04 Oct SwipeStation’s key component: Meet our resident technician
SwipeStation has come along way since the early prototype made from a shoebox and gaffer tape. There’s one man behind the scenes that has overseen the operation to full production today. Introducing Duncan, SwipeStation’s trusty technician. Over to you Duncan;
As the SwipeStation technician my job is to ensure that all SwipeStation machines out there are in full working order, all performed remotely with our support platform. I’m involved in a wide range of projects that span the extension of the product. We are currently developing the next generation SwipeStation machine. As part of the build process, it’s ensuring components we select not only perform well but also have sufficient production life-cycle and manufacturer support for us to commit to manufacturing with these components for 2-3 years. I oversee the current manufacturing process by maintaining the supply chain of components to our assembly partner and gaining feedback from them regarding process or component issues.
In terms of hardware, SwipeStation comprises of a scanner, screen, printer and motherboard. We’ve added some nice features for us to support the device such as the ability to remotely power the system off or on via SMS text message and the ability to monitor temperature sensors, display status and other environmental conditions.
The development of the SwipeStation unit has been quite a journey, one involving plenty of research, trial and error and some incredible participation from component suppliers and manufacturers. To see hardware manufacturers such as Motorola and Zebra believing in our product and providing us access to their highest level of support to get the product where it is today has been truly amazing and it’s made the hardware development journey so much easier. We also have our own software development team, a bunch of geniuses whom through their own knowledge of optics and the science of photography have helped us resolve issues around the scanner, reflection of light from mobile phone screens and low light situations.
As a fan of the “Air Crash Investigation” TV program, and in infrequent flier, I’ve made it my job to learn from issues that have arisen previously and make changes to hardware, software or end user training to reduce the chances of that problem reoccurring. Hardware and software issues are relatively straightforward but often user related issues require some head scratching to put yourself in the position of the user and work out what we did or didn’t tell them that caused the problem to arise. As techs, it’s easy for us to get carried away with the assumption that end users have shared our product development journey so a reality check for us once in a while is a good thing. Constant learning drives me forward.