The point of sale system manufacturing sector
The POS sector has already shed its growing image, and major commercial and financing sectors are heavily depending on such systems to enhance their trade. In fact, year on year figures for both demand and supply of the line have exceeded expectations and may track targets that were twice as high as those before the last global financial crisis.
To date, developments in wireless technology and the greater connection flexibility of devices are spurring the changes in the line. These systems, which make up most of the checkout terminals where the purchase transaction usually occurs, are being made with better graphical user interfaces and low profile form factors. They consist of hardware and software components and handle the selling process through customizable user-friendly interface. The system creates the bill of payment and the receipt.
Most systems today are basically composed of a thermal printer, a bar-code scanner, and a keyboard. Other accessories that enhance modes of transactions are LCD displays, kits, and cash drawers.
The thermal printer, the most important component for the consumer side, produces the more tangible aspect of the purchase and creates the receipt. The paper used in it is thermochromic or thermal paper, which turns black in the heated areas. Most market selections are cost-effective when compared to the conventional dot-matrix printer. Most printers come in basic form factors, and are significantly smaller than those used in the office. Many are entry level and mid-range lines and can be used with any branded system. Upscale ones are usually replacement for original systems and are built with wireless modules.
Compatibility, printing speed, and the ingress protection of various housings determine pricing. Meaning, models that use direct printing method and ESC/POS emulation, and print at speeds of at least 150 mm/s with 8 dots/mm resolution are more expensive. The latest releases feature various frequently used ports and terminals.
The newest printers can be installed easily on different operating systems. Newer models, particularly upscale versions, are integrated with Bluetooth receivers for better wireless connectivity. They also boast of robust form factors and can be used outdoors, many of which have easy-to-clean housing and are resistant to moisture, corrosion, and mildew. Expect more handheld and portable models in the next months.
Other important accessories are barcode scanners or readers. These electronic devices are used to read the bar codes. They are built with a lens and a light sensor that scan the printed codes and convert the optical impulses into digital format.
Conventional scanners used in the retail sector are available in freestanding or undercounter bed scanners, or handheld or gun-type designs. The second types use single-line scanning, while most bed or freestanding scanners are omnidirectional. Both CCD-based and laser units adopt 1D scanning. The latest high-end models use 2D technology and can scan squares, dots, hexagons, and other geometric patterns in images.
Keyboards for POS systems come in conventional and encryption types. Mostly manufactured by PC input device suppliers, the first makes up the majority of supply and is intended for the low-end and mid-range markets. The rest of the supply are more upscale and is widely used in banks and many other financial institutions.
Supply of accessories for point of sale systems is estimated to fully cover present needs. Manufacturers intend to pursue R&D effort, particularly on scanning speed, read area, and ergonomics.