Visitor Management



  • We're planning on getting rid of our receptionist at work (not literally, they will be taking on a new role elsewhere in the organisation). So we will have an unmanned reception area. Has anyone got any experience of visitor management software, good or bad? Any other things to think about?

    I'm thinking of using something like this:
    http://theipadreceptionist.com/



  • What about one of the Roomba proxy robots to wait at the front door?



  • Will there be one or two people in charge of managing the door? If so, check out some of aiphone's intercom products.



  • The front door will be left open, so no intercom required. My theory is that people will walk in, see the iPad, and use that to sign themselves in. The app I linked to then sends an SMS to the person they're meeting, telling them their visitor is waiting for them in reception. My biggest concern is how to ensure visitors realise that they need to sign-in with the iPad - not all our visitors are that bright.

    We'll also need a way of monitoring the reception area. I'm thinking a cheap Logitech webcam will do the trick, without the need for expensive security systems to be installed.



  • Is an iPad in an empty entry room wise? Wouldn't something stationary and less valuable work better? And something that doesn't need to have its battery managed?

    You could make a simple PHP web form that does everything very easily.



  • Not easy for me! Writing my own web form may be a better approach, but I'm a little busy at the moment and trying to do less web programming at work not more. The boss wants to go live by the end of April. The iPad app could be set up in around an hour, I reckon. I'm not that quick at web development. The iPad would be mounted in some kind of stand, so would be stationary and remained plugged in. But a PC with a touch screen monitor offers infinite possibilities, so is attractive.



  • @Carnival-Boy said:

    Not easy for me! Writing my own web form may be a better approach, but I'm a little busy at the moment and trying to do less web programming at work not more. The boss wants to go live by the end of April. The iPad app could be set up in around an hour, I reckon. I'm not that quick at web development. The iPad would be mounted in some kind of stand, so would be stationary and remained plugged in. But a PC with a touch screen monitor offers infinite possibilities, so is attractive.

    you could create a google form and setup a kiosk with a sign and arrow over it saying "Check-In Station" easy peasy



  • Can you configure a Google form to send an SMS or e-mail based on what is entered on the form (e.g. if they select Bob Smith from a dropdown list of employees then it will e-mail Bob Smith to tell him his visitor has arrived).



  • dunno. haven't ever had to do anything like this. more than likely without attaching some sort of third party the sms is a no.



  • @carnival-boy No experience with this manner of system

    Review was basically positive—

    Skimming the article, didn't confirm/dis-confirm the assumption the iPad would need have cellular service. Would indeed need an appropriate enclosure to secure the device (ballpark $500). Related, a spare would need to be have, at least initially, for inevitable breakage or failure.



  • @Carnival-Boy said:

    Can you configure a Google form to send an SMS or e-mail based on what is entered on the form (e.g. if they select Bob Smith from a dropdown list of employees then it will e-mail Bob Smith to tell him his visitor has arrived).

    Have never seen a Google form. No idea what that is. But a PHP form is trivial to send email. SMS is much more complex.



  • For an iPad to send SMS, it either needs cellular data plan and/or some service that sends SMS for you. SMS is not TCP/IP protocol.



  • Google forms are ace. We're about to start using them. It's just a very easy way to create a form which then populates a Google spreadsheet. Previously, I've created HTML forms and validated them on the server with classic ASP, and used them to populate an SQL Server database - which isn't trivial (compared with using Google at least). There are various add-ons you can use with Google forms, I believe, but haven't delved into that so far. I don't know why Microsoft don't offer something similar with Office365.

    The biggest stumbling block with Google forms is that, as far as I'm aware, you can't remove Google's branding. I wouldn't want Google's logo to be the first thing our visitors see. So it's not an option for this particular project.

    The iPad app I'm looking at has the SMS sent from the app providers servers. You don't configure anything yourself. You just upload a CSV of mobile numbers via their website and they take care of the rest.


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