We are back with another blog to inform you on our latest developments! A new year, means new exciting developments. Our developers have been hard at work to create an even more user-friendly environment to access and use our UNI-GR1 with the UNI-Collect app. We begin this year in the testing phase, where our clients will help us flesh out the app! Just as exciting is our upcoming new hardware option: The UNI-Machine control solution. In collaboration with Nijhuis Engineering, we will offer you a solution for machine control.
We also visited some fairs recently, where we showed off our latest developments on the app and UNI-Machine. The fairs are a great place to check up on existing customers, and inform anyone interested on what our UNI-Complete package has to offer!
The Northern Lights visited the Netherlands in late February, caused by solar storms. While they were a beautiful and rare sight to behold for us, the sun storms that cause them are less entertaining! GNSS services around the World have had issues by the interference. Luckily, we were able to provide our users with a quick update.
Next up, we have some office expansions, with two new employees and a whole new office floor. Our demonstration event also returned, which we have rebranded to monthly Course Days. The next edition is on the 13th of April! Read on for this, and more!
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UNI-Collect & UNI-Machine on Display at a Fair Near You!
Our UNI-GR1 has been out for a while now, with great Cloud Synchronisation and a readily available Support team. With these services we have been able to provide many of you with accurate surveying solutions. It is easy to use and quick to explain. It has already saved our clients countless hours of time and money by simplifying measuring and processing their surveying data.
We are proud of this achievement, and will continue to add to this experience. Our mission is to make centimetre accurate surveying easy and affordable for any fieldworker who knows how to use a smartphone.
We wish to take this one step further, and have been steadily working on a mobile application: UNI-Collect. The
app will be a faster and smoother environment with even more possibilities to use our software and cloud service.
Some of the future benefits include: Taking and adding pictures when saving points; using the device’s compass; connecting the app to other GNSS receivers; and viewing projects without having to turn on the UNI-GR1.
The app will eventually become the main environment to control the UNI-GR1, but we also aim to be able to use it with its own standalone functions.
At the Infra-Relationship Days, we released a closed bèta of the app. This gave some of you the opportunity to test out the available features. It was great to see you interact with the app, and we look forward to sharing more soon! We also met with loads of familiar faces that came to our booth for questions, more information or just to chit-chat.
We are always glad to see you, dear reader, and hope you were happy to see us too! Customer Relations and Support are important to marXact, so these interactions at fairs are great to check up on you and help you out, outside of our UNI-Support package.
A word from Jürgen, one of our Account Managers who was present:
Jürgen: “Again, it was a good fair for us; we
spoke to many people who were interested in our product. They look forward to our machine control possibilities in the near future.
We also had some good conversations with existing clients who are pleased with our product and support. Some of our clients ordered an extra UNI- set to expand their measure-possibilities and made use of our special deal which we had on the fair.“
UNI-Machine - You are Digging It!
Another major development is UNI-Machine control, which we have talked about before. Together with Nijhuis Engineering, we have been developing a new solution for machine control using our product. With it, precise movements and measurements of machinery, such as excavators will be possible. This opens up whole new category we can provide easy solutions for. In November, we showed you our visitor tests from the bauma fair. We processed the feedback, and during the Infra-Relationship Days we were able to showcase some more and improved features. Check the next image for some 3D machine action!
Let’s ask Raoul, one of our founders what he can share to you about the upcoming function:
How does the feedback of the fairs impact the development of the UNI-Machine?
Raoul: “All the helpful feedback we receiveid from the fairs give us a clearer picture on what the people that are actually going to use the UNI-Machine find important. We have a good idea of what our clients want, but you can never be more sure than by testing it along multiple steps of development.”
How has the UNI-Machine changed since last year, that we can share to the public?
Raoul: “We went from a 2D experience to a full 3D experience. The new environment looks awesome! We added it to the upcoming UNI-Collect app, and have realistic movements of the arms for the 3D model. We are excited to have you work with these projects.“
What is the collaboration between marXact and Nijhuis Engineering like?
Raoul: “The many years of experience in the machinery industry have made Nijhuis very knowledgable on the market and their customers. Their knowledge helps us better understand the customers and develop the UNI-Machine more quickly. Our companies are also both based in The Netherlands. This vicinity greatly benefits communication and collaboration.“
What can we expect to see from the UNI-Machine in the coming months?
Raoul: “We are working on bringing more functionalities to the UNI-Machine. We will be sharing more sneak peaks of our developments when they are ready enough. For now,the next step is to go from a prototype to a first closed bèta release for a select group of customers.“
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Solar Rays spray Sunny Days and FIX Delays on GNSS Relays.
In Late February and Early March, GNSS providers experienced communication issues with their satellites. This caused some disruptions for our surveying software, causing it to take longer to calibrate a desired FIX signal. You can read our extensive blog post about it > here <.
We made it a priority to provide optimizations in our software, so you notice as little as possible of our moody lamp in the sky. Update V3.1.19 automatically installed on connected UNI-GR1’s. All of our users have been able to get a FIX, even under high solar activity. Any other issues caused by the interference are mostly solvable by contacting our support team.
“Wait what, I missed this. Solar what?”
In a nutshell, the Sun is a deadly laser. It is a massive thermonuclear fusion plant that constantly blasts the Earth with electromagnetic radiation. If you are lucky enough to be reading this as one of our more tropical clients, you experience this as the warm sunlight you feel whilst reading this in your garden chair. However, this is only a fraction of what actually hits our planet. Our spinning planet’s core creates a magnetic field around the Earth called the magnetosphere. Think of it like an energy shield around the World. It deflects most of the radiation away from us. The atmosphere then further weakens most nasty radiation until we should mostly worry about applying sunscreen against UV-light.
The Sun is moody, however, and it experiences violent explosions called Solar Storms. It then increases the intensity and amount of radiation and particles it shoots at the Earth. Our shield is strong enough, that we should not notice it too much. That would be the case, if humanity did not decide to venture into space and launch satellites into orbit for you to drive to your holiday destination without a paper map, or enjoy surveying with our GNSS receiver, of course.
A satellite is impacted by radiation and particles, which can damage it. Part of the magnetosphere is affected by the extra radiation. It causes communication between satellites and receivers on Earth. Both cause major issues in for positional data reliability. Our UNI-GR1 receives positional data from feasibly every commercially available satellite we could gather, though none are able to withstand the interference caused by a solar storm. When these storms take place is roughly predictable in patterns. When predicted, satellites can maneuver to mitigate some of the interference, and tech companies can anticipate it in releases.
The global prediction for the peak of the current solar cycle, was off by about a year, causing most GNSS services to unexpectedly misbehave. You might have noticed an increase in the time it takes to find the FIX. We want to be sure you measure with your set fix, so this is actually good. However, the extra time needed is not ideal. The update mostly fixed the delay
To end, let us not only complain about our Sun. Instead, we offer some gratitude to it. After all, it is the sole reason for our existence. It was widely worshiped as a god, for good reason. It gives us energy, life and warmth. It also conveniently powers the satellites we need in the first place. So, thank you Sun. We can deal with a few mood swings here and there. We still love you.
Office Expansion - In Area and Volume
Last year, we acquired a new floor at our headquarters in Hilversum to accommodate the growing team.
Our Sales and Support teams have since settled there, and have been happily using the new space. More space ensures that every department can focus on their work.
The new floor is also where we welcome our customers when they visit us. See you soon!
Extra room on both floors also mean room for expansion:
New Hires - Kevin & Nikki
Not only does our office have a new floor, we filled it with some new faces as well! Nikki joined us at Development, mainly to work on the UNI-Collect app; and Kevin is our new Marketing Intern. He will conduct his graduation thesis by exploring a new market for us. We have an interview with both of them in another blogpost. You can read it to get to know them > here < !
Monthly Course Days & Other Support
Save the date: April, 13th! We have adapted the previously called ‘Demo Drinks’, and decided to create a free monthly recurring demonstration day. March, 9th was the first iteration where we welcomed our customers to come and ask questions or introduce new employees to use the product. April 13th will be the next possibility! The event is recurring, so if you missed it, there will be another opportunity the month after!
Are you happily using the UNI-GR1, and want to teach a new hire to use it? Did you enjoy the demo we gave you, but do not know how to best explain it to others yourself? Send them over either on April, 13th, or other months for a refresher!
For more information and how to register, check the link > here <.
As always you can count on our help whenever you need to. Get in touch by telephone using +31 (0) 70 700 7917 whenever you use UNI-Support and/or see the extensive knowledge base for answers to frequently asked questions.
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