Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Point of sale
A check-out counter, checkstand, or checkout is the aisle where people place items they have chosen to purchase from a store, such as a supermarket or department store. This is typically a long counter, which usually contains a moving belt or sometimes a rotating carousel, and a photocell to stop it when items reach the end. The cashier rings up each item on the cash register and obtains the total. The items are placed in bags and the customer can take them after paying.
Marketers design special advertisements, called point-of-sale displays that are typically found at or near a checkout counter. These displays are frequently designed to stimulate impulse purchases , (especially of items that children will beg parents for).
POS Software Systems
POS is an ancronym for Point of Sale. POS software enables an efficient recording of the data that comprises a business transaction when the sale of goods or services to the customer occurs. This has been done manually since the dawn of civilization, of course, but POS software automates the process.
POS software often feeds data to other software modules to create a more comprehensive and useful array of software tools, including merchandizing, forecasting, accounting and inventory-control. Some POS software packages feature these functions fully integrated.
The First POS software
The earliest POS software was text-based, keyboard-driven and was written for use in restaurants to replace the electronic cash register, the ECR, an invention that was itself only two years old. In 1979 Gene Mosher's Old Canal Cafe in Syracuse, New York was using POS software written by Mosher that ran on an Apple to take customer orders at the restaurant's front entrance and print them in the restaurant's kitchen. In that novel context customers would often procede to their tables to find their food waiting for them! This software included real time labor and food cost reports.
In 1985 Mosher introduced the first touchscreen-driven, color graphic, POS interface. This software ran on the Atari ST, the world's first consumer-level color graphic computer. By the end of the 20th century Mosher's promotion of his unpatented software paradigm had resulted in its worldwide adoption by cash register manufacturers and other POS software developers as the de facto standard for point of sale software systems.
POS Hardware Interface Standarization
Initiatives to standardize development of computerized POS systems have been made to alleviate interconnecting POS devices. Two such initiatives are OPOS and JavaPOS, both conforming to the UnifiedPOS standard. A standard led by The National Retail Foundation . OPOS was the first commonly adopted standard and was initiated by Microsoft, NCR Corporation, Epson and Fujitsu-ICL. OPOS is a COM based interface compatible with all COM enabled programming languages for Microsoft Windows. OPOS was first released in 1996. JavaPOS was initiated by Sun Microsystems, IBM, and NCR Corporation in 1997 and first released in 1999. JavaPOS is for Java what OPOS is for Microsoft Windows and thus largely platform independent.
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