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Thread: Swipe card systems

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    Forum Bombshell - Our Queen! Lory's Avatar
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    Swipe card systems

    Can anyone offer any insight into 'membership cards - swipe or barcode systems'?

    Are there any that come as a package, with database software included?

    Or do you have make your own programme?

    How easy are they to set up?

    Any info gratefully received
    MODERATOR AT YOUR SERVICE
    "If you're going to do something tonight, that you know you'll be sorry for in the morning, plan a lie in." Lorraine

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Ceroc use them. Give Mike a call, he might point you in the right direction...

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Lory View Post
    Can anyone offer any insight into 'membership cards - swipe or barcode systems'?

    Are there any that come as a package, with database software included?

    Or do you have make your own programme?

    How easy are they to set up?

    Any info gratefully received
    I think the cards themselves are fairly straightforward - eg here - but the systems behind them may take a bit of work, depending on how high-tech you want to make it.

    Hmmmm.... you'd probably need to look at the legal stuff also - Data Protection, privacy policy, that sort of thing.

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    Lory (9th-December-2008)

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    Registered User Trousers's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Why do you need them? Really?

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    I'm guessing it's for this:
    http://www.wcs-london.com/

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Its easy enough to find lots of companies that will sell you impressive looking membership cards - start with google and shop around.

    Cost wise - it'll be cheaper to have a professional looking card with a unique number on it, the only overhead is the time for typing it in to keep a record of people (and the chance of a mistype because humans are basically rubbish). Swipe cards are foolproof from a data point of view but require extra equipment to read, as do barcodes. It is possible to see just how much time is involved by doing your own limited user testing. I would say that a good professional image is likely one of your main reasons for getting nice cards but people are impressed by the general quality of the card more than if it swipes or not.

    As for databases, add quite a bit more for a out of the box solution to integrate with a swipe card machine or bar code scanner (and again, shop around to compare).

    I'd suggest you simply get your own portable database (it won't be very complicated at first) - i suggest XAMPP on a portable flash drive. You can then consider a swipe machine/scanner and look into software to read the data from the card (this sort of thing).

    The cheapest, and least technical, option is clearly the unique number idea with human input and a portable database.

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    Lory (9th-December-2008)

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    Forum Bombshell - Our Queen! Lory's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    I think the cards themselves are fairly straightforward - eg here -
    Thanks, I just spoke to them and they were very helpful Quite expensive for the initial set up though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trousers View Post
    Why do you need them? Really?
    For what David said below but we're just playing with idea's at this stage really

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    I'm guessing it's for this:
    http://www.wcs-london.com/
    MODERATOR AT YOUR SERVICE
    "If you're going to do something tonight, that you know you'll be sorry for in the morning, plan a lie in." Lorraine

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Well you could just get a set of generic cards for now, and record membership details separately - given the likely numbers it's probably not worth any major investment.

    Andy McG may have some advice? In fact, what does Catriona do?

    I think it's a good idea, actually - good marketing and so on.

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    Forum Bombshell - Our Queen! Lory's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Well you could just get a set of generic cards for now, and record membership details separately - given the likely numbers it's probably not worth any major investment.
    Interesting, I've not heard of anything like this... have you got any more info.

    Andy McG may have some advice?
    Maybe?

    In fact, what does Catriona do?
    I think ATM she does everything manually, I'm not sure if she then transfers it to a data base?

    What do other small scale classes do?

    I think it's a good idea, actually - good marketing and so on.
    I think its a good idea, if its cheap enough. I don't want to be using a 14lb hammer to squash a grape though
    MODERATOR AT YOUR SERVICE
    "If you're going to do something tonight, that you know you'll be sorry for in the morning, plan a lie in." Lorraine

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Lory View Post
    Interesting, I've not heard of anything like this... have you got any more info.
    No, I was just thinking of doing it all more or less manually - keep a list of contacts, and have a set of generic (non-ID-marked) membership cards.

    Of course, that way of doing things means it'll be more of a pain if / when you do migrate to a proper system...

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    i think that would be a false economy - i would get nice cards and write unique numbers in a specific number-area to save the cost of pre-printed unique numbers and allow for lost cards (so you can reissue the same number to the card holder) - i have other suggestions, but ill get back to lory later

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    Registered User Trousers's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Why do you need a membership card at all?

    Lots of Jive groups don't bother,
    surely it's just extra hassle, cost, data to be careful with.

    The Ceroc way really narks me - I loose cards like no ones business.
    And getting off the email spam list from Ceroc London is difficult and Utopia is impossible (but that's not important right now!)

    Stick with friendly and informal Lory
    xxx

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    Lory (9th-December-2008)

  16. #13
    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Trousers View Post
    Why do you need a membership card at all?
    • It's good marketing - e.g. you can put your website and contact details on it.
    • It provides users with a sense of "belonging".
    • It's a good way of meeting various "membership" rules which help avoid some legislation burdens.


    On the other hand - yes, I also get tired of all the cards-with-everything you get nowdays.

    On the third hand, there's a reason why organisations provide these cards - if they're all doing it, it's worth considering.

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Lory View Post
    ...I think its a good idea, if its cheap enough. I don't want to be using a 14lb hammer to squash a grape though
    When you come sell the business what are you going to sell? Are you going to sell it once, or many times over?

    Part of the value of the business is its membership list and its clerical procedures. An accurate database that can be analysed and used will be a significant asset, possibly the most valuable one.

    The clerical procedures are part of the fabric of the business. That experience can be sold many times over, either by writing a book about it or by franchising the business.

    The E-myth revisited recommends that small businesses run their business as though they were planning to franchise it, and gives a lot of info on how to take that approach. Automating clerical tasks is one of them. People make mistakes.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/E-myth-Revis.../dp/0887307280

    An automated entry system is a good idea.

    People lose cards. One answer to this is to be able to print your own replacements, either by bar code printing, or by magnetic imprinting or by chip technology. A search for bar code systems will locate firms with long expertise in the field, and most will know about newer systems.

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    Lory (9th-December-2008)

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    My advice, for what it's worth (given this is my day job, it's probably worth quite a bit), is decide what you want the system to do before spending too much time looking into alternatives. Of course, no-one does that; the far more normal process is to start with a solution and then figure out what you can do with it (if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail...). Starting with what you need it to do then gives you a way of working out what that's worth to you. Going the other way, and solutions tend to accumulate problems to solve as they go along.

    From the stuff posted here, I'm not sure what you're trying to track and what use that tracking would be. I think you're looking for a member database, although it's not clear what that database would hold. I'm guessing that you want profile data (name, contacts etc); maybe some membership data (in Ceroc, this would simply be if they have paid the membership fee and maybe their 'home' venue). Swipecards suggest you want some sort of behaviour data - knowing where and when they've attended. Other stuff could be linked in. From that, you can start to work out what sort of data you need to store and when you need to capture the data.

    Once you know all of that, you can move to the next step - how? What data you need will tell you when you need to capture the data. Then you need to get into who, where, when type questions. As a rule, the less control you exercise over a database, the more bad data you get in there and the less useful the database becomes. The simplest approach is central database, maintained and used by one or two people (if they are using the data as well as entering it, they are motivated to look after the data). Anything more than that is going to get significantly more complicated and probably reduce the quality of the data you capture. At the other end of the scale, you could set-up a remote client/server framework with the capacity for both live feeds and periodic synchronisation.

    Then you can start looking into possible solutions. It's quite a way down the track. But this avoids throwing a lot of money into things that don't really achieve much.

    And a few other general rules of thumb:
    1. Always question everything. Why am I doing this? What will it achieve? Who is going to do it? How? Where? And, again, WHY??
    2. Start small and be prepared to expand on top of that. Generally, people figure out what they really wanted halfway through a project. So taking small, easy steps at the start is a great way to nut out specifications as you go along.
    3. As you go, look out for the things that are causing problems. That's where time and effort should be expended; don't throw a lot of effort into fixing things that aren't really problems.
    4. For this sort of solution, off the shelf is almost certainly the best answer. Maintaining a customised solution is a burden in both time and money.

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    Lee Bartholomew (9th-December-2008), Lory (9th-December-2008)

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    David you need to get intouch with which ever of the McWhirter brothers that is still alive and ask him to validate you for being the human being with the most concurrently opposing opinions on any subject given two minutes to think them up!

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    I thought about it for my classes.

    What I have ended up doing is designing a database on a laptop and giving out cards with numbers on.

    When a new member fills in the form, the person maning the door writes the card number they have given the new member on the form for me to enter in the databse when I get home.

    If any member comes in with a card already, the number on the card is entered in to the databse, which will show their name and how much they pay etc.

    Eventually, I want to be able to film all the lessons and have a member area on the website so you can view all the lessons you have attended.

    The cost of doig this was simply time and the price of some printable business cards (about a fiver from WH Smiths)

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    Lory (9th-December-2008)

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Trousers View Post
    David you need to get intouch with which ever of the McWhirter brothers that is still alive and ask him to validate you for being the human being with the most concurrently opposing opinions on any subject given two minutes to think them up!
    What can I say, it's a gift.

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Bartholomew View Post

    What I have ended up doing is designing a database on a laptop and giving out cards with numbers on.

    When a new member fills in the form, the person maning the door writes the card number they have given the new member on the form for me to enter in the databse when I get home.
    Must admit I'd go with Lee's approach.

    We use something a bit more high-tech (but still pretty cheap) for keeping track of young people at work for all the courses and classes we run. A basic spreadsheet with details, a barcode each and we print out our membership cards and laminate them. Then a Tesco's hand-held scanner for about 20 can read the barcodes for you to swipe people in. Not that expensive either - our main problem is kids lose the cards on a weekly basis so we have to keep printing more copies (and yes we have threatened to tattoo them with the barcode if they keep losing them... some of them rather liked that idea!).

    So it's another option and the barcode reader is kind of nice in terms of tracking numbers.

    FunkyAngel

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    Re: Swipe card systems

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyAngel View Post
    Must admit I'd go with Lee's approach.

    We use something a bit more high-tech (but still pretty cheap) for keeping track of young people at work for all the courses and classes we run. A basic spreadsheet with details, a barcode each and we print out our membership cards and laminate them. Then a Tesco's hand-held scanner for about 20 can read the barcodes for you to swipe people in. Not that expensive either - our main problem is kids lose the cards on a weekly basis so we have to keep printing more copies (and yes we have threatened to tattoo them with the barcode if they keep losing them... some of them rather liked that idea!).

    So it's another option and the barcode reader is kind of nice in terms of tracking numbers.

    FunkyAngel
    Do not use a spreadsheet. This is a database application. (You can convert a spreadsheet to a database table easily, but it is best to start out right.)

    Some mobiles come equipped to read barcodes. One could be programmed to do the whole data collection job, but this sort of application is out of my zone. Some of the firms selling barcode solutions will be able to advise.

    e.g. first two found on a search:

    http://mobilecodes.nokia.com/scan.htm

    http://www.ericsson.com/mobilityworl...ticles/05jan04

    http://www.ericsson.com/mobilityworl...ticles/05jan04

    These barcodes can carry a lot more info than just a number.

    It is a changing world, speech recognition, face recognition and fingerprint scanning are all now real world possibilities. I would stick to the tried and tested. Some of the barcode solution comanies have been around for decades.

    BTW I am developing, as an exercise, a led keyring torch that has a chip in it that flashes an id number before becoming a steady light. People do not lose their keys that often.

  28. Thanks:

    Lory (10th-December-2008)

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