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WARNING: The TrackAbout MetaWiki has been deprecated and is no longer being updated. Please visit our new TrackAbout Knowledge Base at https://supportkb.trackabout.com for the most-up-to-date documentation on TrackAbout and TrackAbout Mobile.

Smartphone App

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TrackAbout Module
Module Name: Smartphone App/en
Short Description TrackAbout's smartphone app for iOS and Android enables users to perform a variety of asset tracking operations.
Supported In: TAMobile Android, TAMobile iOS
Business Process: Asset Management, Production, Distribution, Supply Chain
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Overview

TrackAbout's smartphone app for iOS and Android enables users to perform a variety of asset tracking operations.

Requirements

The app is intended only for existing customers of TrackAbout. Call your sales contact for more details.

Smartphone operating system requirements

Features

General

  • Geolocation - capture device GPS information during scanning. This GPS data will be displayed in a map view on the website when reviewing Record details.

Smartphone Compatible Actions

  • Add New - basic add new of assets
  • Asset Search - search for assets by tag and view asset details and history
  • Create Order - order creation, with the ability to add line items to the order by scanning existing assets (to look up their product code)
  • Customer Audit - count all assets found on customer premise
  • Delivery - basic delivery of assets, including not-scanned support
  • Dynamic forms - collect custom data on any record*
  • Fill - record the filling of assets
  • Find Inventory - lookup assets on the go by product code or location
  • Load and Unload Truck - track assets loaded onto and unload off trucks, including not-scanned support
  • Locate - set location of assets to internal branch locations
  • Maintenance - record maintenance on assets
  • Receive from Vendor - record assets obtained from a vendor
  • Reclassify Assets - change service of assets
  • Replace Barcode - replace worn or missing barcodes while retaining asset history and traceability
  • Return Assets - similar to Delivery action, but allows returns only

* Dynamic Forms currently supports Textboxes, Dates, Checkboxes, Dropdowns, and Labels.

Follow On Tracking (FOT) Users

The app supports several Follow-On Tracking mobile actions:

  • Asset Search - search for assets by tag and view asset details and history
  • Move Asset - tracks customer movement of assets between their internal locations
  • Record Weight/Volume - sets an asset volume or weight depending on asset type


Setup

The Smartphone app needs to be enabled in your instance. Call your sales contact for more pricing and details.

  1. The Support Team will enable the Smartphone in your instance.
  2. Mobile Roles Setup: Create and setup Mobile roles. Be sure to select the correct role purpose. The new role MUST select "Smartphone and Tablet"
  3. Setup Internal Users
    1. For each user requiring access, check the box TAMobile Android/iOS
    2. Also assign the TAMobile Rugged and TAMobile Desktop role and save


Apple iOS Devices

iOS App Download

Badge appstore-lrg.png

Can't Find TrackAbout using iPad?

On an iPad, when searching for "TrackAbout" in the App Store, TrackAbout may not appear in the search results. This is because the results are being filtered for iPad-only apps (as opposed to iPhone apps). TrackAbout is built as an iPhone app, but works on iPad.

Follow these steps on iPad:

  • Launch the App Store
  • Search for "TrackAbout"
  • In the top left, tap "iPad only" and select "iPhone only"

iOS Version Support Policy

Updated June 21st, 2017. This policy is reviewed quarterly.

Supported iOS Versions

  • iOS version 8.4.1 or higher, including iOS 9.x and 10.0
  • Support for iOS 8.x will be discontinued in July 2017

See Apple's Find the software version page

Supported iPhones

  • iPhone 7 series (7, 7 Plus)
  • iPhone 6 series (6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus)
  • iPhone 5 series (5, 5c, 5s)

See Identifying iPhone Models

Supported iPads

  • iPad (3rd and 4th generation)
  • iPad Air series (iPad Air, iPad Air 2)
  • iPad mini series (iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3)
  • iPad Pro series (9.7 inch, 12.9 inch)

See Identifying iPad Models

The TrackAbout application will work on iPad, but the design is not currently optimized to take advantage of the larger tablet screen.

Supported iPod Touches

  • iPod Touch (5th and 6th generations)

See Identifying iPod Models

Support Policy Explained

Apple releases new major versions of iOS (e.g. iOS 7 to iOS 8) each year. See Wikipedia History of iOS for the exact schedule.

TrackAbout must choose how far back to support major versions of iOS. As time passes, it becomes increasingly expensive and eventually impossible to continue supporting apps on old versions of iOS. Apple forces the hand of developers by dropping support for older versions of iOS from their developer tools.

iPhones and iPads are consumer technology, and the pace of change in the consumer space is rapid. Whereas rugged enterprise devices are typically expected to have a useful service life of 5 years, consumer technology generally has a life-span of 2-3 years.

TrackAbout is sensitive to the needs of its customers and does not wish to unduly prohibit use of the app by paying customers who haven't yet or cannot update their devices to the latest version of iOS.

Therefore, TrackAbout's iOS Version Support Policy balances these competing realities by:

  • Supporting the last two major releases (back to the most recent dot version of the older OS). For example, if iOS 8.3 is the latest version, TrackAbout supports iOS 8.X and iOS 7.1, which was the highest version in the 7.x series.
  • Prompting users periodically to upgrade from within the TrackAbout app when a newer iOS version is available.
  • Increasing TrackAbout's minimum requirements 6 months after Apple releases a new OS. New versions of iOS typically reach greater than 80% adoption within 6 months of release.

Android Devices

Android App Download

Android app on google play.png

Android Version Support Policy

Updated June 21st, 2017. This policy is reviewed quarterly.

Operating System

  • Android version 4.4 or higher

See How to check what Android version you have

Hardware requirements

  • A rear-facing camera with 2 megapixels or greater
  • Minimum 1 GB RAM

Choosing an Android Device

There are a great many consumer-grade Android devices on the market at all price points. TrackAbout does not recommend specific models. So how do you choose? Here's what's important:

Android OS Version
You must make sure the device meets TrackAbout's requirements (above) for minimum OS version. The higher the version number, the better.
Monthly Android OS Security Updates
Google releases monthly operating system security patches. It's important for your security and the security of your company that you choose a phone that will receive these updates. Bargain devices tend to not receive the updates. Some carrier-sold devices do not regularly receive updates. devices sold directly by Google in their Store will always receive timely updates. Flagship devices (Samsung Galaxy, some LG) sold by network carriers will likely receive updates. Ask when buying or do some Googling to find out.
CPU + Camera
Scanning QR and barcodes using the smartphone's camera requires a powerful CPU. A bargain phone will likely have a poor camera and a sub-par CPU. Most mid-tier devices made in 2017 and later will probably have acceptable camera and CPU performance, but you should buy one phone and test it, and return it if it doesn't perform well enough. Compare the performance to a high-end Android or iPhone running TrackAbout.
Battery
Most Android devices get 3 to 4 hours of screen on time (SoT) under typical usage scenarios before needing a recharge. Barcode scanning makes heavy use of the camera to take rapid images of the target barcodes. Those images are fed to the CPU for image recognition processing (finding the barcodes). Barcode scanning can therefore drain a battery faster. Opt for a phone with an over-sized battery when possible. A phone with replaceable batteries could be a good choice, or provide workers with car chargers or portable battery recharge packs for use in the field so they can keep going all day. Be aware of Quick Charge technology and buy compliant Quick Charge chargers.
Buy One and Test
What kind of environment are your workers in? Outdoors? Indoors in low-light? Some cameras do not perform well in low-light, they may have auto-focus problems which impacts scanning. It's important that you try out a phone in your environment before purchasing in quantity.
Safe Bets
The current generation Samsung Galaxy devices are typically safe bets because they meet all the above criteria. They are flagship (top of the line) products with great specs and a great camera, which makes for excellent scanning.
Devices sold directly in the Google Store are generally safe bets, although as of this writing (April 2017) they tend to be expensive, flagship devices.
TrackAbout does not routinely test Android devices, so we can't make other more specific recommendations here.
Supported Rugged Android Devices
Zebra/Motorola TC55 (Android 4.4 or higher)
Known-Bad Devices
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Our test device had severe camera auto-focus problems that made scanning very frustrating. There are widely reported problems with auto-focus on the Note 4. We attempted modifying "Metering Modes" under camera settings, trying Matrix or Spot settings, but it did not help.
Useful Service Life
Consumer-grade smartphones have a useful service life of about 2 years. After 2 years, one of two things will happen. (1) The battery will age and fail to hold a reasonable charge. Batteries can sometimes be replaced, but it may not be cost-effective. (2) The device will no longer receive security updates. In either case, the device should be replaced.
Rugged-grade Android devices may have a longer service life of 4-5 years. However, they will likely not receive security updates.

Android Support Policy Explained

See Wikipedia's Android Version History for detailed timeline of Android's version history.

Google increments the major version number of Android (e.g. Android 6.0 to Android 7.0) once a year.

Google increments the minor version number of Android (e.g. 6.0 to 6.1) with monthly security patches. However, not all phone manufacturers or cell phone carriers deliver the Google security updates monthly, if at all.

Google has an unwritten policy that states that its manufacturers should provide Android updates up to 18 months from a device's introduction date. However, manufacturers are not required to not follow this policy.

Different device manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, LG, etc) update their devices at different speeds. Traditionally, manufacturers have been slow to update devices, and have been known to abandon specific devices before 18 months have elapsed. This leads to a large number of simultaneously active versions of Android in the wild.

Android phones and tablets are generally a consumer technology, and the pace of change in the consumer space is rapid. Whereas rugged enterprise devices are typically expected to have a useful service life of 4-5 years, consumer technology generally has a life-span of 2 years.

There are a rugged Android devices available, and the version of Android OS installed on rugged devices tends to lag behind the latest consumer devices.

TrackAbout is sensitive to the needs of its customers and does not wish to unduly prohibit use of the app by paying customers who haven't yet or cannot update their devices to the latest version of Android. On the other hand, supporting so many different versions of the Android operating system adds complexity and maintenance costs to the software development process.

TrackAbout's Android Version Support Policy balances the competing realities by:

  • Supporting Android versions that have 10% or greater market share according to Google's monthly statistics.
  • Supporting rugged Android devices on a case-by-case basis and for as long as we reasonably can. Rugged device Android versions tend to lag consumer device versions and do not generally receive updates. It has been our experience that Android software development tools change to keep up with the latest versions of the OS, and sometimes we do not have a choice to support older operating systems. This can make it prohibitively expensive to support older versions of Android.

App Settings

TrackAbout App Settings Screen.jpeg

On the main screen of the app tap "Settings"

Server
Hostname
For production environment use: www.trackabout.com
For test environment use: test.trackabout.com
Port: 443
Use SSL Encryption should be on or checked
Feedback
If your device allows vibration you can choose to enable or disable this setting.
About
Make sure that you have the latest version of the app downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play stores depending on your device. Updating to the latest version of the app may resolve any issues or problems you may be experiencing with the app.

FAQ

Off-Line Mode

The App handles off-line connectivity transparently. If the App does not have wifi or cellular access, it saves the record(s) until the device is back online. The user will notice an App notification that unsaved records are saved locally until they can be pushed. Once the device is back on-line, the Apps retries automatically and saves the records without any user intervention.

Hardware scanning: TC55 and similar devices

Data Wedge Setup

In order for the hardware scanner to function in the TrackAbout app, the program DataWedge needs to be configured. Steps:

  • Ensure TrackAbout app is installed
  • Open DataWedge
  • Click the menu button a (third button on the bottom on the phone, next to Home)
  • Choose "New profile"
  • Enter "TrackAbout" and press OK
  • Tap on the TrackAbout entry
  • Set the following settings:
    • Profile enabled: checked
    • Associated apps: click and press the menu button, then "New app/activity". Select com.trackabout.mono (look for the TrackAbout icon), then select the first item, *
    • Enabled under Barcode Input: checked
    • Scan Params - Decode Audit Feedback: Silent (it may read Silent, go in and set it to Silent or None again)
    • Scan Params - Decode Haptic Feedback: unchecked
    • Enabled under Keystroke Output: unchecked
    • Enabled under Intent Output: checked
    • Intent action: com.trackabout.motoscan
    • Intent category: scan
    • Intent delivery: Broadcast intent
    • Enabled under IP Output: unchecked

Enabling the hardware scanner in the TrackAbout app

We use a passive check to determine if a hardware scanner is available on the device. The user has to do a "Scan Check" and use the hardware scanner successfully.

  • Log into TrackAbout
  • Go to Settings
  • Click "Check scanning capabilities of your device" under 'Scan Check'
  • When you see "Use this screen to test the scanning capability of your device," scan a barcode using the hardware scanner (don't select orange scan box to bring up camera). The barcode scanned will appear on the screen.
  • Click back and a new option appears, "Preferred Scan Method".
  • Ensure "Preferred Scan Method" is set to "Hardware Scanner"

Upgrade Nag

Once a new version of the App has been released to the stores, the App will prompt users to upgrade. One week after release to the app stores, users will receive a message once a day reminding them to upgrade.

Session Duration

Once logged into the iOS or Android application, the user can remained logged in for 30 days without logging in again. After 30 days the user will be logged out and asked to re-enter their credentials.

Tips & Tricks

iOS

Screen capture

  • To capture screen in iOS device, hold the Home and Power buttons simultaneously. The snapshot will be saved in the Pictures.

Android

Screen capture

Screen capture exist natively but depends on the device manufacture

  • Samsung Galaxy S3: Press and hold the Power button and the Home button at the same time
  • Most others: Simultaneously press Volume Down + Power for 1 second