Touchscreen technology for key security solution

March 2006 Asset Management

Renowned for its specialised LCD touchscreen products, Apex Cash Control Solutions (Apex CCS) recently supplied KeySentry Security Systems with one of its particular liquid crystal display (LCD) touchscreen panels, allowing the company to create a new application for the management of vehicle keys for the automotive industry.

"This application will cut a big chunk of unnecessary expenses from car dealers' floors and offer a secure means for dealerships to store vehicle keys," says Chris Wilken of KeySentry Security Systems.

The Vehicle Key Management System, developed by KeySentry Security Systems, combines mechanical engineering and information technology to deliver a computerised steel cabinet that functions as a key safe and dispenser that allows for meticulous asset monitoring and management. However, KeySentry required a unique touchscreen system combined with a biometric fingerprint reader to facilitate ease of operation of the key safe dispenser.

Says Wilken: "The addition of touchscreen technology is a recent enhancement, allowing for the development of a totally integrated unit and ensuring ease of use. We researched touchscreen technology and only Apex CCS could provide us with a touch solution that would meet the distinct requirements of the design of our application."

The Apex CCS LCD panels are sealed in a metal frame, which not only protects equipment from dust and other environmental hazards, but provides a rigid support that allows for effortless mounting and easy maintenance.

Wilken continues: "The inclusion of Apex CCS' touchscreen technology has made it possible for us to deliver the solution as an integrated unit that conforms strongly with the requirements of the automotive industry, ie, a robust self-contained unit that allows for stringent access authorisation and provides a physically secure environment to safeguard high-value, high-risk items. Systems already in the field will be retrofitted with Apex touchscreens and all future versions of the solution will include this technology. Apex's understanding of the application and the technology has been vital in the development of our final product."

Says Peter Held, managing director at Apex CCS: "The use of touchscreen technology has moved beyond restaurant point of sale (POS) and industrial environments, and is now being eagerly adopted in numerous sectors as part of a complete application/solution design. Uptake is being driven by lower pricing and advances in design that expand the areas of application. The robustness of the equipment ensures easier maintenance and a lower total cost of ownership.

The KeySentry product, more than two years in development, is also ideal for car hire agencies, transport companies and organisations that must manage a fleet of vehicles. Currently placed at several major dealers in the country, including DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Toyota, McCarthy, Barlow World and Imperial, the KeySentry system is designed around a sophisticated database and requires biometric identification and authorisation to access keys. Touchscreen selection and input makes interfacing with the system a cinch, while electronic tagging is applied for dispensing and asset management.

Wilken continues: "Large dealers are losing up to R200 000 a year in replacing keys and boot accessories, and paying traffic fines. The individuals responsible for these lapses cannot be identified as there is little key control. Costs thus fall to the dealer principal. An additional concern is ensuring authorised use of vehicles and knowing whether a vehicle is available for showing or has been adequately secured thereafter.

"The key management systems currently in place make use of a single bolt or lock for all keys or allow access with smartcards that are easily lost, stolen or swapped out. With the KeySentry system, keys for vehicles can now only be accessed by authorised individuals and the vehicle and keys remain their responsibility until the keys are checked back into the safe. Strong reporting functionality ensures dealers know exactly which vehicles are available."

Offering much more than just physical security and asset management functions, the software included in the KeySentry system allows companies to track the performance of dealers, the frequency of requests for particular vehicle models, and more. "Strong reporting functionality has been built into the solution to enable assessment of sales staff performance, increase customer service and assist management in numerous other aspects of dealership and fleet management," notes Wilken.

For more information contact Chris Wilken, KeySentry, [email protected] or Peter Held, Apex CCS, 011 768 9015.





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