Introducing the latest addition to the Technology Services team – The Walkupinator – a device which simplifies the way we log our tickets from people just dropping by.
The Technology Services team at REA Group is extremely proud of the walk up service we provide to our staff, however logging tickets for our walk ups has become problematic.
After a busy morning on the service desk in the Innovation Hub it’s often hard to recall who we’ve assisted or what the issue was. With over 550 people at REA HQ, things get busy. To solve an issue that has consistently plagued our team, I’ve created a system that utilises existing technology to allow users to simply swipe a card to log a ticket. This system, which we’ve named “The Walkupinator” can save the person manning the service desk up to an hour a day, as well as saving time for our internal colleagues – or as we like to think of them, our customers.
This system, which essentially lets a member of staff use their id card to log a tech error with one touch, utilises our current printer card reader infrastructure, which is also used for our Fuji Xerox follow-me printing system.
Using a borrowed Raspberry Pi and a commandeered reader from one of the printers, I was ready to go. I started out with the basics, ensuring that I could actually read the correct data from the card. Interestingly this read in like a keyboard input, reading in the numbers from the card.
Using existing data from the Fuji database to identify users, as well as the Zendesk API, I was able to create tickets from that user. Initially I went for a minimum viable product, using a CSV dump of the users and simply iterating over that, making use of the borrowed hardware.
After proving that my concept would work, I then started to tie up the loose ends by
cleaning up the code and purchasing hardware rather than using borrowed hardware.
For the final product (pictured to the right), I attached a PiTFT, 3.5″ screen which allows the consultant to see the feedback of the script. I also purchased a dedicated card reader so the system could remain in place. In terms of the software I have tied into the Fuji database we have set up at REA Group and added error handling. The only thing I’m struggling to find a case that will fit around this screen. (suggestions welcome!)
As well as improving efficiency for our team, creating this has been a great learning experience, as it was a great opportunity to get experience working with Raspberry Pi’s and using API’s.
Using the Walkupinator
The following video will show the usage of the Walkupinator:
So far feedback from the business has been great. So great in fact, I’ll be creating a similar tool for the Facilities team as a Hack Day project.
See the code
If you’d like to see the code for yourself, you can find it at: https://github.com/realestate-com-au/walkupinator