This story comes from Louise Pickett, TrackAbout Senior Support Specialist.
It’s always fun to get out of the office to see what our clients are up to. They are always doing interesting things. And now, with the TrackAbout smartphone app, the tasks are so much easier from anywhere.
It was a beautiful spring day in California, and I was at a client site for a new implementation training. I suggested ahead of time that we visit a customer close by to perform a customer audit to ensure accurate balances. So after lunch at the local burrito place, Bob, Rachel, Umberto and I hopped in the car and headed over to see one of their customers. Mike, our client’s sales rep, met us at the customer location since he had nurtured a good relationship with them.
Mike selected a great customer for this audit. They create displays for all kinds of conventions and trade shows. Their location is a huge warehouse, with stations for welding, for woodworking, for any kind of creating you can imagine!
We all got out our smartphones and started scanning cylinders as part of the audit. When we thought we were done, I logged into the TrackAbout website, right from my smartphone, and checked the customer’s balance. We were three scans shy of what TrackAbout thought they should have. So we walked all over the warehouse, searching for more. In the process, we found Stormtroopers and Pokémon eggs, as well as a two-story, wooden house which was under construction, all right there inside the warehouse. This was pure geek heaven!
TrackAbout, a worldwide provider of asset tracking and management software solutions, announced today that its platform has been integrated with Chempax, the leading ERP software application developed specifically for chemical process manufacturers and chemical distributors by Datacor, Inc.
TrackAbout is a cloud-based software solution to track and manage returnable chemical containers. The integration connects TrackAbout as the mobile front end to Chempax to collect relevant data in real time using smartphones, tablets or rugged handheld scanners to read barcode labels or RFID tags. It automates the serial container tracking component of Chempax.
This article, written by Rhea Healy, originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
It seems that in today’s world, the need for immediate and mobile data is now the norm, with smartphones and the internet practically essential to keep connected to the world. Any information you desire is now just one click away in most cases.
As these trends infiltrate everyday life, they do of course also extend into the industrial gas industry, where the role of ‘smart’ technology has become a staple asset in cylinder tracking and similar industrial applications, eradicating the traditional pen and paper method of a seemingly distant era.
More and more high-profile companies are implementing tracking systems with ‘smart’ features, but just how much further can this evolve and what other technological trends could possibly emerge from this point?
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of CryoGas International. It is reprinted with permission.
Award-winning author Thomas Friedman said, “Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/friedman-come-the-revolution.html) Friedman was referring to the “college education revolution” where advancements in technology made it easier for more people to receive a college degree for a lower cost via an online platform. But history is full of big breakthroughs resulting from innovations that filled a desperate need. The printing press gave greater access to information and set the stage for a transformation of social literacy. The steam engine enabled growth of the railroad and boosted intercontinental trade. Electricity sparked a host of other inventions that account for most of our modern life. And now, cloud technology and mobile computing are changing the way compressed gas distributors operate.
I was very honored to be asked to write an article on the history of cylinder tracking for the 25th Anniversary Issue of CryoGas International Magazine. I’m proud that TrackAbout has been a leader in developing asset tracking technology for the industrial gas industry for the past 15 years. That experience has given me a chance to watch this technology grow from its infancy.
I am especially excited that TrackAbout, together with our affiliate company Lockhouse, is helping to build the future industrial supply chain. So the article is also about the future of cylinder tracking, and how technology in use now both creates and solves the increasing demands for better information in real time, all along the supply chain.
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
This article was written by Stuart Radnedge of gasworld and originally appeared in the May 2015 issue. It is reprinted with permission.
Technology, and the advancement of it, propels innovation – influencing changes for a better, more efficient mode of conducting everyday life. The late, great, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, once stated, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”
This couldn’t be more true a description than that of the humble telephone – or its development into what we now know as the smartphone. Once the wired telephone lost its cabled connectors, boundaries were broken – and a tool for long distance communication between humans suddenly became limitless. It’s only over the last 15 or so years that the smartphone has become the fully integrated companion to our lives.
And in this In Focus… we look into the positive effect that smartphones – and technology as a whole – has had on the tracking, scheduling and telemonitoring sector of industrial gases.
TrackAbout Developer Mike Mertsock published the following post on his blog Running | Code. Drawing on his experience developing TrackAbout’s APIs, Mike provides 11 tips for successful collaboration between mobile and API development teams.
API-driven mobile app development requires more than good engineers and the latest technology. Whether your organization is a startup, or an established company expanding into the mobile space, you may be creating the app and API in parallel. The mobile and API teams will need to collaborate effectively in order to launch a successful product. In fact, I would say that communication and teamwork can be more important than the choice of server-side and client-side technologies.
Mobile and API developers can write great code in their respective silos, but if the interaction between the two teams is not top-notch, the interaction of the app and API will reflect that. Teams will end up with divergent understanding of the work. Timelines will get out of sync. Developers will be fighting to get the client and server to work together as anti-patterns and incompatible interfaces emerge. Every new feature will repeat a cycle rehashing the same bugs, fighting the same structures, duplicating slight variations of boilerplate “solutions” to the architecture problems. Friction will rule both the programming work and team dynamics.
Our customer community might be interested to know that another big acquisition in the mobile device industry occurred the other day. A Honeywell press release announced it has completed its acquisition of Datamax-O’Neil, a global manufacturer of fixed and mobile printers used in a variety of retail, warehouse and distribution, and health care applications.
In a statement emailed to its partners, Honeywell president John Waldron said, “The new combined Datamax-O’Neil and Honeywell portfolios are highly complementary and together enable us to provide a broader array of printing solutions. Together, we will be able to provide unmatched opportunities to drive value for our customers.”
He continued, “Datamax-O’Neil and Honeywell share a focus on innovation and customer service, making this combination a truly exciting event for the industry. Datamax-O’Neil is now part of a global Fortune 100 company with 140,000 employees in over 100 countries and can benefit from the processes and expertise that Honeywell will provide.”
This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of gasworld.
Smartphones and other sophisticated mobile devices have taken the world by storm – fundamentally changing the way many of us interact and work every day. People can now carry a small, relatively inexpensive powerful computing device with internet connectivity with them wherever they go. This has meant that, for better or worse, more people find themselves ‘always connected’. However for businesses, especially industries that manage lots of assets, these devices are nothing short of a positive game changing force.
This article was written by Helen Carmichael of gasworld and originally appeared in the December 2014 issue. It is reprinted with permission.
Cylinder tracking is an essential tool for managing a company’s prized assets. Now by deploying cloud data storage and mobile devices, Lockhouse has created another level of asset management for end-users. Helen Carmichael reports.
Recent years have seen an inexorable move towards electronic and bar code tagging and tracking of cylinders among many distribution companies. Although these strategies have saved a lot of time and paperwork, they have also revealed a few problems along the way. Companies have reported trying a number of bar coding strategies before finding the right one, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging is expensive, may have reliability issues, and also may not be totally future-proof as technology moves forward.
According to Tim Fusco, CEO of asset tracking software company TrackAbout, “for customers who are using RFID, it is expensive, and they are locked into a single track. Barcodes or QR codes are more flexible.”
QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) originating in the Japanese automotive industry, and now cropping up increasingly on our products – which we can scan for more information using our mobile phones. By its choice of QR codes attached on a coated label, Lockhouse intends to use the devices already in everyone’s pockets to find and recover lost assets, says Lockhouse Head of Marketing and Strategy, Cassie Glessner. “Lockhouse is an internet web application,” she told gasworld. “The user scans the code on an asset with their mobile device, and brings up a specific page on that asset. Simultaneously, the location from the GPS on the user’s phone or other handheld device is paired with that asset.”
Lockhouse, then, provides a registry for gas cylinders and other assets that connects different data systems to create a more efficient information exchange between the industry and its users.