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Spirit news – October 2017

The green leaves of the trees are showing tinges of brown, so the time for the autumn edition of our ezine has arrived! We hope you enjoy it – it’s for any of you who are interested in information and news relating to different aspects of mobile enterprises, and the use of handheld devices to streamline a wide range of supply chain processes.

In this issue, you can find the following articles:

Industry news and views

  • Protecting your Apples
  • GDPR draws ever closer…
  • How secure is your email address?
  • Migrating from Windows
  • Apple iOS 11 drops support for older apps

Industry trends and new releases

  • Surge in smartphone sales to silver surfers
  • A peek into the future
  • Tasty trends from Android

Recent reports and guides

  • Top Ten technology breakthroughs
  • A smart survey

That’s the Spirit!

  • Recent case studies
  • Exciting new software apps from Spirit
  • In the spotlight: Ian Guthrie
  • Top tips: coping with ageing devices…

We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you would like more information on any of the items below, please call us on 01928 718800 or send an email to: helen.jones@spiritdatacapture.co.uk.

Industry news and views

Protecting your Apples

It’s a common misapprehension that Apple Mac devices don’t get viruses. Unfortunately, they both can and do. In the past, hackers and other cyber criminals have tended to focus more on Windows devices, as these have been the most popular. However, with the increasing trend towards greater Mac usage, these in turn have now become a more attractive target for criminals. So, although anything running iOS is probably still safer than many Windows devices, it might be advisable to invest in some additional anti-virus software so that your data is more fully protected.

GDPR draws ever closer…

As we mentioned in the last edition of the newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25th May 2018. If you’ve not already started preparing for it, please do so now, before it’s too late. Find out what you need to do from this useful guide: https://ico.org.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf. As we said previously, we’ve sent out an email to customers on our database asking whether they are happy or not to remain on the database. Please email us to let us know whether or not you’re happy to remain. Thanks.

How secure is your email address?

It’s relatively easy these days to have your email and password details compromised without you even knowing about it. However, help is at hand. You can check whether your email has been affected by looking on www.haveibeenpwned.com, a site run by well-known security researcher, Troy Hunt. His website will quickly inform you if your email address and other personal information have been accessed and could be available to malicious cyber criminals.

Fortunately, Spirit’s servers are very secure, so you can be confident that any data we hold is well protected.

Migrating from Windows

In the last issue, we reported that most Windows mobile operating systems will no longer be supported by Microsoft in the not-too-distant future (https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/lifecycle/). This message is worth repeating, this time with a little more detail. If you’re using a Windows CE or Windows Embedded Handheld device, support will come to an end on the following dates:

  • Windows CE 6.0 – April 10th, 2018
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld – July 9th, 2019
  • Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 – January 14th, 2020

Windows Embedded Compact 7 will be supported until April 13th, 2021.

However, don’t panic – your devices will still work but Microsoft will no longer provide any updates. As a result, many people are now moving over to Android devices. One solution that will enable you to migrate your devices seamlessly to Android is Ivanti’s Velocity. We can provide this and can help you to develop an effective strategy for migrating to newer hardware. For further information, please contact sales@spiritdatacapture.co.uk.

Apple iOS 11 drops support for older apps

The BBC News website has reported that installing the new iOS 11 will mean that some older 32-bit apps will no longer work. This will particularly apply to games and educational apps. Your smartphone could be affected if you have an earlier iPhone 5 model or previous versions. You can find out what apps are affected by going to Settings, clicking on ‘About’ and then tapping on the Applications sub-heading.

Of course, iOS11 also brings many new benefits, including support for new augmented reality apps. Find out more by visiting the website page (www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41319675).

Industry trends and new releases

Surge in smartphone sales to silver surfers

A recent report on the BCC News website suggested that in the UK, the older generation (defined as anyone between the ages of 55 and 75) is the segment where smartphone sales are currently growing at the most rapid rate. Some 71% of this age group now own a smartphone – although their actual usage of the smartphones is much lower than that for younger buyers.

Various reasons have been suggested for the boom in sales, including the growing use of smartphones for paying at parking meters or for getting a taxi; the larger screens and louder speakers; and an increasing range of attractive and easy to use apps. It’s worth remembering that the potential market for smartphone usage is sometimes much wider than it might appear at first…

A peek into the future

Wired (www.wired.co.uk/gallery/best-science-technology-photos) has produced a fascinating pictorial glimpse into the evolving world of science and technology, using some state-of-the-art photographic techniques to produce stunning images. These range from the eye of a gnat over 40 million years old through to 96 million small plastic balls that were dropped into a reservoir to stem the growth of algae.

One of the photos is a close-up of a 32-bit Motorola 68030 – a chip that is only 1 sq cm in size but has 273,000 transistors. The photo looks like a futuristic city landscape. Why not take a peek?

Tasty trends from Android

Most of you will be familiar with at least one or two versions of the Android operating system. But had you realised that there were quite so many that all have names relating to tasty snacks? Here’s a quick glimpse into the versions that have appeared over the last ten years:

Code Name Version Number Initial Release Date
(No codename) 1.0 September 23, 2008
(Internally known as “Petit Four”) 1.1 February 9, 2009
Cupcake 1.5 April 27, 2009
Donut 1.6 September 15, 2009
Eclair 2.0 – 2.1 October 26, 2009
Froyo 2.2 – 2.2.3 May 20, 2010
Gingerbread 2.3 – 2.3.7 December 6, 2010
Honeycomb 3.0 – 3.2.6 February 22, 2011
Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 – 4.0.4 October 18, 2011
Jelly Bean 4.1 – 4.3.1 July 9, 2012
KitKat 4.4 – 4.4.4 October 31, 2013
Lollipop 5.0 – 5.1.1 November 12, 2014
Marshmallow 6.0 – 6.0.1 October 5, 2015
Nougat 7.0 – 7.1.2 August 22, 2016
Oreo 8.0 August 21, 2017

Recent reports and guides

Top Ten technology breakthroughs

MIT Technology Review has produced a fascinating report on the most exciting technological breakthroughs so far this year. They include new methods that will hopefully reverse paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries; face detection systems for authorising payments; and computers with previously unimaginable levels of power. On the negative side, there is increasing danger from botnets, which are attacking ‘Internet of Things’ gadgets that have poor security.

To find out more about these recent developments, visit www.technologyreview.com/lists/technologies/2017/.

A smart survey

Deloitte has recently produced a new report on the status of the smartphone market in the UK. It’s called ‘Mobile Consumer Survey 2017: The UK cut – State of the smart’. The survey suggests that:

  • 91% of 16-75 year olds have used their smartphone in the last day.
  • 81% of smartphone users know at least one application that incorporates machine learning – and two thirds use at least one.
  • 47% of 16-17 year olds stream films and/or TV compared with only 2% of 65-75 year olds.

To find out more, and to download the full report, go to https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/mobile-consumer-survey.html.

That’s the Spirit!

Recent Spirit case studies

Two recent case studies have involved the N Brown Group and Worldline:

  • N Brown is one of the UK’s leading retailers, with brands that include JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo. The company needed rugged wearable devices for use with its new packing control system. We recommended Zebra WT6000s and RS4000 ring scanners, as well as SOTI’s MobiControl. The new wearables enable operatives to capture real-time data and have contributed towards a 15% increase in productivity and a 20% reduction in parcels that have incorrect or missing items.
  • Worldline is a leading payment solutions provider. The company recently launched a new Mobile Ticketing System and wanted a partner who could source and manage mobile devices for specialist applications. It chose Spirit, as our new Mobile Go Live! solution has been specifically developed for this use – and we found suitable Samsung smartphones, tablets and mobile ticketing printers for the company. Our cost-effective package enables Worldline to always have up-to-date, fully configured mobile devices.

To read the case studies in more detail, please visit http://spiritdatacapture.com/case-studies/.

Exciting new software apps from Spirit

Since our formation over ten years ago, we’ve been developing a wide range of bespoke applications for customers in many different markets. We’ve now gone a step further and have produced some versatile off-the-shelf applications. Each app can be installed on handheld devices, consists of several modules and can be customised to meet your specific needs. The apps we’ve developed so far include:

  • ePoD (electronic Proof of Delivery) – an app that’s designed to improve the reliability, accuracy and speed of the delivery process.
  • ePoD in the Last Mile – an app that streamlines the final stage of the delivery process.
  • Inspections – an ideal solution for any company that carries out regular quality assurance inspections.

To find out more, visit our bright new website and go to www.spiritdatacapture.com.

In the spotlight – Ian Guthrie

Ian is Spirit’s Software Architect, although in his early career he worked in engineering computing, writing complex automotive diagnostic systems for several car manufacturers. These included vibration analysis, balancing and electrical systems. Later on, he moved over to the RFID segment, where he developed mass asset tracking systems, which are used to track items as they move around the country.

At Spirit, Ian’s responsibilities include assessing new development ideas and systems; designing new software systems; and maintaining an architectural design overview of Spirit’s existing software systems. He also mentors junior members of staff. In his spare time, he enjoys films and fell walking in the Lake District.

Top tips: coping with ageing devices

We’ve been sending out emails recently to customers who have devices that are reaching the end of their life (in terms of support from the manufacturer). The latest batch involved five models of Zebra printers. A few months ago, we also announced that Microsoft would be discontinuing v7 of Bing Maps, which is used by SOTI’s MobiControl (v 13.3 and earlier) for location-based services. We therefore suggested various upgrade options.

If your devices are reaching the end of their life, there are several options available to you:

  • We can repair, refurbish or decommission your out-of-service devices
  • We can suggest alternatives – including trial versions
  • You can trade in your old devices for new ones

For more information or advice, give us a quick call on 01928 718800. If you need to find out which products have reached their end of life, go to our eShop , scroll down to the bottom, and under ‘Advice & Support’, click on ‘End of Life products’.