TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
List of Tables viii
List of Figures ix
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 5
1.3 Aim and Objectives 5
1.4 Justification of the Study 6
1.5 Scope 7
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 9
2.1 Related Works on QR Codes with the Use of Android/Smart Phones 9
2.2 Existing Mobile Recharge System Model 13
2.3 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) Pricing Models 16
2.4 Existing Recharge Voucher Generation Method 18
2.5 Guides on How to Generate QR Codes 22
2.6 QR Code Readers 24
2.7 Encoding Procedure Overview 25
2.8 Decoding Procedure Overview 26
2.9 Literature Gap 28
CHAPTER 3: MATERIALS AND METHODS 30
3.1 Materials 30
3.1.1 Software requirements 30
3.1.2 Hardware requirements 31
3.1.3 Human resource requirements 31
3.2 Data Collection 31
3.2.1 Primary data 32
3.2.2 Secondary data 32
3.3 Feasibility Study 33
3.3.1 Aspects of the feasibility study considered 34
3.4 Choice of Model Used 34
3.4.1 Waterfall model 35
3.5 Accessing a QR Code on a Mobile Phone 36
3.6 Analysis of the New Designed System 38
3.7 System Design of the New Proposed System 39
3.8 The Programming Language Used 40
3.9 Database Management System for the New Designed System 41
3.10 Input Design Form for the New Designed System 42
3.10.1 Description of the new system interfaces 42
3.11 Software Installation/Code Generation Process 48
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 50
4.1 Results 50
4.2 Discussions 51
4.3 How QR Codes are Created and Decoded by the Mobile Network Users 52
4.3.1 Creating a QR code 52
4.3.2 Scanning a QR code 54
4.3.3 Results of the QR code generation 55
4.3.4 Reading the QR code recharge voucher 55
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 60
5.1 Conclusion 60
5.2 Recommendation 61
5.3 Contribution to Knowledge 61
LIST OF TABLES
2.1: Some related literature review and their limitations 13
3.1: The software’s and their specifications 30
3.2: Sample of questionnaire 33
4.1 Speed/scanning time process of the QR codes using mobile scan application 50
LIST OF FIGURES
1.1: Sample of a QR code 4
2.1: Flowchart of the existing manual system 15
2.2: Existing recharge vouchers 18
2.3: Existing recharge voucher printing stand-alone user interface 19
2.4: (Mobile Network Operators) MNOs menu 20
2.5: A typical recharge card pin 20
2.6: A printed recharge voucher 21
2.7: The interface form for designing the code generator 23
2.8: QR code decoding process 27
3.1: Diagram of the waterfall model 35
3.2: Accessing QR code on mobile phone 37
3.2: Mobile device has or has not a QR code reader 38
3.3: Notepad ++ 6.7 editing environment 41
3.4: Registration form for new network users 42
3.5: Password editing form for network users 43
3.6: Login form generator by network admin/users 43
3.7: Block diagram of the dual application user 35
3.8: Block diagram of a quick response (QR) code with mobile scan application
for mobile- network recharge operations 45
3.9: Flow chart for the administrator of the designed system 47
3.10: Flow chart for the users (mobile network users) of the designed system 48
4.1: Pie chart and the percentage level of the QR code speed processes 51
4.2: Creating QR codes for any of the mobile networks 53
4.3: Scanning a QR code with an android phone 54
4.4: QR recharge voucher interface 56
4.5: The proposed QR code recharge voucher 57
4.6: The customized QR code recharge voucher 58
4.7: QR code recharge scanning process 58
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The use of mobile phone recharge scratch cards began with the introduction of Global system for mobile communication (G.S.M) in Nigeria, with ECONET in 2001. This new development in communication technology replaced the older means of communication that was championed by Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) and Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) in the country. The new innovation also brought about progressive changes and series of transformations into the communication industry. This increase in awareness led to the introduction of other service providers such as MTN, Globacom, Etisalat, Visafone, Starcomms, Multinet, etc. The production, distribution, sales and especially, the use of mobile phone scratch cards in Nigeria is one thing that must be done with the use of a mobile device, otherwise known as a smartphone or android phones. Since the GSM launch, mobile telephony has rapidly become the most popular method of voice communication in Nigeria. GSM has boosted the telecommunication activities in Nigeria and improved the quality of life for the Nigerians. As the number of services and subscribers of GSM in Nigeria increases, the demand for good means of securing our recharge card pins has become an issue in the country, (Abrahão et al., 2016). This traditional/manual method of recharging our lines with the android phones have been in existence since 2001 and has led to the introduction of both scratched and unscratched recharge card pins. Most of the network service providers like MTN, Globacom, etc. have not been able to solve the problem of securing a better way of encrypting our pins so as to prevent the middle man from interfering with it.
Furthermore, in order to gain a better understanding of this new designed system of encrypting the recharge card pins in a QR Code format. There is need for us to understand the definition and function of a smartphone. The smartphone is a cellular/mobile phone that performs similar functions like a computer. It has a touch screen interface, internet access and an operating system capable of running downloaded applications like the mobile scan application. Smartphones are gadgets that are used frequently by mobile subscribers to make their life easier, to complete the task of recharging their phones and equally save time. However, the recent pattern to reload mobile prepaid smartphones is still using this traditional method, which is time consuming. This method is applicable in two ways, where the mobile users will need to enter the specific unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) MTN codes and follow the 16 digits number manually via typing in order to complete the task of reloading the prepaid phones. The other way is by dialing the specific MTN number and the mobile operator will follow the step by step guide on reloading the prepaid smartphone. Nevertheless, this new software proposal system gears towards changing the existing patterns and the way of reloading our recharge vouchers by generating the QR Code and using the mobile scan application to encrypt it. Mobile scan application is a desirable application, especially since the smart phones we have these days come with high quality camera which can be used to scan an image and encrypt the text that is in the QR Code format.
QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (two-dimensional barcode) first designed by the automotive industry in Japan. Also, a barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. A QR code uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji) to efficiently store data; extensions may also be used. It has a larger set of machine readable codes as compared to the one-dimensional barcode and it can hold more data because it uses both the horizontal and vertical axis. It is widely used in different fields such as manufacturing and mobile marketing. QR codes have a more advanced error correction and it is more reliable and has a faster speed than other codes (Adeel et al., 2012).
They were first created in 1994, its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacturing; it was also designed to allow high-speed component scanning. In 2002, when Japanese handset makers and others wanted to turn everyone’s phone camera into a barcode scanner for marketing purposes, QR codes were very handy. With two dimensions of operation, QR codes can store several hundred times the amount of information carried by ordinary bar codes. They can contain anything that can fit into a maximum of about 4k (roughly one page of text). These codes are versatile. To use a QR code, one would need a smartphone, iPod, netbook or similar device with a camera, a QR code reader application installed, and, in most cases, Internet access, either through a wireless network or through a data phone plan. The user would scan the code and gain access to a variety of information, from textual information and URLs, to contact information that can initiate a text message or phone call. Although QR codes were first developed in the 1990s, only more recently have they been appearing in public spaces in Canada, such as on posters, flyers, newspapers, and magazines (Ashford, R. et al, 2010). QR codes have already overtaken the popularity of classical barcode in many areas because of the several advantages like increase in capacity, reduced size, etc. The variety of applications it can offer makes the use of QR Code more prominent than that of the barcodes. Statistically, QR codes can accommodate the same data in approximately one tenth the space of a traditional barcode, (Ashford et al., 2010). Information such as URL, SMS, contact information and plain text can be embedded into the two dimensional matrix. Also, the explosive increment in the use of smartphones has played an important role in the popularizing of QR codes. Below is the diagram of a QR Code.
Figure 1.1: Sample of a QR Code (Ashford, R. et al, 2010)
However, this software on mobile devices gives the QR code scanning application the ability to load the recharge voucher even if the smartphones is in online or offline mode by default. Once the smartphone detects a QR code, it will automatically decode the information and load the received code. This application will save time and is more efficient than the current traditional airtime recharge methods. In addition, this design involves two (2) software applications; “the QR Code generator” and “The QR Code scanner”. The purpose of “the QR Code generator” is to generate the QR code and this application will be used by MTN mobile network operators and possible dealers that could provide and sale the prepaid recharge cards. Also, the purpose of “The QR Code scanner” application is to make the mobile users have easy access to reload their recharge vouchers. This software application will help reduce time and energy because mobile users just need to scan the QR code to reload the prepaid recharge cards, (Ying et al., 2011).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Our research survey showed that recharging our mobile account has always been a trouble to most mobile subscribers all over Nigeria. Most of the mobile users do make mistakes while keying in the pin numbers from the scratch cards. Some might not even know the process of recharging their smart phones. In Addition, people who are visually impaired, face this difficulty the most. When mobile users recharge from a shop, the retailer can also enter the user’s number wrongly. So in the process, mobile users lose their money. Therefore, the airtime scan mobile application is an application that allows users the ease of loading airtime into their mobile devices without having to go through the painful process of entering all the sixteen (16) pin numbers off the voucher. Instead the mobile user can capture the QR Code image of the voucher and scan the pin directly into their phone.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The main aim is to develop a Quick Response (QR) Code with scanner application for mobile network recharge card operations (GSM networks) so as to display the encrypted string in form of the image. The objectives are:
To develop an algorithm for the Standalone Application that will implement the QR Code.
To use a Python Flask Framework in designing the QR Code mobile network operating recharge system, that is, a mobile application that can read, decode and upload the mobile network operator (MNOs) recharge code.
To deploy the application to an Apache web server so that the dual application can work effectively.
To develop a back end of the network recharge operations using Python and HTML coding languages.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
This research focuses on development of web based application and also a mobile scanner. In this twenty first century, the production, distribution, sales and especially, the use of mobile phone scratch cards in Nigeria is one thing that has not received the needed safety watch and attention, partly due to little or no awareness of the danger it likely poses and partly due to the negligence of the network service providers to implement and heed to safety notices, rules and regulations concerning the use of scratch cards. The mobile network users are expected to scrap off the silver coating with scraper, but regrettably, many users always scratch the coatings with their finger nails so as to reveal the PIN. The mobile network telecommunication market is flooded with a wide range of tedious manual airtime recharge processes. Airtime users are always at risk when an unauthorized person gets access to their recharge pins. It is therefore mandatory that a solution be found that will make it easier for mobile network users to recharge their phones within two (2) seconds and reduce the invalid recharge pins which are often reported by mobile network subscribers. This is done by scanning the QR code with the mobile app scanner when recharging their phones and to erase the hassle of entering the sixteen (16) digits PIN immediately after scratching the coupon.
Security is one of the most common reasons of downfall of the current prepaid scratch cards. Theft loss or misuse of cards is also common and it forces retailers/resellers to either keep a low stock of their recharge card sells or move towards keeping lower denominations to minimize this risk.
Several instances of invalid recharge pins being acquired by subscribers have been reported and this has made the need for a more secured recharge pin acquisition a necessity (Wang et al., 2006).
Hence, the coverage area of this project work is to develop a python flask web based application that can generate a QR Code and mobile application that can equally scan the QR code to read the encrypted text in form of an image. Although, the current recharge voucher acquisition method remains the most widely accepted in the telecommunication industry by mobile subscribers, it is not completely safe as recharge pins can be accessed by an unauthorized middle man thereby rendering the acquired recharge code void.
This project is designed to use a dual platform which is the python flask framework and android framework. This project, focuses mainly on generating specific codes of recharge cards in batches of hundred (100) naira, two hundred (200) naira etc, for a particular GSM network like MTN network and a mobile scan application reader for decoding the codes and automatically loading it in the android phones of the mobile network users. This QR Code can be used by any of the service provider in Nigeria. The system is not designed to be used by mobile providers outside Nigeria.
Click “DOWNLOAD NOW” below to get the complete Projects
FOR QUICK HELP CHAT WITH US NOW!
+(234) 0814 780 1594