Get Into The Government Contract Game
This integrator installed a $300,000 ID bar code scanning system for a military base.
Those integrators lucky enough to be on the inside know how lucrative a market the U.S. government can be. However, if there’s one market that has substantial barriers to entry, it’s the government. Those on the outside often are left to scratch their heads at all the necessary work required to even be considered for opportunities. A recent installation by Intellicheck Mobilisa for Vandenberg Air Force Base provides good insight on the challenges encountered when working with the government.
Intellicheck Mobilisa is an integrator specializing in mobile and wireless systems for the government and military. A year ago, Vandenberg Air Force Base contacted the integrator regarding a new identification verification system it wanted to put in place. The primary need was to verify the ID of visitors as quickly as possible.
For the software portion of its solution, the integrator installed its own Defense ID M3000 Visitor/Vendor control station product. Defense ID is an access control security system that runs security checks on IDs. On the hardware side, the integrator selected the Honeywell (formerly Metrologic) MS1690 Focus handheld imager. The imager is used to scan the bar code on a visitor ID such as a driver’s license. The imager scans the ID, and the software then processes the captured data, first checking to ensure the person was scheduled to be on base for a visit. Additionally, the software performs a real-time check of the visitor against over 160 government databases for warrants or other negative flags.
Use Bar Code Imagers To Capture Driver’s License Data
According to Steven Williams, senior VP of business development at Intellicheck Mobilisa, while other imagers can take up to 15 seconds to successfully capture and process a bar code, the MS1690 scanner performs the capture in 1 second. “When scanning, it’s a question of is the bar code positioned correctly? How hard is it to capture the bar code? Do you have to move the credential back and forth until it’s lined up correctly?” explains Williams. “With the Metrologic scanner we found that information is captured with minimal adjustment by the operator.”
Once a check is performed, the captured information (e.g. name, address, license number) is then used to populate the fields of a special visitor ID badge. As some states store photographic data within the bar code on its driver’s licenses, this information can be used to add a photo to the visitor ID. If no photo information is captured from the license, the visitor center uses a camera to add the photo to the visitor badge. The integrator selected Zebra Card P330 ID card printers to print IDs. In all, 15 Metrologic scanners were included in the installation, along with 7 card printers. The total cost of the installation was approximately $300,000.
Security Certifications Lead To Government Work
Of all the challenges Intellicheck Mobilisa faced with the implementation, the most significant was meeting the requirements to integrate with the base’s computer network. “There are numerous certifications a company needs to achieve to operate on federal government networks,” says Williams. “Even with commercial customers, we face the challenge of complying with security certification requirements. We typically spend months working with government customers to comply with security requirements.” Another challenge the integrator regularly faces is a long sales cycle. Williams explains that the federal government works on a two-year budget. “The government always has money to spend, but facilities are looking two to three years ahead to determine what they’re going to buy,” he says. “Sales can take a couple years to complete.” For both these reasons, Williams says that understanding the requirements of doing business with the government is a significant hurdle. However, most government agencies offer free resources to help work through the requirements.
After the installation, the integrator spent a day training administrators and staff on system usage. Additional training was performed as personnel changed. In addition, since the initial installation, Vandenberg Air Force Base has requested additional functionality, requiring software enhancements and the addition of 15 Metrologic imagers.