Conduce will be presenting an online demonstration of its eTechLog8 software solution on January 28th 2016 with sessions at 07:00 and 15:00 GMT. Please use the link below to register your interest in attending this webinar. We will explore not only the functionality of the mobile application but we will also look at the business justification for airlines replacing their current paper technical log processes with an electronic solution.
Conduce Group Limited is pleased to announce that it has partnered with SmartLynx Airlines to carry out field trials of the Conduce eTechLog8 software application. The eTechLog8 application uses tough-pad or tablet hardware and eliminates the paper technical log when fully adopted. The solution has all the required tech log book functionalities on the device and is supported by a fully functioning web application back end to manage all line maintenance activities for the aircraft whilst in operational service.
For the launch of Windows 8 Microsoft Portugal put out this advert to draw attention to the simplicity and intuitiveness of the new operating system.
I like the video as it highlights two factors that I have been advocating for quite some time namely the consumerization of IT and the technology native.
[Props to Jamie Burgess from Microsoft for drawing my attention to it]
For quite some time I have been telling clients and conference delegates that Windows 8 Pro is going to be quite an interesting operating system for aviation providing that there will be some sexy hardware to go with it. Well the waiting is finally over. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the Panasonic Mobility Forum at Brooklands here in the UK to see the launch of Panasonic’s new line of Toughbook and ToughPad products. Amongst these shiny new devices was the much anticipated ToughPad FZ-G1 which is Pansonic’s new ruggedised Windows 8 Pro tablet.
Weighing in at 1.1kg the FZ-G1 feels like a really solid and robust bit of kit. Admittedly it does feel a fair bit heavier than my iPad (the iPad4 is 652g), but taking into account the level of ruggedization its not as heavy as you might think when compared to another tablet in a protective case. Having said that it is clearly classed as a tablet being the right form factor and being very ergonomically designed.
Its natural to compare the FZ-G1 to the iPad as Panasonic seem to have responded to end-user demand for a very consumer friendly product whilst also balancing the demands of enterprise IT and the requirements for the environments for which it is designed. However the specification and clues on pricing indicate that Panasonic are looking at aiming this particular ToughPad at an alternative to a more conventional laptop or clamshell device as opposed to going head-to-head with the iPad in the enterprise world. Whatever they say, I know that this device is going to automatically be on a lot tablet shortlists in the aviation world for obvious reasons, so I think Panasonic should seriously consider a slightly lower specced version of the device to seriously challenge the iPad on cost of ownership. For example the basic model comes with a 128GB Solid State Drive, 4GB of RAM and and i5 chip clocked at 1.9GHz whilst the basic iPad is nowhere near as fully loaded. Mind you I understand Windows 8 Pro is pretty resource hungry.
The Panasonic guys were a little coy on pricing details ahead of release in a couple of weeks, but indicated to me that list price of a fully loaded machine would be around £1300 – £1600, though of course Panasonic are pretty flexible when it comes to bulk purchases. The FZ-G1 comes with the usual array of interfaces including USB3, front and rear camera and a neato configuration port which can be set up for either Micro SD, Serial port, RJ-45, GPS or other expansion options. Battery life is rated at 8 hours, but critically is removable and has an optional monster fat version for extra life.
The ToughPad is a fair bit thicker than an iPad measuring in at a chunky 19mm compared to the super slim 9.4mm of the iPad4, but again with a ruggedised case this would be less noticeable. Screen size is 10.1″ with 1920×1200 pixels, but critically the screen is readable outdoors in a similar way to the Kindles which of course can be a problem for most consumer tablets. Where the ToughPad really shows off is with the ruggedization demos. Of course we got the drop tests, dust tests and water tests.
The user experience of the ToughPad was on a par with any other current tablet. Some of the early Android tablets had serious problems with touch screen response time, but Windows 8 Pro and the FZ-G1 certainly don’t have any such issues. Windows 8 Pro is what it is, I’m not quite sure what I think about it as an operating system just yet. In my mind it is still Windows 7+1 and I’m afraid that we’re not going to see a software revolution as a result of it, but certainly it is a step in the right direction when Microsoft’s Modern User Interface is properly employed, but you don’t have to drill down too far to encounter the old Microsoft “designed by committee” bloat.
My initial reaction is one of excitement. I think there is genuine potential here with the ToughPad FZ-G1 and I can’t wait to get hold of the loan unit that I’ve been promised by Panasonic next week to have a proper play. Stay tuned for a full review coming soon which I’ll do after living with the device for a couple of weeks.
I’m amazed by the attitude of some IT regimes that block informative sites like Slideshare and Wikipedia along with all other social media sites from their staff. Here’s a short presentation which I made which is currently doing quite well on Slideshare having featured on the front page.
My most recent presentations from the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Bangkok last month and AVM Summit in London last week both featured on the front page of Slideshare.
Both presentations were new versions of my Tablet Strategy Masterclass talk featuring a new design and updated content. Each day hand picked presentations are featured on the Slideshare front page which have been chosen from the thousands of slide decks that are uploaded every day. Its a real pleasure and honour to be featured in this way.
You can view slides and other content from recent talks on our presentations page and please get in touch if you would like us to speak at your forthcoming event.
When I got to the conference in the morning I found that the video cable that was connecting the conference laptop to the projector was hard wired in and had very little slack. I would have been able to connect my iPad, but there was no give in the cable to hold it and move around. Whilst other presenters were giving their talks I started to think of a Plan B. The obvious solution would be to run my presentation from the conference laptop like everyone else, but this wouldn’t work because I had a couple of custom fonts which would not have been installed and I wanted to drop out of my presentation and demo a couple of iPad software examples.
Instead I decided to use some software called AirServer which we had been playing with in the office a few days earlier. Despite a couple of initial teething problems it had worked very well and was a really effective way to display an iPad’s screen on a PC or a Mac. I had used this a few days earlier to demonstrate an iPad app we are working on to a client during a web conference. I had a chat with the technician who was running the audio/video setup during the coffee break and he was kind enough to give me access to the private wireless network he had set up as you need to use a wifi connection for the iPad to communicate with the AirServer device. Everything worked really well and was much more reliable than the public wifi which most conferences are blighted with. Luckily for me, my technician friend was so impressed by AirServer that during the lunch break he downloaded a 7-day trial copy of the software to the conference laptop and it connected a treat. The presentation went down well (although I overran slightly) and the wireless connection gave me the freedom to roam beyond the stage and interact with the audience.
AirServer, as I mentioned, has a free 7-day trial that you can download, but a five user licence for PC is only a few dollars. There are a couple of pre-requisites that need to be installed to your computer, but apart from that it is dead simple to set up and use. You don’t even need to install anything on your iPad or iPhone and it just works….
We have been working in partnership with AircraftIT since its inception in Spring 2011 and are really proud of the technology behind the latest incarnation of the AircraftIT eJournal viewer app. Previous versions of the app required a new release to the app store whenever a new journal was published. This was a time consuming exercise both in terms of the effort required to publish a new version of the software every quarter, but also in terms of the time taken from each journal being published through to the app being submitted and finally approved by the iTunes App Store. How version 1 of AircraftIT for iPad looked
We had been planning a content managed version of the app for some time so that new journal issues could be downloaded to the app without a new software version being developed and this was what was finally delivered this week.
We have used our own Conduce Application Framework to build a simple content manager web application. This is used to upload and publish new journals as PDF files along with a cover image.
When a user opens the app on their iPad a request is made to the content manager to download any new content. The latest cover image is displayed on the Welcome screen on the app for each journal type, whilst all cover issues are displayed as a coverflow in the journal screens. By tapping one of the journals, the PDF file is downloaded. We put a lot of time into researching the best way to build a really fast and secure web service for integrating between thousands of devices and our content manager. We finally opted to utilise Open Data Protocol (OData) which we think is a great way to connect data systems and is now being used in all of our apps to bring additional mobility into the workplace.
We did a lot of stress testing of the download process. We decided early on that we wanted to carry out background downloading of journals so that users could read previously downloaded journals in the meantime, so the download operation is threaded. This meant of course that multiple downloads could be carried out at once. We were concerned about the impact of multiple downloads on device’s resources. So we carried out a number of download tests on various devices. We found that the iPad 1 would crash after with 5 journals being downloads simultaneously, whilst the iPad 2 would handle 7 journals and the iPad 3 could manage 10. Instead of being clever and to help protect the resources of our server we opted to limit simultaneous downloads to 3 at a time regardless of the device. With almost 3000 users of AircraftIT for iPad we were concerned about the server resources of the Content Manager, but we use an Amazon EC2 server for our hosting so we are able to quickly scale the server resources up and down during peak times, such as the release of a new journal issue.
We wanted to include iOS notifications in this version, but have those planned in a future version. Instead we have created a messages feature which is another content managed feature which combines the ability for announcements to be made and for providing a limited application help page. Finally we have included a means for users to register with AircraftIT which grants users access to locked content such as back issues and in future access to other rich media content.
The AircraftIT iPad application and content manager now exists as its own application framework which can be rapidly configured and branded to suit any similar use case where rich media content and documents can be published to a content manager web application and distributed to tablet applications and has attracted the attention of a number of media outlets.