You’ve decided it’s time to invest in a tracking software solution to help manage your portable assets. Whether your company is smaller and seeking to replace a manual, paper-based system or larger and finding your existing software no longer supports your business, you have similar concerns in selecting your new solution.
Making the right choice doesn’t have to be hard. The questions below will help you identify and evaluate the critical features that will provide the best return on investment now and in the future. Continue reading →
If you’re tracking portable assets with a manual or paper-based system, chances are you’ve thought about switching to an asset tracking software solution. You’re aware of some of the benefits, like increased accuracy and efficiency, but you’re not sure that’s enough for you to take the leap.
Many forward-thinking companies are finding ways to change the game within their industries by using asset tracking software to achieve operational advantages. They’re gaining added value by fully exploiting the data collection capabilities of mobile handheld devices and doing something meaningful with the wealth of data gathered routinely from on-going system activity.
Below are some perceptions you might have about asset tracking software. Read on to learn which ones are true (but don’t tell the entire story) and which ones are false. Continue reading →
In this post I discuss the path I took to enable TrackAbout to react more quickly to failures in our application’s email delivery. I wrote a service using Node.js which relays email delivery failure events from SendGrid to a HipChat chat room that our support staff monitors. The project is open source and available on GitHub as sendgrid-webhook-server.
With reimbursements falling, sometimes steeply, home medical equipment (HME) companies are urgently turning their attention to cutting costs. Unlike less palatable choices, such as layoffs or buying lower-quality equipment, implementing the right technology can not only increase HME operating efficiencies, but also substantially improve performance and position companies for growth in an era of accountable care.
Asset tracking software provides this type of opportunity. With equipment as one of their biggest expenses, HME companies must ensure their assets are working as hard as possible and thus delivering an optimal return on investment.
By implementing dedicated asset tracking software, HME companies can establish an easy-to-use, highly efficient, and effective process for managing and maintaining equipment that maximizes the use and the useful life of their critical assets. Electronically tracking, sorting, and aggregating equipment data and producing reports enables HME companies to become more valuable partners to accountable care organizations (ACOs) that rely on electronic systems to knit together providers across the continuum of care.
TrackAbout is evaluating cross-platform mobile application development frameworks for the next version of our mobile software. There are more than a dozen competing frameworks, with more appearing every week. It’s daunting to place a bet in a marketplace with this much flux.
Recognizing the confusion in the marketplace and choosing to do something about it are the people behind the PropertyCross web site. You can read about their goals on their web site, but the short version is that they’ve published a spec for a modest mobile application and are soliciting developers to implement the spec using as many frameworks as possible. This is an invaluable resource for those trying make sense out of the options.
Source code for all implementations is available on Github as is the specification for the PropertyCross example application.
In February 2013, I downloaded all of the Android implementations published on the PropertyCross site and sideloaded them onto my Verizon Galaxy Nexus. I then used every feature of each app in an effort to get a feel of the differences between the cross-platform mobile application frameworks.
The PropertyCross implementations reviewed (in no particular order) were:
- Android Native (Java)
- jQuery Mobile (PhoneGap)
- JQTouch (PhoneGap)
- Sencha Touch 2 (PhoneGap)
- Adobe Air
In today’s economic climate, it’s not enough to know where your assets are. You must also use them as efficiently as possible. Competition is fierce. Profit margins are shrinking. You need every advantage to protect the well-being of your company. Your existing business software does a good job of managing your overall organization, but how well does it manage your assets?
A modern asset management solution can give you better control over your assets and greater visibility into your operations. Experience shows that through improved management, companies purchase fewer new assets, recover lost rent, fix billing mistakes, reduce theft, avoid customer disputes, deploy assets more effectively, improve safety, win new business and retain existing customers.
Simply implementing a tracking system doesn’t guarantee success. Following these best practices can help maximize the value of your new asset management solution. Continue reading →
TrackAbout, a worldwide provider of physical portable asset tracking solutions, announced the promotion of Jessica Wolbert to Project Manager.
In this new role, Wolbert will consult with TrackAbout clients to analyze business processes and identify technical requirements to ensure full utilization of the TrackAbout solution. She also will work closely with TrackAbout’s product management team to provide direction for the company’s Android and iOS applications as well as long term product development. Continue reading →
Here’s a bit of news of interest to our user community. From Reuters: Honeywell sees slow 2013, to buy Intermec for $600 million.
This comes shortly after Motorola Solutions’ acquisition of rugged device manufacturer Psion, announced in June 2012 and completed in October 2012.
The year 2012 has been one of consolidation, but not innovation. We’ve been anxiously awaiting a sign that the rugged device market would adopt more modern operating system platforms than the Windows Embedded platform we’ve been stuck on for so many years. The two most obvious directions to head for these manufacturers would be Android and Windows 8 Embedded.
In February 2012, Intermec’s longtime CTO Arvin Danielson had some harsh words for Microsoft and their handling of the forthcoming release of Windows 8. Read the article for the full quotation, but the sentiment was that Arvin and Intermec had been stymied waiting for Microsoft to clue them in as to when Windows 8 would be available to OEMs. As a result, to this day there is no news that Windows 8 RT (the version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM CPUs) or Windows 8 Embedded is coming to rugged devices any time soon. The earliest we’ve been told to expect Windows 8 Embedded from Motorola is 2014.
Will the market wait until 2014 for Windows 8 Embedded, or will Android become the dominant platform for the rugged space in 2013?
Several Android rugged devices with scanning capabilities now exist:
- Honeywell Dolphin 7800
- Motorola Solutions MC40 and MC45, which can’t be found anywhere on their site, but Google returned this pdf containing no specs
- SDG Systems / Juniper RAMPAGE 6
- Pidion by Bluebird will have 4 Android devices soon.
- BP70 10.1" tablet IP65
- BP50 7" tablet IP65
- BIP-6000 handheld
- BM-70 smartphone
There are other manufacturers in the game as well. I found a thorough rugged Android device list. Most do not have scanning capability but could work with an external Bluetooth scanner.
Motorola and Honeywell are now the two remaining big players. They have done some experimentation and hedging with Android devices while waiting for Microsoft to get its story straight for Windows 8 Embedded. They are in the best position to know whether the market is really hungry for alternative OS devices, and we’ll be watching their next moves closely.
We just concluded a three-month-long marathon of recruiting developers here at TrackAbout. We hired six new developers. This post is a follow-up and summary of lessons learned from this most recent round of hiring. I began writing this in Evernote for my own reference so I could review my lessons learned the next time. I shared it with TrackAbout, and they said, “Blog it!” Who am I to argue?
Please see my post On Hiring Developers for background regarding how our hiring process has evolved and some of the tools we use.
Although our headquarters is near Pittsburgh, our developers all work from home. We’ve been doing the virtual dev team thing since the dawn of the company when two of the founders lived in Chicago and the third lived in Pittsburgh. In 2004, when we decided to hire our first new developer, we hired someone we knew from the Chicago area, and he worked from home too. Still does.
Keeping the developer role a work-from-home position has allowed us to recruit great developers from all over the U.S. It’s worked out well for us.
While there are great benefits to working from home, every now and then it’s nice to engage your fellow teammates in meat-space, or IRL, as the cool kids say.
Hence, TrackAbout DevCon was born.