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1. Background of Study
This chapter gives an overview of this project titled a queue management system (microcontroller based intelligent queue management system). This report started with the background of our study to give the readers an idea of what this project is all about before going into its technical details. The chapter also contain the problem statement, aims and objective, scope of work and as well as the project areas of application.
Queue management system are widely use device in big companies, market places and schools to assist the management/organization to maintain the queue of their customers/students in order to provide a quality service or business. This device is a very important to guide people in the banking hall, post offices, vote casting/election centers and as well as in the hospital, etc. Today, a queue management system will help so much in our institution, more especially in the ICT department where rush and disorder usually occur. The implementation of queue management system can provide the following advantages to our institution and to any business organizations as:
1. Minimize students/customers waiting times.
2. Make waiting time informative and entertaining
3. Reduces frustrations, stress while maintaining orderliness.
4. Improve productivity and operational efficiencies.
5. Speed up students/customers throughput
6. Increases sales and profitability
7. Increase satisfaction levels and improve customer retention rates
1.1.2 What is a Queue?
Generally, a queue is a line of people or things waiting to be handled, usually in sequential order starting at the beginning or top of the line or sequence. In computer technology, computer engineering or telecommunication, a queue is a sequence of work objects that are waiting to be processed. The queuing delay is the time a job waits in a queue until it can be executed. It is a key component of network delay. The possible factors, arrangements, and processes related to queue is known as queuing theory.
In this report, the queue concerns ‘queue monitoring and control’ in regards to human beings. Although, the device can be used for any other applications such as monitoring and controlling vehicles in a fuel refilling station queue. Therefore, this project will simply be defined as a queue management electronic device specially designed to be used to monitor and control queues in an organization. Queues of people form in various situations and locations in a queue area. The process of queue formation and propagation is defined as queuing theory. The picture below illustrates people standing in a queue where the queue management system is been installed.
Fig 1.1: Illustration of People Standing in a Queue.
The system consists of a denouncing switch which serves an input transducer, microcontroller unit, seven segment display unit for queue information display, a buzzer for call up alarm and a regulated DC power supply unit. The system was designed around a low cost 8 bit microcontroller integrated circuit (IC) and entirely software controlled. The control programs have been developed using assembly language. And, the systems have been tested under different conditions to evaluate its performance.
1. Statement of Problem.
It is very hard to manage queue because human beings sometimes can be hard to control. Nobody wants to wait in a queue. In long queues or crowd places, chaos or disorder usually occurs. More especially when waiting time is high are many people are late and wish to be attended before the closing time. This makes people to jump queue and creating problems among themselves. The past queue management devices are very expensive and scarce. Only few organizations can afford it, yet, they have some limitations like size, immoveable and not visible which makes it inconvenience to be use outdoor or for multipurpose. Hence, our project focuses on a portable queue management system to control queue which can be moved from place to place such as in a ticketing counters, school premises and in health consultancy centers, etc.
Many organizations have tried to manage queue using manual counting but this method is not effective, transparent, straightforward and visible because people can cheat, be confused or stressed up .Queue always occur in schools when students must enroll on time to avoid late entry, or when they need to collect their examination registration number or receipt to be able to sit for an exam when the exam has started. Queue can occur in banks where customers are rushing to deposit money, open an account to leave the banking hall for another appointment or when registering for the BVN before the closing date or hour.
Public organization can be busy with people who quarrel and jump queues. Customers will complain, scatter the line and leave due to confusion, stress and time wastage. Queues of people form in various situations and locations can seriously cause problem, negatively affect a business resulting to fewer sales and loosing valuable customers. Because of the above listed problems, a queue management device has been developed.
2. Aims and Objectives
The primary aim and objective of this project is to design and construct a portable microcontroller based intelligent queue management systems device to maintain and control queue with order and efficiency.
Our objectives are to develop a queue management system that can be moved among places. By using this system, queue in our ICT department can be arranged accordingly. People can wait in a queue and see the next person number being displayed. In order to achieve our objectives, the following sub-objectives were pursued:
1. To develop a queuing algorithm for queue management system.
2. To have a cost effective, simple and reliable electronic queue-reduction system that can assist any organizations or institutions reduce and manage queues.
3. Eliminate quarrel and stress as to satisfy people and makes life more efficient and comfortable.
1. Scope of work
The project was divided into two main parts: hardware and software. The hardware emphasized on the architecture and the specifications as well as the circuit connection of the system while the software scope emphasized on the development of the coding which will be programmed to meet the hardware specifications.
In this project work, the queue monitoring and control system have been developed for the purpose of controlling queue in the school ICT department, banking halls, hotel reservation counters, school hostels, ticket counters, insurance companies, customer service centers, etc.
2. Significance of the Study
Retailers can use queue monitoring system to reduce queues, making customers happier and also increases sales. By seeing the queuing time they will know when to perform tasks like re-stocking shelves and looking after customers. It also provides managers with evidence that they need resources for more staff at busy periods. Monitoring queues manage the queue in election voting center, saves time and prevent confusion in a queue area. It offers a greater degree of freedom when an organization is attending to their customers since the customer know the number of people currently in a queue. Queue management system can be installed at airport to guide people at the counter where their ticket is called. For example airports, use queue monitoring to see how long people are waiting to go through security, and banks improve their service by measuring queue lengths. It can be used schools, institutions, transportation company, busy super market, or for vehicles in a filling station. Measuring and counting can be particularly useful in situations such as airport security where a large volume of people pass through an area in varying flow patterns and constantly varying physical locations.
3. Organization of the work.
This project report is written in such a way that each chapter is related to the next as shown in the block diagram below.
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