Bamboo Used to Improve Election Quality in the Philippines
The Philippines government started collecting the signatures of eligible Filipino voters a few years ago for Presidential elections. The focus has been to avoid fraud and phantom voters, thus all eligible voters are required to register and update all personal information in their Voter ID cards. In the Voter ID cards, the signatures, images and fingerprints of each voter is captured.
Beta samples of a voter’s ID card
To achieve security and ensure high quality of the signatures, the Philippines government sought a better device with the ability to perform entry level signature capture.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was tasked to fulfill this requirement with strict guidelines and criteria. Then, Unison Computer Systems, Inc. was contracted by Comelec after a successful bid to implement the system in voter registration centers around The Philippines.
Unison has been in business for more than 20 years and employs about 200 people. They are also one of the top choices for IT supplies to The Philippines government.
For this project, Unison found the new Bamboo Pen fit in nicely with Comelec’s objective to capture voters’ signatures, and the cost was within their budget. The shortlisted candidates for this project were Wacom and another U.S. competitor.
Unison has to carefully test the tablets, along with the ease of using the API (Application Programming Interface) to integrate with the Election system. After many rounds of testing and ensuring 100% compliance with Comelec’s requirements, Unison decided to use Bamboo Pen for this project. With the assistance of an MNC system integrator, Unison managed to integrate Bamboo within days – a much shorter period than was previously expected.
In the Proof of Concept (POC), Unison set up the system comprising of Bamboo, a third party fingerprint scanner, a webcam and a desktop computer. The Comelec team ran through the entire system multiple times and simulated different scenarios. The POC passed without any hitches and Comelec was fully satisfied with the performance and the quality of the captured signatures.
Bamboo pen and a 3rd party fingerprint scanner
What set Bamboo apart from the competitor’s signature pad? According to Unison, there were several winning factors from the Wacom product. The key factors included Bamboo’s realistic pen pressure sensitivity. Users sensed no difference from using a real pen and their signatures looks very natural.
Secondly, Bamboo has superior electro-magnetic resonance technology, which allowed a better reading height as compared to the competitors’ product. The reading height refers to the height from which detection of pen input activity is measured from the pen tip to the active signing area. The Bamboo was the clear winner in this important category.
Thirdly, Bamboo has a larger active area than the competitors. This enables users to sign naturally without the space constraints encountered with competitors’ products.
Wacom’s global presence, fully developed distribution network and support system have combined to give confidence to Unison and Comelec to receive the assistance they require on mission critical services and support.
In terms of measurable benefits of using Bamboo, the Unison team was able to save about 20% in development & testing time. Although the project time was short, Unison did not face any integration and quality issues, which enabled deployment to stay on schedule.
The only concern from Unison involved Bamboo’s cordless pen. While the cordless pen provides users the freedom to sign, write and draw more naturally, users could unintentionally remove the pen from the registration counters. To resolve this potential problem, Unison improvised and secured the cordless pen to the tablet with a modified cable to prevent accidental removal. Overall, Unison was satisfied with the pen as it did not require any batteries to operate.
The Bamboo pen is secured to the tablet via modified cable
Since October 2009, Comelec and Unison have deployed more than 2000 Bamboo tablets to more than 1700 voter registration centers across The Philippines.
Unison recommends Wacom products to any system integrators who want good value and performance, the versatility of using an SDK (Software Development Kit), and ease of integration via Wintab compliant drivers.
The system up and running
For inquiries about Wacom signature pads and tablets in SouthEast Asia and South Asia, please contact email@example.com