User friendly look"Many of the companies doing visitor management are just using a standard camera and tripod, which is not user friendly," said Zagami. "Fast-Pass fits into any décor and avoids the ‘big brother’ look of many security systems. People often don’t even notice it and tend to be surprised when they’re asked to ‘Look at the camera.’"
Although designed for a single network video camera, the system performs a dual function thanks to the camera’s PTZ features. At the top of the cylinder is a glass plate, upon which a visitor can place a driver’s license, passport or travel document.
"The first step in the process is take the visitor’s picture," said Zagami. "As soon as we click ‘accept’ on that picture, our software directs the camera to vertically tilt and autofocus on the document. We image both the person and the document at the same time in one nice, neat, complete operation. If you had to do it separately you’d have an enormous queue when a lot of people are coming in.
"What we did with our application is incorporate camera controls inside of our software," he added. "We worked with Canon’s technical people on the algorithms and software so that you can control the camera’s pan, tilt and zoom with a keyboard and mouse."
The system’s software operates on a standard PC running Windows NT/2000/XP. It can operate as a stand-alone unit or as a terminal in a network infrastructure using standard TCP/IP network protocols. The system also enables users to customize.
"Pan/tilt/zoom capabilities will enable us to credentialize someone in a wheelchair, or a child, or a tall person," said Zagami. "Fixed-position cameras really don’t get a good quality image because you’ve either got to move the person to the camera or the camera to the person. But with our new pan/tilt/zoom system the camera stays fixed and does all the work electronically. We’re changing over to a cylinder camera probably within another year so that cruise lines can start taking photographs right at the reservation desk."
Zagami added that passengers get an ID card and their information is transferred to the ship’s server. When those passengers board the ship they verify their photo and data by inserting their card into A-Pass at the gangway. "