Scanning QR codes are becoming a norm everywhere these days, but for some schools and educational institutions, it’s a technology with costs that are burning through their pockets.
When Akif Rabbani was still studying in UNITEN in June 2020, he was approached by his secondary school ICT teacher on whether or not there were cheaper solutions to QR attendance and temperature taking for schools.
“One solution charged RM 35/student/month. Imagine if a school had 2,000 students, this will cost them RM70k per month just for a simple system. So I thought, is it possible to build it myself and make it more accessible to people?” Akif shared with Vulcan Post.
Hence, he took matters into his own hands and worked with his peers to create one for his secondary school, SMK Bandar Rinching. Fortunately, he received positive feedback after it was deployed, and word spread to other schools about their technology, Datang.my.
Making It Affordable For Schools
Datang.my currently consists of a team of 8, including Akif, most of whom are also from UNITEN with a background in IT. They’re currently working on developing and improving their technology full-time.
Their most basic package is free, where you can get features like:
- Attendance record
- Visitors or guest record
- Attendance report analysis
- Temperature record
- Connect with thermometer
- RFID card integration
- SMS notification (RM0.09 per SMS)
- Multi-user access
Do note that the SMS feature is to send notifications to the students’ parents who’d like to have that information. And for the teachers’ convenience, they can input different class sessions on the app and take attendance accordingly.
To make the attendance analysis more accurate, teachers can also cancel out dates that are school holidays just so it tallies with the attendance rate on school days accurately.
Since their QR technology is free, Datang.my actually generates revenue through selling peripheral devices like wireless Bluetooth infrared thermometers and QR/RFID scanners with their system. These would be the investments schools switching from pen-and-paper attendance systems to contactless ones for the first time would need to make.
If you’re a school that already has these technologies, you can connect your thermometer to your phone which can be integrated with Datang.my’s ecosystem.
They also have premium packages that start from RM33/place/month that allow users to have a customised ID card, merit system, and more.
Because some schools prohibit students from bringing phones, they made a system that instead requires attendees to bring a QR code each, which is almost like an ID card, to be scanned for attendance and temperature-recording. So schools who might want to fancy up their students’ QR attendance cards can opt for the more premium features.
And should a student forget to bring their QR card, there is a section in the app with all the students’ names that a teacher can click on to mark their attendance.
“Since data privacy is important, we cannot see which places are registered with what organisation, unless they are willing to share the data with us. But as of now, over 2,000 schools have shared with us that they are using Datang.my in their schools,” Akif said of their user acquisition.
Some Principals Still Prefer Taking Attendance The Old-School Way
While their technology seems to be getting pretty good reception from various institutions and is quite affordable, it’s still not some schools’ cup of tea.
“One of our users complained that they have fully set up Datang.my at their school, but when they suddenly changed principals, he wanted to discard the system since he trusts the pen-and-paper attendance more which provides a physical copy,” Akif shared with Vulcan Post.
Surprisingly, this happened at Akif’s own school, which was where they piloted this solution system to became what it is today. “Until now, we cannot convince the new principal to use our technology developed by their own alumni. It is truly heartbreaking,” he lamented.
With every product and service, there are just certain groups of people who are not the right target audience. Despite that, Akif shared that over 18,000 places have registered with their system, which includes kindergartens, schools, universities, offices, factories, religious institutions, and more.
Now, even though Datang.my during the pandemic to fix a cost-inefficient solution, he also clarified that their solution system had always been built with a post-pandemic relevance in mind because of its convenience.
Featured Image Credit: Akif Rabbani, Datang.my