Checkpoint Comparison: NFC tags, Beacons or QR-codes?

QR-Patrol is a Real Time guard tour system which skyrockets the efficiency of security companies and offers them the ability to upgrade their services via technology. One of its basic features is that it can connect different sites with the use of checkpoints

But what exactly is a checkpoint?

Checkpoints are used to identify the locations that need to be visited by a guard during his patrol. They allow the security company to identify a site and to connect any incidents to it.

In this post, we are going to compare the advantages and disadvantages of 3 different types of checkpoints you can choose from: QR-codes, NFC tags and Beacons.


QR-Codes (Quick Response Codes)

A QR code is made up of black segments organized in a square grid on a white background. It can be read by a visualizing device and can be refined by error modification until the picture will be interpreted adequately.

The advantages and disadvantages of using QR-Codes as checkpoints are:

Advantages

 Minimal cost

 Can be easily assigned to a site/location

 You can gain larger functionality distance ranges by increasing QR-code sizes

 You don’t have to be concerned about the interference of the surroundings

Disadvantages

 QR-codes require balance during the scan


NFC (Near Field Communication)

NFC is a wireless technology enabling the exchange of information (text, numbers, etc) between two NFC enabled devices. NFC tags consist of tiny microchips with little aerials which can keep data to transfer to another NFC enabled device, such as a smartphone.

The advantages and disadvantages of using NFC as checkpoints are:

Advantages

 Easy to read

 Minimal cost

 Quick response

 Low light functionality

 Invisible function

Disadvantages

 Higher cost than QR-codes

 Smartphones shall be NFC compatible in order to read NFC tags

 Metal materials adjacent to NFC tag may trigger disturbance


Beacons

A beacon is a small Bluetooth radio transmitter device, that uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology to broadcast data signals on regular intervals; a Bluetooth-equipped device like a smartphone can detect those signals if within the beacon's range.

The advantages and disadvantages of using Beacons as checkpoints are:

Advantages

 Easy to read

 Can be scanned by distance (the ones we provide can be scanned from between a few centimeters and up to 200 meters)

 Can be scanned automatically (so you can even hide them)

 They come with a Found & Lost feature, which means that every time a worker enters a specific area, an automatic found event will be sent to the manager. In the same manner, a lost event will automatically be sent every time a worker leaves a specific area

Disadvantages

 Smartphones shall be BLE compatible in order to read them

 Smartphones shall be NFC compatible in order to read NFC tags

 They have a higher cost than QR-codes and NFC tags


Virtual Checkpoints (Location Based Checkpoints)

A Virtual Checkpoint is a defined area (focal point with a range) where a guard can go through, perform a Scan and possibly some other task (just like with QR-Codes, beacons and NFC tags).

You can use Virtual Checkpoints as the rest of the checkpoint types (QR-Codes, beacons and NFC tags), i.e. you can add them to schedules, guards may attach a virtual checkpoint to a MME etc. If the guards' device location is within the area defined by a Virtual Checkpoint, then the system automatically sends a Scan event for that Virtual checkpoint.

The advantages and disadvantages of using Virtual Checkpoints as checkpoints are:

Advantages

 No need to purchase any extra equipment, as they are location based

 Easy to read

 Can be scanned by distance

 Can be scanned automatically

 Really quick setup

 100% flexible range

Disadvantages

 They require accurate location information to be read


Conclusions

As you can see from this comparison, each type of checkpoint has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it is up to you to determine which one is right for your company depending on your needs.

You can order the Checkpoints you need from our store along with your QR-Patrol subscription plan and upgrade your security services today.

Have any questions? Contact our sales team!