Today’s event “Practical Examples of Mobile Technology in Health”

Experts working in public as well as private health followed our public invitation via Eventbrite. The idea was to learn about real life examples of mobile technology in the health industry while having a breakfast on us at etro Café, located in Perth’s CBD.

Scrambled eggs on toast    Danishes savoury    Fruit platter

Attendees at “Practical Examples of Mobile Technology in Health”

Lateral Solutions hosts event ““Practical Examples of Mobile Technology in Health”

 

We teamed up with Apple product specialist Karl as well as James from Amazon Web Services and held three presentations, followed by a Questions and Answer session and the draw of our door prize, an iPod touch 32GB. Host Richard, our Senior Mobile Applications Consultant, led through the event and introduced the key message “start small, start now”.

Karl gave an overview of Apple’s mobile capabilities and illustrated it by a local example of St. John Ambulance; they eliminated paper based records and integrated mobile technology into their workflow. That way, St. John Ambulance avoided double entries and improved their productivity. An iPad app was developed specifically for them which enables paramedics to enter information directly into their core system while being in the vehicle; people involved later in the chain such as doctors in the hospital can access that information before the patient is physically there; the patient can even sign while on the way. IPads also function as training tool for paramedics in their down time.

Amongst some of Karl’s international examples, Mayo Clinic was the most outstanding. You can find a link to their video amongst other videos in our compilation of further information.

Richard continued with the second presentation, providing a client example. Perth’s Hollywood Fertility Centre (HFC) has become one of WA’s largest and most experienced centres for infertility, IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) and other assisted conception treatments. We were pleased to have Guy Callender, Practice Manager at HFC, in the audience as well.

As an innovative clinic, HFC eliminated paperwork for a specific daily work process and saved 50% of their time by using an app we specifically built for them. Richard gave a live demonstration on an iPod touch, an iOS device used on a daily basis at HFC.

Richard demonstrating live Mobile App specifically built for HFC

Live Demo Mobile App specifically built for Hollywood Fertility Centre (HFC)

He scanned a QR code on a drug’s package and another QR code on the patient’s record. The app then combines all information in the web-based database which can be accessed from a desktop computer as well. The app was developed within three weeks’ time and is an example of putting “smart small, start now” into practice. A pdf of HFC’s case study can be found in our compilation of further information.

The third presenter was James from our cloud services vendor Amazon Web Services who focussed on the topic “security in the cloud”. He made clear that their servers used for Australia are based in Sydney and comply with industry standards. One of the strong benefits of using the cloud is its scalability – users only pay for what they use. Servers don’t break down in case a lot of data has to be exchanged, so usage peaks are no dramas. Many mobile applications use the cloud. It was interesting to see how many people in our audience played the – also cloud based – game “Flappy Bird” before it was taken down.

James presenting about cloud in health

James presenting on cloud solutions in the health industry

James presented some international as well as local examples. The video of the Schumacher Group can be found in our compilation of further information.  A local example is Health Engine, a web-based appointment service, bringing together patients and doctors. Based in Perth, they operate nationally using the cloud. An overview of local businesses using AWS can also be found in the presentation slides in our compilation of further information.

The following Q&A session included discussion about the demand for complete wifi coverage. It seems there is some work to do in terms of infrastructure so mobile technology can be leveraged to it’s full potential. Richard pointed out that HFC is a perfect example for starting small and starting now; Lateral Solutions also set up HFC’s WiFi infrastructure which works smoothly now.

Finally, Richard drew our door prize. Congratulations to Alan Thomas from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (Medical Technology and Physics department) who is now owner of a brand new iPod touch 32GB.

Door Prize IPod touch 32 GB

The Lucky Winner Alan

For further practical examples we couldn’t cover today, we provided a card with a QR code, leading to our compilation of further information. Presentation slides are included as well.

QR code cards for further information

QR code cards for further information

We hope our guests enjoyed their breakfast and found the information valuable. If you have any questions regarding mobile technology or if you are interested in getting invited to further specific educational sessions catered to your industry, get in touch with us on info@lateral.com.au or on 1300 585 355.

Presentation slides and case studies of our event “Practical Examples of Mobile Technology in Health” March 13th 2014

We hope you enjoyed the breakfast on us today and found the presentations interesting. As promised, here is a compilation of links for further information, in order of the speakers:

Apple case studies related to the health industry:

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/mayo-clinic/#video-mayo-clinic

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/ottawa-hospital/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/daiichi-sankyo/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/st-louis-urgent-cares/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/medtronic/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/rehabcare/

http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/profiles/dr-ferencz/

 

Lateral Solutions presentation slides

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lateralpublic/marketing/practical-examples-of-Mobile-technology-in-health.pdf

Lateral Solutions case study Hollywood Fertility Centre

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lateralpublic/marketing/hfc-drug-register-case-study.pdf

 

Amazon Web Services presentation slides

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lateralpublic/marketing/aws-mobile-Healthcare-2014.pdf

Amazon Web Services – The Schumacher Group case study videohttp://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/schumacher-group-hipaa/

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us

Modernising Legacy Systems

Why modernise?

CIOs (Chief Information Officers) have to look into modernising legacy systems while being under the pressure of streamlined IT budgets, having to justify IT spending as well as to deliver increasing service efficiency.

Factors are emerging technologies (cloud, mobile), demands and expectations: Today’s workforce expects modern, dynamic Web capabilities instead of antiquated Green Screen interfaces. Furthermore, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been embraced by more and more companies, so existing systems have to be flexible and modern in an ever changing technical environment. CIOs have to adapt and make the right decisions.

Bite the bullet or modernise

Companies who feel that their old systems are outdated and are looking to update them have two choices to make

  1. Throw out the old system and implement a completely new system on a new hardware platform or
  2. Retain the basic functionality of the old tried and trusted system but modernise the user interface.

Throwing out the old system will mean searching for a product that provides the functionality of the old system and additional functionality. It will require data migration from the old system to the new, training for all users of the system, training for the IT support staff and work-shopping with key users in order to configure the new system to the business requirements.

Retaining the core functionality of the old system but modernising the user interface is a less expensive and less time consuming alternative to replacing the old system. It will require less retraining for the majority of users, IT support will be familiar with the system and the user interface can be designed to suit the specific needs of the business rather than a generic interface.

What does application modernisation mean?

Legacy application modernisation means taking an application built in the past and changing it to be not only more appropriate for today’s business opportunities but also to make it future-proof against changes in legislation or business direction.

CIOs not only have to retain the investment made over the years, but also to keep the current information, often built over decades, and even extend the value both of the investment and the precious information; they have to make the information usable by creating reports so the management can utilize it to make informed decisions.

Modernisation means changing a legacy application to become a modern application.

Comparing the characteristics of legacy and modern applications provides insight into what must change in the legacy application during the modernization process. Lansa has summarised the differences between Legacy and Modern Applications as follows:

Legacy vs Modern Application explained in Bulletpoints

Legacy vs Modern Application explained

 

How to make a legacy application look modern

Since the introduction of PCs on every desk, laptops and mobile devices, users now expect applications to have all the features and user interfaces of a modern application. They are not concerned about what platform the system runs on or what technology it uses so long as they are able to access the system using the same interfaces and devices that they use to access all the other applications they use on a daily basis.

The key factors involved in being able to successfully modernise application are:

  • Business knowledge – understanding the business processes the system fulfils
  • Knowledge of legacy systems – there is no point in trying to modernise a legacy system if knowledge of the system is limited
  • Experience in modernising applications
  • A sound knowledge of modern systems and what the user expects from a modern system
  • The correct tools to perform the modernisation

An often underestimated aspect is Change Management that has to be attended to before the modernisation project is tackled technically. Departments across the entire company have to be open for modernisation. But this would require a separate blog post.

Tools

There are a number of tools available that can be used to modernisation legacy applications.

The tools used by us to develop modern interfaces for our clients are the Lansa toolset as well as Microsoft’s .NET (“Dot Net”) tools, depending on the client’s current systems that should be modernised.

.NET logo.NET is a modern programming and application framework developed by Microsoft for a range of technology uses. It can be used across all Microsoft platforms, from Mobile through to Enterprise services.

.NET can be used on any range of business applications from Point of Sale through to Data Management Services and Endpoints. Many companies who have run their business on VB (Visual Basic) or Delphi are realising the modernization imperative – .NET is a good option.

 

Lansa logo
Lansa is widely used by companies who wish to modernise their legacy applications principally running on IBM I systems (AS400). In a previous blog post, we answered “what is AS400?” as the younger generation might have come across AS400 in corporate organisations but haven’t covered it during their education. There are still many corporates worldwide relying on these legacy applications in a diverse range of industries including banking, insurance manufacturing and retailing.

Lansa has a whole range of tools that can be used to modernise these applications. They range from simple screen scraping tools to full re-development tools of green screen applications into windows, web and mobile applications whilst retaining the original database.

Providing a web front end to a web application is one of the most popular forms of legacy systems modernisation. The web pages can be developed using Lansa or .NET tools together with bridging software between the web page and the legacy application.

An Example

The example below shows two client’s screenshots, based on the same system. The screenshots were provided by our client, courtesy of Honda MPE, Melbourne.

Greenscreen client's example Honda MPE

Greenscreen client’s example Honda MPE

The above screenshot shows the green screen version of a dealer’s list of orders. Commands can only be entered by keyboard and headlines are not self explanatory. Green screens make frequent use of F functions to reach other menu selections. This version uses three different colours to guide the user’s eye, whereas early versions only used green letters and numbers, hence the name.

Modernised Web Version Honda MPE

Modernised Web Version Honda MPE

This screenshot is the web version of the same orders shown before on the green screen. It has a more self explanatory interface, can conveniently be used with a mouse and has more intuitive elements such as dropdown menus, buttons and calendar dates to choose from. Honda MPE modernised with Lansa.

The website provides access to a company’s dealer network in order to place orders to replenish stock. The system integrates two ERP system into one web interface and has reduced the administrative effort at the head office, has reduced the number of errors, has lead to an increased number of orders and has improved production planning as orders can be placed at any time and in advance.

Outlook into the Future

The benefit of this type of modernisation is that in case the client moves to a new ERP system, the web site can still be used and the only changes required will be the bridge into the new ERP system.

The current trend is to develop a mobile interface into legacy applications which can also be achieved using Lansa and .NET tools. The users see modern, graphical front ends on their phones or tablets while still integrating with the existing legacy application.

If you need help to provide a modern look and feel to your existing system with the option to re-use software, just give us a call on 1300 585 355 or send a mail to info@lateral.com.au. We have many years experience in modernisation and integration.

What is AS400?

There are various spellings used such as AS400, AS 400 or AS/400 but they all mean the same. As the younger generation might have come across AS400 in corporate organisations but haven’t covered it during their education, we thought we’d give an explanation.

The Good Old Days (For Some)

Back in the 70s and 80s, IBM was king in the computer world. Large enterprises automatically contacted IBM when they were looking for new computer systems.

Until SAP came along, some of the largest ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems ran on IBM hardware; products such as MAAPICS, JD Edwards, JBA and Movex were amongst the most popular.

These applications were developed for use on IBM mid-range servers using the RPG structured programming language. The IBM mid-range developed from the System/3 back in 1969 and the first of these ERP systems started to appear on the System/34 which was introduced in 1977.  ERP systems provided medium to large size companies with a tightly integrated solution covering accounting, payroll, inventory, job costing, etc. instead of having to operate individual, disconnected systems.

In 1978 the System/38 was introduced and it was a major leap forward in terms of computing power and numbers of users. It had its own integrated relational database and integrated microcode.

The System/38 evolved into the AS400 in 1988 and 1000’s of applications have been developed for the AS400 in areas such as banking, insurance, manufacturing and retail.

An early AS400

An early AS400

Since then the AS400 has had several name changes such as iSeries, System i; its current incarnation is the IBM i. The “i” stands for integration.

Although considered old technology by many, the AS400 has kept pace with modern technology and now runs on PowerPC-based CPUs (Central Processing Unit). The use of power chips in the AS400 provides the ability to run two different operating systems on the same machine in different logical partitions

  1. The OS400 operating system is used for business applications and
  2. The AIX(Unix) operating system for scientific applications.

 

FOLDOC Editor Denis Howe explains why the system is still used by many corporates:

“The machine survives because its API layer allows the operating system and application programs to take advantage of advances in hardware without recompilation and which means that a complete system that costs $9000 runs the exact same operating system and software as a $2 million system.”

Source: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, http://foldoc.org/

Businesses run on their Computer Systems

Thousands of business applications have been developed for the IBM mid-range and still form the backbone of many computer systems in the aforementioned industries banking, insurance, manufacturing and retail. These applications have developed and matured over a period of 25 years and have business functionality that most of the modern Windows based applications can only dream about as a future development.

It is because of this richness in functionality many of these systems are still in use today running on the latest generation of the IBM i. It is also well-known for being robust and reliable.

IBM celebrated IBM i’s 25th anniversary earlier in 2013 and reflected upon AS400’ early days in this video:

 

Moving to a new platform can be a very extended and expensive process and at the end of this process the new system may not have the functionality of the old system. This is what we often hear from big corporate organisations.

Nevertheless, modernising has been at the agenda of many corporate businesses. We will address the topic how to modernise legacy systems in another blog post. Stay tuned.

 

Being mobile friendly: Responsive Design vs. Mobile Website

When you consider offering your website visitors a better experience on mobile devices, the question is if you create a mobile version of your website (m.website.com.au) or if you redesign your website in responsive design.

What is responsive web design?

It “responds” to a wide range of screens; no matter what device your website visitor uses, a common user experience is provided on every screen ranging from tiny smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to large TVs.
Google has visualised this as follows:

Google's visualisation of responsive design vs mobile website

Responsive design vs mobile website visualised by Google

We decided for a responsive website as it has some advantages over a mobile site. Here are three:

  • The mobile site would technically be a second website to be maintained, to be updated and to be analysed in parallel whereas the responsive site is only one website for all devices. Also, Google recommends having a single URL which helps in indexing.
  • The website was originally created for desktops and the mobile website would primarily address smartphones, at the expense of tablets which are increasing in market share. We would have addressed both ends of the scale and left out the embracing middle.
  • With a responsive site we feel better prepared for whatever devices will be developed in the future; tablets have been sub-categorised to tablets and mini tablets; also, huge flat-screens are more and more used for browsing the internet; whatever new device there will be, our website will cater to all screen sizes.

How to check if a website is responsive when using a desktop

Simply restore down your window by clicking the middle icon at the top right of your window (assuming you use a Windows computer).

Highlighted button for restore down

Restore down your window

Next, hover your cursor over the right edge of the window; you’ll see a double arrow which you can use for dragging it to the left. If the content renders fluidly according to the window’s size, it is a responsive website; if it just resizes the window and the content stays the same, it is a static website, not responding to different screen sizes.

 

Check how your website looks on various screen sizes even if you don’t have all devices

Don’t have various devices on hand? No problem. Visualise the appearance of your website with this free tool. Simply enter your URL and see how your website looks currently on a mobile phone (landscape and portrait), a tablet (landscape and portrait) or a desktop:

Screenshot Responsive Design Test Tool

Check how your website appears on various screen sizes

We have recently gone live with our responsive website, coded by our colleagues. We would love to hear your feedback!

If you want to dive into more detail regarding responsive web design, here are some useful links providing even more links:

If you need help in creating your responsive website, get in touch with us on info@lateral.com.au or on 1300 585 355.

Local Government officers learn about mobile apps and the cloud

Today Regional Development Australia (RDA) Perth, the Digital Economy Branch of the Department of Commerce and Lateral Solutions joined together to hold Module Three of the Digital Knowledge Series for Local Governments in Maylands at RDA’s premises.

This series, made possible through the Digital Enterprise Program, has been designed specifically for local government officers to gain knowledge in the digital space. It makes local government departments aware of digital opportunities and gives them a level of confidence so they can act as consultants when engaging with local businesses and the community.

In the first module, a speaker of NBNCo was engaged, while the second module provided an overview on what local councils have been doing on their digital journey. Speakers from the City of Joondalup, City of Mandurah, City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park shared their experience.

For the third module, Lateral Solutions were invited as speakers to provide knowledge about mobile apps and the cloud. Around 30 people from various councils attended. Our Managing Director Thushara and our digital evangelist Richard, elaborated on government policies and explained the three columns internet, open source and cloud which are the basis of apps being used more and more for citizen engagement. Our research identified the top eleven categories used by Australian local governments:
1. Events
2. Report Issues
3. News
4. Community Facilities
5. Business & Community Directory
6. Parking & Traffic Information
7. Council Services
8. Track Development Applications
9. Special Offers
10. Community Consultation
11. Tourism

Richard demonstrated three mobile apps as examples of how other local governments have been using apps, covering various categories ranging from basic to complex applications:
• “Connect Unley” is a guide to Unley’s region (South Australia) including information about local businesses and initiatives, linked to a GPS based map
• “FixMyStreet” is an open-source basic app catering to report issues. It includes the camera function to send photos, for example of potholes, using GPS data for their location
DigiMacq, developed for the Parramatta City Council (NSW), employs games visuals and audio on an interactive tour; it takes visitors on an adventure through the township 200 years ago, bringing heritage interpretation into the hands of a younger, tech-savvy demographic

Demonstrating interactivity on mobile devices, we used the web app “StrawPoll” during the session to let the audience decide on a choice of four further topics. “Productivity apps for staff” and “Cloud Computing Solutions” received the most votes.

Our digital marketing expert Kerstin demonstrated the productivity app CamCard, a mobile app which scans and processes business cards without having to type contact details; it can be exported to the phone’s address book, Gmail or to Exchange. From the card, you can directly call, mail, visit the website or request a LinkedIn connection. A search function not only finds the processed contact information, but also words in added notes.

Regarding Cloud Computing Solutions used in our business, Thushara mentioned the accounting software Xero, Office 365, which allows accessing Office from any device, and Replicon, a cloud based software for timesheets.

Thushara and Richard recommended to start with a small, but relevant app and to include app users early to get feedback so it can evolve to a useful application. Even the development stages can be published via Social Media while the community can be involved for crowdsourcing.

In the Q&A session, we answered questions and councils shared their experience with apps and the cloud.

The presentation slides can be accessed through this link: Digital Knowledge Series Module Three Slides

Richard (left) and Thushara (right) from Lateral Solutions presenting at the Digital Knowledge Series Module Three about mobile apps and cloud for local governments

Richard (left) and Thushara (right) from Lateral Solutions presenting at the Digital Knowledge Series Module Three about mobile apps and cloud for local governments

 

Lateral Solutions’ MD speaks at Inventors Association WA about Cloud Computing

The speakers’ topic of this month’s meeting at the Inventors Association WA was Cloud Computing. Yesterday evening approximately 30 people in the audience listened to our Managing Director Thushara Weerakody who elaborated a definition, using an analogy of power from the grid; he presented benefits such as scalability, an improved cash-flow and location-independent accessibility on the one hand and addressed concerns such as security issues on the other hand. These can be combated by various types of encryption, “so that even the NSA cannot access the information – yet”. The traditional belief that stationary servers are more secure than the cloud is not valid if you think of natural disasters such as bushfires or floods.

He continued with examples of cloud-hosted platforms that can help inventors at various stages in their process; such as the specialised search engine www.google.com/patents which helps searching for existing patents , the intellectual property management platform IPfolio and oDesk, a platform that connects to and manages professionals globally.

Thushara concluded with examples of Cloud-based services we are using at Lateral in our workaday life, such as the cloud-hosted accounting platform Xero where we recently switched to. Windows Azure and Amazon Web Service were other examples we have been using when we develop mobile apps for our clients.

In the following Q&A session the audience avidly used the chance to ask questions.

We hope we shed some light in the discussions around the buzz word Cloud Computing and are open for any other questions that occur. Contact us on (08) 9388 5318.

Lateral Solutions’ MD speaks at Inventors Association WA about Cloud Computing

Lateral Solutions’ Managing Director Thushara Weerakody speaks at Inventors Association WA about Cloud Computing

Lateral Solutions screens WWDC 2013 keynote for Perth iOS developers

15 pairs of eyes watched at Lateral Solutions as Tim Cook entered the stage to reveal Apple’s new developments.  Apple’s CEO and his executive team presented new products & features in the keynote opening the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference for 2013 – in summary, there was nothing too ground-breaking, but it was good to see what the Californian giant has been working on.

In the first half of the two-hour keynote, Apple showed off new MacBook Airs; a Mac Pro that looks like a stylish beer can; and their new version of OS X called Mavericks (named after a surf break in California). As anticipated, the main focus was on Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS 7 which made up the second half of the keynote.

Some of the audience in Subiaco were not too enthusiastic about the new flat design, but all found some new features interesting. In addition, Richard, one of Lateral Solutions’ iOS developers, had the beta version installed on his iPod Touch and everyone had the opportunity to try it out.

Trying out the new iOS7 in beta at Lateral Solutions’ office

Trying out the new iOS7 in beta at Lateral Solutions’ office

IOS 7 will be available later this year and lets users see behind icons and use 3D-looking tabs as well as swipe between apps in its new Control Centre, encouraging multi-tasking. Some of the other new features are:

  • Apps will be automatically updated so users don’t have to update manually anymore
  • Siri gets a new voice (male or female), and integrates Twitter and Wikipedia
  • Photos are organised based on location and time and auto-labelled with visited locations
  • AirDrop lets iPhone users share their photos and videos over Wi-Fi connections with nearby users
  • iTunes Radio plays pre-loaded radio stations or own selected stations; over time, it learns favourite genres. The connection to the iTunes store lets users purchase new songs (first available in the US)
  • Anti-theft features to deter criminals from stealing iOS 7 devices – turning off the device and wiping it before selling it to others is no longer possible.

The major overhaul is the design. There is less skeuomorphism such as a leather-bound calendar; instead the design is reduced, uses a lot of white and embraces simplicity, translucency and logical layering. If you’d like to see more details, have a look at this video where Jony Ive, Senior Vice President Design, walks you through the new features in about 7 minutes.

After watching Apple’s keynote, Perth iOS developers discuss new features

After watching Apple’s keynote, Perth iOS developers discuss new features

 

Lateral Solutions hosts Perth iOS Developers Meetup to watch Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote video

WWDC logo for 2013; Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

WWDC logo 2013

Apple holds the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco this year from 10-14th of June 2013. Being one of the major tech events for software developers, tickets were sold out within minutes.

One of our lead developers, Sam, runs the Perth iOS Developers Meetup, where like-minded developers and non-techies with a keen interest in app development get together once a month. This time the Meetup is held at June 11th at Lateral Solutions’ office in Subiaco to watch together the WWDC keynote. This is also known as “TimNote”, referring to Steve Jobs’ successor Tim Cook. Lateral Solutions provides the location and some nibbles.

What can be expected from WWDC? New software for sure. Apple announced they will reveal new versions of their mobile platform, iOS 7, and their desktop platform OS X 10.9. A modern flat design is anticipated, and according to the rumour mill there might be some new hardware such as a watch or a radio product.

Notwithstanding we’re an Apple reseller, we don’t know what Apple will reveal – even our catch up with Apple in Perth last week did not shed any light, so we’re as curious as anyone as to what Apple will show to the world.

Register via Meetup if you’d like to attend. We are looking forward to seeing you on June 11th at 6pm.

Our Perth office is located near the Subiaco train station; next to our office there is a Wilson car park. Find our office by clicking on this Google map