PockeTracker adds agility, efficiency to campus verification
More than mobile
Not every campus deployment will require the agility that a mobile scanner can provide. So in addition to the mobile-centric PockeTracker, Vision Database has also developed a browser-based version of the solution called WebVerify.
“Whereas PockeTracker is all about mobility and scanning on the go, WebVerify is meant for more static locations,” says Walker. “Think libraries, athletic centers, or other areas on campus where you have someone at a static, brick-and-mortar location that needs to verify that a student can enter.”
Both the PockeTracker and WebVerify products can be used simultaneously for different functions, or in tandem with all scanning stations acting as individual readers in a larger infrastructure, explains Walker.
For Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Franklin and Marshall College, the browser-based WebVerify made more sense to deploy.
“WebVerify is used by Franklin & Marshall’s Alumni Sports and Fitness Center to validate an individuals’ ability to access the facilities,” explains Barry Bosley, Associate Vice President for Administration at Franklin & Marshall College. “Individuals visiting the Fitness Center are required to swipe their ID card at which point their credentials are validated using the classification and graduation date for students, and classification and card expiration date for non-students to determine whether or not the patron is allowed access.”
Franklin & Marshall was searching for a solution to monitor the front entrance of its fitness center because the facility serves students, faculty and staff along with outside memberships and friends of the college. “This required the combining of several databases, but we also needed to be ‘live’ for students, faculty and staff,” explains Bosley. “Crucially, though, the system afforded us better control over visitors attempting to gain access to the facility using outdated ID cards.”
The success of F&M’s WebVerify installation led the college to expand its deployment to include the PockeTracker mobile component to take student attendance at required training sessions and meetings.
F&M is now able to use PockeTracker to monitor the individuals logged in under the WebVerify, as well as produce reporting on who has accessed the Fitness Center along with the date and time of that access, says Bosley. “We’re seeing much better control at the door and the ability to run utilization reports on participation at different time periods.”
The mobile component at Franklin & Marshall is running on an iPad Mini 2 with an Apto-Flex case to enable card scanning. The WebVerify component uses a swipe reader located at the desk. The application is web based and installed on a standalone sever.
Getting the system up and running was a pretty easy process between our IT department and the resources at Vision Database Systems, says Bosley. “Implementation required some older cards to be updated and re-issued, but that came with an understanding that better controls would be in place,” he adds. ”Getting all the cards updated was something we recognized early, due to the different cards F&M used previously, but once that was done this has been a very smooth and efficient program for us.”
A complete investment
“I have had Vision Database Systems as a vendor for almost 19 years,” says Gerbitz. “They have always provided elegant solutions that are well supported, at a fair price.”
Also core to Vision Database’s verification and attendance offering is a price tag that’s within any campus’ budget. “Depending on the card technology chosen, an average deployment of five WebVerify stations and five PockeTracker devices, could range from $5,000 to $10,000, with annual recurring costs in the $3,500 range,” says Walker. This includes software updates and tech support.
Once the base system is deployed, there are marginal costs for additional units should a campus wish to expand its deployment, but this is merely the cost of new sleds and is quite affordable, says Walker.
Beyond Vision Database Systems’ offerings, though, is a sense of pride in their ability to integrate with almost any system, explains Gerbitz. “We have Workday, PeopleSoft, Blackboard, and more. I have yet to find a program that we could not get connected,” he says.