Vincent who blew our minds completely.  What a performer and what a warm, passionate and very funny human being.

Robin & Michael outside Purnells

Adam enjoying some chicken!

Kim with her mouth full (please do make up your own joke)

Nice haircut Tom.  Ugandan?

Jack keeping the wine waiter busy

Catherine & Robin enjoying the show

Michael about to make the Purnell's bill disappear (if only!)

Catherine as Mike's glamorous assistant

Dan and Adam - puzzled faces all around

Oliver trying to stop Michael reading his mind

This is Russ's poker face - didn't work though!

Yes, Michael does know what's in your hand Russ

Michael in full flow

What a finale to a brilliant show

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