New signing in system to make schools safer
17 January 2011
A touch screen sign-in system created in Barnsley is transforming the way schools across the country keep track of people coming in and out of their buildings.
Osborne Technologies Ltd developed its innovative EntrySign product to log visitors to reception at its own base on Fall Bank Industrial Estate, Dodworth.
It so impressed customers that managing director Tom Osborne quickly moved to adapt it for the education sector, taking on board feedback from schools themselves.
Just over a year on, the firm’s engineers have installed the system in 50 schools and colleges and its success has pushed up overall sales figures by 70 per cent since last April, compared with the same period the previous year. A corporate version is also available.
Specialist coaches from Enterprising Barnsley, which offers free support to high-growth local companies, are now helping Osborne Technologies to structure expansion as interest in EntrySign increases from across the UK and Ireland. Included is assistance with marketing and the development of a dedicated sales team, with plans to boost the existing 22-strong workforce with an extra five sales staff.
Tom said: “Most schools still have paper-based, and often separate, signing in books for staff, visitors and pupils. EntrySign brings to an end all the scribbling of names, times and other details. It’s a unique piece of software that uses touch screen technology to integrate all the health and safety and auditing systems, printing visitor badges for an instant visual check.
“And its administrative side allows staff to manage the system, view live information and even quickly print off a list of everyone in the building in the event of a fire evacuation. Also schools can customise the main screen for a great first impression.
“Because we developed EntrySign by trialling it with our existing school customers, we’ve made it to fit and it’s very easy to use. We’ve also developed a corporate application and are looking at a version for hospital wards. The future looks exciting and Enterprising Barnsley’s expert guidance is a big help because it’s addressing areas that need improvement while I concentrate on the day-to-day running of the business.”
Scissett Middle School, in Kirklees, had EntrySign installed at the start of the current school year.
ICT manager Neville Roberts said: “The system is quick, easy to use and produces bespoke visitor badges within seconds. Visitors are always impressed when they see the self-service touch screen in our reception area and this also helps to show that our school has a strong focus on ICT from the minute they walk through the door.
“During a recent Ofsted inspection our school was judged ‘outstanding’ and, with the current focus on safeguarding children, I have no doubt that our ability to record and monitor visitors on site contributed to our success.”
EntrySign won a Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Award for Innovation in Business and was recently showcased at BETT - the world’s largest technology in education show – at London’s Olympia.
The story of Osborne Technologies began in the early 1990s when Tom, then a retail manager, started refurbishing computers in his garage. Osborne Computers became a limited company in 1998 but changed its name in 2007 to reflect the range of Internet Protocol (IP) technology it had taken on.
The company provides a wide range of cutting edge IT and audio visual solutions for education and business. Its state of the art demonstration suite allows clients to see and use working products, including CCTV, plasma and LCD screens, projectors, interactive whiteboards, touch screen technology and an array of computers to suit different needs.
Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Notes to News Editors:
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and University Campus Barnsley. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. For further information, contact programme Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at firstname.lastname@example.org