Friday, 27 March 2020

Good checklist for mobile asbestos surveying software

One of the "new kids on the block" in the field of asbestos surveying software has published a check-list of important features for any on-site asbestos data capture tool.

We think it's a great list and our own ticks every box (of course).  It would be surprising if it didn't, given that we have captured more than 30,000,000 items of asbestos data from 1000s of asbestos surveyors in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Here you go:

1 Mobile and Tablet Friendly – absolutely, Tracker Mobile works on any Android or Apple smartphone or tablet

2 Unrestricted Devices – again, absolutely, our products will work on anything

3 Good Offline Support – more than 30,000,000 items of data have been collected on our Tracker Mobile app… virtually all offline!! So I think we can tick that box…

4 Flexible Survey Templates – again, yes, we create templates in Word which Alpha Tracker uses to create your reports, and clients won’t be able to spot an Alpha Tracker-generated one versus one done by hand

5 Fast On-Site Data Collection – our app won’t win any prizes for looks but goodness me it is quick to use.  Take a look at the seven 3-minute videos here (scroll down to “SEE TRACKER MOBILE IN ACTION”) to see how fast and easy it is.  For example, duplicate an entire room with one tap!

6 Simple Quality Assurance – any data collected by a surveyor can be sent to any other handset for QA purposes.  Dead easy.

If you want to see their checklist, click here, we welcome any comparisons from Alpha Tracker to any other asbestos software product.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Updated UK government Coronavirus advice for tradespeople working in people's homes (eg asbestos surveyors)

This is the latest guidance for tradespeople, issued this morning (26 March, 2020):

The key paragraph is:

So it appears that asbestos surveying, for example, is permissible at least for now - as long as social distancing is possible and adhered to, and that neither the surveyor nor the occupant are showing signs of symptoms or are self-isolating.

Hope that helps in these difficult times.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

How the UK's response to Coronovirus is affecting asbestos surveyors

A quick call around some of our asbestos consultancy clients using Alpha Tracker yesterday resulted in some interesting and useful feedback to share.

Most of our clients are continuing largely as normal but with office staff working from home where practical.  Some asbestos surveyors are finding it difficult to gain entry to domestic premises, in particular, whereas others are finding that they are being welcomed into buildings that have fewer staff than normal to complete their asbestos-related tasks.

The latest instructions (at 24.3.2020) from the UK Government are here and contain this instruction about how work has been affected:

Clearly, asbestos surveying cannot be done from home and so appears to be OK for now, maintaining social distancing protocols, naturally.

The government minister Robert Jenrick has also appeared to confirm this in a Tweet:

Other construction websites are reporting that they are seeking clarification about whether "open air" sites are OK whereas confined spaces are not.  I guess there will be more clarification over the next few days.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Free mobile app development for workers collecting Coronavirus data

Are you a health worker or organisation needing to collect data relating to the Coronavirus pandemic?

Would a free app help you fight Coronavirus?
Do you want to collect information on mobile devices whether or not you have an Internet connection?

Would an app built in the next few days help you?

We will build an app for you for free.

Our partners at Mobile Data Studio have said that we can use their platform to build Coronavirus apps without any licence fees and we will also give our development time for free.

Please do get in touch if we can help.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

24x7 support continues as normal - *not* affected by Coronavirus

For the reassurance of our many environmental & asbestos consultancy clients around the world, using Alpha Tracker to deliver a reliable and quality service to their clients, please be reassured that our 24x7 personal support service has not and will not be affected by Coronavirus restrictions.

Our remote working technologies mean that we are confident that we will continue to provide our quality support service even if travel to our offices becomes impossible.

It is business as usual here at Start Software and we hope that you also have been able to continue trading as normal in these uncertain times.  

If you have any specific concerns or questions, please do get in touch.

Monday, 16 March 2020

New calendar features in Alpha Tracker

Watch out for the scheduling updates coming in the next Alpha Tracker release, available within a few weeks.

Alpha Tracker calendar

Some of the improvements to the calendar include:

- creating appointments for multiple people at the same time
- more advanced "make a suggestion" features where Alpha Tracker finds gaps in diaries for you
- improved mapping
- quicker ways to make a calendar booking
- mobile access to your calendar via Alpha Tracker Mobile

Would you like to know more?  Get in touch!

Friday, 13 March 2020

Recommendation from Alpha Tracker client

Just had a call from an environmental consultancy interested in our asbestos software, Alpha Tracker.

They had been talking to another of our customers who had told them this:

"we are using Alpha Tracker from Start Software for the past couple of years and I find it miles better than T***S".

Nice... and thank you!

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Business contingency plans are "business as usual" for us at Start Software

Here at Start Software we have been ISO9001 certified for well over a decade now and a fundamental part of our certification is demonstrating that we have a well-tested business continuity plan in case one or more of our offices or data centres become unavailable.

With the global worries about the CoVID 19 coronavirus and increasing numbers of countries taking action to reduce the movement of people, please be reassured that we have processes in place to ensure that our support, development and asbestos software services will all continue to run even if staff cannot come into the office, for whatever reason.

If you would like more information, please contact director Elaine Porter via 0333 301 1010 or our contact page.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Every day's a school day! Additional Alpha Tracker training available

Are you getting the most from your Alpha Tracker asbestos software?

Would your field staff benefit from some Tracker Mobile refresher training?

Are there features and benefits you think you're missing out on?

Get in touch!

We offer a range of training services either at your offices or at our training facility in Telford (just off the M54, west of Birmingham).

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Another UK university chooses asbestos software Alpha Tracker

The University of Plymouth has chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to manage their asbestos.

The University of Plymouth has chosen Alpha Tracker
Plymouth joins a growing list of other UK universities and educational establishments using the market-leading asbestos software Alpha Tracker within their property estate.

This latest sale installation is in addition to these, all announced within the last few weeks:

West Yorkshire Analytical Services:

Agon Environmental:

Clarke Demolition:

If we can help your organisation in the UK, New Zealand or Australia to find, analyse and manage asbestos, get in touch! 

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Asbestos consultancy HSL Compliance go live with Alpha Tracker air monitoring

The HSL Compliance staff at their Altrincham office have received Tracker Air air monitoring training.  Tracker Air is a module of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software system from Start Software.

Here are two of the photos that our trainer Kim took during the Tracker Air sessions:

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Alpha Tracker support desk performance - February 2020

Judged against our own high standards, we had a disappointing month in February with performance dropping slightly compared to January:

Alpha Tracker support desk performance - February 2020

We'll be working to improve this - although we're still hitting targets for nearly 92% of urgent problems, we think we can do better!

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

New Alpha Tracker Air Monitoring module available now

Our new asbestos software Alpha Tracker Air Monitoring module ("Tracker Air") is proving popular with clients.

Our new air monitoring software has some major advantages including a more flexible style of certificate printing. There is no direct printing on-site any more, the analyst sends the data into Alpha Tracker, the certificate is generated (using Word templates) and emailed back to the analyst (Word and PDF versions) which they can then print on-site or forward to the appropriate person.

To synchronise and receive the emailed certificate the analyst does now require an Internet connection or phone signal, but the benefits of using just Word templates (rather than HTML and Word templates) are clear:

  • flexibility and control over the formatting of the certificate templates
  • clients can have their own version of the Word templates – keeping the same content but customising the display
  • easy changes to the templates.

We'll blog some of the client stories and training sessions in the next day or two but, in the meantime, if you want more information please do get in touch.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Newlife charity thanks Start Software for donation

Remember that Start Software staff walked 3 million steps in January for the Newlife charity?  See

Letter thanking Start Software for the donation

We've had a lovely letter from Newlife thanking us for our donation.  Do follow their work and perhaps join up for their next challenge yourselves?

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Special offers available for asbestos consultancies switching to Alpha Tracker

Is your asbestos consultancy currently using another asbestos software system rather than Alpha Tracker?

Are you fed up with receiving poor customer service?

Do you feel like you're not valued as a customer?

Fed up with your current asbestos software provider?
Get in touch with us! We offer unlimited, personal 24x7 customer support for your office and field staff.  We are known for our flexibility and friendly approach.

If you're switching from one of our competitors, we can offer a discount of up to 20% off our installation fees.  Give us a call!

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Improved performance when raising invoices and credit notes within Alpha Tracker

Asbestos software Alpha Tracker works "end-to-end" for asbestos consultancies, enabling them to track work from initial contact right through to issuing an invoice after an asbestos survey or re-inspection has been completed.

Invoice easily and automatically from Alpha Tracker
We've been working on performance improvements to the invoicing code in Alpha Tracker to help bigger consultancies, in particular, who raise a large number of invoices each month.

The improvements will be live in Alpha Tracker Release 32 which will be available in the next few weeks.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Asbestos specialists Agon Environmental go live with Alpha Tracker

Another asbestos consultancy has switched to asbestos software Alpha Tracker and their staff have received their training.

Agon Environmental are specialists in asbestos, contaminated land and mould and welcome contact from new clients.  Judy visited the Agon staff at their offices to deliver face-to-face training to admin and field staff.

Welcome on board Agon Environmental!

Agon enjoying their training!!

Staff can work on laptop, tablet or smartphone

Field staff getting to grips with Tracker Mobile

Friday, 21 February 2020

FAQ: Do I need an Internet connection to use Tracker Mobile and collect asbestos data on site?


Asbestos surveyors do not need WiFi or a mobile data connection when collecting data and photos on site
It's something we get asked a lot - asbestos surveyors worry that if they don't have an Internet connection they won't be able to do their asbestos surveyors or asbestos reinspections.  This isn't the case!

Our Tracker Mobile asbestos site data collection product does not need an Internet connection when it is being used - it works perfectly "offline".  The surveyor only needs to connect to the Internet when sending their data in (or picking up new jobs from the office administrators using Alpha Tracker).

One of our competitors loves spreading rumours to the contrary - don't believe what you hear!  Asbestos surveyors around the world have collected more than 30,000,000 items of asbestos data using Tracker Mobile and 95% of this has been collected offline...

Thursday, 20 February 2020

HSL extend use of Alpha Tracker into air monitoring

HSL - one of the UK's largest environmental consultancies - are extending their use of asbestos software Alpha Tracker into related areas of business.

HSL - one of the UK's leading environmental consultancies

Our trainers have been on-site to show HSL staff how to use Alpha Tracker for asbestos air monitoring - here are some of the photos taken at the training day.

Improved QR code features on way

We were the first asbestos software company to introduce QR codes into our reports and system. 

Alpha Tracker has been able to produce QR codes for reports, sites, buildings, rooms and even individual items for years now and many clients make use of this feature to help their customers see asbestos information by simplying scanning a QR code on their smartphone.

try scanning this QR code!

We're improving QR code features even more in the next release of Alpha Tracker - watch this space!

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Camera zoom now fully supported in our asbestos field data capture system, Tracker Mobile

Tracker Mobile, our field asbestos data capture system running on Android & Apple smartphones & tablets, now fully supports camera zoom.

Asbestos surveyors working on their handheld devices can use the zoom features built into the cameras to take more detailed "close up" photos for use within Alpha Tracker's automated asbestos reports.

Each surveyed item can be linked to up to two photos enabling surveyors to capture an image "stood back" in the room, and then another closer up.  With the latest smartphones having zoom cameras supporting up 10x optical zoom, this feature will really help to improve the quality of asbestos reports for clients.

PS At the time of writing this blog post, Tracker Mobile has captured more than 30,000,000 items of asbestos data - more than any other asbestos system worldwide

Monday, 17 February 2020

More powerful, dedicated Alpha Tracker document servers now available

If you would like your Alpha Tracker asbestos reports delivered more quickly to your inbox, or your business has grown and you are now producing many more asbestos survey and reinspection reports each day, you might be interested in our new document server options.

Producing more asbestos reports than usual?  Want your documents quicker?
We can now add extra, more powerful, dedicated document servers to your Alpha Tracker software system.  The servers can be hosted in the Amazon or Microsoft cloud, or they can be servers hosted in your own datacentre.

Do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Clarke Demolition go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

The asbestos specialists at Clarke Demolition in Ipswich are the latest business to switch to asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Our asbestos software trainer Kim has been to visit the CDC users and train them to use the office and field aspects of the system.  Here are some of the photos she took during the training day - what an incredible array of plant - both big and small!

a CDC asbestos specialist learning to use Tracker Mobile

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Alpha Tracker Release 32 - put a date in the diary for calendar improvements!

Our next major update for asbestos software Alpha Tracker will be Release 32 due in the next 6-8 weeks.

We will be focusing on Alpha Tracker's calendar and scheduling features with major improvements being developed both for office and mobile staff.

Alpha Tracker's calendar and scheduling tool

If there are features or improvements you'd like to see in Alpha Tracker, do get in touch.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Newlife, new challenge, new shoes! 3 million steps walked in January

3 million steps in January!  That's what the team at Start Software have just walked to raise money for the Newlife charity for disabled children.

Adam, Elaine and Will with their worn-out shoes and the match-funding cheque from Start Software
Programmer Adam's wife Clare is a fundraiser at Newlife and she has just organised a national campaign for individuals to walk 10,000 steps each day in January raising funds along the way.

Most of the Start Software employees were up for the challenge and, between us, we walked more than 3 million steps and raised £300+.

All we need now is some new shoes...!

Friday, 7 February 2020

Improved Alpha Tracker Document Maker available

We've just made a new version of our asbestos report generator module available for asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

The new version has improved formatting options helping us to achieve our goal of making every Alpha Tracker installation automatically produce reports exactly as our clients would like.

Alpha Tracker produces reports in your format, not ours!
The new version of Tracker Document Maker is v1.4.1598 - contact our support desk if you would like to find out more or arrange an update.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust goes live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

Another NHS Trust has started to use asbestos software Alpha Tracker to manage their asbestos.

Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust has gone live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker to help them to manage asbestos across their property estate.

We welcome enquiries from NHS Trusts, councils and other major organisations in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Do get in touch!

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

IOM asbestos lab switches to Alpha Tracker

The highly respected Edinburgh-based asbestos lab at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) has started the process of switching to asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

For more information about the features in Alpha Tracker which are aimed specifically at asbestos labs, click here.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Our Support Desk performance in January 2020

Top work from Will & Jess on the support desk in January with 95% of high priority issues resolved within 2 hours and 90% of all calls solved within the customer's timeframe.

Start Software (Alpha Tracker) support desk performance in January 2020
Is your software provider so open about their performance?  Do you get consistently good support from your asbestos software provider?  If not, give us a call - we can give you a quote to switch to our systems.  You will probably save money and you'll certainly get a better service!

Friday, 31 January 2020

More environmental consultancies are using Alpha Tracker's Fire Risk and Legionella modules

Alpha Tracker is best known for its asbestos capabilities... but it was actually built from the ground up to be a multi-service compliance tool for all types of environmental consultancy.

More and more clients are now using it for fire risk and Legionella services, for example, with 3 more clients going live in December.

Can we help you to collect data on-site and automate your other environmental services?  Get in touch!

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Damada Group switch to asbestos software Alpha Tracker

We're pleased to announce that asbestos specialists Damada Group have switched to asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Damada Group specialise in asbestos removal and demolition services
Damada's sister company ABS ( have been using Alpha Tracker for a while now and recommended the product to Damada.

If we can help you to implement a new asbestos software system - perhaps you want to switch from your current provider - do get in touch.  We have special rates for asbestos specialists switching from other software providers.

For other recent installations of Alpha Tracker, please see:

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Armour Analytical Services going live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

It's great to announce that another asbestos and environmental consultancy, Armour Analytical Services, is about to go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

We've prepared their system setup and created the Alpha Tracker report templates.  Once all field staff are trained to use the mobile asbestos data capture system Tracker Mobile they will be ready to go.

Armour staff learning to use Tracker Mobile
Can we help your asbestos consultancy to become more efficient and provide a better service to your clients?  Get in touch for a free demo of Alpha Tracker.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Gilpin Environmental go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

The asbestos specialists at Gilpin Environmental are now live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker from Start Software.

Gilpin Environmental specialise in all asbestos services

Our Alpha Tracker trainer Kim enjoyed her sessions with the Gilpin asbestos consultants, showing them how the Tracker Mobile asbestos data collection system works in the field.

Here are some of the photos that Kim took during her training day:

Welcome Gilpin to the Alpha Tracker family!

Friday, 24 January 2020

Alpha Tracker Release 31.5 Release Notes - now available

The release notes for asbestos software Alpha Tracker Release 31.5 are now available for reading and downloading from our website.

Click this screenshot to take you straight to the PDF.

Alpha Tracker release 31.5 release notes are now ready
There are improvements to client text messaging, performance, system stability and the calendar amongst many others!

You may need to activate "Adobe Flash" to read the document with your web browser - do call our 24x7 support desk if you need help to do this.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Support desk performance in December 2019

Happy New Year from the Start Software/Alpha Tracker support team!

We had a slight dip in performance in December but we still resolved 90% of urgent calls for assistance within our 2 hour target.

Support desk performance to December 2019

Don't forget - we're here 24x7 for you, taking calls in person (no machines or call queuing here!), so ring us whenever you need help.  Contact details are here.