A fictional story to help you imagine your contactless project

A fictional story to help you imagine your contactless project

The setting

Imagine the Town Center car park of a town...

It has two types of clients: occasional users and regulars. In the past the occasional clients entering the car park used tickets with a magnetic strip and the regulars were using magnetic badges. Both tickets and badges were read by the same readers. But the system proved to be expensive to use: the badges kept being “demagnetized”, the readers got dirty regularly, and the moving parts needed a lot of maintenance.

So it was decided to replace the magnetic badges with contactless badges and to put a reader at each crossing point.

But what to choose: a coupling device or a 'smart' reader?

Act 1: choosing smart readers

Matthieu, the head technician of the car park, analysed the existing infrastructure:

  • no IT was used at the entrance or exit barriers
  • the magnetic readers were linked by long cables to a computer situated in the guard hut
  • the software used for the car park management was satisfactory for a number of years: why bother changing?

He choosed to integrate 'smart' readers into the existing equipments.
Once set, the readers were able to check the authenticity of the cards and to make a link with the ID number of the regular user. A small change had been made in logistics management, and the new readers worked with the ancient system of magnetic readers.

Matthieu was totally satisfied with this solution: for an intersting investment cost, he had improved the comfort of the regulars and decreased the maintenance required to keep the magnetic readers operating.

But the story doesn't stop there...

Act 2: choosing coupling devices

Some months later, the Town Center car park signed a partnership with the company providing public transportation. All the company’s clients would be provided with free parking, under the condition that their tram tickets were validated within the two hours prior to exiting the car park.

Matthieu asked the company if they had a server with API (an interface that allows to use an application for data exchange) that would help the car park management to know if the tickets were eligible for the free scheme. However, the company didn't use such a server and the data was only available on the cards.

A new parameter was then added: the Town Center car park's readers would not only have to read the cards but also identify the type of card -regular parking users, regular transport users or occasional transport users. And for the transport cards, it would no longer be a simple question of finding a user number, but also browsing the entire data history in order to find the time stamp of the user’s tram journey.

To complicate the problem further, the scheme would include the possibility for the readers to write on the card the time and date corresponding to the user’s entrance or exit out of the car park. This would be to ensure that a same card could not be used to abuse the free system by multiple vehicles.

Matthieu this time has to opt for coupling devices.
And he had to change the car park's software to implement this complex logging system.

But he succeedeed and was satisfied once again. Not only did he bring in a new service, but he gained full control of the cards’ transactions. And in addition, the system could be changed hawe'ver he wanted.

And next?

As for now, Matthieu is thinking of new changes as scrapping the magnetic badges entirely and upgrading the regular users to NFC smartphone technology.


Published on 01/29/2019

You like it? Share It!

Return to the What's new? list
Leave a comment