In its most basic form Mobile EPOS comes in the shape of the credit card terminals that most shops have these days. The WiFi versions of these are used to take credit cars at the table to offer convenience and a degree of trust by not taking your card away from you at any point in the transaction.
Pidion’s BIP-1300 has been used for years on airlines, and for us British folk Easyjet has used them on their planes for about 4 years now to take your credit card details if you buy anything from the duty-free trolley onboard the aircraft. Here they’ve taken things a step further by taking your credit card details and by marrying this up with flight/travel details they can gain some extra business intelligence about their customers.
We’ve deployed other projects where credit card details have been taken and stored on the Mobile EPOS terminal for later transaction processing, in this instance it’s quite easy to take details using either the Magnetic stripe, Chip reader or even RFID reader of the Mobile EPOS device and then connect to a payments gateway on ethernet connection. Using a PCI terminal you can also have a more live connection so that you can get more immediate feedback on credit card details. It has to be noted that you never actually store the credit card details on the device, but codes that can be used for later processing of funds.
We’re working on a number of projects within EPOS right now. Some are designed to give complex receipts to users without using the card reading functionality at all but making good use of the built-in printing facility. Some are being looked at to read membership cards and there’s one very interesting project that are looking to see how they can integrate a Mobile EPOS terminal into their staff canteens that use a bespoke charge card for payments. Some of these projects are using all in one EPOS terminals but some are also using a separate Rugged PDA/Mobile printer due to the complex printer requirements. Much like your friendly neighbourhood parking meter attendants!
In retail the most commonly talked about solution is that used in Apple stores. It grated for a long time that they used the old Fujitsu B-Pads with Windows Mobile on them. “Apple have to use Windows to take customers money…” was a quote Steve Balmer often used. Well now they use iPod touch’s with a bespoke jacket and application that in my mind works very well every time I’m in one of their stores. Rugged it is not, but when you manufacture the hardware yourself maybe it doesn’t matter!! The key element here is that you walk in a store and stay with the same salesperson from greeting to sale and you can clearly see how Apple employees are passionate and knowledgeable about their products and how this mobile EPOS terminal has helped that way of selling.
Lastly in supermarkets we’ve seen Motorola’s MC17 devices for many years. I remember these things in Safeway stores over 20 years ago to be honest and also seeing them in Waitrose in Henley too! They seem to be on the eternal pilot scheme but if used properly you can imagine how they could work. At their most basic they allow users to scan items into specially rented baskets, eliminating the need to unload at the till (and load up again!). It makes it easy on the customer. But, these are windows mobile terminals and they could do a lot more. Using a opensource mapping client like cloud made they could map their stores and give customers a SatNav experience to find items, alert customers when the bread has been put on offer and also maybe they could help you with ingredients for recipes.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what the mobile part of EPOS can do and customers are now seeing the major potential of using a mobile EPOS terminal instead of the more traditional counter top devices.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.