​Criterion G

With Fitness Zone being a relatively small health and fitness center, the IT system is still in its infancy compared to those competing with it. The system, a database, relies on standard office software such as word processing, spreadsheets, and desktop publish to manage membership. Furthermore, the center has implemented a new swipe card entrance system that links to the database and records the usage of services by the members. Although the center has a lot of software, the main office is not networked to these and consequently, engenders data redundancy.

Fitness center is an independent organization that provides fitness programs for the local people. It is currently using the networked computer system and office software like Word processor, spreadsheet, and DTP. Swipe card entrance system is used to link to the database of the membership system which records the use of the center’s facilities. However, it finds problem in competing with the big chain center and tries to improve the individual service and customized solutions to the clients which is not always found in larger centers. The office software is worked independently without networks which can cause data redundancy. The center aims to improve the service economically, but the center faces challenge in using the new information and communication technologies. The improvement on the usage of IT system which includes using collected data more effectively and e-mailing to certain customers would benefit both the center and the clients. The center would be able to organize the its customers and its data more effectively, making the most use of the IT system. Also, it can obtain information and seeing the usage patterns of the facilities, helping it to determine special offers. The customers would be informed of specific information through e-mails and receive health and fitness issues as well as dietary advice through Lifestyle Management Programme.

Fitness zone in Cardiff is relatively small independent organisation which is struggling to compete in many ways with other big fitness centres in the area, especially in IT systems. Currently they are using networked computer system and standard office software, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, and DTP. In addition, they have Swipe Card entrance system which can link its membership database that records the use of facilities by the members. But there is a problem in this fitness centre, it says that "Fitness Zone is also keen to use data collected by the organisation more effectively" meaning that they are having an issue of data redundancy.

As the Fitness Zone is a small business, it falls back in technology and needs to enhance its current system. Clients of the fitness center are not able to monitor their health and fitness issues efficiently because the business does not run a system supporting such information for its customers. In addition, the business does not have any sort of program to allow its customers to receive dietary advice via the Internet. If a solution were to be made, both the clients and business would benefit because clients can now use a program to look at their training needs, previous training records, and current fitness assessment, and the business is likely to have an increase in customers due to the sophistication of the new system.

Criterion H

The solutions should be able to connect the two existing systems- the new swipe card entrance system and standard office software. One of the ways to connect two systems is using “null modem” cable which is also known as a “crossover cable.” To have a direct connection between the systems, connect the computers with Ethernet cable that has one pair of wires crossed internally. The networking address should be in the same sub network to have direct connection. However, the fact that the computer that is hooked to Internet or a printer must be running for other computers to have access serves as a disadvantage. Using crossover cable is the most cost-effective way when dealing with two computers which is not the most effective solution for fitness center if it possesses many computers.
The other way is setting up LAN, or local area network using hub or switch which would allow computers to communicate directly with one another. LAN is a limited network for single house, buildings, or departments, which is suitable for the fitness center. It might be more advantageous to use the switch rather than hub since switches know which port the data should be sent, increasing the network response times and the speed of data transmission while hub would not identify the specific destination for sending the data and break the network into segments. However, having switches can be costly, which might be disadvantageous concerning their financial state. To avoid this, both switches and hubs can be used to form mixed network which is more cost- effective. Creating a LAN would be beneficial to the fitness center; they would no longer need to repeat the data again since the systems would be connected and there are no worries over data redundancy. This would increase the working speed as well as efficiency since working with data becomes much easier.

"Connect systems in a LAN???? - Dev Shed." Dev Shed Forums - Open Source web development. Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://forums.devshed.com/networking-help-109/connect-systems-in-a-lan-88770.html>.
"Hubs, Switches, Routers: What's the Difference? - www.smallbusinesscomputing.com." Small Business Computing. 18 Apr. 2005. Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/webmaster/article.php/3498476>.
"LAN Switches." Top Bits. Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://www.topbits.com/lan-switches.html>.
Tyson, Jeff. "Howstuffworks "How LAN Switches Work"" HowStuffWorks - Learn How Everything Works! Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://www.howstuffworks.com/lan-switch.htm/printable>.
"Basic Network With Crossover Cable." Web Design and Hosting. Web. 10 Feb. 2010. http://www.michromeshop.com/networkBasic.html.

For the business is absent of a system that allows its customers to monitor their health via the Internet, designing a website for the Fitness Center with a username and password would be an efficient solution. The clients can login to the website and check information that the fitness manager has uploaded. Clients can easily look at their current fitness issues and receive dietary advice online. It is also beneficial for the business because it allows it to easily upload information and inform its customers. However, it would be up to the managers to constantly update the website and maintain its effectiveness.
Implementing a health club management system will also help the fitness center in reducing “tedious daily tasks for managers” (Health Club Management Systems, 2008). The company selling such software that enhances the work efficiency in the fitness center will also help enable the fitness center to contact members and address their needs (Health Club Management Systems, 2008), thus solving many of the issues the fitness center faces.

Health Club Management Systems. "Health Club Management Software System for Health Clubs, Fitness Centers, and Gyms". 03/02/10 <http://www.healthclubmanagementsystems.com/>.

As there is an issue of data redundancy in fitness centre in Cardiff, it must be solved. One of the solutions is a process called Normalisation. It’s a technique for designing relational database tables to minimize duplication of information or data and, in so doing, to safeguard the database against certain types of logical or structural problems, namely data anomalies.

When multiple instances of a given piece of information occur in a table, the possibility exists that these instances will not be kept consistent when the data within the table is updated, leading to a loss of data integrity. A table that is sufficiently normalised is less vulnerable to problems of this kind, because its structure reflects the basic assumptions for when multiple instances of the same information should be represented by a single instance only.

Therefore this process of normalisation will allow the fitness centre to prevent its data duplication, and plus it allows them to keep up the records so that it does not have a loss of data integrity. But there are some disadvantages to this process; it requires more of CPU’s memory.

Plew, Ronald. "The Database Normalization Process". InformIT. 11th Feb 2010 <http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=30646>.

The fundamental problem is that the two existing systems – the new swipe card entrance system and the standard office software – are not properly networked to each other. One way to eliminate data redundancy is by normalization, which is maintaining of the veracity of the data while concurrently removing inconsistent data dependencies. Normalization involves the need for the system analyst to establish rules, stick to them, and consequently guarantee that the data is kept efficiently. Despite this benefits, normalization uses a lot of CPU space and consequently can slow down the system. Another effective method to connect the two existing systems is by a Local Area Network (LAN). The LAN provides users with easy access to existing files making it easier to collaborate on projects and reduce data redundancy. Coupled with this advantage, LAN is flexible in its design, easily managed, and cost efficient due to standard personal computer hardware being used to network the workstations.

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DUE: FEB. 12, 2010 Editing is now closed. See you guys next week. Happy Lunar New Year!