Hardware/Software Integration: G–20 Time Tracking System

In late September 2009, Pittsburgh hosted the G–20 economic summit meeting.  To meet security requirements for this important event, the City arranged for approximately 3,000 out–of–town officers to supplement its own 900-officer police force.  In advance of the event, the City asked B–Three Solutions to develop a system that could track the work of non–Pittsburgh law enforcement personnel during the period of the G–20 summit.  City law enforcement personnel would also make use of the system.

During the summit, law enforcement officials needed to be able to account for every officer, tracking their shifts and duty location assignments and recording the hours worked.  This data would be of immediate use to law enforcement officials making personnel distribution decisions.  Once the G–20 summit had concluded, the data would provide the basis for overtime pay to the officers, and for reimbursement to the City for extraordinary personnel costs associated with the summit.

A city will typically have about a year to prepare for hosting the G–20 conference, but Pittsburgh had only three months’ notice.  This limited timeframe demanded a fast–track approach to all preparations for the conference.  B–Three began the design work on the G–20 time tracking system a week before the project officially started, and continued that accelerated pace throughout the design, development, and testing of this mission–critical application.

The completed system represented an integration of:

  • Barcode technology
  • Dedicated PCs
  • Sophisticated queuing and transmission of data
  • Application software, including database queries/updates and management reports

Every out–of–town officer would be issued a G–20 ID Badge.  The badge would include the officer’s name, a unique ID, and a corresponding barcode.  The G–20 ID information would be stored in a special G–20 personnel database.  City personnel had already been assigned similar ID badges, with their ID information stored in a City personnel database.

About six months prior to beginning work on the G–20 system, B–Three had developed an application for tracking court appearances by City police officers.  An officer checking into or checking out of a courtroom would stop at a kiosk near the courtroom and scan the magnetic stripe on his or her ID badge.  The system would record the appropriate time entries in a database, and police administrators could run various reports against the data.  B–Three and the City determined that an application developed along these lines would meet the requirements for the G–20 time tracking system.

B–Three created an application that would read in a barcode from an ID Badge, find a match for it in either the City or non–City database, and insert the appropriate time tracking records.  In case of a problem scanning the barcode, the officer would be able to manually enter his or her ID number.

The G–20 time tracking application was installed on dedicated PCs at personnel check–in points situated at locations throughout the City.  By means of B–Three’s Remote Data Broker (RDB) product, the system included a queuing capability to transfer the time data to a central server.  The queuing capability avoided reliance on a persistent Internet connection.  The recording of time data was not affected by the loss of a connection.  The system would automatically “push” the data to the server when the software detected a valid network connection, thus ensuring that data was never lost.

B–Three managed the project to a successful rollout within the specified timeframe.  Throughout the G–20 summit, the system achieved the City’s goals for the project.