Sharp Labs: Virtual Receptionist

Application Design & Development

Challenge

Sharp Labs needed to replace an outdated virtual receptionist kiosk with a modern solution that offered easy maintenance, and provide touch screen access to locating and dialing employees from the lobby.

Design & Implementation

The goal was to build a web application to use as the user interface, data store, and system administration. From here the employee directory could be accessed from any desktop computer on the local network. The challenging part was also having that user interface for the touch screen kiosk and have dialing/speakerphone capability. Through prototyping I was able to display a modified user interface to the kiosk by simply supplying it with an alternate CSS stylesheet (with fixed dimensions since there is no scrollbars, and larger buttons for easy touch access).

Using an embedded web browser coupled with a custom telephony interface utilizing the Windows TAPI3 API the kiosk also provides the ability to dial an employee's extension directly from a web page using a voice modem, a concealed microphone, and the touch screen's built in speakers.

The employee information is being synchronized from LDAP to MySQL. As employees come and go, they are automatically added or removed from the directory. The only administration needed is assigning a photograph to the employee or changing their visibility within the directory.

Payoff

Technologies Used

Web Application:

Touch screen kiosk:

About Sharp Labs

Headquartered in Camas, Washington and a cornerstone of Sharp Corporation's global research and development network, Sharp Labs' fundamental and applied research feeds Sharp's vast appetite for technologies that not only are innovative, elegant and practical - but that by design improve the quality of life for people throughout the world.

About Binary Signal

A small web application and software development company located in Portland, Oregon.

Small Business

As a small business owner myself, I am committed to supporting small businesses and using local resources when needed.