Shown above are "Action Tracker" board for installation in game, with the novel jack and "electronic key" used to upload data from the board; one of the Casio "Cassiopeia" palmtop computers that run Premier Data's "Super Route Onsite"; and a laptop that can make "Super Route Onsite" information available for use in popular Microsoft "Windows"-based applications.
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Premier Data Software Solutions reports that it has formed an agreement with Action Tracker, manufacturer of an in-machine data collection device, to market a fully automatic data retrieval system that can save time for drivers and office personnel, improve accuracy and tighten control.
Premier Data's "Super Route Onsite" handheld computer software, introduced this spring, was designed to speed and simplify the collection task by prompting drivers through the required service at each stop and permitting them to enter meter readings and other information with the keypad. This eliminates the need for subsequent rekeying of route data, so speed and accuracy are enhanced. Upon the driver's return, data collected with "Super Route Onsite" is uploaded to a central computer running Premier's "Super Route Manager/i" management software (see V/T, May).
Action Tracker's flagship product is an electronic circuit board that installs in a game and captures audit data, so drivers need not read meters. "Action Tracker" can deliver this information to a portable printer or to a data transfer module for subsequent upload to an office computer. A novel feature of "Action Tracker" is its use of an "electronic key" (a small, rugged and inexpensive memory device) to retrieve and transfer data from the board.The board communicates with the outside world through a connector set into an aperture in the game cabinet, and the "key" is inserted into this connector.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
The new pact makes it possible to read information directly from a game's "Action Tracker" board into "Super Route Onsite" This offers three substantial benefits: much greater speed, stronger security and increased accuracy, according to Premier's Joe Carey.
Collection speed is improved by eliminating the need for physical meter readings, manual data entry and manual split/commission calculations. Automated data collection also enhances security, because it reduces financial discrepancies and the theft and shortages that can be invited by relying on manual meter readings. And accuracy naturally is improved when manual calculations and the transcription of handwritten records are eliminated.
"Super Route Onsite" software runs on handheld computers that provide Microsoft's "PocketPC" (formerly "Windows CE") operating environment. It is available from Premier Data installed on a Casio "Cassiopeia" touch-sensitive personal digital assistant, a popular device available in a wide variety of models. The "Super Route Onsite" system also includes a docking cradle that connects the handheld device to the operator's office computer, and seamlessly integrates with Premier Data's "Super Route Manager/i" system. The cradle is fitted with universal serial bus (USB) and standard serial (RS232) connectors for maximum flexibility in connecting to existing desktop computers.
In use, the handheld is docked overnight. The host computer downloads electronic "route tickets" to the device, which is issued to the driver at the start of the day. When it is returned after the route has been run, it is docked again to upload the day's information to "Super Route Manager/i." This eliminates a great deal of typing, and speeds up preparation of collection reports.
"Action Tracker" is popular with many operators and locations because of its positive impact on security, not only because of the functions it performs but also because route and location personnel know that it is performing them. It's adaptable to all kinds of game, including those that issue prizes, recording all the data that the game controller provides.
"Route Reader" and "Location Reader" devices are available for use by individuals , route manager, bartender, game room attendant , carrying the appropriate "key." Different "keys" are available for different tasks, and they restrict access to personnel authorized to perform those functions. "Keys" are very inexpensive, so losing or destroying one is not a serious matter.
Premier's Carey pointed out that the "key" is an ideal medium for retrieving data from a machine, because it's faster than systems using a modulated infrared light beam, and it does not require opening the door if the game is not being collected. An "Action Tracker" and "Super Route Onsite" handheld device working as a system can reduce the time required to service some locations by as much as 70%, Carey reported.
Premier Data and Action Tracker now are working on remote data transfer extensions of the concept with the ultimate objective of allowing operators to access their machine performance information remotely, independently of manufacturers or third-party service providers.
The system will be on display at the Amusement and Music Operators Association International Expo. Information also is available from Premier Data by calling (800) 720-DATA or visiting the company's website, www.premierdatasoftware.com.
Action Tracker can be contacted by calling (618) 485-2724 or visiting www.action-tracker.com.