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Proximity cards or some sort of attendance tracking

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by LukeP, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    I am looking for some sort of proximity card solution to track member attendance at events we organise.

    Basically, we want to issue membership cards to our members (approx 4000) and have each card to have unique id so we can tie up id's to members. When we organise national events we would like to have a card reader at the entrance that would check against prepared list (whatever format as long as you can import export from standard CSV, SQL, etc.) and confirm if the person is allowed to enter the event. We would also like the reader software to track who attended and be able to export it to usable format (again CSV, SQL, etc.). It doesn't need to connect to our infrastructure to update real-time (would be nice however if it could).

    Solution we're looking for will be an ongoing thing (members joining and leaving, multiple recurring events a year) so preferably we would like something in house (infrastructure) but I think we'll outsource card printing though. (Not really keen on idea of printing 4000 cards in initial batch)

    We're preparing budget for next year so we thought it would be nice to gather some more information on the subject.

    Any advice/questions welcome.

    Thanks
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    Can't you use existing correctional institution technology and simply tag attendees with an RF unit strapped round their leg?

    You can probably get second hand/surplus ones for cheap.

    BTW, could also be useful to see where they go for lunch, or how often they need a wee etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
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  3. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    In theory we could do but we also need something fancy looking (colourful wallet cards).

    Thanks for suggestion though.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  4. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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  5. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    You need to investigate RFID tracking.
     
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  6. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    :biggrin

    Would you be a happy member to carry it with you? :twisted:

    I belive that's what we use atm. :D

    Thanks.

    That's not quite what I'm looking for. I want something that will plug into our system as opposed to having it's own. Or at least work side by side, so we don't have to reinput the information.

    What I was thinking of:

    Cards from there with 1024 bytes EEProm
    http://www.e-plasticcard.co.uk/proximity_card.htm

    Card to have unique 6 or 8 digit number.
    When cards come in record the ID, assign to member (be it Excel or SQL Server), emboss name and card number on the card and send out to members.

    After compiling member list into excel or csv file, have the handheld reader or reader + laptop with software compare scanned card with the list (again csv, xml, or sql server express on the laptop maybe) and allow or deny entry (by informing the operator).
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  7. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    TBH they don't even have to know, RFIDs are very small and thin anyway.
     
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  8. Asterix

    Asterix Megabyte Poster

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    Looks like a pretty smart soloution! Its a pity the site doesnt provide further details\links to compatable input devices, as these cards would kinda go hand in hand!
     
  9. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster

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    Yeah it flashes up on screen "Visitor XYZ has entered trap 3" I bet they'd be happy about that. :twisted:
     
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  10. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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  11. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    Those cards are Mifare ISO14443 compatible so are most of the readers (usb). Thing is to get the software provide usebility and some kind of user interface.

    Ideal solution would load the list of people from source and mark them up as cards are scanned, put information in the table and export to csv or sql after the event.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  12. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Could you not just print a barcode on your cards and use a barcode reader on entry/exit for events ?
     
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  13. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    I could do but the idea is the same. We still need a software to compare barcode to the list.
    Prox cards are more cool though.
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  14. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    vlookup?

    I'm just wondering if you're making things too complicated/expensive for yourself.
    I've been to quite a few big events with the likes of Microsoft etc and the means of checking attendence are uniformly unsophisticated. Everything from scanning a barcode to ticking a name off a list.
     
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  15. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I think you might find privacy issues with tracking staff movements and not informing them that it is taking place.
     
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  16. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    It's not that complicated nor expensive.
    3000 cards with 5 readers and C# SDK for the readers (with sample apps) come to £2800. The only tricky bit would be getting software to compare card to the list.

    We are thinking about it because our members usually have to commit some time to their CPD (stated in contracts) and attendance at our events can count as CPD.
    To issue written proof though we need a way of checking the attendance.

    Also I was asked to look at technical side of doing this by the management so privacy, legal and similar issues are out of my scope.

    Thanks for replies
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  17. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

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    A barcode readers often act a keyboard no SDK required, so it will be like typing in a ID number.

    You use could MS Access

    I was going to say barcode or a QR code. later would probably need coding.

    You could also use a magnetic card systems, work in the same way and is cheaper than RFID
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
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  18. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

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    You can also get serial based clock-in systems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
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  19. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    http://www.smartcardfocus.com/shop/ilp/id~261/p/index.shtml

    This acts as a keyboard input too.

    The reason we're going for RFID is because it's more convenient to use.

    I was more looking for suggestions on the RFID than for the arguments against using it. I honestly don't see any benefits of not using it in favour of other solution.

    Thanks for input guys :thumbleft
     
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure

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