Portable devices offer a cost-effective and reliable alternative for a number of applications. In remote locations or where employees do not report to a fixed point, such as farms, some construction sites and mines, as well as on residential and business estates, and tertiary education facilities, portability is required to overcome the obstacles in areas where fixed biometric readers cannot be installed.
According to John Powell, CEO of Powell Tronics, the company has experienced an increased demand for the use of bespoke portable solutions in most sectors, but in particular for employee and contractor time and attendance (T&A), student rollcall, mustering and visitor management.
Leveraging a wireless network, portable biometric devices using a variety of Powell Tronics-developed software solutions, provide increased flexibility for users not wishing to be limited to hardwired terminals. Another benefit to portable device deployment, says Powell, is a substantial cost saving, since less infrastructure is required at remote sites. “We see applications where clients have been able to overcome bottleneck issues previously experienced with static devices.”
Powell Tronics has provided the MorphoTablet 2 touchscreen Android biometric tablet device to a number of clients for use in various market sectors. It offers high-speed data transfer and reads fingerprints as well as barcodes.
Morpho’s fingerprint algorithms deliver fast ‘one-to-many’ on device matching, against large databases stored in the device’s internal memory. Powell Tronics has developed a number of software applications that readily interface with the unit, making the combination a seamless interchangeable tool for a number of applications.
One application is the portable meal management system whereby one sets up a number of meal hierarchies which are allocated to specific enrolees. The tablet contains a list of meals and each user’s meal allowance for a particular day. Ideal for canteen-type scenarios, an example of its use would be: Mr A.N. Other has been allocated two meals on that particular day by an operator. When he arrives at the canteen he places his finger on the reader and the system, confirms that he is taking meal 1 of 2 for that day. When he arrives later in the day and follows the same procedure, the system informs him, via the screen, that he is taking meal 2 of 2 for that day. A daily, report can be generated by the operator.
The PT-Rollcall application allows for exam management flexibility of using one device for multiple venues. “One simply opens and closes a session at a particular venue and then moves with the device onto the next exam venue. In terms of exam or other events one can also use the device with PT-Rollcall as an entrance verification tool to venues, thereby disallowing student’s entry into specific venues if they are not enrolled for that particular exam. Web reports are provided to authorised personnel on request,” says Powell.
Powell Tronics’ ATOM Mobile T&A application can be used for remote offline employee enrolments and attendance transactions. When one returns to the main office, the device connects to the main database via Wi-Fi and then all remotely captured data is downloaded.
During emergency evacuation procedures, one of the biggest issues is accountability for employees and visitors. The mustering application developed by Powell Tronics resets at midnight each day and automatically compares a list of people who have entered the premises but who have not left the premises during the 24-hour period. This provides management with an accurate list of those people currently deemed to be on the premises.
This flagged data is sent to the device and allows users to quickly identify whether all people on the list are actually present at the mustering points or not. By identifying exactly where the person was last located on the premises, the system reduces both the time taken to tally records and the logistics and resources required for this task.
Powell says that reports are generated for all of the Powell Tronics solutions used on the portable devices. ATOM Mobile provides an automatic report based on fixed pre-programmed parameters. Mustering reports are based on exceptions and PT-Rollcall provides various layers of reports.
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