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Re: Accu-Touch Design

My comments are below.
-----Original Message-----
From: Talbot Iredale <tiredale@gesn.com>
To: salestalk@gesn.com <salestalk@gesn.com>; Support <support@gesn.com>
Date: Monday, April 12, 1999 2:03 PM
Subject: Accu-Touch Design

To all interested parties;
    We have now completed the first phase of the Accu-Touch redesign (design specification).  I have attached a coy of this design to this email.  Please review and email me your comments.
Here is a brief overview of the major points of the design:
  • Weigh less than 15 lbs.
 Excellent.  Hopefully we can maintain that target weight restriction.
  • Data is stored on a PCMCIA (PCCard) memory card similar to the Accu-Vote but with much more capacity. Therefor the election that the Accu-Touch processes is based on the memory card inserted (again like the Accu-Vote).
If it's the results data you're talking about storing on the flash memory card then I don't have a problem with that.  We have to be careful what data is stored on the voter's access card (i.e., smart card).  Confidentially, Global just finished destroying ES&S's patent infringement case by having only the precinct ID and challenged voter info on the smart card.  My understanding is that ES&S stores the whole ballot on their smart card (theirs uses a microprocessor type smart card).  If we start storing ballots on the voter's access card, we could be giving ES&S a leg to stand on next time.
  • All connections, except the smart card reader, will be behind locked panels.
If the smart card reader is to be a PCMCIA type (as we previously discussed in March) and the flash card is also a PCMCIA, and one slot is on top of the other slot, then how are you going to lock away the flash memory card (results) and keep the smart card reader open at the same time.  They're pretty close together.
  • Internal battery backed up system good for at least 1 hour hopefully up to 8 hours (dependant on cost & weight)

I believe that the battery must be able to run all day or at least be easily swapable with minimal interruption of service.  With the Accu-Vote paper ballot system, if the power goes out, the people who arrive at the polling place can still vote and leave.  The paper ballot can be processed later.  With the DRE system, if the power goes out all day and you have a 3 hour battery backup, nobody can vote after three hours.  A DRE system needs to be capable of running all day from just prior to opening the polls to an hour after closing the polls (approx. 14 hours/ FEC says 16 hours).

A battery large enough to run a system all day long would be expensive and heavy, so a swapable battery system would be my choice.  That is, put a minimum capacity battery into the DRE to run it for 3 hours (that would keep product cost and weight down per unit), but make it easily accessible so it can be swapped out quickly (minimizing disruption to voting) if the power is out longer than 3 hours.  Trouble shooters on the road on election day can carry spare battery packs with them in the event of a power outage longer than 3 hours.  And all the better if they have a method of charging those battery packs from their cigarette lighter socket in their car.  Spare batteries can't be charged at the polling site if the power is already out.

  • Has two PCMCIA connectors, one for the 'memory' card the other for expansion such as modem.
Well that blows away my argument about the smart card reader interference with the flash memory card.  You obviously aren't going to use a PCMCIA smart card reader because your two PCMCIA slots are going to be filled up with a memory card and a modem.  Unless you're planning on having two different sets of PCMCIA slots or a three slot PCMCIA interface.
  • Slim ergonomic enclosure
I'm all for it.  Keep in mind that the new Accu-Vote TS design has to be mounted somehow into a poll booth (the Accu-Booth, to be created by Dick Stevens of Election Data Services).  In all likelyhood, the Accu-Vote TS will be transported on election day mounted inside of this voting booth so the mounting system has to strongly grip the Accu-Vote TS yet buffer it from shock.  The unit will probably be demo-ed and shipped back and forth for repair (if necessary) in this booth (stranger things have happened).  The Accu-Booth design (or probably due to trade mark infringements in the future, it will be called "the Accu-Vote BS")  has to be an integral part of the new Accu-Vote TS design.  Global needs to deliver a finished product at the end of the day so please consider and conceptualize how the new unit will be used during election day, L&A's, demonstrations, etc..  We can't be sitting with a pretty unit and no secure place to put it for the voter (handicapped or not) to use it.  A good example is how the Accu-Vote works with the Ballot Box.
Also consider a practical packaging system for shipping it from the factory.  A packaging system made from collapseable cardboard inserts as opposed to foam would go a long way in making sure that customers actually keep some packaging materials (collapsed) for shipping units needing repair.  Even if they didn't keep the packaging, Global could ship the cardboard inserts and boxes more economically at their actual weight unlike foam which is light but its shipping costs are calculated on dimensional weight (e.g., actual weight of 2 lbs of foam = dimensionally weight of 10 lbs).  Europe would like us better too, because they currently do not allow non-biodegradeable packaging materials across their borders.
  • Has Infrared port for communicating with Pollbook
Is this a secure feature?  Would we pass the FEC security requirements or state certification security requirements?
  • Has smart card reader
Tell me what type of smart card reader are we planning on using, and what is the mounting concept.
  • Headphone & keyboard connector for VIPs units
There are a few items I really would like some feed back on. They are:
Two screen options:
We are currently considering supporting an 10 inch and a 15 inch LCD. The 10 inch is about $400, our cost, less expensive therefor approx. $1200 list price difference. Is this a worthwhile option?  Any ideas as to what percentage 10" verse 15" system we will sell. Should we consider supporting a larger screen 19 inch? How much more could we sell this for ($100, $500, $1000, $2000) ?
Right now, we competing with small screen DREs.  Our sales people are having to justify the cost/benefit of a large screen.  This may not be a burden to them but what if a customer doesn't mind a small screen unit?  Wouldn't you like to have the option to sell the customers what they want and be competitive at the same time?  Global cannot sell 15" DREs for the same price that the competition is selling 10" DREs, but if we are capable of producing a 10" Accu-Vote TS, we can be competitive and get the sale.

Different Flavors

Having said that, multiple options that have to be implemented on the manufacturing floor are what kill me in production (as opposed to PCMCIA pluggable options which are easy to implement).  To stay ahead of orders, I have to manufacture to what we think is going to be the flavor of future sales.  Having multiple flavors of a product means having to manufacture a bit of everything and not having enough of one thing come shipping time.  But if the flavors are kept to a minimum of two (say vanilla and butterscotch ripple), I can manage production stock more effectively.  I think those two flavors should be the 10" and 15" screen option.

Internal printer
Should the printer be internal or external?  The disadvantage of an internal printer is that is places some serious restrictions on the ergonomic design of the enclosure due to paper roll size.  It also impacts the power supply requirements since printers consume a fair amount of power.  The advantage is cost.  If most units need a printer then the internal printer is the way to go.  So what percent of units are expected to need a printer?
Please see second paragraph in response above about different flavors.
Landscape verse portrait screen orientation
The expected 'normal' operation of the unit will be in portrait mode (higher than wider) but we have had requests for 'landscape' mode.  For those places that want landscape would the current 15 inch Accu-touch screen work or do we need an even larger screen? How many units potentially will want the landscape screen (100, 500, 1000, 5000, etc) ? How much more will they pay?
How big is this unit going to have to get in order to accommodate the largest size screen in everybody's preferrable viewing style.  Please see second paragraph in response above about different flavors.
To make this unit slim and ergonomic, perhaps you're going to have to stick with a potrait mode for the 15" screen and allow a landscape mode only with the 10" screen.  Although going smaller in the screen size defeats the purpose of going to landscape mode, there has to be a cutoff.  Otherwise you'll end up with a 20" wide bezel to accomodate a 15" screen in landscape, and wouldn't a 10" screen in portrait look funny on such a large bezel. 
If you have any thoughts about this now is the time to let me know.
You got 'em.