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Scanning vaccine passports? 6 things your business should consider

The term has only been coined a few months ago, but it’s already everywhere: the vaccine passport (also known as: Green pass, Covid status). As scanning at the door is becoming a part of the new ‘business as usual’, concerns are rising.

Many pubs, restaurants and nightclubs do not have the technology to scan Covid vaccine passports.  With the hospitality industry swiftly moving towards them being more rule than exception, businesses owners are grappling with how to scan the codes on their customers’ screens.

With so many different solutions available, here are 6 key points you should consider to find the right tech for you.

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1) Staff training and set up

QR codes are rising in popularity and it’s safe to say that customers are near-fluent in their use. A study by MobileIron found that in September 2020, 72% of respondents used a QR code that prior month and 67% believe they make life easier in a touchless world. While the occasional venue may have grown equally comfortable due to, for instance, mobile ticketing, many businesses need to (re)arrange and train their staff. 

To reduce the time and effort it takes to get personnel up and running, there are a variety of things to consider. For a start, hardware can resemble the phone or tablet they use at home. Businesses looking for a multi-functional solution with internet connectivity and a screen for instant feedback, will find an Android Mobile Computer with a built-in scanner is the way to go. With options available that look near-identical to the device in most people’s pocket, intuitive use can minimise training.

Many scanning options can alternatively plug - both literally and via Bluetooth - into existing systems the business runs on. 

No matter the complexity (or simplicity!) of the chosen solution, software can offer additional ease in getting set up. Newland offers Ndevor, a completely free Mobile Device Management software with all its Android Mobile Computers. Whether there are 5 or 500 devices in the field, all can be easily set up and managed from one central location. Alternatively, Newland’s EasySet was designed to offer a simple way to configure various other scanners.

2) One set location vs portability

Will there be set entry points? Will you need to move (or remove) the entry check regularly, or will staff be walking around to scan? Each scenario requires different technology. 

For a turnstile entry where customers will be scanning theirselves, a stationary scanner can offer a solution. Businesses can consider embedding a scanner neatly at their point of entry, or pop a presentation scanner on the counter. The latter can be taken down at any time and plugged back in within seconds. 

For portable, in-hand scanning, a small pocket scanner could do the trick. Or a more versatile Mobile Computer could do it all. 

And if you need a combination? There are many ways to connect devices. Both physically (think corded scanning), nearby (think Bluetooth) and anywhere (via an online system).

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3) Staying online

Apart from a select few countries, scanning vaccine passports requires a certain level of connectivity. As soon as a scan is initiated, a connection into the national system will send back the feedback needed. This results in a possible green light, often before you’ve even taken your finger off the trigger.

However, in order to keep this running smoothly, a 3G, 4G or WiFi connection is needed. When evaluating which tech to rely on, consider the location of the business and any requirement to move away from the venue. Checking event entry in the parking lot could make 4G a crucial feature. In contrast, a corded link into the WiFi system may be the fastest way to scan underground.

4) Speed to keep queues moving

Perhaps the biggest concern of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs is the one that affects their customers: queuing. Slow scanning can turn lines from a minor inconvenience into a deterrent. While various points in this list, such as connectivity and training, can impact speed, perhaps the biggest differentiator is the scan quality. 

Specifically, the chosen technology needs to be able to scan 2D codes (QR or Datamatrix) and scan from screen. Both features, the scanner needs to have mastered in order to minimise fuss and maximise efficiency. Point-and-shoot scanners that pick up on the barcode the first time, every time, prevent vaccine passport scanning from disrupting business. As a front-runner in scanning from screens with a long history in mobile ticketing and mobile payment, Newland offers equipment that’s been designed and perfected for both.

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5) Matching the solution to your budget

Businesses of all shapes and sizes come with budgets to match. So it’s no surprise that, with vaccine passport scanning not exactly having been at the top of their annual budget, the purchase of scanners can be a begrudging one. However, there may be no need to pull out the rainy day fund yet. 

Depending on requirements, the cost of each scanner can range from just a few tens for a straightforward solution, to a few hundreds for something more versatile. With a wide range of vaccine passport scanners, the impact on the corporate wallet is completely up to its owner.

And businesses shouldn’t underestimate the long-term presence of 2D barcode scanning from phones in our society. Purchasing the right scanning tech can be an investment in a digital future.

6) Being ready for a change

To say the Covid landscape moves fast is, at this point, a bit of an understatement. It can feel like rules and regulations are changing by the minute and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to anticipate changes more than a few weeks ahead of time. Whether you call it covid status, green pass or vaccine passport, scanning vaccine passes is here to stay.  And many of the pubs, restaurants and nightclubs that have been able to keep up have one thing in common: they’ve leveraged the full power of technology. 

With 2D (QR or Datamatrix) overtaking 1D (barcode)  scanning, as well as the sharp increase in scanning from screens, there are 2 major trends to be equipped for. Having the technology to cope with both in-house, prepares businesses for the vast majority of hospitality and pandemic-related trends. The unprecedented events of the last year have reshaped the hospitality industry and caused an innovation boom.  It's clear scanning tech is playing an increasingly important role in anything from loyalty apps to click-and-collect.

Still a little lost? Our team offers free and personalised Vaccine Passport scanning advice!