Sophisticated Rent Payment Touch Screen Technology for JHC Residents
The Johannesburg Housing Company is a non-profit social housing company that services residents wishing to find affordable accommodation within inner city Johannesburg. These residents are typically low-income, earning between R2 500 to R15 000 per month, and have families to feed and look after.
The JHC manages more than 4,300 units, which range from single rooms with communal facilities and bachelor apartments to self-contained single and double bedroom townhouses. This non-profit social housing company also contributes to urban regeneration by building new housing projects and converting dilapidated buildings in run-down areas within the city into affordable, safe and livable housing units.
Tactile Technologies became involved with the JHC when, around two years ago, they embarked upon a mission to improve their service to customers, which they want to achieve through the optimization of their rent payment facilities. Currently, one of the ways that the 12,000+ tenants living in 4,300+ JHC housing units can pay rent is by way of Speed Point machines. These, however, require the presence of the building’s Housing Supervisors so that they can process the payment on behalf of the tenants. The challenge here is that Housing Supervisors only work from 8am to 5pm every day, whereas most tenants leave the building well before 8am to get to work and arrive back well after 5pm. This makes rent payment very challenging, not only for these residents, but also for the JHC.
Tactile Technologies saw a simple solution to this problem and subsequently designed a self-service touch screen kiosk, which could be placed in the lobbies of the JHC’s residential buildings to be used as 24/7 pay points by the residents. So far, two of these touch screen kiosks – one freestanding and one wall mounted – have been deployed, as the project is in the testing phase.
The kiosks themselves consist of a generous 19-inch touch screen and a custom-designed proprietary software that is extremely intuitive and easy to use, thereby making rent payment quick and convenient for tenants, even for those with next to no experience using touch screen technology.
Special Features of the JHC Pay Point Touch Screen Kiosks
The two touch screen kiosks that have been designed by Tactile Technologies come with several sophisticated features:
- A Finger Print Reader for registering first-time users and for authenticating repeat users.
- A 19-inch open frame touch screen monitor, which offers excellent image clarity and accurate touch response.
- An 80mm kiosk printer to print receipts for rent payments.
- An FEC BP325 fanless PC box, which operates quietly and without generating a lot of dust.
- A Card Payment Pin Pad Device (procured directly by JHC and integrated by Tactile into the kiosk design).
- An intuitive payment software that was custom-designed for the project.
The kiosk works simply by first identifying who the tenant is, which can be done by manually typing in the name, building number and unit number, etc. or by typing in the resident’s code (every tenant is assigned one). Alternatively, tenants can register their fingerprint ID by following the prompts provided by the touch screen kiosk.
Once the tenant has been identified, their profile will show and they can then enter the precise rent amount they’d like to pay. This gives them the option to pay their rent in one lump sum or as a collection of smaller instalments, which often suits low-income families better.
The entire process literally requires three button presses, all guided by easy-to-understand prompts. Once the transaction is successful, the user will be notified and a receipt printed.
These pay point touch screen kiosks have been deployed to two strategically chosen JHC locations, but the project is set for expansion in the very near future. The goal of the initial rollout is to determine the uptake of tenants to the new technology and whether there are any bugs or kinks that need to be worked out in the software. Once Tactile Technologies has received feedback and performed any necessary tweaks, the JHC plans to zealously deploy more units to various residential buildings and to their head office.