US 20030220804 A1
A reporting system comprising a data capture device that captures identification data. Scan, record, and report (SRR) logic that transmits an information request to a remote database and receives an information response from the remote database. The SRR logic further creates business summary reports regarding the identification data and additional data contained in the information response.
1. A reporting system comprising:
a data capture device configured to capture identification data;
a database server configured to receive an information request and to transmit an information response; and
scan, record, and report (SRR) logic configured to store the identification data, transmit the information request to the database server, receive the information response from the database server, and create business summary reports.
2. The reporting system as claimed in
3. The reporting system as claimed in
4. The reporting system as claimed in
5. The reporting system as claimed in
6. The reporting system as claimed in
7. The reporting system as claimed in
8. A method for reporting comprising the steps of:
capturing identification data;
transmitting an information request;
receiving at least one information response; and
creating business summary reports based on the information response received.
9. The method for reporting as claimed in
scanning an identification card with an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner; and
saving the captured identification data to an SRR database.
10. The method for reporting as claimed in
retrieving the identification data from the SRR database; and
formatting the identification data.
11. The method for reporting as claimed in
storing additional data contained in the information response to the SRR database.
12. The method for reporting as claimed in
compiling the identification data and the additional data; and
creating at least one report showing historical performance.
13. A reporting system comprising:
a data capture device configured to capture identification data;
an SRR database; and
SRR logic configured to store the identification data to the SRR database, the SRR logic further configured to receive additional data from at least one remote database and store the additional information to the SRR database; and
a reporting application configured to create reports that provide business performance evaluation, the reports compiling the identification data and the additional data to create the reports.
14. The reporting system as claimed in
15. The reporting system as claimed in
16. The reporting system as claimed in
17. The reporting system as claimed in
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to the field of reporting systems and methods, and more particularly to systems and methods for capturing identification data of consumers, obtaining additional data from remote databases, and processing the identification data and the additional data to create reports.
 2. Related Art
 Many types of businesses use the internet to expedite business transactions. For example, retail businesses typically employ data capture devices, for example magnetic stripe readers, to facilitate product purchases in the retail environment. Typically, a consumer presents a cashier with a credit card that includes a magnetic strip. The magnetic strip contains information about the consumer who is making the purchase, for example, the consumers name, the consumer's credit card number and the expiration date of the credit card.
 Typically, the magnetic strip reader employed by the cashier interfaces with a system that retrieves and formats the data. The data is then transmitted to a remote device that receives and processes the data transmitted by the cashier's system. The remote device transmits to the cashier's system an indication of whether the credit card used by the consumer is approved.
 Moreover, in many retail businesses, for example auto dealerships or large appliance retailers, there exists a need to capture identification data of a consumer for other purposes. For example, in order for an automobile dealer to allow a consumer to test drive a vehicle, the dealer preferably ensures that the consumer has a valid driver's license. This is typically achieved by simply retrieving the license from the consumer and recording a copy of the license for insurance purposes. In addition, an automobile dealership may desire to capture identification data and obtain credit approval from loan agencies or banks.
 Generally, the present invention provides a reporting system that includes a data capture device configured to electronically capture identification data about a consumer from an identification card. The system is communicatively connected to a database server that is configured to receive an information request from the data capture device that contains the identification data. The database server is further configured to transmit an information response related to the identification data received. The reporting system further includes scan, record, and report (SRR) logic configured to store the identification data, transmit the information request to the database server, receive the information response from the database server, and create business summary reports.
 The present invention also encompasses a method for reporting business data related to captured identification data. The method can be broadly conceptualized by the following steps: capturing identification data; transmitting an information request; receiving an information response; and creating business summary reports based on the information response received.
 Other aspects of the system and method of the present invention, and other features and advantages of the present invention will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present invention, and be protected by the accompanying claims.
 The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale relative to each other, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the invention. Furthermore, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the figures.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a reporting system of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an SRR device of a preferred embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating a method of the SRR device as shown in FIG. 2 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating the capture method as indicated in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for displaying captured identification data.
FIG. 6 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for receiving an information database selection.
FIG. 7 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for entering additional information regarding a transaction.
FIG. 8 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for receiving a report selection.
FIG. 9 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for reporting “Day of the Week/Gender”.
FIG. 10 is a web form used in connection with a preferred embodiment of the present invention for reporting “Employee/Transactions”.
 In general, the present invention provides a system and method for capturing consumer identification data and creating reports from the data captured. The system of the present invention captures the identification data, and the identification data is used in order to retrieve additional data about the consumers from a remote database. The identification data and the additional data are stored in a relational database, and the system is configured to allow a user to request a variety of reports from the data stored.
 A reporting system of the present is depicted in FIG. 1. The system preferably includes a scan, record and report device (hereinafter referred to as SRR device) 102, which is connected to a network 112, and at least one information database server (IDS) 108.
 IDS 108 includes at least one database that accepts formatted queries and replies accordingly. For example, Experian™, Equifax™, SecureTech™, and LiquidCredit™ are Internet services that provide remote access to data. Each service receives a database request, and the service transmit additional data, such as personal data verification and credit approval, in response to the request.
 The SRR 102 communicates with the IDS 108 over a network 112, which may include an integrated services digital network (ISDN), a local area network (LAN), a wide area network (WAN) or any other type of network that allows two devices to communicate. The SRR device 102 can be connected via connection 111 to a network or to an internet service provider via a T1 or a T3 connection, via digital subscriber lines (DSL), via a dial-up connection, or wirelessly.
 The data capture device 104 of the SRR device 102 captures identification data of a consumer, including a client's social security number, driver's license number, address, and name. The SRR logic stores the captured data, formats the data, then transmits an information request to the IDS 108 that includes the data captured. The IDS 108 receives and processes the information request. The IDS 108 then transmits responsive information to the SRR device that contains addition information related to the consumer for which the IDS 108 received identification data.
FIG. 2 depicts the preferred embodiment of the SRR device 102 as illustrated in FIG. 1 and discussed above. SRR device 102 includes a data capture component 119. Data capture component 119 includes a data capture driver 128, which controls the data capture device 104. Note that the data capture driver can be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination thereof.
 Preferably, the data capture device 104 retrieves identification data from a government-issued identification card, such as a driver's license. The data capture device 104 can include an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner, such as BizCardReader™ and CardScan™. In addition, the data capture device can include a magnetic strip reader configured to retrieve data from a magnetic strip placed on a government issued identification card. For example a Magscan™ or a Miniwedge™ are magnetic strip readers that may be suitable for retrieving identification data. Further, the data capture device 104 can include a bar code reader configured to retrieve identification data from a government issued identification card that includes a bar code. A Voyager™ handheld scanner and a Cyclone™ handheld scanner are examples of bar code readers that are configured to retrieve identification data from a bar code. In addition, data can be entered manually via a keyboard or other input device.
 Moreover, the data capture component 119 preferably includes a data capture device database 121. The data capture device database 121 stores the identification data retrieved from the government issued identification card by the data capture device 104.
 Further, in the embodiment in FIG. 2, the SRR device 102 includes a display device 114, such as a monitor, and a user input device 118, for example a keyboard, a mouse, or a microphone. The SRR logic 106 controls the data formatting, data storage and data transmittal and receipt of the SRR device 102, and in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 SRR logic 106 is software stored in memory 124.
 The SRR logic 106, when implemented in software, can be stored and transported on any computer-readable medium for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device, such as a computer-based system, processor-containing system, or other system that can fetch and execute instructions. In the context of this document, a computer-readable medium can be any mechanism that can contain, store, communicate, propagate, or transport a program for use by or in connection with the instruction execution system, apparatus, or device. The computer-readable medium can be, for example but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system apparatus, device, or propagation medium. More specific examples (a nonexhaustive list) of the computer-readable medium would include the following: an electrical connection having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), an optical fiber, and a portable compact disc read-only memory (CDROM). Note that the computer-readable medium could even be paper or another suitable medium upon which the program is printed, as the program can be electronically captured, via for instance optical scanning of the paper or other medium, then compiled, interpreted or otherwise processed in a suitable manner if necessary, and then stored in a computer memory. As, for example, the library manager logic 100 may be magnetically stored and transported on a conventional portable computer diskette.
 An embodiment of the SRR device 102 of FIG. 2 includes one or more system processing units 116, such as a digital signal processor (DSP) or a central processing unit (CPU), that communicate to and drive the other elements within the SRR device 102 via a local interface 123, which can include one or more system buses. In addition, the preferred embodiment of the SRR device 102 shown in FIG. 2 includes a data capture device, which captures identification data, and a corresponding data capture device driver 128 stored in memory 124 that controls the data capture device. Note that the data capture device driver 128 can be implemented in software, hardware or a combination thereof.
 Further stored in memory 124 is a web browser 130, which locates and displays web pages to display device 114. Note that the web browser 130 can be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination thereof, and is capable of displaying both text and graphics to display device 114. For instance, the web browser 130 can be Netscape Navigator™ or Internet Explorer™.
 Note that the preferred embodiment of SRR device 102 in FIG. 2 depicts SRR logic stored in memory 124 including a web application 105, a database application 101, a reporting application 117, and an SRR manager 103. SRR logic can be implemented in programming languages including C, C++, Java, VB script or other compiled or interpreted programming languages. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 of SRR logic 106 includes these components, the SRR logic 106 is not limited to these components. Further, although FIG. 2 depicts these components as coresident, each application could be stored and executed on a dedicated server, thereby allowing resource distribution over multiple hardware components. For example, web application 105 could be stored and executed on a dedicated web server.
 Moreover, in the preferred embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, the SRR device includes a storage device 115. The storage device can include a hard disk drive, which is resident on the SRR device 102. In addition, however, the storage device can include tape drives, or other external storage device devices. The storage device 115 preferably stores an SRR database 122 that contains the identification information retrieved from the data capture device, in addition to response information received from IDS 108 (FIG. 1) over network 102 (FIG. 1). The SRR database stores structured data that is accessible by the DBMS 125 in memory 124.
 The DBMS and associated methodology is preferably a relational database that allows access to the information stored in storage device 115. The architecture of the SRR device 102 defines the type of relational database employed. For example, industrial strength relational databases include Oracle™, Microsoft SQL Server, or Informix™, which can be implemented on UNIX-based systems. In addition, PC-based TM SRR devices can includes relational databases, for example Microsoft Access FoxPro™ or Dbase™.
 The data capture device 104 of the data capture component 119 receives identification data when a user elects to scan, swipe a magnetic strip, or scan a bar code of a government issued identification card. The data capture driver 128 stores the data in the data capture device database 121.
 Preferably, the web application 105 retrieves the identification data captured by the scan of the government issued identification card from the data capture device database 121. The web application displays the data in a web form through the web browser 130 to the display device 114. Preferably, the database application 101 retrieves the information from the web form via the web application 105 and interfaces with the DBMS 125 to store the identification data in the SRR database 122 stored on storage device 115.
 Note that identification data preferably includes data retrievable from a government-issued identification card. Types of identification data include a consumer's name, social security number, address, and driver's license number. The format and placement of data on identification cards varies with the type of card being scanned. However, scanning technologies, for example the OCR scanners, retrieve the data by recognizing the format of each piece of data and saving the data to its data capture device database 121 in fields that indicate the nature of each piece of data scanned. The SRR device then formats the data that the web that is displayed to a user in a web form created by the web application 105. A web form is a structured web page with predefined areas for entering or changing information.
 Preferably, once the data is written to the web form by the web application 105, the user reviews the data and makes a decision to submit the data to a remote IDS 108 (FIG. 1). Submission to a remote IDS 108 allows the user to obtain additional information regarding the consumer, for example validity of the government-issued identification card used in the scan or an approval amount for a credit line from a credit or banking institution.
 If the user chooses to submit the data to an IDS 108 (FIG. 1), the SRR manager 103 formats the identification data obtained from the data capture device 104 and displayed to the display device 114 in a web form to conform to a service that the user requests. For example, if a user may submit an affirmative credit application to a financial institution. As such, the SRR manager 103 formats the identification data according to a format specification, for example for a financial institution that provides an on-line credit approval service.
 The SRR manager 103 then transmits the information request that contains the formatted data. If the user requests credit approval, then the data transmitted to the IDS 108 over network interface 120 will include an indication that credit approval is sought and the identification data that allows the IDS 108 to obtain credit approval. For example, various credit services process a credit approval request that includes the consumer's name, address and social security number.
 After the request is processed by the IDS 108, the IDS 108 preferably transmits an information response to the SRR device 102 that includes data relating to the consumer's credit rating and whether the IDS 108 approves a loan for the consumer. In many instances, the financial institution transmits data indicating that the consumer has been approved, has received conditional approval, or has been declined for the specific application submitted. The SRR manager 103 receives this information response, and the database application 101 interfaces with the DBMS 125 and stores the data received in the SRR database 122.
 In addition to employing the SRR device to obtain credit approval for a consumer, the SRR device may also be employed as a credit prescreening mechanism. In other words, a user can scan a consumer's government issued identification card, such as a driver's license, with the data capture device 104, and transmit the identification data to an IDS 108 that performs credit prescreening, for example a financial institution. The IDS 108 performs a prescreening process on the identification then transmits an information response to the SRR device 102 that includes an indication of pre-approval. The user can then inform the consumer that he/she has been pre-approved for credit from the financial institution. In addition, the financial institution can inform the consumer that he/she has been pre-approved, either via U.S. mail or other mode of correspondence.
 As indicated herein, the SRR device 102 can further be employed to verify and authenticate the government issued identification card. For example, the user of the SRR device scans an identification card with data capture device 104. SRR manager 103 of SRR device 102 receives the identification data from the data capture device 104 and transmits identification data to an IDS 108. Moreover, the IDS 108 is configured to receive the identification data and perform verification and authentication on the identification data received from the SRR device 102. The identification information transmitted from SRR device 102 may include a driver's license number, a social security number, a name, an address, or any combination of the identification. In particular, the verification and authentication can be performed on only a driver's license number. Note, however, that the more identification data provided to the IDS 108 that is configured to verify and authenticate government issued identifications, the more accurate the result obtained. The IDS 108 then transmits to the SRR device an indication of whether the identification data verified and authenticated was found in the remote database of the IDS 108. Note that such information is useful, for example at a car dealership, because many insurance carriers require a government issued identification, such as a driver's license, as a condition to covering a consumer test drive. Real-time verification and authentication of a driver's license may allow automobile dealers to obtain lower premiums from insurance carriers.
 Moreover, the SRR device may be used by a user to create reports based upon the data obtain by the data capture device 104 and the IDS 108 and stored on the SRR database 122. The web application preferably posts a reporting request form to the display device 114. The user selects the type of report to create via user-input device 118, and the reporting application 117 queries the SRR database 122 through the DBMS 125 for the data requested. The reporting application 117 then sorts the data, formats the data, and the web application 105 displays the formatted, sorted data to the display device 114 for user viewing. In addition, the user can print the reports to a user output device that includes a printer 133.
 The reporting application 117 creates historical performance reports, for example a “Day of week/Gender” report as illustrated in FIG. 9 and an “Employee/Transactions” report as illustrated in FIG. 10. Note that management personnel to better plan for advertising, marketing, and selling can use these types of historical performance reports.
 With reference to FIG. 9, a preferred embodiment of a “Day of Week/Gender” report 230 may include a reporting period as indicated by text fields 260 and 262. For the time period indicated, the report 230 may indicated the number of males, as shown in text fields 232 through 244 for each day of the week and the number of females, as indicated by text fields 246 through 258. Management personnel may use this type of report in planning what type of products to use in giveaways. For example, if it appears that more women consumers enter the establishment on Saturdays and Sundays, then the incentives for the consumers may includes products attractive to women.
FIG. 10 illustrates a web form that may be used to report a listing of the number and type of transactions for a given employee on a selected time period. As shown in FIG. 10, a time period may be entered in text fields 272 and 274 and the employee number entered in text field 266. The report may provide a listing of the transactions for the entered employee by date as indicated by text fields 268 and 290. Each transaction entry, for example 268 and 290, may comprise a transaction type 270, the customer identification data, including name 276, address 278, and phone number 280. In addition, the report 264 may indicate a credit status 282 and limit 284, in addition to the consumer's gender 286 and status 288. Status may indicate the point in the relationship between the company and the consumer, for example a new customer or a past purchaser. Management may use such a report 264 to make return calls to those consumers who have not yet made a purchase, or to evaluate an employee's productivity.
 The preferred use and operation of the SRR device 102 and associated SRR logic 106 are described hereafter with reference to FIGS. 3 through 8.
 With reference to FIG. 3, identification data is captured by a data capture device 104 (FIG. 2) as indicated in block 132. It should be noted that in some alternative implementations, the functions noted in various blocks of FIG. 3 or any other of the accompanying flowcharts may occur out of the order in which they are depicted. For example, the respective functions of two blocks shown in succession in FIG. 3 may, in fact, be performed substantially concurrently. In other embodiments, the respective functions may be performed in the reverse order. As discussed hereinabove, the data can be captured using various technologies that allow a government-issued identification card to be captured electronically. This type of technology can include, but is not limited to, OCR scanners, bar code scanners, and magnetic strip readers. If the captured data is not valid, as indicated in block 134, then the web application 105 (FIG. 2) displays the web form containing the identification information to the display device 114 (FIG. 2), so that the user can identify the error in the identification data and reenter.
 If the data is valid, then the web application 105 (FIG. 2) displays to the display device 114 (FIG. 2) a web form containing the identification data and including a button that submits the identification data to an IDS 108. The user elects to submit by activating the button via the user-input device 118 (FIG. 2). The web application then provides the user via a web form a selection of services provided by the SRR device. The user then selects via user-input device 118 (FIG. 2) the type of service desired, for example a driver's license verification or credit approval.
 The SRR manager 103 then formats the data according to the type of service requested, and transmits an information request, that includes the identification data and the type of service requested, to the IDS 108, as indicated in block 140. The SRR manager 103 transmits the data via network interface 120 (FIG. 2) over network 112 (FIG. 1).
 The IDS 108 (FIG. 1) receives the information request, processes the data, then transmits over network 112 (FIG. 1) an information response that includes information responsive to the corresponding request. For example, if the SRR manager 103 transmits a driver's license validation request to the IDS 108 (FIG. 1), then the IDS 108 (FIG. 1) transmits a request identifier and an indication of the validity of the driver's license. The request identifier is a data field that allows the SRR manager 103 to verify the corresponding request to the response being received. The SRR manager receives the information response via network interface 120, as indicated in block 142.
 The database application 101 saves the received information to the SRR database 122 (FIG. 2), as indicated in block 144. The information is preferably stored, as indicated hereinabove, in a relational database that is suitable to the hardware and architecture employed in the SRR device 102 and that is suitable for the traffic requirements of the system. As discussed further here, the reporting application 117 creates reports from the data stored in the SRR database 122 (FIG. 2) when a user selects particular report, as indicated in block 146. The relational database structure allows the reporting application 117 to submit queries of the SRR database 122 (FIG. 2) through the DBMS 125 (FIG. 2). For example, the reporting application 117 can request a report of all credit approval requests sent out over a given period of time.
 As indicated hereinabove, a data capture device 104 of the preferred embodiment of the SRR device 102 includes an OCR scanner. An OCR scanner allows a user to scan a government issued identification card, for example a driver's license, and the data is stored in a retrievable format in data capture device database 121. FIGS. 4 through 8 describe the capture identification data process 132 in more detail in relation to the capture of data via an OCR scanner. As indicated in block 150, a user feeds a consumer's driver's license into an OCR scanner. The OCR scanner scans the driver's license as indicated in block 152 and stores the identification data representing the driver's license scanned in the OCR scanner database.
 As indicated in block 155, the data is displayed for user review in a display form as illustrated in FIG. 5. The name of the consumer 162, the address of the consumer 164, the social security number of the consumer 166, the date of birth of the consumer 161, and the gender of the consumer 159 is displayed to the user for verification.
 If the user selects the YES button 167, then, with reference to FIG. 4, the user selects the IDS to be used for a particular service desired by the user, as indicated in block 156. Correspondingly, a web form as illustrated in FIG. 6 is displayed. Preferably, the user can select from a variety of services as represented by information database one 174, information database two 176, and information database three 178.
 As indicated in block 158 of FIG. 4, once the user selects the service that is to be used to obtain an information response, then the SRR manager 103 formats the data in accordance with the service selected. Remote information databases, such as IDS 108, generally provide to its clients a format specific to the database being used. The SRR manager then formats the data, accordingly.
 In another embodiment, in addition to the information retrieved from the data capture device 104 and the IDS 108 (FIG. 1) information response, the SRR logic 106 can further receive and store additional information in the SRR database 122 for reporting purposes. The web application 105 (FIG. 2) can display an additional information request web form. For example, as indicated in the illustration of a web form 180 in FIG. 7, a user can enter an employee number 182 that can be associated with each transaction in which the user is involved. In addition, the user can enter information such as gender of a consumer 184, date of birth 186, product identification data 188, and additional comments 190. The user can enter this additional information into the web form via the user-input device 188 (FIG. 2).
 In yet another embodiment of the SRR device 102, the SRR logic 106 can provide a reporting application that interfaces with the web application 105. The web application 105 can display a web form 192 as illustrated in FIG. 8. The web form 192 can provide a user access to multiple reports, including but not limited to a listing of consumers by address 194, by date of birth 196, and by gender 198. In addition, the reporting application 101 can access multiple pieces of data and create reports that list employee numbers and each employee's transaction activity as indicated in button 200. The reporting application 101 allows a user to determine what type of product consumers were most interested in by obtain a product listing for a particular time period as indicated by button 202. The reporting application can compile additional reports, such as the number of consumers who were approved for credit during a given period as indicated by button 214, what products were involved in transactions as indicated by button 212, transactions per employee as indicated by block 210, and the consumers per transaction period as indicated by button 206. Further, button 216 can be customized to provide users with specific reports per user.
FIG. 9 and FIG. 10 illustrate a “Day of Week/Gender” report and an “Employee/Transactions” report, respectively. When a user selects button 198, the report as illustrated by FIG. 9 may be provided. The report 230 in FIG. 9 indicates a reporting period in text fields 260 and 262, and provides a breakdown of the gender of consumer per day of the week.
 In addition, FIG. 10 provides a detailed transaction listing per employee. When a user selects button 210 (FIG. 8), the report 264 may be displayed to show details about each transaction of an employee during an entered time period, as indicated in text fields 272 and 274. The report 264 may then provide a detailed listing of each transaction for the employee number in text field 266.