Many churches meet in a space they need to set up and tear down for every event. In order to use Check-Ins effectively, there are three main areas to consider for your church on-the-go.
One of the most important considerations is stable internet connectivity. Although the speed of the internet is important when downloading your images, the stability of the internet is most important.
Plan for a minimum of 5MBPS download speed based on an average use of 5 stations and 5 printers. A higher speed will improve the experience.
Many churches are able to use the organization’s WiFi.
Free or low cost
Limited to no control over the network
Generally restrictive in settings and bandwidth
May need to use more cellular data or Bluetooth options to compensate
Another option, the one we recommend, is to bring your own network or wireless WAN! Some internet/phone providers have their own hotspot solution. We recommend using Cradlepoint or Mofi with the carrier of your choice. In fact, we use Mofi ourselves when we go to conferences to instantly set up a WiFi solution for two Brother printers and 5+ iPads.
You have control over the network settings.
If you need to move to another location on the fly, you don’t have to worry about setting everything up on the next network.
You have flexibility with the hardware selections.
Another thing to remember is this WiFi SSID should be used by your Check-Ins devices only; it should not be used for other ministries or guest access.
Once you’ve determined how you will get connected to the internet, you can look at the devices you will use for your stations.
We recommend using iPads with Brother printers for the best mobility, reliability, and ease of use.
In terms of other hardware, like tablets or computers for stations, we encourage you to use what you already have. If you're looking to purchase new devices, the most reliable device is the 9.7" model of the iPad, and we recommend getting the newest technology you can afford to extend the life of the purchase. In general, you should make sure your device is able to update to the latest release to avoid compatibility issues.
For the iPads, you can use WiFi-only models if you are confident in your internet setup. If the internet is unstable, we recommend getting the WiFi + Cellular data model and use the Cellular data as a backup when needed.
For the Brother printers, we recommend purchasing the Brother QL-820NWB model. This model will give you the flexibility of using either Wireless or Bluetooth connectivity. We also recommend purchasing additional battery packs, as mobile churches often lack convenient power sources. The battery packs are built to last 3-4 hours.
When getting started, start small and grow as you notice pain points or slow areas. However, don’t forget to have a backup station--or two!--set up on personal phones. These can print to the same Brother printer, if using WiFi, and can be used when the lines get a little longer.
Use Self Stations for your congregation or regular attenders. You can use one station as a Manned Station for entering guest information, and the other stations can be a Self Station for existing members to quickly check in.
The Church Center App can speed up the check-in process. The Church Center App allows parents to pre-check their children in before they arrive at church, so when they arrive, they only need to scan the code, and the labels immediately start printing! Set your Self Station to be an "express lane" by promoting the use of the Church Center App and having the camera already open and ready to scan.