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WinMetrics Corporation Microsoft .NET Case Study: IDScanningforCashDelivery
idScan from Card Scanning Solutions Our client is a publically traded financial services company that wanted to provide cash delivery services to casinos in the Carribean. They had already developed credit/debit card application for cash delivery that we shall refer to as "CASHTAP". However, supporting customers in the Carribean posed the following challenges:
Off-shore casinos needed to scan passports and drivers licenses as additional evidence to authenticate transactions that may later be challenged by customers.
Casinos needed to minimize data entry to speed up customer service in the absence of skilled labor.
idScan.NET: Passport and Drivers License Scanning for Cash Delivery
First and foremost, our client needed a system that would scan passports and drivers licenses in its Teller kiosks and automatically capture ID information via Optical Character Recognition (OCR). After looking at several vendors, they choose idScanTM from Card Scanning Solutions because:
idScan offers the broadest coverage for drivers licenses.
idScan offers the most extensible SDK to support tight integration with CASHTAP, their cash delivery application.
We at WinMetrics were asked to combine idScan and CASHTAP into a seamless whole: idScan.NET Hardware Architecture
Software Architecture Required Microsoft .NET 2.0 with ClickOnce Deployment
Once idScan was chosen and we began working with it, the following additional requirements became obvious:
The idScan SDK is a collection of DLLs that must be replaced when support for new ID cards becomes available.
In the absence of skilled on-site IT support, the client software must update itself automatically.
CASHTAP and idScan must be presented in the same window for ease of use.
ID Scanning and OCR are CPU-intensive and must be performed in background processes to avoid increasing customer wait time.
With hundreds of potential Tellers to support, connections between Teller PCs and the database must be made on demand to maximize database performance.
A binary image and its associated OCR data must be inserted into the database by the same transaction to assure data integrity.
VPN connections are expensive. We need a secure way to communicate between Teller PCs and the web servers via the public Internet.
IDScan.NET Software Architecture (click for full-scale image)
IDScan.NET Software Architecture
(click to zoom in)

These additional requirements were daunting, but Microsoft was in the final stages of releasing .NET 2.0 which offered the following facilities to make the job smaller:

.NET 2.0 includes ClickOnce so that Windows Forms applications can be deployed as web applications.
.NET 2.0 includes a web browser control that maded it easy to embed an MSIE browser in a Windows Forms interface and automate the exchange of data to and from web pages.
.NET 2.0 includes background processing objects that maded it easier to run scanner processes in background threads.
.NET includes strong facilities for web services that made it easy to communicate a binary image and its OCR text in a single invocation. Using web services and SSL, secure communication over the public Internet is more feasible than VPNs.

With excellent support from Card Scanning Solutions, WinMetrics developed over 7,000 lines of C# in less than 90 days elapsed time to hit the target:

"For what it's worth, I ran some transaction at the cage at king's for a couple of customers, the scanner works very nice, one customer had a French passport, all the info went right into the proper fields. The cage said to say to you that it has been a long wait for this but worth it!! "
-- John Nicastro II, Account Executive

"On short notice, Carl was able to utilize very advanced features of Microsoft .NET development technology to meet a need to add a critical ID scan component to a point of sale system. This system was deployed through-out resorts and casinos in the Caribbean. Besides being well versed in his development repertoire, Carl was not afraid to go beyond the 9-5 to meet challenging deadlines. If you need to expedite a particularly complex software development project, Carl Kelley at WinMetrics, is your solution."
-- Chistopher Epple, EVP of IT & Product Development, FastFunds Financial Corporation

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