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In our real life environment, we will always make appointment to meet someone or to do something at a specific time and specific time. Example like make an appointment to meet a doctor, make an appointment to meet a lecture, a salesperson make an appointment with their customer and etc. Appointment is happened around us every day. Hence, we also faced a lot of problems or matters when we process with our appointment if we or another parties have breaks an appointment due to some issues. The issues possibility was they forget about this appointment or they make mistake to meet at wrong place and wrong time or double appointment at the same time but different venue. The mistake commonly is human mistake to record down the venue for appointment, time for appointment and etc.
1.1 Definition of Appointment
In dictionary, appointment defined as an arrangement to do something or meet someone at a particular time and place. A success appointment need cooperate by both parties either be a person or a group of person. The both parties are the person or group of person who make the appointment and another party is the person or group of person who accepted or declines the appointment. If one of the parties is unable to attend or process the appointment, the person or people consider as break an appointment. So the appointment can be cancel, postpone or rearrange.
1.2 Appointment Functions
Why do we need appointment? Because of we need a well structure and organized timetable and calendar. Appointment makes use to us to fully utilize and organized our timetable and calendar. Appointment functions are to operating following functions:
make an appointment - make an appointment on available date or time and venue
change an appointment - change/delay the appointment date or time and venue
cancel an appointment - cancel/terminate the appointment
enquire an appointment - check on scheduled appointment date or time and venue
All these functions are operating by a receptionist or a secretary manually. The receptionist or secretary will manually mark down the date or time and venue for the particular appointment to an appointment book.
2.0 Concept of Appointment Automation System
Concept of appointment automation system is to convert all the appointment functions to automate system replace the manual appointment book that record by a receptionist or a secretary. Appointment automation system may reduce the human mistake done by the receptionist or secretary. This is because a receptionist or a secretary may record down wrong date/time or venue for the scheduled appointment.
2.1 Introduction to Appointment Automation System
Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services (Wikipedia, 2010). Appointment automation system is to be replacing the manual recording paper work for all the appointment transaction. The appointment process will be transform to a control system and combining use of information technologies to develop automated appointment system. The process of recording down the details of appointment will be computerized. The details are:
Name of person want to make the appointment
Name of person that be appointed in this appointment
Date of the appointment
Time of the appointment
Venue of the appointment
Estimate Duration of the appointment
Beside all basic details stated above, there are still many details might be indicated based on the user requirement. User must always understand what details they are needed to operate their system.
With the entire provided details convert into data, the appointment process can be start automated. With entire data, the appointment automation system can schedule this appointment into the appointer's and appointee's calendar. With immediately response if the appointer's calendar is conflict with appointee's calendar the appointment will be rejected. There will not have redundant or missing appointment in this appointment automation system. Appointer or appointee can choose to change the appointment date or time either cancel the appointment. With this directly response, appointment automation system is eliminate the work of a secretary or a receptionist. It also reduces the response time of both parties and eliminates the actual manual work of a secretary or a receptionist which call the appointer or appointee for reschedule or cancelation of the particular appointment. Appointment automation system is to reduce the human workload turn the appointment process into automation. It also reduces the human mistake done by a secretary or a receptionist that forget about the appointment or forget to re-call or re-confirmation with the appointer or appointee.
2.2 Reasons of Using Appointment Automation System
There are some reasons why using appointment automation system:
Reduce double schedule
A secretary or a receptionist might wrongly schedule the appointment transaction because a receptionist might handle more than one person's appointment calendar. The receptionist might accidently double schedule a time slot. Appointment Automation System might eliminate this human mistake and never again accidentally double schedule a time slot.
Appointment Automation System consider as a virtual receptionist in real world environment. Virtual receptionist operates the work as a human receptionist. Virtual receptionist performs multiple tasks that human receptionist may find it difficult. Opting for appointment automation is indeed a great idea that can generate good revenue for businesses. It's a big leap for the businesses growth in future.
Reduce Man Power or Human Difficulty
Appointment Automation System can help company to reduce their man power. Appointment Automation System can replace receptionist or secretary works. System can do a repeat work without feeling bored and panic but human may found it difficult. With this automated system can replace few numbers of receptionists or secretary. Example in a hospital, system can answer patients' calls without getting bored or tired. System also can answer more than one call at a time but human will found it difficult. Hence, during events such as free medical camp, this feature works wonderfully.
Immediate request & response
Appointment Automation System can provide immediate request and response to the use. In manual appointment system this request and response features cannot be performed immediately because a human cannot like perform task like system or machine. Receptionist may found it difficult if want response immediate and the accuracy of the appointment may crash and wrong. Thus, automated system can perform it easily because a receptionist or a secretary cannot work 24/7 and offer same smooth, accuracy welcoming service all time. They may give the wrong information or easily went wrongly if want they response immediate to the appointment arrangement.
3.0 Types of Appointment Automation System
There are two types of Appointment Automation System which are non web based Appointment Automation System and web based Appointment Automation System. Each type of system give different architecture to the system.
3.1 Non Web based Appointment Automation System
There are two types of non web based appointment automation system. With aid of diagrams to show the design of both types of non web based appointment automation system.
Below is the diagram of non web based appointment automation system - type 1:
The diagram showed the non web based appointment automation - type 1's design. In this type of design, the client or person who wants to make appointment must make appointment through the receptionist or secretary. Client or person who wants to make appointment need to have face to face interaction with the receptionist or secretary. The client or person who wants to make appointment is not directly operated to the appointment automation system. Receptionist or secretary need to help the client or person who wants to make appointment to make appointment in the appointment automation system. Receptionist or secretary is the person who operates the appointment automation system. In this type of appointment, client or person who wants to make appointment are can't directly operate the appointment system, they need assistance from receptionist or secretary. This system just can be use in that specific area or local area only.
Below is the diagram of non web based appointment automation system - type 2:
In second type of non web based appointment automation system, the client or person who wants to make appointment give permission to operate the appointment automation system. A non web based appointment just can implement at the particular or local area only. So the client or person who wants to make appointment need to go that particular place or area to using this appointment automation system. The client or person who wants to make appointment no need to interact with the receptionist or secretary in this type of appointment automation system. It may reduce the conflict between the client or person who wants to make appointment and the receptionist or secretary. Client or person who wants to make appointment can feel to interact and communicate to overview with the appointment automation system.
3.2 Web based Appointment Automation System
In web based appointment automation system, client or person who wants to make appointment can using or operate the appointment automation system over the internet. Client or person who wants to make appointment can using this system in their home or office. Client or person who wants to make appointment can save their time or cost not to go to the hospital if they want to make appointment with the doctor because they can access the system over the internet at their office or home. Thus, client or person who wants to make appointment no need have face to face interaction with the receptionist or secretary when they make appointment. Client or person who wants to make appointment can access the system anytime and anywhere provided they have internet access. Web based appointment automation system is more ease to use and convenient to the client.
Table of comparison between non web based and web based appointment automation system:
Non web based - Type 1
Non web based - Type 2
Who involve in process of make appointment
Receptionist or secretary and client
Can access anytime and anywhere
No. Because is offline system.
No. Because is offline system
Yes. Because is online system
Interaction between receptionist or secretary and client
User friendly or ease of use
Convenient of use
Receptionist or secretary can be excepted
4.0 Tools used for Appointment Automation System
There are several tools needed to develop appointment automation system. Below are the main or important that need to be included in appointment automation system.
4.1 Owner Side's Tools.
Appointment automation system server
Appointment automation system server develops to operate appointment automation system. This server is playing a role as a server dedicated to running certain software applications. This server is to running the appointment automation system software. Without this tool, the appointment automation system cannot operate or run.
Web server (if web based appointment automation system)
Web server needed to be develops for purpose of online or web based application. A web server is important tool if we want make the appointment automation system to online system or web based system. Web server is to deliver content such as web pages, using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), over the World Wide Web (WWW).
Desktop computer or laptop with web browser (if web based appointment automation system)
A desktop computer or laptop is for receptionist or secretary and person in-charge to operating or running the appointment automation system. This tool is for user interact the appointment automation system GUI or interface. Users done all the process of appointment automation system with communicate and interact with GUI or interface provided by the system.
4.2 Client Side's Tools
Desktop computer or laptop with web browser
Client side must have a desktop computer or laptop with web browser to access the appointment automation system GUI or interface. This tool is to for client interact with the GUI to operate or using the appointment automation system. Client just interact with the GUI while the process is done in the server
Client side must have internet access to connect with web server and application of appointment automation system. Internet is a bridge to connect the client and the appointment automation system. Internet access make the client can access the appointment automation system anytime and anywhere.
5.0 Implementation of Appointment Automation System
The implementation of
5.1 Process of Automate Schedule Appointments
There are few steps of process flow of automate schedule appointment:
Step 1 : Client make appointment
Step 2 : The appointment will be schedule
5.2 Problems faced in real environment
6.0 Summary of Appointment Automation System
The main advantages of automation are:
Replacing human operators in tasks that involve hard physical or monotonous work.
Replacing humans in tasks done in dangerous environments (i.e. fire, space, volcanoes, nuclear facilities, underwater, etc)
Performing tasks that are beyond human capabilities of size, weight, speed, endurance, etc.
Economy improvement. Automation may improves in economy of enterprises, society or most of humankind. For example, when an enterprise that has invested in automation technology recovers its investment, or when a state or country increases its income due to automation like Germany or Japan in the 20th Century.
The main disadvantages of automation are:
Technology limits. Current technology is unable to automate all the desired tasks.
Unpredictable development costs. The research and development cost of automating a process may exceed the cost saved by the automation itself.
High initial cost. The automation of a new product or plant requires a huge initial investment in comparison with the unit cost of the product, although the cost of automation is spread in many product batches