The digitalisation of the Internet Festival voucher system
The Internet Festival event is a four-day event that takes place every year in the city of Pisa in the month of October. In each edition hundreds of guests are invited to attend the various events located throughout the city. The organization of the Internet Festival makes available to guests (including staff and members of the organization) lunch and dinner vouchers of a fixed amount thanks to which it is possible to consume a meal at the restaurants affiliated with the event.
The problems of manual management
The manual management of the voucher mechanism is subject to some problems that arise due to human errors on the part of the two actors directly involved in the service: the merchants and the guests. Furthermore, the extreme dynamism of the event leads to sudden changes regarding the stay of guests at the event and therefore their presence in the guest register.
There are various problems, those relating to the merchant: a register is lost, a voucher is lost, a guest is included in a register that doesn’t match the voucher type or date, a lunch voucher is collected instead of a dinner voucher or vice versa, an expired voucher is collected and registered on a different day than the one relating to the actual use of the service in order to be able to gather more money from the organization.
Then there are problems relating to the guest: a voucher is lost, a voucher is used in the wrong restaurant, a wrong register is signed which does not match the voucher, a lunch voucher is delivered instead of a dinner voucher or vice versa, an expired voucher is used on a different day to that relating to the actual use of the service in order to benefit from a discount from the merchant.
Finally, the problems relating to the organization: a guest no longer participates in the event, a guest stays longer during the event, a guest participates on a different day than established, addition and management of a new guest.
The digitalization of the process
The solution was to design and create an application to maximize the efficiency of the digitalised management of vouchers by the organization and to minimize as much as possible the interaction with the system itself by the restaurateurs (merchants) who provide the lunch and dinner service, and of the guests (users) who benefit from the lunch and/or dinner service.
More specifically, the system was designed to give the organization the possibility, through its production secretariat, to maximize productivity in the management of vouchers and therefore to provide the latter with the possibility of inserting, removing and modifying, as well as updating, any aspect regarding the context of the vouchers that would otherwise be manually managed. The production secretariat was enabled, through the system, to interact with every aspect of the digitalised context such as the list of merchants, the list of guests and the list of vouchers. All these entities can be modified simply and above all quickly by the production secretariat, and the system reflects the changes immediately.
Only the production secretariat accesses the backend of the system, while the other types of users (restaurateurs and guests) access the system with the restrictions of their own role. In particular, restaurateurs can access the system from their smartphone (or tablet) using their credentials and use the system as a webapp where they can verify and validate the validity of the lunch and dinner vouchers presented by guests in the system. Furthermore, restaurateurs can view the vouchers used in their restaurant for each day. The system also offers the possibility of interfacing with the files internally used by the production secretariat to facilitate and speed up the matching between guests and vouchers without necessarily having to resort to inserting the vouchers individually for each guest but rather providing the possibility of updating all the matchings into the database simply by importing an already compiled file. Guests will not interact directly with the system but will be an integral part of it: each guest has an identification code, registered in the system, provided via QR code to the restaurateur. Once the guest’s identification code has been entered, the system takes care of verifying whether he is entitled to the service and, if this verification is successful, of registering him with the restaurateur to whom the identification code was presented. The system is equipped with a function that allows the production secretariat to be able to send their credentials via email and SMS to restaurateurs and a link (or QR code) containing the identification code to guests.
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