More than 99% of the population will never see this, I congratulate you.
The advantages were enormous over the previous mechanical designs. Reports can now be printed directly from your desktop. Reports can be custom filtered and emailed right to customers, supervisors, or boards of directors (think condo associations with pools, golf courses, facilities management). Since 1984, as I said, a lot of manufacturers have entered the market, not all with sound technologies. Models that are neither water or shock-proof fail under daily usage. Claims of intrinsic safety standards for use in hazardous petrochemical environments are common, and should always be challenged. Some require metal to metal contact, thereby having the risk of explosion in some environments.
So which electronic watchtour system should you buy? It depends. Datapoints (checkpoints), come in several technologies and sizes. First, decide how may checkpoints you will need, then add 5 to be safe(er). Some systems claim a capacity of 100,000, others, less than 100. How big are the checkpoints? Are they available in colors - can you pain them? Will they stand out (drawing attention is not good), or will they blend in.. "Blend in.." I can almost hear a George Carlin rant about that on YouTube. But it's important that it does "blend in" as vandalism will then not happen. Are they easy, or difficult to mount. iButtons are tricky, we recommend you just epoxy them to the wall. RFID tags are very easy to work with, about the size of a quarter, black plastic, they look like nothing and can be painted. QR codes are the newest, they stick to everything but wood, and always work with a cloud hosted system.
The newest technology (again, this is 2016) use a combination of RFID tags, or QR codes, that can be read in most cases within 3 feed of the checkpoint. JWM has a powered RFID checkpoint that we have tested from 20 feet away. Imagine just driving by, bring down the window, scan it from the safety of you car or truck, then driving off. Rain, snow, crazy people? No problem.
With the uPatrol, the office would even know where you are at the moment you "hit" the checkpoint.
Around 2001, only one manufacturer actually met the stringent standards for Class-0 areas with full BASEEFA certification, with a specially constructed and designed electronic clock. That was Detex. No contact, no spark, drop-resistant, water and oil "proof" to 100 feet.
It's essentially the same software as Detex used in the past, but updated for Windows, and instead of scanning a magnetic bar code with the old metal head reader, it's now a lightweight circuit board in epoxy plastic body reader. The Detex ProxiPen Kit.
The second system that meets these specifications - explosion proof, waterproof, drop resistant, no-contact to read: The JWM V-8.
The third, and now most popular watchclock system is the cloud based uPatrol system. The initial QR Tags are 3" x 3" but you can make your own, even up to 48" x 48" QR codes - make your own, print them yourself and scan from your smartphone.
So from the early days when the guard carried a 3lb chunk of aluminum (Detex Guardsman, Detex Neuman) that he could swing as a weapon, to today's iPhone/Android guard tour apps, we've been there, we've done it, and we have the best of all worlds here in our inventory.