Product Spotlight

A closer look at applications that use our products and accessories.

PeopleServ Kiosk

Inmate Commissary Application

Helps prison inmate

Prisons are located all around the nation. Prisons are established at the local, state and federal level of our country and government. Inmates are allowed to purchase some goods from outside of the prison however Inmates are not allowed to possess money. Some inmates are able to earn money by working a job in prison. For most inmates, they rely on their family and friends to send them money. This money is deposited into a holding account that is made available for the Inmate to purchase personal goods through a prison store or commissary store. Typically called commissary money.

While incarcerated, Inmates are provided meals, basic clothing, and a few very basic personal care items.

Inmates with good behavior are allowed use their commissary money to purchase additional supplies such as coffee, instant soup, chips, cookies, canned foods, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, writing paper, and stamps. In some facilities and with approval, Inmates can also buy things like hot pots, clocks, fans, typewriters, shoes, underclothing, and basic over-the-counter medications.

Automation, of course, has found its way in every aspect of our society and prisons are no exception. To streamline this commissary process, Inmates access software to select the items to be purchased from the commissary. The software needs to be robust so no access can be made from Inmates to the network or operating systems. But what about the computer hardware? What type of computer hardware can you actually place in a prison that will survive in that environment?

Our customer who is a leader in the commissary market turned to INDUCOMP to design, test and manufacture a commissary computer that would survive the extreme conditions in a prison.

Problem

Our customer needed to solve seven main problems when searching for a solution.

1. The enclosure needs to be lightweight and could be installed by one person
2. The enclosure should have no sharp corners
3. The enclosure needs to interface to a standard electrical conduit for power and network. The design should try to eliminate AC electric from the kiosk.
4. Allow all computer components to be changed out quickly in the field
5. The touch screen when broken should not have shards of glass that could be used as a weapon
6. Make computer configurable to support a keyboard, pointing device, camera, video conference telephone handset.
7. The computer needs to be wall mounted so no Inmate could remove it from the wall.

Solution

alignCenter1 We (INDUCOMP) created a general-purpose wall-mount computer that would not only work in a harsh environment like a prison but a kiosk that could take the rigorous of any public environment.

The enclosure was designed to have a large radius so not Inmate could be injured falling into the kiosk on accident of otherwise. Our approach was to make the enclosure out of injected high strength plastic. This solved two problems, eliminating the sharp corners and making the kiosk as light as possible.

Making the kiosk lightweight made it easier to handle, it also saves a tremendous amount of money in freight charges.

The enclosure design includes a two-piece design. The back part of the kiosk is made of metal and could be easily fastened to the wall by one person. Once the back was secured to the wall, the front of the kiosk that is made of plastic could be joined by lift-off hinges. Once the kiosk is closed shut, it is secured by dual keyed locks. No screws or bolts are exposed to the public.

The hinged lift off kiosk allows for a quick swap-out replacement of kiosk. When a kiosk breaks someone has to go into the prison and replace or fix the kiosk. When this happens, you want to get technicians in and out as quickly as possible. Trying to replace parts on a traditional kiosk takes a lot of time and requires a skilled technician. The lift-off hinge design gives our customer an option to have a much lower skilled technician to go into the prison and quickly change out the kiosk. This saves money and risk of a problem in the prison.

In the times where you don’t want to take the whole front of the kiosk off the wall, you can simply change out the computer. Inside the kiosk, we have a modular computer that can be replaced quickly by losing a bracket and sliding the computer out of the kiosk. Slide a new computer in the kiosk connect the cables, close and lock the kiosk. The lift-off hinge and the slide out computer give deployment teams the most flexibility to replace what is needed to be replaced.

Perhaps of all the design innovations making the kiosk run on DC power rather than AC power saved our customer the most money. Each AC electric drop was estimated at $1600.00 a drop. The walls of a prison are usually concrete block walls or concrete. So, every electric drop requires conduit bolted to the wall. Facilities need to run two conduit runs to every kiosk. One run for AC electric and the other for ethernet.

Instead of using an AC power supply we used a POE power supply (power over ethernet). By using a POE power supply only DC power is brought to the computer. There is no need to pay for an electrician to run electric to each kiosk. A single conduit run carries both Ethernet and DC power to the kiosk. The DC electric current is carried to the kiosk via the ethernet cable. The enclosure is designed to accept standard conduit in either the top or bottom of the kiosk with the conduit connector secured within the kiosk.

Since there are many computer applications within the prison environment. Creating a flexible kiosk is essential to having and maintaining a single kiosk in the field. We added various configurable options that can be added to the kiosk. Our customer can add a keyboard for email, camera and telephone handset for video a conference kiosk and barcode scanning to scan Inmate identification wrist bands.

Our product design gives our customer the confidence that they can install their software securely without out fear of the hardware failing. Let’s face our customer is essentially in the online sales business. If the computer is not running, they are not selling commissary product. Today they are able to enjoy thousands of kiosks that are functioning and taking orders.

Maybe your company needs to create a kiosk or device that brings your application to 100% realization instead of settling for an 80% realization because you use off the shelf product. Call us today and let us build a custom product for your application.


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