Showing posts from April, 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.

Tracker Upload Manager software update available

We've posted a bug-fix update to Tracker Upload Manager (the module that handles asbestos survey data transfer from Android or Apple smartphone or tablet to asbestos software Alpha Tracker).

Tracker Upload Manager runs silently on your Alpha Tracker server
This update is known as v1.0.232 SVN50 and improves the way that cover sheet (front page) asbestos report photos are handled in particular.

You can download and apply the update from or contact our support desk for assistance if you prefer.

ARMCO asbestos consultancy chooses Alpha Tracker asbestos software

UKAS accredited asbestos surveyors ARMCO have chosen Alpha Tracker to help them to automate their asbestos surveying process and have just completing their first day of training.

ARMCO asbestos surveyors have more than 15 years of experience and are determined to provide the best possible service to clients large and small.  As they start to use Alpha Tracker and Tracker Mobile on site they are looking forward to improving their service to clients even further.

Our trainer Kim really enjoyed meeting the ARMCO site and office staff and here are some of the photos from the day:

ARMCO are using data collection tablets with Tracker Mobile

surveyors use the tablet's camera for quick and easy surveying

plans can be completed on paper or on the tablet

UKAS Accredited asbestos surveyors at MCP Environmental choose Alpha Tracker

We've just had our first Alpha Tracker asbestos software training day for the asbestos surveyors at leading asbestos specialists MCP Environmental.

Based in Bradford, UK, MCP Environmental are UKAS Accredited asbestos surveyors as well as offering a range of other expert asbestos services including asbestos removal, training and environmental engineering.

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

MCP Environmental are asbestos specialists

Asbestos surveying is just one of MCP's range of asbestos services

an MCP asbestos surveyor studying Tracker Mobile

MCP's training room with enthusiastic students!

It's a "Quantum Leap" - leading asbestos/compliance professionals at Quantum Compliance switch to Alpha Tracker

Innovative health & safety professionals Quantum Compliance have just completed their Alpha Tracker systems training in readiness for their switch to the new platform in May.

Quantum's clients are wide-ranging and predominantly include multi-site organisations from a variety of key business sectors including, commercial property managers, property surveyors, retailers, and service organisations.  They have worked with Start Software's Tracker business management software system over a number of years and are now taking advantage of the new technology available within the asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Kim and Catherine have been working with Quantum to ensure a smooth transition.  Here are some of the photos from the latest training day:

Tracker Mobile can be used on virtually any tablet or smartphone

Multiple surveyors can be working on the same survey on the same day & site

Alpha Tracker isn't just for asbestos - any type of health & safety assessment can be undertaken

Designed to be easy to use - Tracker Mobile provides consistent asbestos surveys

Start Software uses Alpha software to help customer with environmental management system audit

We've been providing ad-hoc mentoring for a customer with a management database written in Alpha Software's Alpha Five software development platform.

Yesterday I got a call - their sister company needed help to make a database of PDFs available throughout their organisation in readiness for an environmental audit - could we help?

A remote control session was set up and one hour later... the entire database of PDFs was searchable and accessible via web browser to all of the staff throughout the business.  Very few software development tools are powerful enough to do this sort of development so quickly and Alpha Five (and the newer version, Alpha Anywhere) are the best of breed.

An email from the client popped into my inbox this morning:

"Hello Robin,

Just returned from our sister site having been audited in accordance with their Environmental Management System. Again a great result for the Alpha software and Start Software support. The chemicals database was given full marks. I prepared 2 volumes of hard copy data all captured and retrievable at a glance on the Alpha System.

Thanks for your support this morning."

Can we help you with your Alpha software development?  Get in touch!

Environmental consultancy OHEC switches to Alpha Tracker

The experienced asbestos and environmental consultants at OHEC have just finished their Alpha Tracker software training and have gone live.

It's certainly been a busy few months for our training staff with ten asbestos consultancies choosing Alpha Tracker since the start of the year to reduce their admin and increase operational efficiency.

OHEC are based in Prestwich, Manchester, and are proud to be an independent consultancy operating throughout Britain offering clients professional guidance and assistance to ensure that they are complying with current Health and Safety and Environmental Legislation.

Here some of the photos we took on the training day:

some of OHEC's large fleet of vehicles

Tracker Mobile can be used on a wide range of tablets and smartphones

OHEC surveyors practising their new skills

On-site data capture means no paperwork to write up!

Alpha Tracker - helping OHEC to reduce their admin and overheads

How to sync iPhones to an Alpha Tracker-synced Google Calendar

Asbestos software Alpha Tracker's built-in calendar and scheduling tools can sync to Google calendars (and Exchange calendars) so that staff can see their work diaries by looking on their phones, tablets or on a PC.  This is a really popular feature which means that staff always know what they are supposed to be doing - when and where!

On an Android device this "just works" and there is no extra set-up to do.

But... on iPhones and iPads, you might find that the Alpha Tracker-synced Google Calendar doesn't immediately show up.

The solution is easy.  Just visit this link on a PC or on the iPhone/iPad and make sure that all calendars are ticked for syncing.

AlphaValidator v1.0.81 SVN28 update released

We've just passed the latest update to asbestos data checking module AlphaValidator through the testing team and it is ready to download from our Start Software website.

This version, known as v1.0.81 SVN28 (catchy, eh!), follows hard on the heels of the update we released at the end of January and is a bug-fix update affecting the reporting of missing photos primarily.

You are welcome to download and install the update yourself or give the support desk a call (they are available 24x7 after all!) for assistance.

Alpha Tracker Document Maker update released

Further to the bug-fix update of the asbestos report production system Alpha Tracker Document Maker we released in March, we've updated ATDM again this week to version v1.4.820 SVN162 with a number of improvements relating to tables with formatted cells.

Asbestos reports produced using asbestos software Alpha Tracker can have tables with cells and rows colour-coded or formatted in other ways according to risk scores or asbestos content.  This update provides more options in this respect based on some of the report templates we've seen with the 10+ new asbestos consultancies using Alpha Tracker since January 2016.

You can download the update for Alpha Tracker Document Maker here or contact the support desk for assistance.

Start Software is officially "at the top" (!)

(cheesy pun alert!!)

I've stopped off in Dubai on the way to our Alpha Tracker Adelaide office for a week's asbestos software design work with Judy & Leanne.

What a place Dubai is - opulent, extravagant, over-the-top in almost every way.  Had an amazing trip up the world's tallest building (the Burj Khalifa) and had the presence of mind to wear a work t-shirt to get the all-important PR shot!

If you're ever flying through Dubai it's worth 24 hours to explore for sure - I used the Emirates' stop-over service where you get allocated a hotel on arrival and it was an absolute bargain.

Alpha app server - important security information & update

Over the last few weeks, a security vulnerability has been identified which has the potential to affect virtually all secure systems running across the Internet.

This vulnerability (known as “DROWN” - see has the potential to allow hackers to access secure data in any system relying on the “SSL” Internet security protocol.  The chances of any DROWN attack are incredibly remote but now that details of the security “hole” have been published we have a duty to inform our customers that Alpha Tracker systems (like any Internet-based software) are potential targets.

We are pleased to announce that the latest versions of the Alpha app server and Alpha Tracker itself are fully protected against DROWN and so updating your systems to the latest release will give you security and peace of mind.  Asbestos consultancy clients can read all about the latest release of Alpha Tracker here.

Please note - if you don’t wish to update your Alpha Tracker software to the February/March 2016 release, we can “patch” your existing system to make it secure instead.

Please contact our help desk for more information and to schedule your updates.

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