Knowledge Base
Syncing: How it works and ensuring your data is up-to-date

Handheld Contact has different components that work together to link Act! software, the Act! server, and various mobile devices to deliver a powerful mobile Act! experience. Because Handheld Contact must function within the limitations of Act! software and mobile device operating systems, this article details how syncing works, what to expect of it, and ensuring your data is up-to-date on your smartphone or tablet.

One Handheld Contact account per device

To use a smartphone or tablet with Handheld Contact, it must have the Handheld Contact mobile app installed, and the end-user must sign in with a unique Handheld Contact account currently not used on another device. For example, if one user has a smartphone and tablet, the single user requires two Handheld Contact accounts—one for each device.

The Handheld Contact service does not allow a single Handheld Contact account to work with multiple devices. Signing in to multiple devices with a single Handheld Contact account will result in appearance of missing or unexpected data in the Handheld Contact mobile app.

One user with one mobile device

When an end-user has one mobile device, they will require one Handheld Contact account. In the above diagram, Handheld Contact account username "john@company.com" is used to add the user to the Handheld Contact computer app and to authenticate in the Handheld Contact mobile app on the smartphone.

One user with two mobile devices

When an end-user has multiple mobile devices, they will require a unique Handheld Contact account for each device.

  • Handheld Contact account username "john@company.com" is associated with smartphone.
  • Handheld Contact account username "john.tablet@company.com" is associated with tablet.

Multiple users and mobiles devices

When there are multiple end-users, each mobile device (regardless of whose it is) will require a unique Handheld Contact account.

  • Handheld Contact account username "john@company.com" is associated with John's smartphone.
  • Handheld Contact account username "john.tablet@company.com" is associated with John's tablet.
  • Handheld Contact account username "mary@company.com" is associated with Mary's smartphone.

How syncing works

There are three main pieces to Handheld Contact: The computer application, mobile app, and sync server.

The Handheld Contact computer application and mobile app do not communicate directly. Instead, they both use the Handheld Contact sync server to transfer data between each other.

  • When changes are detected in the Act! computer software during a sync, the Handheld Contact computer application sends these Act! updates to the Handheld Contact sync server where it is temporarily stored. The next time the Handheld Contact mobile app syncs, it downloads the Act! updates from the sync server to the local mobile device.
  • Syncing from mobile device to Act! works similarly: The Handheld Contact mobile app detects Act! updates made on the end-user's mobile device and sends these to the sync server. These changes are then processed by the Handheld Contact computer app and made visible in Act! on a computer or laptop.

For an Act! update on the mobile device to appear in Act! on PC (or vice versa), syncing is always a two-step process: One app syncs with the Handheld Contact sync server to send data and the other app syncs to download that data.

Utilizing a sync server with this approach enables customers to enjoy:

  • Seamless syncing in event of lost Internet connection. If a computer or device is offline, the Handheld Contact sync server will temporarily hold data until the Internet connection is restored and then resume normal syncing.
     
  • Zero server maintenance and expenses associated with making Act! accessible outside the office. Once the Handheld Contact computer application is installed on the Act! computer or server, it securely communicates with the Handheld Contact sync server to make Act! accessible anywhere using the Handheld Contact mobile app.

Syncing with Handheld Contact is initiated two ways:

  • Automatically by the application itself at frequent, scheduled intervals.
  • Manually by the end-user.

Automatic background syncing

The Handheld Contact computer app and mobile apps automatically sync in the background at scheduled intervals as long as the service active and running.

Please note that Apple iOS lacks multi-tasking capabilities, so when using Handheld Contact on an iPhone or iPad, the app must be open and visible for automatic syncing to work.

Act! software integration with any third-party solution, including Handheld Contact, faces some limitations and challenges with speed and working with large amounts of data in the Act! database. This determines Handheld Contact's recommend default sync schedule.

Default schedules:

  • Handheld Contact computer application: Every 30 minutes.
  • Handheld Contact mobile apps: Every 15 minutes.

Automatic background syncing keeps Act! up-to-date throughout the day for all users in the office and on mobile, meeting the needs of the majority of Handheld Contact customers. However, it is occasionally possible to experience slight delays in Act! or the Handheld Contact mobile app depending on timing of automatic syncs.

When working with time-sensitive Act! data, manual syncing is recommended to update data sooner.

Manual syncing

A manual sync can be initiated at anytime by the end-user from the Handheld Contact mobile app or computer application (if the Act! PC/server is accessible to them).

Manual syncing is ideal when the end-user wants to quickly sync Act! updates to sooner see them in Act! or on their mobile device. Since automatic syncing may have slight delays, the manual sync reduces wait time.

Step-by-step instructions to see Act! updates

Below are instructions provided for testing purposes to quickly see if Act! updates are syncing between the Act! PC/server and mobile device.

Seeing updates in Act! sent from the mobile device:

  1. On the end-user's smartphone or tablet, open Handheld Contact.
  2. Make a change—which includes adding, modifying, or deleting any record—and save.
  3. Manually sync the Handheld Contact mobile app. If a manual sync is not performed, the automatic sync will eventually take place.
  4. Once the sync on the smartphone or tablet is complete, the Act! update is stored on the Handheld Contact sync server and ready to be downloaded by the Handheld Contact computer app.
  5. Wait for the Handheld Contact computer application to automatically sync, or if the Act! PC/server is accessible, manually sync.
  6. In Act! go to the screen where the Act! change should be visible. The Act! software itself refreshes every minute, so you may have to wait. Pressing the F5 key in Act! forces a data refresh.

Seeing updates in Handheld Contact on the mobile device sent from Act! PC/server:

  1. In Act! on a PC or laptop make a change—which includes adding, modifying, or deleting any record—and save.
  2. Wait for the Handheld Contact computer application to automatically sync, or if the Act! PC/server where Handheld Contact is installed is accessible, manually sync Handheld Contact.
  3. Once the Handheld Contact computer application sync is complete, the Act! update is stored on the Handheld Contact sync server and ready to be downloaded by the Handheld Contact mobile app on the end-user smartphone or tablet.
  4. Manually sync the Handheld Contact mobile app. If a manual sync is not performed, the automatic sync will eventually take place.
  5. In the Handheld Contact mobile app on the smartphone or tablet, go to the screen where the Act! change should be visible.

 

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