Air Quality in OPDs, Restaurants, small offices

In developing countries waiting rooms in Doctor’s OPD clinics can be a major source of airborne transmission of infections. Most are small ill-ventilated set of rooms, equipped with 1 or 2 split air-conditioners. Only parameter measured is temperature, no one has any idea of air-changes needed per hour, or amount of outside air, or use of hepa filters.

Then, in these pandemic times, people are flocking to thousands of testing and vaccination centres, some in make-shift structures, many in basements, with even less control on air quality.

OPDs should be classified same as Emergency Rooms – 12 air changes per hour with 2 fresh air changes (Ashrae standard 170)  How to implement these in clinics? Most commonly available split acs do not have provision for fresh air. How to measure air quality – if poor, windows can be opened, exhaust fans switched on, but first, measurement must be made possible easily, cheaply.

There are probably millions of these clinics across the globe. And now with countries opening up, other public gathering places like restaurants will also need to re-visit their air handling systems

I am sure the smart people at great companies like Honeywell already have, (or can come up with) cost effective solutions to address this issue, but we need to create awareness rapidly.

Reduce pollution with 100% switch to Electric Vehicles

100% switch to Electric Vehicles will not completely eliminate pollution, but it will surely greatly reduce it. A central large power source is far more efficient than thousands of small ones – for example, if all homes, instead of running on centrally supplied electricity, used individual petrol/diesel generators, pollution levels would be horrendous.

More public transport is a good thought but while it is not possible to change all mindsets in a few years and get people to give up personal transport, yet we can change to all EVs in just a few years

In India, the pressing problem is pollution caused by 2-wheelers

As per State pollution norms, 2-wheelers are allowed to emit CO% (3.5%) and HC (3000ppm) which is 10 to 15 times more than that allowed for cars (0.3 and 200). Even if fuel consumption of 2 wheelers is 3 to 4 times less than that that of cars, it still means that, for the same distance covered, a 2-wheelers pollutes at least 3 times more than a car

And with 2-wheeler sales being 7 to 8 times that of cars in India, it means 2-wheelers cause over 20 times more vehicular pollution than cars

Our focus needs to be on converting 2-wheelers to electric –

  • increase subsidy from the current 20-25%,
  • lower price of EVs by auditing manufacturers costs (why are prices so high? how much are raw material costs as % of selling price?),
  • Lease batteries monthly to owners, reducing the up-front capital cost
  • create infrastructure for charging in public parking spaces, dedicated for 2-wheelers which are parked stuck to each other, have less power needs, so 5 to 10 cables can be connected to one charging station
  • make such charging free for next say 5 years

Disclosure: Palas makes EV charging Stations

Should Children use Touchscreens?

Adults spend 1 to 4 hours a day looking at their mobile screens, so it is natural for small children to want to imitate their parents and use a phone or tab. Imitating is natural, and touch screen devices so ubiquitous, that it is only a matter of time before a child starts using them, copying all the adults Is it a good thing ?

Some parents give their children too much screen time, using their phone/tab as an electronic baby sitter –  Either the phone is given to distract the child while parents finish some “important” task, or to bribe the child – if you sit at the table quietly and eat your meal, you can play with the phone

On the other hand, totally banning screen time may only serve to increase desire to use a screen and feel like an “adult”, causing children to use devices surreptitiously, either their parents or others

A few parents permit restricted screen time, where the child is allowed to handle a phone for a short time or to watch TV under supervision. Some TV shows are indeed educational. But if the child uses the touchscreen simply to navigate from one movie/show  to the next, then it is being used just like a remote, and the interactive features of the touchscreen are not utilised

Is there another path ?

A touchscreen can be beneficial if it is used as the interactive device that it is – for example:

There are so many games played years ago that encouraged experiential learning – fit solid shapes into their holes, jigsaws, using an abacus, connect the dots, painting – almost all of these can be done easily on a touchscreen device. And since children get bored easily, simply add a new program. No problem about where to store “older” toys !

  • show a red colour and ask the child to choose the name of the colour from a list
  • visually explain the concept of numbers – drag and drop one marble at a time into the box, then after each drop ask them to choose how many marbles are in the box
  • recognise shapes – drag a ball to a round hole, or a cube to a square hole, fit irregular shapes like jigsaws
  • touch an animal or a musical instrument to hear what it sounds like
  • live videos of a cow being milked, or a fish swimming or a bird flying in slow motion enable us to grasp quickly concepts that are difficult to explain on paper
  • and many more

 

What is needed is a software app that, while enabled, prevents access to any other program on the phone/tab, and gives access to only interactive educational experiences developed specially for children. Or use a touchscreen tab loaded with no application except interactive educational software.

RIP : Mr Uma Shankar Singh

It is with profound regret we inform the untimely demise of our Mr. Uma Shankar Singh, Senior Customer Support Executive, based in Mumbai.

Uma passed away suddenly, a victim of COVID-19.

A fine person, efficient, dedicated, humble, Uma had an excellent relationship with customers, all of whom respected his knowledge and readiness to help. Uma had been with Palas for several years and will be deeply missed.

With regret
Rajiv Srivastava
Managing Director
Palas Software Pvt. Ltd.

RESTAURANTS – PAYBACK ON A TOUCHSCREEN SELF-ORDER KIOSK CAN BE AS LOW AS 3 MONTHS

The Increasing acceptance of technology, thanks to the spread of smart phones, has led to Touchscreen self-service kiosks being seen more and more, both in QSR and Casual dining formats. But there is still some hesitation, partly because of initial investment

Touchscreen kiosks for self-ordering seem expensive at first, as there is a capital investment of around Rs 120,000 to 150,000 for one kiosk. But compare it with staff costs

Waiters are typically paid around Rs 20,000 per month – so a kiosk is just 6-7 months salary of one person. And for a restaurant working 2 shifts, return on investment reduces to just 3 months.

As a bonus, it is well established that self-service kiosks help upsell, leading to increased per-ticket sales

Touchscreen self-ordering kiosks
• Save money
• Increase sales
• Are more hygienic than human order takers

RESTAURANTS – IS IT SAFER TO USE A TOUCHSCREEN TO ORDER OR TO PLACE AN ORDER WITH A WAITER?

A touchscreen any day is safer
When ordering with a human order taker
• To be heard, you have to stand in close proximity, so there is a chance of inhaling each other’s breath.
• Even if the mask quality is good, they are not always worn properly, often slipping down uncovering the nose.
• And masks are often rudimentary, sometimes washed so many times that there is barely any material left!
• At 6 feet “safe” distance, in a noisy place we may have to speak loudly to be heard, which takes our breath much further, making 6’ no longer safe
• Secondary infection potential point is during transfer of menus/cash/ credit cards between order taker and customer

When ordering at a touchscreen,
• no one is directly breathing into your face
• Even if the previous user has contaminated the screen, you are only touching the screen with a fingertip, and fingers can be easily sanitised with alcohol before and after use
• The screen itself, before use, can be easily sanitised, in a second with an alcohol wipe
• Menus and payments are all at the touchscreen kiosk, reducing secondary infection

(In the interest of full disclosure, Palas manufactures touchscreen self-ordering kiosks for restaurants)

Patient Registration for OPD Patients

 AVOIDS CROWDING – SELF-SERVICE REGISTRATION OF PATIENTS

    • Safer for hospital registration staff, reduces chances of infection as less patient-to-receptionist / cashier contact
    • Dis-infect, as many times a day as needed, with Alcohol based sprays without damaging the system. Sanitizing wipes kept next to the system can be used by patients to clean the screen, if needed
    •  All metal and glass construction, easy to clean. No plastics. Optional Stainless steel

  • Easy to use touchscreen based software enables quick patient registration.
  • Payment by e-wallet is standard, eg PayTM, Bhim, UPI, etc. Optional credit/debit card payment—safer, as patients themselves insert card, cashier need not touch customer’s card
  • A4 size print-outs give details like patient name, age, number, amount paid, department / doctor
  • Registration data is sent at periodic intervals to reconcile with main hospital records at the back end
  • Optional outdoor systems that can be kept outside the building entrance
  • Works 24×7, overcoming problems of shortage of trained staff

 

Table Top Model, with dual monitor :

Metal & glass (no plastic) – fully sealed, easy to clean, smooth surfaces, no hard-to-reach surfaces, can be splashed with alcohol or water, or swabbed with alcohol wipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palas Self Service Systems include :
• Capacitive touchscreen monitor
• Intel Celeron processor
• E-wallet payment integrated
• Pre-loaded basic registration software
• Windows 10 operating system makes it easy to also install your own software
• Optional Credit / Debit Card Reader
• Optional QR/Barcode scanner
• 4 standard sizes, 17”, 21.5”, 27”, 32”
• Optional Multilingual text
• Educate users with safety videos

Download Brochure

 


SELF-SERVICE KIOSKS IN FINE DINING

SELF-SERVICE KIOSKS IN FINE DINING
It seems obvious that “fast food” restaurants will be the first to adopt self serve technology, but many fine dining ones can also gain by this

Our focus is on improving customer convenience, and, in today’s world, save them time. We are all short on time. By all means continue with waiters, cashiers for those customers who are averse to machines. But the dining experience can be improved by speeding up processes. The waiter going from the customers table to the kitchen to deliver a ticket is a huge waste of time and resource, as, in today’s world, this can be done instantly using technology

Many restaurants offer so called “fine dining”, but is it really so? Can we catch the waiter’s eye quickly when we need something? And does the waiter write down the order correctly every time? Is the waiter merely a “middle-man” between the diner and the chef? Would communication be better (and faster) by cutting down a layer of hierarchy and let the consumer send instructions directly to the chef?

In a typical restaurant, the waiter writes down the drinks orders, and the starters, then enters it on the restaurant pos system, then gives it to the bartender and finally to the kitchen. In quite a few cases, because the waiter is going to the kitchen to pick another customer’s order, the new order is first delivered to the kitchen, then the 2nd customers order is picked up and delivered to them, and finally the ticket goes to the bartender. As a result, in some cases, starters arrive before the drinks!

A self-ordering app, placed either on the diners phone by downloading, or on dedicated displays either at each table, or, since they will not be used continuously, shared between a group of 2 to 4 tables, enables the customer to quickly place their orders at any time, which are instantly transmitted to the kitchen. The waiter transforms from being a time-wasting “middle-man” to a “guide” who helps explain dishes, suggest choices, expedite.

And after the meal, an often interminable wait for the bill. You ask for the bill quickly because one of the kids is getting cranky, and the waiter smilingly says sure, but then proceeds to first clear the dirty dishes from your table, then cleans the table, then comes back with the menu to ask, very sweetly, whether we would like some dessert, we again say no, the baby is about to cry, just get the bill. Sure sir, in a minute, then, en route to the cashier, gets distracted by another customer. And we are seething.

Would have made for a much nicer experience if we could have got the bill ourselves on the self-serve kiosk, paid by swiping our card or by PayTm or similar, and left. And the restaurant would get a table free a few minutes earlier pleasing the next customer, and incidentally making more money by letting the restaurant serve more customers in the same time

Since many customers do not want to download multiple apps on their phone to avoid clutter or for privacy, dedicated self-ordering terminals, either tab based or 24×7 full size display based, would be a win-win solution.

More information on Self-ordering kiosks at https://www.palas-india.com/psos.html

Metal or plastic for monitors ?

Metal or plastic for monitors ?

Each year, 12 to 15 million displays (LCD monitors and TVs) are imported into India, which will generate a staggering 20,000 tons of non-recyclable plastic waste every year.

The plastic enclosure of these displays (back, sides, and partially on the front), weighs around 0.5Kg for small displays (below 20”), going up 3 to 4kg for larger displays. Typically, most displays last only 5 to 10 years, after which they are scrapped, and, at an average of 1.5kg per display, generating 20,000 tons of plastic waste.

To put this into perspective, it is estimated that in India approximately 5 million tons of plastic waste is generated each year, (or 14,000 per day), so the amount generated from scrap of only displays is equal to one and a half days generation of all plastic waste

The plastic waste from displays creates more of a problem since, as the plastic used is mostly ABS, it simply ends up in landfills. Theoretically, ABS can be recycled by mixing a small percentage of scrap ABS in the production of new ABS. But the total production of ABS in India last year was just around 120,000 tons and even using 5 to 10% scrap, can absorb only 12,000 tons, which does not even absorb the ABS waste from displays, leave alone all the other ABS waste being generated from other users like automobiles

So the only place the ABS waste from displays is going to go is into landfills, damaging the environment for a long, long time

What can be done? Use steel instead of plastic.

Steel can be easily recycled and steel mills can use 10 to 20% scrap in the production of fresh steel. If steel is used instead of plastic, the weight of steel scrap generated from displays will be at most 100,000 tones (empirically 5 times more weight than plastic). Since India produces 100 million tons of steel each year, the steel scrap generated by displays is only 0.1% of the country’s production, and this scrap can easily be absorbed. On the other hand, ABS scrap from only displays amounts to almost 15% of the production of fresh ABS and cannot be absorbed

The main raw material for ABS, being a plastic, is based on crude oil which is mostly imported. Most of the raw material for steel is available within India.

It seems to make environmental and economic sense for India to switch to steel enclosures for displays

Touchscreens in car dashboards

Many new cars are now coming with touchscreen controls for infotainment systems

While touchscreens are good for most purposes, are they a good idea for in-dash infotainment systems?

With the older systems, a radio channel could be selected using pre-set buttons, or by twirling a knob – easily done by “feel”, without taking eyes off the road.

But with touchscreens this cannot be done without taking eyes of the road, as the touch buttons, being small, take time to be located

Touch screens, when the car is stationary, offer multiple advantages –  browsing,  navigating maps, zooming, shopping, and many others. A touchscreen is also a must to use all the data in a connected car.

But while in motion, touchscreens are best used along with physical buttons, from a safety perspective. We wonder whether there is any data on safety in cars with touchscreens ?