The concept of a scanner is a fairly broad one, and a scanner is generally a device that can use electronic means to read information off of something else. In particular, race track scanners are like a radio, unlike a driver license reader or a ballot scanner. Fans of NASCAR and other car races may get race track scanners, which can be programmed to listen to the radio chatter between a car racer and their pit crew. Finding race track scanners can be a great way for a fan to deal with all the crowds and noise at a race, so these race track scanners make for a more persona experience.
While race track scanners are for fun, other scanners may be used for voting, the police and their daily work, a workplace, and retailers, especially. This is where computer document scanners, kiosk scanners, ID readers, and more are used. What is there to know about various scanners and their work?
Scanners for Employees
It is fairly common for many modern workplaces to have a system of ID cards and scanners alike for identification of personnel and security measures. A workplace, whether a factory or warehouse, is not a place for just any stranger to show up and wander around the workplace. Rather, employees will be given photo ID cards, which may come complete with bar codes and/or magnetic stripes on them as well. The idea is that before entering a building, an employee who shows up may swipe this card through a scanner, or have lasers read the contents of the card. This may not only unlock doors, but it may double as a way to track who worked what shift, and for how many hours. In some cases, photo ID cards can be shown to a live, human security officer, who may clear people to enter the building or certain rooms. This means that when a person is first hired at a new employer, they may have their photo taken, and an ID card printer will print that new ID on a blank plastic card. This may take only a minute or two.
Elections are also a fine time to use scanners, not only for reading official ID cards of people who arrive to vote, but scanning paper ballots. Some voters use electronic booths to register their votes, while others use pens or pencils to mark circles on paper ballots. Then, these marked ballots are fed into a scanner machine that is on site, and such a machine can accept hundreds or possibly even thousands of ballots per day. The machine will scan the contents of every ballot put into it, leading to accurate counting. That, and checking IDs at the door, may be contributors to the U.S.’s very low rates of voter fraud.
Scanners for Retail
This is a major arena for scanner tech, as many Americans carry debit, credit, and even gift cards to make purchases. These plastic cards have not made cash obsolete, but most retailers and service providers have cash registers or even handheld scanners that may read the contents of a card swiped in them or inserted in them. Many Americans today own a credit card, which may be scanned and thus transfer funds for a debt right there in the store. This is faster and easier than using cash, and a person may make a purchase for hundreds of dollars this way if they so choose. The same is true of a debit card, and through their bank, a person can transfer more funds into (or out of) that debit card at will. This is often done to avoid having to carry around a lot of cash.
Using credit and debit cards is a good way to track purchases, as well. A person can look up their bank information online or get statements, and see a complete log of all purchases they made within a certain time frame. This makes it easy to create a budget or make other financial moves. Finally, should that card be stolen and used by a stranger, the owner can call their card company to have that account frozen. Bank statements may help the owner identify purchases that the other party made.