Electronic Point of Sale Devices: a History

Epos (Electronic Point of Sale) devices are currently experiencing a boom. Technologies involved (Wifi, internet, portable devices, batteries) have evolved to such a level that allows Epos systems’ wide spread implementation and allows Epos systems to provide many added benefits without hindering either client or vendor.

Although it seems that only in the last few years have Epos systems been implemented, the truth is that Epos technology and use has been around for a number of years in various guises.
Some of the earliest electronic cash registers started to be used as early as 1974. One of the earliest micro-processor controlled cash registers was one used by McDonalds. Using the Intel 8008, an early microprocessor, there were several stations in a restaurant with a keypad that allowed servers to punch in the orders. These button presses would add up the total cost and then calculate the tax according to the state. Aside from efficiency gains, this system also allowed for accurate accounting. Pretty good for the seventies.

The first graphics based Epos system was developed in 1986 by Gene Mosher. Known as the ViewTouch, it used Atari’s 16-bit ‘520ST’ system. It featured a colour touch screen and a widget based interface.
In the 90s it was Martin Goodwin and Bob Henry who created the first electronic point of sale device that could run on the Microsoft Windows platform in 1992. In was here that Epos started to make an impact, as many Epos programs were created for Windows and Linux. The improvements that had been made in data storage, networking, processing power and graphical interfaces allowed Epos systems to be used more widely and effectively.

The 00s, with the advent of cloud computing, saw the development of cloud based Epos systems. These systems used software as a service via any web browser. It allowed the service to be accessed directly from the internet, negating the need for on site software. The advantages of this were the instant centralisation of data, lower costs and the ability to use Epos systems on mobile devices. If you go to an Apple store then you can see Epos systems on mobile devices being used. They even email you your receipt!

Epos devices in their current iterations are presently used to their fullest potential by the hospitality industry. The biggest impact that Epos systems have made is undoubtedly the fast food industry, where they feature almost universally. Touch screens at the front of house are connected to the kitchen to speed up the whole process. Some now even feature a status screen that allows the customer to see where their order is. As wireless technology has hit its full stride, wireless Epos systems have become very popular with high volume restaurants too.

For more information on Epos, contact the experts at www.epos-spa.co.uk.

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