Queue Management System
Our Queue Management System (QMS) is an advanced queue management system consists of a IP network based management and control system. The system works for the branches incorporate hardware and software besides the advanced features, sophisticated and comprehensive reports on the operations and staff performances. The run time queue system status information and end of day queue data from is available in each branch for monitoring and reporting purpose.
The system is capable to provide different types of reports, real time and statistics, in Daily, Weekly and Monthly format allowing the Management staff to analyze the performance of their counter staff, the waiting and served customers in different services, provides the analysis to increase the productivity and efficiency, help to increase the Quality of the Services, Satisfaction of Customers and to improve customer services by minimizing the serving time and other features such as:-
- Web Reporting
- Online Real Time Status Viewer
- Transaction Log; record to evaluate different type of services provide by each counter staff
- Web Counter Terminal which requires no installation at counter staff PC
- User defined ticket message
- Unlimited length of Ticket
- Centralized Reporting software
- Web Integration
- The ability to customize and integration with any third party application
The advanced web based system has features that enable you to access any remote location where QMS-600i is installed within your LAN/WAN system, and you will get the “Online Real Time Information” about the Counter staff performance, Waiting number of people, Handling and Serving time, Position of Waiting Visitors in different services, Etc.
The QMS is a network based system using standard Ethernet LAN as the data communication backbone. The QMS can leverage on the counter staff PCs to minimize cabling requirements and thus the cabling costs. The proposed QMS is depicted in the following system layout diagram
The system (QMS500 series) which is an advanced web based system that can leverage on existing local area network (LAN) setup and staff PCs. The QMS design approach helps to reduce implementation costs by reusing PC hardware, reduce network cabling and software installation works. LAN connectivity offers the advantage that each device connection at the network port will not interfere with the neighboring port and hence a faulty device will not bring down the entire system. The faulty device can be easily isolated by unplugging it from the network switch. The branch QMS consists of the following devices:-
Integrated Queue Processor (IQP). This is the main system controller. The proposed IQP is a compact desktop device with factory preinstalled operating system and QMS software. Linux operating system is used because of its stability, reliability, security and performance. The integrated peripheral devices and software services make IQP a versatile device. IQP employs modular software design and the modules communicate through TCP/IP. IQP specifications:-
- Embedded processor
- Linux operating system
- Integrated 10.1” touch screen LCD
- 2.5” thermal kiosk printer with reliable auto cutter
- Front drop in paper loading
- Integrated dual class D audio amplifier to drive external speakers
- 10/100 mbps Ethernet
IQP offers the following functionalities:
Queue Management Service. The efficient queue management engine manages the local hardware devices, real time status updates, queue data storage, report printing, interface with Corporate QMS Server, etc. Queue data are stored in hard disk and remain intact even when there is a sudden power outage. System can continue to operate from the point of interruption when power resumes. Queue data can be back up to an internal USB media to ease data recovery in the event that the IQP is not operational. IQP can be turned on for 24x7 and user can define the queue operation session times. IQP supports unlimited number of services. Each service can be defined to use different range of number and can be set to different level of service priority. The system also supports alphanumeric numbers.
Ticket Dispensing. IQP has an integrated kiosk printer and a 17.3" touch LCD screen to print queue ticket for the desired service. The intuitive user interface provides user friendliness and supports Multilanguage’s. The printer uses non-proprietary, low cost thermal paper that is easily available off the shelf. The ticket is automatically cut and can be single or multiple parts. A typical ticket contains:-
- the customer’s logo,
- the ticket number in large font (12 mm height or more),
- the current served number,
- greeting message
- date and time
The ticket logo, ticket length and greeting messages is user programmable and can be customized by using a web based ticket formatting tool. The screen design and services is also user customizable by using a web based screen designer utility.
Voice Announcement. IQP comes with integrated voice announcement software. It has two channel of MP3 quality voice output. It can announce greeting message, prompt customer to collect ticket, or any other pre-stored messages. When a ticket is called by the counter/service staff, IQP announces the ticket number and counter number via external audio speakers. This is achieved with the help of an internal class D audio amplifier which can deliver two 10W output. Voice announcement can be in Multilanguage’s (e.g. Urdu and English). The voice vocabulary is stored in a local hard disk can be customized if needed.
Status Monitor and Report. IQP provides a web based Status Monitor to view various runtime system status, print reports, change system configuration, and perform content management (e.g. change customer rating questionnaires, change ticket format and update display template). Accessing to the Status Monitor is password protected.
System setup parameters can be changed and applied without restarting the IQP. The system provides a user configurable dashboard view which can be personalized for different user. The dashboard can be configured to show only the data required by the user. Report can be viewed and printed at any time of the day. A comprehensive list of daily, monthly, periodic and yearly reports is available. Reports can also be customized if needed. Reports can be printed in charts and/or tables as well as exported to PDF or CSV format.
Corporate Networking Agent. IQP has integral support to upload branch runtime status at preset interval to the Corporate QMS Server for central monitoring and control. Daily queue data are uploaded for consolidation at the corporate server for generating branch or corporate wide reports and analysis.
Web Counter Terminal (WCT). WCT is a counter device used by the teller to call the next in line customer. It is web based and supported by several standard web browsers such as Internet Explorer (IE7 or above), Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Since web browser is readily available in most PC, no software installation is needed. Another advantage is that future functionality enhancements and software upgrading is easier to manage since only the IQP is affected.
WCT is used to call next in line customer, recall customer, transfer customer to another service, etc. Integration with the banking application running on the counter staff PC can be achieved by using web service to pass the required information to the back end host.
WCT offers the following standard functions:
- Login. Each service staff must log in to use the terminal. User login can be done at any PC. User identity is captured and this facilitates user performance analysis later. Password login can be made compulsory. After logging in, an on screen count up timer start ticking away to indicate the amount of idle time exhibited by the staff.
- Next. Call the next in line number. Pressing this key starts the on screen timer that shows the customer serving time. This provides an immediate visual feedback to remind the staff on the time he/she takes to serve the customer. The called number will be flashed on the Main Display and announced in voice. The system supports various types of rules to determine the next customer to be called.
- Priority Levels. Different priority levels for different services can be configured for each counter. This allows the counter to clear all the customers from a particular service before proceeding to serve customers from another service.
- Serving Ratio. The system also supports serving rule based on ratio. This rule enables the counter to serve a predefined number of customers from a service and then follow by predefined number of customer from another service. This has the advantage of giving priority to certain group of customer but not totally neglecting the other group.
- Call. The function allows the staff to call any ticket number. However, the system can be configured to prevent the staff from calling a number that is not in the waiting queue yet. The system can also be configured to bar the Call function altogether.
- Recall. This is to repeat the last called number. The number will be flashed on the Main Display and also be announced again.
- Store. For customer who does not turn up at the counter after the number is called, the number can be stored back to the waiting queue for later calling. Typically such number will not be called immediately because the customer may not be around yet. The number is automatically eligible for calling after certain time has lapsed. This time interval can be set by the user. A limit can be imposed on the number of times a ticket can be stored. Repeated storing and the subsequent calling are a sheer waste of staff time because the customer may have left the premise.
- Done. This is to mark the end of serving the customer. The on screen timer will stop to indicate the actual time taken to serve the customer. The customer serving time can be accurately captured by using this function.
- Transaction. This function is used in situation where the customer has multiple sub-services / transactions at the counter. The function pops up a dialog window for the staff to pick the required transaction to perform. Using this function, the individual transaction time can be logged down for analysis.
- Transfer Service. After serving the customer, the staff can transfer the ticket to a preset service or to a different service for further processing. For the latter, a pop up dialog window enables the staff to pick the target service to be transferred to. This means the customer only needs to get one ticket for multiple services.
- Transfer Counter. After serving the customer, the staff can transfer the ticket to a preset counter or to a different counter for further action. For the latter, a pop up dialog window allows the staff to pick the target counter to be transferred to. This means the customer only needs to get one ticket for multiple services.
- Message. This activates a messaging window where the staff can send a message to the manager that monitors the Status Monitor screen for assistance. The manager can respond to the message through the counter status screen. The manager can use this facility to send message to any counter when it is needed.
- Renegade. This is an optional function to mark that a customer has not turned up after he/she is called. The system can normally be configured to automatically filter customers who have unreasonable short serving time. However, WCT can be configured to provide this function for the counter staff to explicitly mark a customer as renegade.
- Customer Arrival Alert. When a counter is in idle mode and a new customer arrives at the branch, WCT will generate audio and visual alerts to get the attention of the counter staff.
Remote Counter Display (RCD)
RCD is normally mounted at the counter head or on the desk with the help of a metal pole. It displays the current called number. Whenever the display is updated, an electronic chime is generated. Device specifications are as follows:
- 4-digit, 7-segment 2.3” LED with fixed counter label
- Speakers with adjustable volume
- RS485 data interface
Main Display (MD)
The Main Display is used to display queue information such as customer’s queue number and counter/room number with an arrow to direct the customer to the counter. It is made up of 7-segment LED’s, it has 1 or 2 lines, and those can be increase as per customer requirement at any time in future without changing the existing display PCB. An Electronic Chime is incorporated to attract the customer’s attention when a queue number is called. It is usually strategically mounted such as in the common waiting area where from waiting customers will get the first information of their number being called and they will proceeds to the respected counter
Power Supply Hub
This is a hub that provides DC power and RS485 connections to the connected devices via standard CAT 5e cable. The hub eliminates the need to have individual power point at each of the device. The specifications of the hub are as follows:
- Integrated 100W switching power supply, short circuit proof
- 16 device ports (with 12V DC power and RS485)
- 2 link ports (power free) for cascading
- Robust aluminum casing, epoxy coated
- AC 240V input
Branch Networking Requirements
The QMS uses LAN connectivity. The interconnecting data links are made up of standard CAT 5e/6/7 cables. Cabling is generally not required for teller PCs as they are already connected to the branch network. New cables have to be laid for the following devices:
- IQP. The IQP should be connected to the branch PC network. A CAT 5e/6/7 cable is required from the IQP to an available LAN point. LAN cable length limit of up to 100m has to be observed. The IQP can drive two external ceiling or wall speakers. Twin flex wires are used to connect each speaker to the IQP. A local AC 240V power point is needed to operate the IQP.
- PS. The interlink port on the hub is connected to the IQP through a CAT 5e/6/7 cable. The IQP has a RS485 port for this connection. A local AC 240V power point is needed to operate the hub.
- RCD. It should be connected to the PS by using CAT 5e/6/7 cable. The cable length should be kept to within 50 m.
IP Address Allocations
Since the QMS devices are LAN connected, each should be assigned a unique static IP address. Such allocation must be obtained from network administrator and thus should be considered in the project planning.