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INTRODUCING

TickIn

A fool proof, low-cost, attendance solution using bluetooth technology.

TickIn is a platform that revolutionizes the attendance system at any event. We provide a sustainable, trustworthy, and usable technology for collecting attendance and facilitating the interaction between attendees and event hosts. We aim to target the classroom industry first and extend our customer base.

INSPIRATION & PROBLEM

 

The attendance problem at large institutions, including UC Berkeley, has not received much attention as enrollment numbers continue to soar. Students are easily able to fake their attendance data by sending Google Form sign-in links and Top Hat codes to peers who are not present in class.

INDUSTRY COMPETITION

TickIn's primary competitors include iClicker Software by Reef, and TopHat. 

Although Reef & TopHat have a majority of the market share in the classroom attendance technology space, TickIn stands out from its competitors in the areas of cost, ease of use, scalability, and fool-proof data quality.

In terms of cost, TopHat subscription for each student is $25 per semester. The iClickers are deployed to students at a total of $40 each, and the Reef software that supports iClickers costs the university and students an extra subscription fee. Students, in addition to paying $40 for the iClicker, must also pay $4 for batteries and are also responsible for replacing a broken iClicker, which comes with a very limited warranty. 

CURRENT PRODUCTS IN MARKET

  • iClickers

  • TopHat

  • Google Forms
     

iClickers are used as a classroom response system in larger classes. The hardware consists of a remote keypad device called clicker, a receiving device connected to a computer, and Reef software. 

 

iClicker models have limitations on the maximum number of clickers that can be supported in one classroom, thus making iClickers unscalable beyond a certain number.  For example, computer science classes at Berkeley, with around 1800 students, would not be able to use clickers for attendance. 

Although attendance tools like TopHat and Google Forms are feasible options in very small classrooms so that professors can perform a quick head count to verify, larger classes make it impossible to verify student attendance. 

 

Further, using TopHat and Google Forms requires students to manually type in a URL and access a webpage, where they enter all of their student information and a secret attendance code. This code can be sent to a friend who is not present in the classroom within a matter of seconds, and the attendance is therefore inaccurate.

TOTAL ADDRESSABLE MARKET

Our target market ranges from professors to event hosts. TickIn’s platform can attract events/industries that require their attendance procedure be precise and convenient. We will lay out the data structure on the website so that the event hosts will be able to easily analyze the attendance history and statistics. We can also approach the professional society (e.g. LinkedIn) by providing proof that an employee, candidate, or manager attended certain events. Using all data/statistics above, we can partner with other companies to assist them to better advertise and target customers.

VALIDATION OF MARKET HYPOTHESIS

Willing to take our idea to market, we discussed our idea with professionals at Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, and interviewed professors and conducted 50+ field surveys with students from various countries and states.

 

Through our interviews, we learned that accurate attendance data is not only important for reporting to higher level management in the education sector, but professors also want to ensure their students are actively participating and understanding the material.

 

I received their valuable input after having them use the prototype in class, and the professors liked the fool-proof nature of the technology, but would also value interactive tools like trivia, polls, and sending questions through the app. Due to its usability, scalability, accurate data collection, and cost-effectiveness, they believe it would save time, money, and resources to monitor attendance data. 

PRODUCT 

HOW IT WORKS

TickIn simply checks (“ticks”) users in at events.

 

We have created a functional prototype integrating the Android framework, Arduino platform, and website. Our prototype functions with hardware, mobile, and web. We provide a programmed beacon that uses BLE advertising technology to enable mobile devices in close proximity to access the attendance portal. (The technology is scalable to population of any size)

We built a programmable beacon with Arduino with BLE advertising technology, which sends signals to all devices nearby without pairing. When the TickIn mobile app is installed on the smartphone and detects the beacon device specific to an event, it will ask the user to log in using their personal credentials to confirm attendance and the course they are trying to attend.

 

Details are sent to the web server (Tickin.org) where event hosts can collect, display, and analyze attendance data.  For example, students can view their attendance history and professors can check the data of attendance.The website also allows advanced communication tools between the event host and attendees, such as pop-up surveys and interactive live chat.

TECHNICAL OVERVIEW & PROTOTYPE

Firstly, for the Arduino (Beacon), we used the language C, which directly programs the hardware to enable the data containing the MAC address to be broadcasted to devices around the beacon. Knowledge of C was essential to the success of the project since the beacon was central to the product we were creating. The BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) signals from the Arduino device that are sent out within a certain proximity must be received by the Android TickIn application, and then the application will subsequently allow users to enter in their personal information.


For the TickIn mobile application, we used XML, Java, and integrated REST APIs. Knowledge of XML & JSON was essential for designing the architecture of the app, and knowledge of Java coding skills was important for creating and designing the back-end for the app via Android Studio. External API’s involved with the application itself are the Android API, JSON API, and the BLE API. For retrieving the data and creating the website, we used the Ruby on Rails Framework. The front end was designed using HTML and Bootstrap CSS, while the backend and database was controlled using PostgreSQL. Ruby on Rails’ model-view-controller architecture functioned as a bridge between the two. Javascript was also heavily employed in the front end for data representation and a smooth user experience.

Thanks for viewing my portfolio! 

 

Avanthika Ramesh