POSGuys Grocery POS System

January 15, 2013

We have a new POS System available and hopefully it’ll fit well in grocery stores or delis. Maybe even a hardware store if you sell things by weight. This is the Grocery POS System, another of our pre-configured POS Systems.

POSGuys Grocery POS System

The system was created because many customers have called in asking for a pre-made grocery system, but we didn’t have one available. Our tech team have been known to setup a retail system to support a scale, but we really wanted something online with all the requisite parts together.

We’ve built the Grocery POS System to meet the needs of high volume retailers who sell products both by barcode and weight. The system comes complete with POS Computer, Monitor, Programmable Keyboard, Scanner / Scale, Cordless Scanner, Receipt Printer, and Cash Drawer. That’s a lot of stuff.

POS Computer:
The POS-X EVO PC4 Pro computer included in the system has the power to handle even massive inventory databases with ease. Powered by an Intel Core i3 processor and 4 GB of RAM, the computer makes short work of product lookups and inventory checks. You also get a full complement of interface ports on the back of the EVO PC4, ensuring the plethora of peripherals can make purchase in the system.

Programmable Keyboard:
Preh’s MCI3100 keyboard consolidates 10-key functionality, credit card reading, and programmable key entry into a remarkably durable housing. We have reviewed this keyboard on video, hanging about 20 pounds of weight from either side while entering data successfully. 23 additional programmable keys are fantastic for putting in unmarked or often scanned products, like fruits or gum or something.

Scanner / Scale Combo:
In-counter scanner / scale combos are tanks. There’s a reason you still see PSC Magellans deployed even though they were bought by Datalogic and rebranded like 5 years ago. We’re running with the Honeywell Stratos 2400 in our POS system, mostly because we have had pretty great success in installations with this specific model. It has a 30 pound weight limit, so unless you’re selling lead bricks you should be fine. The two omnidirectional laser scanners are incredibly fast, so even if you’re throwing products across they’ll get scanned.

Cordless Scanner:
You can’t always use the scanner/scale for products you sell. Like dog food, or big boxes of soda that your customer doesn’t want to pull out from under the cart. So for those hulking monstrosities, you have the toughest cordless scanner we’ve ever seen- the Motorola LI4278. We drove over one of these barcode scanners with a BMW station wagon and it still works fine. It also has a 3 foot scan range on retail barcodes, so you don’t really have to stretch to get a good read either.

Receipt Printer:
Epson’s TM-T88V prints out receipts at a blisteringly fast pace, so even if a customer just bought like… 400 dollars worth of groceries, the printout will not be a hold up. A 12 inch per second print speed is terrific for long receipts. In terms of durability, the printer’s mean time between failure is 360,000, or about 41 years of use.

Cash Drawer:
The high security MMF Advantage Cash Drawer is going to keep your money safe all day long. Along with standard features like sturdy bill weights and multiple under-till media slots, the Advantage features a locked compartment connected to one of said media slots, ensuring things such as checks and large bills can be stored without fear of them walking away. The Advantage also sports a 4 million cycle solenoid lifespan, running smoothly for countless years.

Software:
We have had a lot of success setting up PCAmerica’s Cash Register Express for use with scales, and the powerful software handles even massive inventory databases. The easy-to-use software uses SQL Express for the database, scaling well to bigger operations and allowing for easy multi-lane setups.

All together, these parts make for a powerful means to handle the high volumes grocery checkstands experience. If you have a grocery store and see growth in your future, our Grocery POS System is a great first step.

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Motorola HC1 – In Video!

January 9, 2013

I really need to go to CES, all the fun stuff is there. Those lovely Engadgeteers are there and have a hands-on video up of the Motorola HC1 headset computer. The HC stands for Headset Computer, by the way. And because I like to repost things with attribution, I have the video below.

It’s great to see the ease of swapping components and adjusting parts in video. There’s only so much a still image can tell you, and although the PM seemed nervous, he did a terrific job to give a quick rundown of the features and functionality of the HC1.

[Source – Engadget]

Motorola MP6000 Scanner

January 8, 2013

mp6000I never thought I’d make a post about a scanner / scale combo on this blog, let alone two. And here I am, writing about the Motorola MP6000 that was just announced and will be on display at NRF. This bi-optic scanner / scale hybrid grocery store barcode scanner is yet another big move toward making your grocery experience a pleasant one.

As I said before, most grocery stores have in-counter scanner / scale combos, and most of them were built over a decade ago. Technology progresses, but who wants to plop down 30 grand to upgrade 16 checkstand’s worth of scanners when they’re working alright. Maybe now they’ll do it, because the MP6000 comes with not one, not two, but up to three 2D imagers built-in.

The industry is slowly but surely moving toward imagers for data capture. In the past few years image capture technology has improved dramatically while costs have cratered, making them an affordable way to scan barcodes. Also there’s only so much you can do to a laser before you start burning things. Anyway, the three scanners in the MP6000 provide the same scanning capabilities you see in their DS9808 and DS9208, namely super aggressive with superior motion tolerance.

Those bi-optic laser scanners are also ridiculously loud. Like CRAZY loud. We had one in the office as a demo for a bit and the sales guys would routinely unplug it or cover the scanning windows so it’d go into a sleep mode. But once it woke up, two sets of spinning prisms would kick into gear and you’d get a great hum permeating through the office. Thankfully, the MP6000’s imagers have no moving parts, so you get near silent operation. I guess there could be some noise from the general computer hums or something, but nothing like the old scanners.

The third barcode scanner is an optional side-mount imager, so now customers who have mobile coupons or customer loyalty apps can scan their stuff without handing their phone over to someone else. This should make checkout a lot more convenient for customers and faster for everyone involved. I do have an inquiry out on driver’s license parsing but I don’t see why that wouldn’t be built-in.

Motorola tuned the MP6000 to save you on energy bills as well. The imagers are controlled by a series of infrared sensors that only activate the scanning array when a barcode is in range. Once it scans a barcode, it shuts back off. I have been told this cuts the power use tremendously, and Motorola’s fact sheet claims at least 30% energy savings over the competition. That’s a pretty solid cut. Once I get some real actual numbers we’ll get some back of the envelope math on energy consumption/savings.

All in all, this is going to be a pretty significant shift in high volume grocery scanning. I can’t wait for greater detail to come down from the Moto mothership, it’ll be interesting to see what the total cost and return on investment the MP6000 brings to grocers.

Engadget is at CES, where they have gotten video of Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 3 glass. It’s great to see tech demos outside of a controlled R&D office environment, especially of a product I imagine will be showing up in new enterprise tablets and mobile computers this year. Also Corning’s attention to detail in their stress test ramp is fantastic, I guess if high impact polymers don’t work out for them, they can do fantastic woodwork.

[Source – Engadget]

Honeywell Stratos 2700

January 4, 2013

Honeywell Stratos 2700Honeywell has a new scanner / scale combination product coming out, and it’s the first major update to this technology in quite some time. It’s the Honeywell Stratos 2700, and it has some great features that will help businesses of all sizes. All sizes but move enough volume in a day that they need a grocery store barcode scanner.

Also known as bi-optic scanner/scales or in-counter scanners or those things at grocery stores, these are the tanks of data capture. Grocery stores in my area are still using PSC branded scales, even though they’ve been Datalogic for about five years now. They sport two scanning windows, one vertical and one horizontal, so you can scan products from virtually any angle. For bulk items, like produce or nuts or something, the bed of the scanner doubles as a scale.

The Stratos 2700 takes a new approach to high stakes scanning by replacing the vertically oriented laser scanner with their Adaptus 2D imager. So now instead of two remarkably loud spinning laser prism things, you get one and a fancy pants 2D scanner. With the imager, you get all the same functionality as their Xenon, including scanning barcodes on phone screens and parsing driver’s license data. This has tremendous application potential for mobile couponing and customer loyalty applications without needing to buy a secondary scanner.

Driver’s license parsing could be a secondary boon, not only for customer loyalty entry/lookup, but for ID tracking for controlled substances. Proving age to buy booze is important, and I do remember getting my ID scanned when I bought my first six pack. It even said “Happy Birthday, Jonathan” on the receipt. But now with tracking sales of Sudafed and other substances that can be used to make more illicit substances, logging buyers is as simple as swiping their ID across the scale.

Another useful tool in the Stratos 2700’s arsenal is the built-in LCD display and composite video port. Now you can plug in a camera, point it at the customer’s feet, and see if there are items in that lower cart area without really straining or leaving the checkstand. You could probably also hook it into a closed-circuit system that broadcasts Spongebob if you want. You won’t get the audio, unfortunately.

So these scale scanner combo things are already burly. They’re made out of brawn and steel and this shatter/scratch resistant glass called Diamonex* or Sapphire. And weighing in at 20 pounds or so, these things aren’t going anywhere. But Honeywell wanted to up the ante and sealed the Stratos 2700 to IP42 specifications. IP42, keeping dirt globs from harming internal components and blocking out water splashes from certain angles. I assume that angle is “from above.”

Anyway, Honeywell announced the scanner and it should be available for purchase soon, I just wanted to shout about how it’ll be a great tool for grocers looking to consolidate some of the excessive stuff at their checkstand.

*I just checked out that site. Diamonex is used on jet engine components. And it makes it easier to scan a can of corn. Talk about versatile.

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