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WinLIMS.NET™ provides multiple tools for collection field data in an efficient and accurate manner. Tools are provided by QSI to enable the web-based WinLIMS.NET™ software to accommodate your workflow and level of available technology. There are basically 3 different modes of operation that can be used when using WinLIMS.NET™ for field sampling.

  1. Direct internet connection via High Speed Wireless Broadband [[1]] using a Tablet PC [[2]] or an Apple iPhone™ [[3]]
  2. Pre-loaded Microsoft Spreadsheets using Tablet PCs
  3. Ad-Hoc Microsoft Spreadsheets using Tablet PCs
  4. Pocket PCs using Pocket Excel

QSI uses popular, commercially available, flexible, low-cost tools in order to provide you with choices that can be easily managed by your staff in lieu of pidgenholing you into a single solution.

Device Selection

The first decision to make is the device that you wish to use when collecting field data. You must balance size, convenience, ruggedness and usability. QSI allows you to choose between the following devices:

  • Tablet PCs
  • Pocket PCs
  • Apple iPhone™ (similar devices may be available in the future)

Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs are the ideal tool because they combine all of the functionality of a traditional PC with the portability and convenience features of a PDA. A Tablet PC allows you to use a single device in the office, in the field, at home, or anyplace you travel because it provides:

HP Table PC
  • The ability to run as a traditional PC on your network
  • The ability to wirelessly connect to your network
  • The ability to use using High Speed Wireless Broadband [[4]] when not connected to your network and run any web-based application (such as WinLIMS.NET™ and Business Objects) as though they were connected to your internal network.
  • The ability to work as a stand-alone PC using standard, affordable and familiar software (such as Microsoft Excel, Word, etc.)
  • An interface that uses a stylus that is convenient for software navigation and data entry
  • A screen that is big enough to present data in a convenient manner

In addition; you and your IT staff do not need any supporting hardware (docking stations, etc.), special software to use Pocket PCs, synchronization software or any other special knowledge or products that are often required to use other portable devices. In fact; it minimizes the amount of hardware and software that are required.

If a broadband connection is available at your sampling and testing sites, WinLIMS.NET™ can be used as though you were in your office. All features and functions for logging new samples, entering results for existing samples, locating information via interactive queries will be available to you which makes it perfect for field testing.

Example Access Application
If broadband connection is not available you can use the convenient WinLIMS.NET™ Interactive Excel to generate worklists in a standard and convenient manner. If necessary, customized Excel spreadsheets or Access applications can be provided by QSI or designed in-house to provide an interface that provides the information and functionality needed to perform the field work. Whichever methodology you choose, data is seamlessly transferred between the PC and WinLIMS.NET™ using standard XML technology and secure web services. This allows worklists to be downloaded to the Tablet PC for convenient results entry when work is pre-defined while also allowing ad-hoc samples and associated results to be entered.

The field applications can be used to record ancillary information such as sampling conditions (temperature, wind, cloud cover, precipitation, etc.), actual coordinates and other information that is required in addition to the actual measured results. Under these conditions, a Tablet PC is the only answer because it provides the most convenient combination of portability and screen size.

Pocket PCs

WinLIMS on Pocket PC
Pocket PCs provide a conveniently sized device that can be convenient for collecting field data when the amount of information required to view and/or enter for a single sample is somewhat limited. Ruggedized Pocket PCs that have integrated barcode readers are available that make them even more suited for this type of task. Pocket PCs can even be connected to the internet via broadband connection to provide direct access to WinLIMS.NET™.

WinLIMS.NET™ can transfer worklists to Pocket PCs and allow your field staff to enter and augment field sample information using the Pocket Excel software. In addition, ad-hoc samples can be taken and associated results record to provide a great deal of flexibility. Upon returning to the lab, the Pocket PC is synrhonized with it host and the data is passed to the WinLIMS.NET™ database.

If direct access to the internet is available, custom applications can be created that will provide live interaction between the field sampler and WinLIMS.NET™.

Apple iPhone™

The Apple iPhone™ is a revolutionary communications device that provides a fully functional browser (named Safari [[5]]) that operates using high speed WiFi and/or broadband connections. This makes it possible to fully operate the WinLIMS.NET™ sofware from your Apple iPhone™ to provide immediate access to all information that is available. When using the Apple iPhone™, results entered in the field and samples that are logged in the field will be immediately available to all authorized users. This not only eliminates transcription error, it totally eliminates the need to transfer data.