About Smart Kiosks
Kiosks Solution’s Mini Kiosks is powered by Intel® vPro™ technology. Intel® vPro™ technology provide down-the-wire proactive security and manageability capabilities-even for PCs whose power is off or whose operating system is down. These PCs also include virtualization capabilities that allow IT managers to enhance third-party virtualization technologies , it has been designed with the following features :
Queue Management System
Food/Ticketing Ordering System
Early interactive kiosks sometimes resembled telephone booths, but have been embraced by retail, food service and hospitality to improve customer service. Interactive kiosks are typically placed in high foot traffic settings such as shops, hotel lobbies or airports.
Integration of technology allows kiosks to perform a wide range of functions, evolving into self-service kiosks. For example, kiosks may enable users to order from a shop's catalogue when items are not in stock, check out a library book, look up information about products, issue a hotel key card, enter a public utility bill account number in order to perform an online transaction, or collect cash in exchange for merchandise. Customised components such as coin hoppers, bill acceptors, card readers and thermal printers enable kiosks to meet the owner's specialised needs.
Point of Sales (POS)
The advent of cloud computing has given birth to the possibility of POS systems to be deployed as software as a service, which can be accessed directly from the Internet using any internet browser. Using the previous advances in the communication protocols for POS’s control of hardware, cloud-based POS systems are independent from platform and operating system limitations. Cloud-based POS systems are also created to be compatible with a wide range of POS hardware like the Smart Kiosks. Thus cloud-based POS also helped expand POS systems to mobile devices, such as tablet computers or smartphones. These devices can also act as barcode readers using a built-in camera and as payment terminals using built-in NFC technology or an external payment card reader. A number of POS companies built their software specifically to be cloud-based. Other businesses who launched pre-2000s have since adapted their software to evolving technology.
Cloud-based POS systems are different from traditional POS largely because user data, including sales and inventory, are not stored locally, but in a remote server. The POS system is also not run locally, so there is no installation required.
Depending on the POS vendor and the terms of contract, compared to traditional on-premises POS installation, the software is more likely to be continually updated by the developer with more useful features and better performance in terms of computer resources at the remote server and in terms of lesser bugs and errors.
Other advantages of a cloud-based POS are instant centralization of data (important especially to chain stores), ability to access data from anywhere there is internet connection, and lower start-up costs.
Cloud based POS requires an internet connection. For this reason it important to use a device with 3G connectivity in case the device’s primary internet goes down. In addition to being significantly less expensive than traditional legacy point of sale systems, the real strength of a cloud based point of sale system is that there are developers all over the world creating software applications for cloud based POS. Cloud based POS systems are often described as future proof as new applications are constantly being conceived and built.
A number of noted emerging cloud-based POS systems came on the scene less than a decade or even half a decade back. These systems are usually designed for restaurants, small and medium-sized retail operations with fairly simple sale processes as can be culled from POS system review sites. It appears from such software reviews that enterprise-level cloud-based POS systems are currently lacking in the market. “Enterprise-level” here means that the inventory should be capable of handling a large number of records, such as required by grocery stores and supermarkets. It can also mean that the system—software and cloud server—must be capable of generating reports such as analytics of sale against inventory for both a single and multiple outlets that are interlinked for administration by the headquarters of the business operation.
POS vendors of such cloud based systems should also have a strong contingency plan for the breakdown of their remote server such as represented by fail-over server support. However, sometimes even a major data center can fail completely, such as in a fire. On-premises installations are therefore sometimes seen alongside cloud-based implementation to preempt such incidents, especially for businesses with very high traffic. However the on-premises installations may not have the most up-to-date inventory and membership information.
For such contingency, a more innovative though highly complex approach for the developer is to have a trimmed down version of the POS system installed on the cashier computer at the outlet. On a daily basis the latest inventory and membership information from the remote server is automatically updated into the local database. Thus should the remote server fail, the cashier can switch over to the local sale window without disrupting sales. When the remote server is restored and the cashier switches over to the cloud system, the locally processed sale records are then automatically submitted to the remote system, thus maintaining the integrity of the remote database.
Although cloud-based POS systems save the end-user startup cost and technical challenges in maintaining an otherwise on-premises installation, there is a risk that should the cloud-based vendor close down it may result in more immediate termination of services for the end-user compared to the case of a traditional full on-premises POS system where it can still run without the vendor.
Another consideration is that a cloud-based POS system actually exposes business data to service providers – the hosting service company and the POS vendor which have access to both the application and database. The importance of securing critical business information such as supplier names, top selling items, customer relationship processes cannot be underestimated given that sometimes the few key success factors or trade secrets of a business are actually accessible through the POS system. This security and privacy concern is an ongoing issue in cloud computing.
The retail industry is one of the predominant users of POS terminals. A retail point of sale system typically includes a cash register (which in recent times comprises a computer, monitor, cash drawer, receipt printer, customer display and a barcode scanner) and the majority of retail POS systems also include a debit/credit card reader. It can also include a conveyor belt, weight scale, integrated credit card processing system, a signature capture device and a customer pin pad device. While the system may include a keyboard and mouse, more and more POS monitors use touch-screen technology for ease of use, and a computer is built into the monitor chassis for what is referred to as an all-in-one unit. All-in-one POS units liberate counter space for the retailer. The POS system software can typically handle a myriad of customer based functions such as sales, returns, exchanges, layaways, gift cards, gift registries, customer loyalty programs, promotions, discounts and much more. POS software can also allow for functions such as pre-planned promotional sales, manufacturer coupon validation, foreign currency handling and multiple payment types.
The POS unit handles the sales to the consumer but it is only one part of the entire POS system used in a retail business. “Back-office” computers typically handle other functions of the POS system such as inventory control, purchasing, receiving and transferring of products to and from other locations. Other typical functions of a POS system are: store sales information for enabling customer returns, reporting purposes, sales trends and cost/price/profit analysis. Customer information may be stored for receivables management, marketing purposes and specific buying analysis. Many retail POS systems include an accounting interface that “feeds” sales and cost of goods information to independent accounting applications.
A multiple point of sale system used by big retailers like supermarkets and department stores has a far more demanding database and software architecture than that of a single station seen in small retail outlets. A supermarket with high traffic cannot afford a systemic failure, hence each point of sale station should not only be very robust both in terms of software, database and hardware specifications but also designed in such a way as to prevent causing a systemic failure – such as may happen through the use of a single central database for operations.
At the same time updating between multiple stations and the back end administrative computer should be capable of being efficiently performed, so that on one hand either at the start of the day or at any time each station will have the latest inventory to process all items for sale, while on the other hand at the end of the day the back end administrative computer can be updated in terms of all sale records.
This gets even more complicated when there is a membership system requiring real-time two-way updating of membership points between sale stations and the back end administrative computer.
Recently new applications have been introduced, enabling POS transactions to be conducted using mobile phones and tablets. According to a recent study, mobile POS (mPOS) terminals are expected to replace the contemporary payment techniques because of various features including mobility, upfront low cost investment and better user experience.
In the mid-2000s, the blind community in the United States engaged in structured negotiations to ensure that retail point of sale devices had tactile keypads. Without keys that can be felt, a blind person cannot independently enter her or his PIN. In the mid-2000s retailers began using “flat screen” or “signature capture” devices that eliminated tactile keypads. Blind people were forced to share their confidential PIN with store clerks in order to use their debit and other PIN-based cards. The blind community reached agreement with Walmart, Target, CVS and eight other retailers that required real keys so blind people could use the devices.