An old saying goes something like this – “You can’t compare apples to oranges.” The same is true with point of sale systems. There are so many different types and levels of POS equipment and applications, that making a fair comparison between several options can be quite difficult. One type of POS that is significantly different to many other systems is known as an ‘embedded POS’ terminal. And to truly appreciate the advantages of embedded POS, it’s important to have an understanding of what it is.
What does ‘Embedded’ Mean?
For the sake of simplicity, we are going to divide POS systems up into two broad categories – (1) POS applications installed on standard IT hardware, and (2) Embedded POS. The majority of point of sale solutions on the market today are POS applications. These are programs written by software developers and then installed on generic computer hardware, such as Windows computers and POS terminals, or tablets such as iPads and android equivalents. Therefore with POS applications, there are numerous other components that go into making your POS terminal work. For example, you have the operating system (Windows, iOS, android) that controls the hardware and allows the application to be loaded, as well as third-party database engines, and drivers that allow peripherals or other integrated components to function.
‘Embedded POS’ is different! The point of sale hardware is purpose built, with electronic components that are specifically designed and programmed to perform POS functions. Rather than having a separate operating system, third-party drivers and POS application, embedded terminals are an ‘all-in-one’ solution with the sole function of point of sale operation. In reality, the earliest form of embedded POS was the electronic cash register (ECR), which became popular 1980s and ‘90s. However, since the advent of touchscreen computers (and more recently tablets), the proliferation of hundreds of POS apps that have grown in functionality and scope has led to the demise of the humble cash register in its traditional form.
Uniwell’s HX Series is Embedded POS, Reinvented
The reduction in the use of ECRs doesn’t mean that embedded POS solutions no longer exist, or are too old-fashioned. There are tangible advantages to embedded POS terminals, and specialist manufacturers with decades of point of sale experience have worked hard to develop modern embedded systems with functionality equal to many of the more advanced POS applications available. One such developer is Uniwell Corporation. This Japanese manufacturer has been designing and producing POS equipment since 1979, but their latest ‘Hybrid ePOS’ technology has taken a giant step forward
So let’s consider 4 fundamental reasons why you should seriously consider choosing an embedded POS solution:
Security – with the recent increase in cyber security threats, along with the risk of staff misuse, there is a real need for enhanced security on POS terminals. The multiple software layers required for a PC/tablet POS system, including the operating system, database engine and peripheral drivers, as well as the POS application itself, introduce multiple points of vulnerability. Anti-virus and anti-malware software is needed to protect the terminal. Compare this to an embedded system, which has only one purpose and can’t intentionally or inadvertently access websites, emails or other external sources of potentially harmful material.
Reliability – the POS system is a critical component in any busy hospitality or food retail business. If point of sale terminals have unexpected problems and downtime, this has a negative impact on the speed and quality of customer service provided by the venue. The ‘all-in-one’ nature of the proprietary systems in embedded POS removes a number of risk areas in relation to system reliability.
Operational Speed – another important benefit of embedded POS systems is the speed that a well setup terminal can be operated at. This comes from two primary areas – (1) improved data and memory processing, which again stems from the fact that POS processes are not cluttered by the multiple software components that are required for a PC/tablet solution, and (2) specific POS functionality that automates or enhances the workflow of the sale process. Embedded POS developers like Uniwell Corporation have been refining POS features for decades, and have a clear understanding of what makes a point of sale terminal easy to use for an operator.
Purpose-built Hardware – hospitality and food retail venues can be tough on tech equipment, particularly products that are not intended for the environment. Embedded POS terminals are specifically designed to cope with the day-to-day requirements of these sites in ways that a standard tablet, laptop or PC is not.
So the next time you are researching a potential new point of sale solution, consider the benefits of an embedded POS system such as Uniwell’s HX-5500.
The fundamental advantages that these terminals offer can provide your business with increased efficiency and stability that will ultimately improve your bottom-line – making embedded POS more relevant than ever.
This article was originally written for the Uniwell4POS website.