facetime knew someday their time would come to lead the way in innovation. Though never expected such aspirations years later would see a certain well-known tech giant use the same name as yours truly.
Based in Bristol, the city that can claim more than its fair share of famous names including author J.K. Rowling, Top Gear presenter James May, comedian Lee Evans, and even Banksy & Hollywood legend Cary Grant no less.
But in true Banksy spirit, facetimes’ claim to fame is creating employee time and attendance systems that’ll make an impact in the only place that matters… your company’s balance sheet. Though unlike Banksy’s masterpieces facetime’s success didn’t happen overnight. Having clocked up more than 30 years experience in the time and attendance industry trading mostly as an independent dealer. They’ve certainly put in the hours helping businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK and internationally make effective use of our most valuable resource…‘time’ – we all know really means money. And there was plenty of that floating around during the tech boom of the 80’s. The larger than life decade that gave us big mullets and shoulder pads plus embarrassingly large mobile phones you could just about squeeze into a briefcase. Those who couldn’t afford the yuppie lifestyle looked onwards in amusement, while facetime delights UK businesses with the introduction of a groundbreaking clocking in machine called TimeLord.
TimeLord? Yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking this sounds like one of those quirky Dr. Who episodes. Though more beneficial to businesses than the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, TimeLord was one of the first computerised time and attendance systems to hit the UK. No longer did clocking in clocks look like outdated slot machines. Tech-savvy businesses looking to reduce their employee time labour management costs was certainly onto a winner with this clever device. facetime’s role during those emerging years was, without doubt, instrumental in shaping today’s time and attendance industry. And all this was happening just as the personal computer was being unleashed onto an unwary public. Including of course those early Apricot Computers a great British achievement under Roger Foster, celebrated in my article: The world’s first pc to incorporate the i486 microprocessor.
The 90’s gave us the World Wide Web and credit card technology, first used in ATM machines that would soon find their way into factories & offices in the form of magnetic swipe cards for clocking in and out. Replacing the now rather dogeared clocking in time cards. All hinting at what today’s time and attendance systems would eventually look like. facetime was also the first company to introduce biometric clocking in systems to the UK. Those early biometric recognition systems measured the length of your finger (geometrics), the forerunner of today’s biometric hand scanner. However, low cost and compact usage on everyday gadgets has made fingerprint recognition systems more popular amongst the public. Though for use in time attendance & payroll management, where an all-inclusive ‘no gimmicks’ reliable biometric solution is paramount, the biometric hand scanner boasting a zero rejection rate, and the ability to work in the harshest of environments has made it the industries favourite. Designed & manufactured in the USA by one of the worlds largest development companies Ingersoll Rand, have produced an outstanding piece of technology facetime offer as a bolt-on robust biometric solution. Delving further into what makes facetime this forward thinking company tick. By this time technology was changing at a rate faster than a political parties manifesto. As an independent dealer, facetime had no say in product development frustrating as it was. Even the best systems of the day lacked something customers wanted. All that was about to pay dividends, but not before everyone was able to breathe a sigh of relief when the Y2 millennium bug didn’t bring our world come crashing to an end. Once that was out the way, the later part of 2000 brought joy of a different kind to every struggling payroll manager up and down the country.
Like good wine, in 2008 facetime reaches maturity, taking what they learnt during those formidable years to another dimension. Can at last grant every pay clerks wish, and perhaps even rescue those who by now are buried under a sea of timesheets no doubt. As the celebratory cork flies out the bottle, do you know what’s truly remarkable about all this, in an age where everything is produced in plastic with ‘Made in China’ stamped on the back? facetime are one of a few UK companies that offer an integrated hardware & software solution. The result, is an impressive ‘live’ time and attendance system working seamlessly together they say your business will never outgrow.
Manufactured by skilled technicians, every clocking terminal is made to order and created for a specific purpose. Upon first glance, their uniquely designed fire resistant metal cased clocking terminals sets them apart from the competition. Using only the right materials to help ensure that all important fire roll call report (in real-time) has a greater chance of reaching the desired location.
It’s taken a few turns on the clock face to produce a time and attendance system as special as this, one they can proudly claim is another great British achievement. Though facetime have surprisingly been rather quiet about their achievements in the industry. Consulted by the BBC, law enforcement and even the intelligence services it would seem it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Company director Mark Churchill explains:
“Marketing has never been one of our strong points, something that’s mostly been left to word of mouth. Our backgrounds are rooted in engineering. We recognise every business has different challenges depending on size & sectors, but overall, it’s all about bottom line margins. With employees being the biggest overhead, our systems play a vital role in helping businesses stay profitable. With fire roll call management & employee self service, our time and attendance solutions provide a host of other benefits, not just for the business owner but employees too. Mark continues; it’s always an honour when customers trust our expertise to help deal with the challenges of running a commercial enterprise. Supported by our strong service ethos, we seem to have stood the test of time”.
Arguably, employees are one of businesses biggest overheads. An effective employee time management system will certainly help keep these costs under control & provide better management planning. The savings can be quite staggering… thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds every year my research indicates. As a UK developer, means facetime are able to offer solutions that are more in tune with UK businesses, thanks also to their bespoke software creation service. All of which is very important for getting the right results for your specific business. The challenges they face today is to meet ever-increasing customer demands that have become more regulatory in nature, while staying true to their company slogan; ‘keeping good time since 1983’. Ironic as it may sound… only time will tell.
Peter Walker – Business Daily
Our clocking terminals are all metal construction for fire resistance, longevity and durability. Each one made to order, assembled by skilled technicians. Both hardware and software developed in house for a more integrated solution. Another great British innovation.
We've helped a multitude of business sectors, organisations including government institutions. Here's just a few of some well known names...
“Facetime provides a time & attendance system that ‘measures-up’ at Clarks flagship shoe shop at Street, Somerset”