QR Codes and Impersonation Codes in QC-Mobile
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written: 12/01/2020
last modified: 12/01/2020
INTRODUCTION

This article describes the usage and licensing of QR codes in ERS/QC-Mobile. Specifically, we are talking about impersonation codes (or IC’s). Regular QR codes are simply hyperlinks to QC-Mobile. When the user arrives at the link’s destination, the user is challenged to log in. Upon logging in, the user proceeds to the destination of the link and is logged in as themselves normally. Therefore, the user can use any functionality on the QC-Mobile website. However, with impersonation codes (or QR codes that impersonate a user), the login challenge is skipped and the user is taken directly to the destination as the user impersonated. This is a very convenient option for customers who want to post QR codes around the shop floor, but whose audience likely do not have a formal login account to QC-Mobile. While convenient, it brings up a couple of issues for every day use such as sharing an existing user’s settings and daily device limitations (typically 2 devices) when the QR code is placed in a public area and scanned by more than a couple of people in a given day.

To solve these issues, we devised the new licensing model and functionality described below. The goal was to allow most people to use IC's under normal circumstances without necessarily incurring an extra cost or having to predict upfront how many would be needed in the license. 


HOW IT WORKS
  1. When a customer purchases a number of users (i.e. starter pack of 5), those users can either be regular user accounts that are used to log in with a browser or IC users which allow the creation of one IC per user account. The customer is able to declare a user as an IC user or Normal user in QC-Mobile when assigning users to the license. IC users cannot be logged into the browser the normal way (other than through an IC) and regular users cannot be used for IC's when creating QR codes in ERS. The benefit is that there is still only one list of total users for QC-Mobile which keeps it simple in terms of licensing. Therefore, more IC's can be created by simply adding more users. If a customer has 20 machine tools around the shop floor and wants to put IC's on the side of every one of them, s/he can simply purchase a 20-user-pack and assign them all as IC users. 

  2. When clicked/scanned, IC's are logged in to QC-Mobile as restricted access users on the QC-Mobile website.
    This comes with the following restrictions:

    1. The original destination of the QR code link is available as are any drilldown links from the original destination. However, no generic page hits are allowed. This means that the Data Selection areas at the top of Stat Summary, Snapshot, Full View, and Live Data are disabled.

    2. The Home page is not allowed to be accessed via IC QR Codes. 

    3. Dashboards is an empty screen unless linked from somewhere else to a specific dashboard.

    4. The Settings screen is accessible.

  3. IC User Accounts have a different daily unique device count - Rather than the typical 2 devices per day per user, IC’s include 10 unique devices which should cover most "reasonable use" scenarios. The idea is that people should be able to walk around scanning codes, but it's doubtful that half the factory will scan the same code in a given day. All daily device counts expire at the end of the calendar day (12:00am) so the number will automatically reset the following day if reached.

  4. A user account can be switched between IC and Normal as often as needed. There are no time limits. Each time the switch occurs, the daily device limit will be switched to the default amount (2 for normal, 10 for IC) which will override any previously overridden values. 


CONCLUSION
Impersonation codes (ICs) are a useful way of posting QR codes around the shop floor that skip the login challenge. This is a great option that allows users to get the needed quality information for the local machine tool or cell even though s/he may not even know what application is in use.