FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Protocol Labacus®
Questions about Chemistry Labacus®
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Questions about Protocol Labacus®

Q: Do I need to have a tablet?
A: We recommend a tablet computer for running Protocol Labacus® Mobile. However, it is also possible to run the software on a laptop, smart phone or even a desktop computer.
Q: What kind of tablet can I use?
A: Any tablet that can run a web browser and connect to the server will work. The interface was designed to fit a 7” tablet but works fine on a 10” tablet as well.
Q: Will PL Mobile work on my smart phone?
A: Yes, the software will run on a smart phone browser, but version 1.x will be difficult to use on a phone because it is optimized for a larger screen.
Q: Do I need a subscription?
A: No. When you buy the software you receive a license to use it in perpetuity.
Q: Is Protocol Labacus® a cloud-based product?
A: Not as such. The PL Server component of the software, which keeps your data and connects to your tablet, can be installed on a computer on your local network or on a cloud server, whichever you prefer.
Q: Is there a demo version of Protocol Labacus®?
A: Yes. We offer a demonstration version hosted on an Abacalab server. Please contact us if you are interested in trying it out.
Q: What are the operating system requirements to run the PL Server component?
A: We have tested the Protocol Labacus® server software on Mac OS, Windows and Linux computers, and it will work with any of them. You will need Windows XP or newer, or Mac Leopard (5.5) or newer, operating system on your Windows or Mac computer.
Q: What are the hardware requirements to run the PL Server component?
A: You will need 250 MB of free disk space. RAM requirements vary by operating system:
  • With Windows XP: 1GB minimum, 2GB recommended
  • With Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows Server: 2GB minimum, 4 GB recommended
  • With Mac OS: 2GB minimum, 4GB recommended
  • With Linux: 256MB minimum, 512MB recommended
Q: What are the networking requirements for a Protocol Labacus® installation?
It works best if the computer running PL Server remains on continuously with a static IP address and DNS entry - these may be local to your intranet.
The tablet or computer running PL Mobile must have at least intermittent access to the PL Server machine via web browser to upload new procedures and download collected data. Tablets require wireless access for data transfer, so the PL Server machine must be accessible via wireless (either WiFi or cellular network or Bluetooth connection) if you are using a tablet for Mobile. You can use PL Mobile while in an area without network access, but you will eventually need to return to an area with access to reconnect to PL Server.
The computer running PL Designer requires continuous connection (via a web browser) to the PL Server software. This can be achieved by having both machines wired to a network, by using WiFi, or by using PL Designer on the same computer running PL Server.
Q: What if I don't have wireless networking? Can I still use Protocol Labacus®?
A: Yes. You have several options for using Protocol Labacus® if you don't currently have wireless:
  1. You can set up a local wireless network for the purpose. A small portable hot spot is sufficient, and can be connected to your main network through the cellular data network quite inexpensively.
  2. If you have wireless access in some areas but not others, you can start PL Mobile on your tablet in a location where you have access, and then continue to work in locations without wireless access, as long as you return to connectivity to upload your data.
  3. You may be able to use a Bluetooth connection between your computer and tablet - contact us to discuss details.
Q: Can I use Protocol Labacus® to manage more than one procedure at a time?
A: Yes. Protocol Labacus® is specifically designed to help you multi-task. You can switch between procedures with just a tap.
Q: Do you have published procedures that I can use?
A: We do not offer a library of published procedures at present. We can help you to create a database of Protocol Labacus® templates from your existing paper or electronic records. If you are interested in this service, please contact us.
Q: How do I enter my own procedures into the software?
A: Use Protocol Labacus® Designer to enter your existing procedures and create new ones. PL Designer will lead you through the whole process, allowing you to enter special equipment and materials, to specify what information you want collected and to organize the step instructions into a useful and logical sequence.You can also easily create a new version of a procedure by editing an existing one. PL Designer automatically manages version numbers and version control for you.
Q: Do you offer academic discounts?
A: Yes. Please contact us for details.
Q: Is there a student version?
A: We do not offer a special version for students, but we do have academic pricing for our regular version.
Q: Can I buy Protocol Labacus® through the Apple App Store and/or the Android Marketplace?
A: No. You can only buy Protocol Labacus® from Abacalab, through our order page or by calling us.
Q: Can I buy Protocol Labacus® through the campus store?
A: No. You can only buy it from Abacalab.
Q: Can I buy Protocol Labacus® using a company purchase order?
A: Yes. You can use the order page to request a quote for use with a PO, or you can contact us with any questions you may have about ordering with a PO.
Q: How is Protocol Labacus® licensed?
A: You need a Protocol Labacus® Mobile license for each tablet user and a Protocol Labacus® Designer license for each user who enters procedures to create templates. You need a Protocol Labacus® Server license for each running installation of the server that supports user connections. The Protocol Labacus® Suite package includes one license each for all three products. Separate additional licenses for each product are easily purchased.
Q: Does Protocol Labacus® support multiple users?
A: Yes. The server supports multiple concurrent users of PL Mobile and PL Designer provided the appropriate licenses are installed.
Q: Can two people work on the same procedure?
A: Yes. A procedure can be shared by the person who started the procedure run. A shared procedure can have steps completed and data entered by multiple users - the automatic report generated by PL Mobile will identify the information entered by each user.
Q: Does Protocol Labacus® include a calculator?
A: No. However, many inexpensive calculator packages are available for your tablet; in fact, it probably comes with one pre-installed.
Q: Can I use the camera on my tablet to take pictures and add them to my procedure data?
A: This feature is coming soon in version 1.3, scheduled for release in August 2013.
Q: Can I use PL Mobile with barcodes?
A: Yes, if the tablet or other mobile device you are using supports interaction with a bar code reader in a "keyboard wedge" configuration (i.e. the barcode is transferred to the operating system as though it were typed text). Version 1.3 will also support using the tablet computer to scan barcodes. Please contact us to learn more.
Q: What is in the automatic report?
A: PL Mobile creates a report automatically that describes all the steps performed, who performed them, lists the data entered for each step (including sample information), and any notes and conclusions entered as the procedure was performed, with timestamps for each entry.
Q: Can I design my own writeup or report?
A: In version 1.3 you will be able to create a custom report that contains only the data entered for steps that you specify. This will be useful if you are looking for a writeup that can act as a certificate of analysis, etc.
Q: Can I use PL Mobile on a tablet while wearing gloves?
A: Yes. We have tested several tablets with latex gloves and the touch screens continue to work. The PL Mobile interface is specifically designed with buttons large enough to use while wearing gloves.
Q: Can I use PL Mobile on a tablet in a sterile environment?
A: Yes. You can either sterilize your tablet (contact the manufacturer to find out whether this is advised for your particular tablet) or you can enclose it in a sealed bag with a sterile exterior, such as an X-ray film cartridge pouch, or a silicone pouch etc. Please contact us to learn more.
Q: Does PL Mobile support voice recognition for hands-free operation?
A: You can use voice recognition supplied by your tablet operating system or by third parties with PL Mobile.
Q: Are my data encrypted?
A: They can be. In the standard configuration for Protocol Labacus® your data are not encrypted. However, most tablets support a mode in which all data stored on the tablet are encrypted, and this applies equally to the data stored by Protocol Labacus® on the tablet itself. Please contact us if you are interested in configuring Protocol Labacus® to encrypt your data during transfer data between the PL Mobile and PL Server components (for example, to access PL Mobile from a site outside your company network).
Q: Can Protocol Labacus® access data in other apps on my tablet?
A: In version 1.3 (coming soon!) Protocol Labacus® will be able to access pictures taken with your camera app, however, it will not do so without your knowledge and permission. It will not be able to access data in other apps on your tablet.

Contact us for more information

877-522-2252 / 302-494-6507