The Future of Payments Rests on Open Point of Sale Systems

by Tim Sloane 0

This Payment Source articlehighlights the impact that mobile technologies are having on the structure ofPoint of Sale (POS) systems although it only directly mentions iOS. It begins by pointing out how rapidly iOS hasgrown and how little the POS market has changed:

“Whenthe iPhone and iOS launched in 2007, Apple initially didn’t provide support forthird party developers.

Butnot long after, Apple released its first developer SDK in early 2008. In 2014,developers have great support from Apple, and now the app store has over 1.2million applications with 75 billion downloads.

Thepoint of sale (POS) is experiencing a similar evolution. The clunky cashregisters of yesterday are being replaced by robust, slick looking point ofsale platforms. And yet, if you think about the last time you went to yourfavorite restaurant, chances are, your transaction was processed at an outdatedlooking, POS terminal. How is it almost 2015 and merchants are still bound tothe chains of their age-old POS systems?”

The article goes on to describes the challenges thatmerchants face when considering a new POS, including the challenge of businesscontinuity when the POS is integrated to other business systems, such asinventory and reporting. But ultimatelythe article makes the case for what it terms open systems:

“Anopen POS system enables companies to tap outside developers who are working onsolutions applicable to their specific needs, integrate those solutions, anddeploy them quickly.

Thewealth of data collected by an open POS can be turned into valuable insights,including sales trends, customer purchasing habits, employee performance, peakhours and more. With the ability to use that data at their fingertips,merchants can streamline their business processes, enhance internalcommunications with staff, and make the shopping experience more convenient andpersonal.

Allsigns of consumer behavior and the pace of technology point towards the needand expectation of a more interactive, seamlessly integrated POS system. Thepayments industry is changing at a rapid pace, just take a look at Apple’s mostrecent move into mobile payments, for example. Although merchants have beenslow to adopt EMV (or NFC), it’s clear that this is the direction we’re movingtowards, which means POS terminals will need to be adaptable to changes likethese in order to maximize innovation.

The article does not directly state that an Open POS Systemis based on iOS or Android, although it does mention iOS twice. As a technologist I’m not sure I wouldclassify iOS or Android as “open” which implies and open source environmentsuch as Linux, but it is clear that Android and iOS are becoming the newoperating systems of choice for POS devices, as been highlighted by Mercator backin 2012 with the publication Mobile Point-of-Sale Solutions: AComparative Analysis and thisyear in the report Mobile Point-of-Sale (m-POS) AcquiringSolutions.”

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP of Emerging Technologies for Payments Innovation for Mercator Advisory Group

Read full article at PaymentSource

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