Several participants here at the Ohio Transit Conference have really liked how simple digital dispatching is using ParaPlan.
Check out the latest updates from EnGraph Software
Telnet has been around since, well longer than any EnGraph employees have been alive. However, it is still very handy to determine if a client computer can talk to specific server on a specific port. We use it mostly to determine if there is a network rule blocking our access to SQL server. The syntax is simple – “telnet someIP 1433”
Sadly, it is not installed by default on Windows 7 and adding it via Control Panel takes way too many clicks.
Thankfully, there is the Package Manager and hat tip to TechNet for the one-line installation of Telnet.
Click Start + R on the keyboard (or Start button, type run), then type the following into the prompt and press enter to install Telnet:
cmd /k pkgmgr /iu:”TelnetClient”
We release a small, out-of-band update today. Version 4.1.531.11090 and 4.1.531.11089 for the stable and beta releases respectively. The release will download and update automatically on your computer as described here.
We added some client requested changes to manifests and added an option to the Statistical Report to include extra riders when calculating passenger miles and time.
The previous update was v4.1.530.11080.
The biggest new feature is that we now support the importing of Access2Care files. Our import process will automatically generate trips and clients from the CSV file provided to you from Access2Care.
We also upgraded to v3 of the Google Geocoding API.
We added new sidebar searches for All Clients and All Active Clients. As these are not widely used, they exist only in favorites. To enable, click Favorites, then Add/Edit Favorites and add these new searches to your sidebar.
Speaking of favorites, we cleaned that up and made it easier to navigate.
Several other bug fixes, small improvements and client manifests have also been added.
The next version of our iOS app has the ability to capture client signatures and record additional timestamps and odometer collections (PUArrive, PUPerform, DOArrive, DOPerform), so we are adding support to see that additional information inside of ParaPlan. We have always just supported one timestamp per pick up and one timestamp per drop off, so we are adding support for these additional data points in a way that doesn’t crowd our existing screens.
This will be a fairly short development cycle as most of the work is done and the rest is testing database changes. Expect a new version in the next couple of weeks. Those that are beta users will see an update as early as next week.
Boy it sure feels like that sometimes! I’m constantly hitting the wrong button on my iPhone. There are so many different ways to interact with the iPhone. All the pinch-to-zoom, double-tap and swipe-to-delete features are great, but it can be really frustrating when you accidentally push the wrong button.
We built ParaPlan Mobile with forgiveness in mind. Every screen has an Undo button that is easily within reach. If you swiped to perform a stop, swipe one more time and you will see an Undo button. Same thing goes for long-pressing on a stop as well as performing actions from the Stop Detail screen.
If you are not a ParaPlan Mobile user, please try it for free. Download it from the App Store and click “Use Demo Mode” when you see the login screen.
Many of our clients have contracts that require drivers to capture a signature when the ride has been completed. Logisticare is one example of a broker that collects rider signatures. We have added this functionality to ParaPlan Mobile for iOS and drivers will be able to electronically collect signatures directly on their iPhones or iPads. The signature will be uploaded and be immediately available inside of ParaPlan Desktop. Here is a screenshot of the signature collection on the iPad.
ParaPlan Mobile for iOS is the best complimentary driver paratransit or NEMT (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation) app for iPhone or iPad. It seamlessly connects to the ParaPlan database to allow drivers to see their digital manifest. Changes made in the field are reflected on the dispatchers screen in a matter of seconds.
We recently updated the version to 1.1. Here are the new features available.
Demo mode – Test the app and see exactly how well it will fit in your operation.
iPad love – All screens take advantage of bigger iPad screen. Also many smaller screens are displayed as popovers or form sheets.
Reminders – Get notified 30 minutes before a stop to make sure you leave on time. Or schedule a notification to make sure you remember to mark the stop as performed. Or both. Schedule multiple notifications up to 24 hours in advance of a stop. Any stop that has a reminder gets a neat little badge on the manifest screen.
Navigation – Click Get Directions on any place to launch Maps to get turn-by-turn directions. Choose in settings which mapping provider to use.
Badge icons – Your front screen will show how many stops are left on your manifest.
Swipe to perform – Swiping left or right on a stop will reveal the most likely action for that stop. Either Arrive, Perform or Undo (we all make mistakes).
Geofencing – This saves your battery life if you haven’t moved in a while.
Sounds – Click sounds, confirmation sounds, notification sounds. All the audio feedback you desire. Unless that’s not your sort of thing, then you can turn them all off.
Confirmation alerts – Those can now be turned off as well.
Pull to refresh – All screens have the standard Apple pull to refresh tear drop.
Lots of other polishing, tinkering and bug fixing. Our developers and testers worked really hard on this update. We really hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
We use a technology called ClickOnce to keep all of our clients up-to-date on the latest version of ParaPlan Desktop. ClickOnce enables our software to install over the internet and perform background updates over the internet. ParaPlan automatically checks for updates and install them in the background while the user continues to perform their tasks in ParaPlan. The next time the user starts using ParaPlan, they will be using the newer version. We have the ability to let the user know they need to update in the case of a major update that impacts the database. Most cases, the user doesn’t even know the update has been applied. We find this provides a level of continuity with the software experience that users appreciate.
We also don’t check for updates until AFTER they have started working. We feel that people open our software to get stuff done and the last thing they want to concern themselves with is downloading and installing a new update when they have work to do!
Manually initiate an update
A user can always check the About screen to see the current version of the software and the date the software was released. Launching this screen will also perform a manual check for updates. If an update was found, it will display that to the user and let them know when they need to restart.
Lifecycle of an update
- A new feature is added to ParaPlan in Visual Studio.
- The feature is checked into our internal testing queue.
- Manual and automatic tests (unit tests) are performed.
- If all the tests pass, the feature is checked into the release branch of TFS.
- TFS compiles the new feature into ParaPlan and runs another set of automatic tests.
- If those tests pass, TFS builds a .application with the new feature and places it on software.engraph.com.
- On each client’s computer, ParaPlan will check software.engraph.com for a new version of the .application file every four hours.
- If a new version is found, ParaPlan will download the new feature and install it while the user is still working in ParaPlan.
- If the new feature is very important, ParaPlan will alert the user and instruct them to restart ParaPlan.
- If it was not a crucial update, the user will continue to work in the old version. The next time they restart, they will have the new version.
From a development standpoint, the process is completely automated outside of the manual testing process. This allows us to push out frequent updates and support a large number of clients.
From a user’s standpoint, their experience is contiguous as they receive new updates. We can push out frequent updates without the user having their workflow interrupted.
Welcome to the new EnGraph.com!
We have teamed up with the fine folks over at AnsenCreative and are very happy to take the covers off this project and show the world what have been up to. We built this site around WordPress, which means we can easily put up blog posts. We’ve been currently using our Facebook page to do this. AnsenCreative was able to structure the website in a way where we can highlight our software and quickly provide information to prospective clients.
This is our first major redesign in three years and while our company focus has remained on software for small paratransit and NEMT providers, much more has changed.
- We hired Brett as our full time software supporter, report wrangler and implementation champion.
- We moved to a new office in Lenexa. We love having visitors. Here are a couple panoramas of our bullpen and our conference room
- We heard there was going to be a tablet explosion and wow, they were right. Everybody has an iPad and everybody wants ParaPlan running on it. So we released our iPad app. We also built the app in way that it could run on iPhones for agencies that are BYOD. We even made it smart enough to not need a constant data connection. This allows paratransit or NEMT providers to get iPod Touch’s for a couple hundred dollars a vehicle and have a true paperless, digital manifest with zero recurring monthly charges.
- We released ParaPlan Cloud. We host the data and clients can access ParaPlan from any computer with an internet connection. Perfect for providers that don’t have on-site servers or IT staff. With ParaPlan Cloud, we were able to structure a monthly SaaS option. For just under $400 per month (!!), clients can be up and running with ParaPlan. Remote training is included in this price and the agency gets unlimited users, unlimited vehicles and unlimited trips. Since everything is done over the internet, we can get an agency up and running very quickly. We’ve turned these projects around in just a couple of days.
If you’d like to keep up with the latest news from EnGraph Software, you can subscribe to our blog, be a fan of our Facebook page, follow @EnGraphSoftware on Twitter, or keep up with our company page on Linkedin.