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SmartTrade Blog

News and views from the SmartTrade crew.

Recent blog posts
Ransomware - now the biggest cybersecurity threat! Make sure you have a solid backup strategy!!!
smartsafe logo

In previous newsletters we warned SmartTrade’s customers about ransomware hackers who infect the computer’s operating system with malware that locks the owner out from their files. The hackers then demand a hefty payment to unlock the system, often in bitcoins that are virtually impossible to trace.

Ransomware is constantly evolving making it increasingly difficult to protect against, some 2900 new ransomware modifications were reported between January and March of this year. Recently seen ransomware such as Petya not only lock down the files but also completely remove access to the hard drives and operating systems, basically imposing full system encryption. The ransomware may sit inactive for weeks before activating, that way it also infects all the backup copies.

Unfortunately, several more of our customers have been infected.

Currently the two most prevalent ransomware malware are CBT-Locker and Teslacrypt. The CBT-Locker screen message looks like this.

What can you do to minimise the risk of being infected by ransomware?

The obvious front-line protection strategy is up-to-date anti-virus protection. Because malware is built to circumvent anti-virus protection you also need an effective backup solution. It’s also very important to train your staff not to open email attachments unless they are totally confident about the source!

One of the mistakes some small business owners make is to do their backups to a different drive on their computer system, this gives you absolutely zero protection if ransomware locks you out of your system! It’s also of zero use if your computer is stolen or a fire or other catastrophe totally destroys the computer and/or hard drives. To be absolutely safe you need to store your backups on a completely different system in a different place, in the old day’s regular backups (retentions) were copied to disks or tapes and removed offsite.

These days if you don’t want the hassle of having to do backups yourself there’s plenty of “cloud” backup services available, a quick internet search will throw up a bunch of them.

SmartTrade offers our SmartSafe backup service, the entry level service costing $ 10 plus GST per month will meet the needs of most SmartTrade users. We’ve just negotiated a deal with the 3rd party hosting service which means the following enhancements to the SmartSafe service:

  • We’ve doubled the data cap at each price point. The new SmartSafe options are:
  • rates
  • Retentions increase from 7 days to 30 days.

Major changes to New Zealand’s Health and Safety laws took effect on 4 April 2016!

ln this article we give a general introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) then focus on the following two aspects of the Act:
  • worker participation - Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs); and
  • the need to notify WorkSafe NZ prior to the commencement of particular hazardous works.

Seek advice!

We strongly recommend SmartTrade’s New Zealand customers visit the WorkSafe New Zealand site and get professional advice, to make sure they have an in-depth understanding of how the (HSWA) will affect their business.

An introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) was enacted in August 2015 with most provisions of the Act taking effect on 4 April 2016. The new Act is based on the Australian Model Work Health and Safety Act.
The HSWA shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks. The primary duty of care is now on the business itself rather than the
employers or principals to ensure the health and safety of workers and others affected by the work it carries out. Key changes introduced by the new law include:
  • Introducing a new legal concept of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU will usually be a business entity, such as a company, rather than an individual;
  • Imposing a new due diligence obligation on officers. Officers are directors and other people who make governance decisions that significantly affect a business;
  • Imposing a new duty to take “reasonably practicable steps”;
  • Including a new object of securing workers’ health and safety;
  • Promoting continual improvement and good practice, benchmarked on internationalstandards;
  • Implementing a presumption in favour of the highest level of protecting workers from harm;
  • Increasing the penalties for noncompliance.
The actions your business needs to take include:
  • Identifying health and safety hazards and risks, and taking steps to prevent these from happening;
  • Making sure health and safety in your business is led from the top, has involved and is understood by your staff, and is reviewed regularly;
  • Holding regular training on health and safety matters;
  • Engaging workers in health and safety matters that affect them;
  • Supporting all officers to get up to date with health and safety issues and key risk factors;
  • Reporting and monitoring health and safety goals;
  • Regularly reviewing any incidents;
  • Carrying out frequent health and safety audits.

SmartForms, an excellent tool for managing workplace safety compliance in the field!

The ever increasing complexity of workplace safety and compliance requirements means more and more forms are needed to be completed and managed.
SmartTrade Mobile’s SmartForms feature enables businesses to complete workplace safety checklists on Android or IOS smart devices and store the resulting SmartForms in the cloud.
SmartForms can be emailed to your client, your clients can be setup to view their SmartForm results in the SmartGate online portal. SmartGate is a SmartTrade Ultimate feature, you need to have at least one SmartGate Ultimate licence to be able to use this feature.

For more information about SmartForms please contact our sales team.
Au 1800 350 495, NZ 0800 327 943 or email us at [email protected]


Worker Participation - Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs)
The Act requires businesses to engage with workers so they can contribute to health and safety on an ongoing basis, this is an absolute requirement so there’s no escaping it. To facilitate this outcome the Act introduces Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs).
One of the most asked question is do I need to organise the election of a Health and Safety Representative or setup a Health and safety Committee? The rules are:
All businesses with 20 or more workers, or who are in one of the  high-risk sectors or industries listed in the Regulations, must:
  • arrange the election of HSRs if requested by a worker, and
  • consider whether existing worker participation practices are sufficiently effective and whether to set up an HSC if one is requested by an HSR or five or more workers.
    Schedule 2 of the Act lists high-risk sectors or industries as:
  • Aquaculture
  • Forestry and logging
  • Fishing, hunting, and trapping
  • Coal mining
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Water supply, sewerage, and drainage services
  • Waste collection, treatment, and disposal services
  • Building construction
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Construction services
Accordingly, SmartTrade users working in any of the defined high-risk sectors, and those not in a high-risk sector but having 20 or more workers, will be obliged to elect HSRs or setup HSCs if requested to do so by workers. Many SmartTrade users will fall into the Building Construction and Construction services categories.

If a business asked by a worker to elect HSR(s) refuses to do so because it employs less than 20 workers and is not working in a defined high-risk sector it must give the worker written notice of its decision within reasonable time.

Notifying WorkSafe NZ of particular hazardous works

Businesses may not know that they’re legally required to notify WorkSafe NZ at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of a particular hazardous work.

Notifiable work is defined by the regulations as:

  • Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998:
  • Any logging operation or tree-felling operation, being an operation that is undertaken for commercial purposes:
  • Any construction work of one or more of the following kinds:

a. Work where workers could fall five metres or more, excluding work on a two-storey house, or work on a power or telephone line, or work carried out from a ladder only, or maintenance or repair work of a minor or routine nature;

b. The erection or dismantling of scaffolds from which a person could fall five metres or more;

c. Every excavation more than 1.5m deep in which people are required to work and which is deeper than it is wide at the top;

d. Any form of tunnel or drive where workers work underground, irrespective of timbering or support;

e. Those excavations where the excavated face is steeper than one horizontal to two vertical;

f. Any construction work where explosives are used or stored;

g. Work such as diving, where construction workers breathe air or any other gas that has been compressed or is under pressure;

h. Lifts of half a tonne (500 kg) or more a vertical distance of 5 m or more carried out by use of a lifting appliance other than by a mobile crane, excavator or forklift.

Particular Hazardous Work Notification SmartForm available!

SmartTrade Mobile users wishing to complete Particular Hazardous Work notifications electronically and email these to WorkSafe NZ can purchase the applicable SmartForm for $ 95 plus GST. The price includes our customising the SmartForm with your company logo plus any minor modifications you want made, provided the modifications are advised to us within a month of us emailing you the SmartForm.

For more information about SmartForms please contact our sales team.
Au 1800 350 495, NZ 0800 327 943 or email us at [email protected]


  • Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998:

Posted by on in News and Announcements

Voice Recognition Dictation into SmartTrade Mobile 
Dictate text into SmartTrade Mobile using the voice recognition feature on your smart device!

Most modern smart devices enable the user to dictate text using voice recognition.

Voice recognition dictation works with SmartTrade Mobile so give it a try, a little practice and you will be a wiz!

SmartTrade users will be amazed how much time can be saved dictating notes rather than having to type them in, it even autocorrects possible spelling mistakes! Voice recognition can even be used for entering numbers which is particularly useful when entering data into SmartForms.


  1. Not all smart devices are the same so you will need to check out your device’s capabilities!
  2. Using the smart device’s native voice recognition service will consume data if your device is connected through the cellular network! For more information about how this works see below.

Voice Recognition – how to use it

11   On Android Devices(shown on a Samsung
  Galaxy  S5)

  Using the native functionality:

  1. Tap in the field you want to insert text into [1]
  2. Tap on the microphone icon [2]
  3. Start dictating.
  4. Tap on the microphone icon to stop the dictation [2]
  5. Edit the message if needed.

 To download an offline app:

  1. Go to “Language and Input” in the Settings.
  2. Tap on "Download offline speech recognition" under the "Voice Search".
  3. Choose the language pack you want your Android device to recognize.
  4. Download the pack and start using the offline voice recognition functionality.
qwwq   On Apple Devices - shown on an iPhone 5s
  Using the native functionality:
  1. Make sure Siri is enabled - Settings > General > Siri
  2. Tap in the field you want to insert text into to open the keyboard [1]
  3. Tap on the microphone icon [2]
  4. Start dictating, the text won’t appear yet
  5. Tap on Done, both work, to stop the dictation [3]
  6. The text will appear in the text field [4]
  7. Edit the message using the keyboard if need be.

   To download the offline app –
   available on iPhone 6
 and later devices!

  1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard
  2. Scroll down to Dictation. If you own a supported device that is set to the right language, you should be able to download the offline dictation files from here. This will take a couple of minutes and take up some space on your device, which is why they recommend enabling it only if needed, and the available device storage space allows for it!


Voice Recognition - data use

  1. 1. Using the device’s native voice recognition will use data if your device is connected through the cellular network, the data is sent to the cloud to be processed and returned to the device. You will need 3G connectivity or higher.
  2. 2. Wi-Fi usually gives you better results and means data isn’t being consumed on your phone account, data on your internet account is still being used.
  3. 3. You can download voice recognition apps so the voice to text processing is done offline thereby avoiding using online data. Instructions on how to do this are shown below. The app will take up space on your smart device and may affect performance.

Voice Recognition – tips (from the Apple website)

Talk into the microphone: You don’t need to speak very loudly; but you should keep your smart device close to your mouth, especially if you’re outdoors. On an iPhone are two microphones at the bottom, but only a single microphone on iPads, located at the top of the device. It’s not easy to speak directly into the iPad mic while looking at the screen. Speak into the tiny hole at the top of your tablet.

You’ll find dictation in noisy environments works much better with an iPhone, because it’s easier to speak close to the microphone. The iPhone also has a noise-cancelling mic, which filters out background noises. You might find that the Apple earbuds that come with an iPhone—which have an inline mic—offer better speech recognition, as do third-party headphones with mics, as long as you hold them fairly close to your mouth. The problem is Apple didn’t give the iPhone 7 an air phone jack.

Dictate when connected to Wi-Fi: Dictation to an iOS device requires that your voice be sent to a server, where it is recognized and transcribed, and then sent back to your iOS device. For this reason, dictating to an iOS device works best when you’re using Wi-Fi; it also works well with a 3G connection; but anything slower is hit or miss, in my experience.

Speak clearly: You don’t need to speak especially slowly, but speaking too quickly will lead to errors. The general idea is to talk like a newscaster: Enunciate, but don’t exaggerate.

Don’t say too much: Your voice has to be sent to a remote server, so keep your dictation segments under 30 seconds. (Longer than that might be too much for a 3G connection.)

Speak punctuation and symbols: To include punctuation in your dictation, you need to say “comma,” “period,” “hyphen,” and so on. Watch out for language differences. For instance, if you’re using British English, you need to say “full stop” instead of “period.”

You can say “new line” to dictate a return character, and “new paragraph” to add two returns. You say “apostrophe” for a possessive noun, such as “Jerry Garcia apostrophe S guitar,” for Jerry Garcia’s guitar.

You’ll also say things like “dollar sign,” “euro sign,” and “pound sterling sign” to get type the corresponding symbols.

When you want to capitalize a word, say “cap.” If you’re sending a message to someone about a movie preference, for example, you might say “I’d like to watch cap lord of the cap rings.”

Take advantage of autocorrect: While you can’t correct mistakes in iOS dictation by voice, you will occasionally see words that iOS thinks might be incorrect. They appear with dotted blue lines underneath them. Tap an underlined word or phrase, and you’ll see one or more options you can choose from.

Add emoticons: Do you want to type smileys? It’s easier to dictate them than to switch to the number keyboard. Just say “smiley,” “winky,” or “frowny,” for :-) , ;-) , or :-( .

Proof read what you dictate: While some errors will be obvious, and other misinterpretations may have blue dotted lines highlighting them, there will be typos—or, more correctly, speech-o’s.

As you get used to dictating into your iPhone or iPad, you’ll figure out the right cadence and volume to get the most precise recognition. If you need to type a lot on an iOS device, try using dictation. Whether you use it for text messages or emails, it may save you a lot of time.

If you want a more comprehensive beginners guide to voice recognition dictation have a look at this article.

Spell Checking on SmartTrade Essential and Ultimate


tinySpell - a free spell checker that works with SmartTrade Essential and Ultimate

We sometimes get asked why SmartTrade Essential and Ultimate, our office based software solutions, don’t incorporate a spell checker. The reason is there are a many free online spell checkers that do a better job than we could do with our own spell checker.

Our favourite free online spell checker is tinySpell, you can get it at

It’s easy to install and use so if you need a spell checker give it a try. If you want more information on tinySpell, an online search will throw up plenty of reviews.

Posted by on in SmartTrade in the Community

SmartTrade recommends Habitat for Humanity as a charity worth supporting.

SmartTrade supports Habitat for Humanity, we also recommend Habitat for Humanity to SmartTrade users as being a very worthy charity they might also consider supporting.

Habitat for Humanity is an international charity that builds simple decent and affordable housing for the poor. Homes are built using voluntary labour, in partnership with the family that will one day own the home. The family that will own and occupy the home contributes 500 hours of “sweat equity” into building the house.

Habitat for Humanity with its house building focus is an excellent choice of charity to support for SmartTrade and the many trade related businesses who use our software.

Some ways your business can support Habitat for Humanity

  • Volunteer for one of their local builds
  • Donate materials and goods
  • Volunteer to build abroad
  • Support visiting overseas teams
  • Sponsor a home build

For more information about how you might engage with Habitat for Humanity please visit one of their websites:


Posted by on in Software Products and Updates

SmartForms are becoming increasingly popular!

SmartTrade users are increasingly seeing the benefit from moving from paper to electronic SmartForms. To date we have developed more than 400 individual forms for our more than 1,000 SmartTrade Mobile users, plus we are increasingly being asked to build complex SmartForms, some over 10 x A4 page equivalent length. Some of the factors driving this are:

SmartForms are much more efficient than paper forms, they offer "smarts" that aren't possible with paper forms.

Field service businesses often ended up with a cupboard full of multiple copy paper form books, every
      time the form is changed another batch of form books is printed, they pile up;

Then there’s the ubiquitous form book in the corner of the plant room and the need to find somewhere
      to store the completed paper forms offsite;

There’s no checks to make sure the form is fully complete each and every time, hand writing can be
      hard to decipher;

If a copy of a paper form results needs to be sent to the customer, or compliance work has to be
      certified, this has to be done manually;

Attaching photos to paper form results is a manual process;

SmartForms do away with the need for printed form books, storing the results in the cloud means
     there’s no paper to be filed away;

SmartForms can be made mandatory at several levels, the job can’t be started and/or finished unless
     the form is completed;

SmartForms can have calculations built in, enter the data and the result is automatically generated;

If an asset fails an inspection a work order (SmartTrade Ultimate feature) note can be raised from
     the SmartForm and sent back to the office;

Voice recognition technology available on modern smart devices means notes can be added with
     a minimum of typing, everything is legible and it can even spell check;

SmartForm results can be emailed to the customer as a PDF, the customer can also be setup to see
     and download the form results from the cloud. If a compliance certificate needs to be sent to the
     customer the SmartForms results PDF can be customised to include the certification;

When filling out a SmartForm photos can be taken using the smart device camera and stored in the
     “Pictures” tab, when the PDF form result is printed out the photos (including captions) relating to the
      particular SmartForm occurrence are automatically displayed at the bottom.

SmartForms are a great way to manage the increasingly prescriptive health and safety rules businesses are having to deal with. For example:

A health & safety form can be made mandatory so the job can’t be started on SmartTrade Mobile
     until the form is completed and signed off;

Site risks can be photographed and attached to the job so there’s a record of the risk, the form and
     photo can also be emailed to the client for their information;

If an action is needed to eliminate the risk a work order (SmartTrade Ultimate feature) can be generated
     from the form, including description and photographs.

SmartForms open up many other possibilities. For example our Customer Satisfaction Survey form enables your field staff to survey your customers on the quality of your service, on the job when the jobs been done!

If it’s a great result you know you have a happy customer who’s likely to give you referrals;

If it’s not such a great result you can take immediate action to mitigate any negative outcomes ~
     it’s the unhappy customers you don’t know about who will cause your business reputation the most

We’ve added the Customer Satisfaction Survey form to the free SmartForms on Mobile. If you want to use this form please get back to us and we will add your company logo to it, again at no cost. If you have any suggestions as to how the form could be improved don’t hesitate to tell us!

Selecting the right Smart Device for SmartForms

SmartTrade users considering going down the SmartForms path need to consider the smart devices they equip their field staff with:

As a general rule simple forms can be managed on smart phones;

Businesses planning to use complex forms should seriously consider giving their field techs tablets to
     ensure they have sufficient screen real estate to adequately display the form;

The tablet should preferably be phone capable to avoid the need to hotspot it with a smartphone in
      locations where WiFi isn’t available to the user.

Most modern smart devices will work well, you don’t necessarily need to buy the most expensive device on the market.



You can download SmartForms from the cloud to SmartTrade Mobile while on the job. BUT – to do this you need to have internet connectivity! If you are going to be working somewhere there isn’t internet connectivity you need to make sure you download the SmartForms to your device beforehand! Just like using jobs on SmartTrade Mobile offline!


Make sure your field techs aren’t overloading their smart devices with non-work apps! We sometimes get beaten up because SmartForms results (and jobs) aren’t getting uploaded or returned quickly enough, or on occasions not at all. Our techs often find the smart device is overloaded with other apps, we have seen as many as fifteen non-work apps open on a single device including multiple games and video streaming. There’s a limit to the available processing power and storage on any smart device, once we clear the apps the problem usually magically disappears!

For more information about SmartForms please contact us.

NZ: 0800 327 943

AUS: 1800 350 495

Email: [email protected]