Retail POS System

POS System for Retail

POS System for Retail

I was at a wine tasting event a couple months ago that was run by a wonderful and wine savvy older couple. The selections were phenomenal and the prices couldn’t be beat so I approached their sales desk with several bottles. Much to my surprise, the kindly proprietor pulled out a stack of papers that were stapled together and thumbed through it, circling the wines listed that I was going to buy. She wrote my name down on the front sheet, then manually calculated my total. The entire purchase process took over ten minutes and a line of patrons started forming behind me. I asked the owner what their method was, and apparently they would print their inventory sheet several dozen times and use that to write up people’s purchases. This seemed like such a waste of resources and time to me, so I continued to inquire as to why they didn’t use a point of sale computer system for their retail business. The reply was simply that they wouldn’t know where to start with POS systems. These folks with boundless knowledge of wine hadn’t the foggiest clue about computers or point of sale technology.

It’s with that sort of problem in mind that Tangent offers an industrial all-in-one tablet that is perfectly suited for retail POS activities, the P10. The tablet has a ten inch LCD with a PCAP multi-touchscreen, 2GB of memory, 64GB of storage, integrated audio and camera, and weighs in at a mere 2.2lbs. The real magic comes with the units docking station, which features many I/O ports for peripheral device connections like a barcode scanner, IC card reader, or 3-track MSR. It even has an RJ11 12V/24V input for a cash drawer. A POS system like this would have made life infinitely easier for the wine sellers. They could have used the barcode scanner to scan the products, have it pull up on the sales screen, and complete the transaction with ease using either the cash draw or the credit card reader.

Another handy feature that would have benefited a room full of people and pouring wine is the IP54 rated front panel on the tablet  that protects against liquid spills. And spills did happen a bit as people got further into their tasting courses and as more attendees arrived. The P10 POS systems small size conveniently suits any space, or lack thereof, and it’s rugged construction ensures that it can survive bumps and falls in case the scene get a little overly raucous.

A POS system is positively the most efficient way to support any retail business that sells products directly to customers. The ease of use, time savings on both checkout and maintaining inventory, and a safe repository of sales records makes this sort of computer a no-brainer. The flexibility of Tangent’s P10 allows retailers to customize their POS system to suit their specific need, or add on as business needs change. I certainly recommended to those lovely wine purveyors that they invest in this POS  technology to make checkout easier, their business more efficient, and their customers happier. A good product married up with fast and accurate service is a win-win every time.

 

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Booming the Brewing Industry

Booming the Brewing Industry: One Flat Panel PC at a Time

We can’t think of a grassroots industry in California that’s had as big a boom as the craft beer industry has in recent years. In 2016, San Diego County alone was home to one hundred and twenty five licensed craft breweries – the most of any region in the United States. In that same year, craft breweries all over the state contributed $7.3 billion to the state’s economy, so it’s clearly a high profile industry. With so much competition, breweries often move to expand their brand and distribution through on-premise bottling and canning. The size and scope of these operations can vary a great deal, and the technology used to manage them is pivotal to a successful business.

It’s posited that the most important step that goes into the mass production of bottled beverages is the one in which bottles are sealed with caps. Capping mistakes can cause quality control issues, with some serious cases forcing the brewery to abandon whole crates of bottles. This can be devastating to the bottom line of a small craft brewery. Not only will a loose or missing cap make bottles unfit for shipment, it allows contaminants into the beers that can make them unsafe for consumption, and that poses a lot of potential liability risks for the company. Poor labeling and miscounts can also plague production lines. That’s why it’s important for companies to invest in quality monitoring system for their bottling operations, and this can be efficiently achieved through the use of industry grade flat panel touchscreen PCs.

An excellent offering in the industrial flat panel, all-in-one computer space is Tangent’s Vita 474 19” flat panel PC. Coupled with capacitive sensors and production line management software, the Vita 474 is a powerful, durable, and reliable computer that can keep up with the demands of any bottle production schedule. It’s fanless design lends itself to reliability and helps maintain a clean working environment. The IP64 rated front panel of the PC offers protection against dust and water (or beer) splashes and can be wiped down without damaging the unit. The flat panel PC has both wired and wireless internet network interfaces, which allows for additional monitoring from stations within or outside the brewery. The PCAP capacitive touchscreen feature makes switching between applications or focusing on particular stations a breeze. Storage space on the flat panel PC can go up to 2TB with a hybrid SSD/HDD drive and can be equipped with up to a beefy 32GB of memory. Other handy features include a good variety of communication ports for peripherals, VESA 75/100 options for flexibility in mounting the flat panel PC, and a very wide operating temperature range of -4ºF to 122ºF. Depending on the software used, the flat panel PC can be configured for communication with most PLCs and motion controllers.

Production management and monitoring is a key component to any successful distribution operation, and equally important is the equipment used to ensure those tasks are handled with accuracy day in and out. Flat panel  all-in-one PCs offered by Tangent have been tried and tested to stand to the rigors of industrial use, and can be customized and scaled to suit the needs of businesses both small and large. Because brewery business needs can vary as much as their beers do, Tangent creates products to best suit those needs.

 

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A Solid Standard for Cleanliness

A Solid Standard for Cleanliness

 

We’ve mentioned ISO standards in the past regarding safety metrics  for electrical components like PCs, but did you know that the International Organization for Standards has published well over twenty thousand standards? Their work covers almost every industry, and every aspect of technology and manufacturing, providing guidance and rating descriptions for each product, service or system they assess. That sounds both amazing and like overkill at the same time, but it certainly makes sense to have a stringent rating system available when trying to determine the quality, cleanliness, or safety of something before utilizing it. This is especially highlighted in highly sensitive areas that require strictly controlled work environments.

Controlling contamination is essential in many manufacturing and research activities, and so effective clean rooms are of paramount importance to those companies. As you may have guessed, the ISO has a series of standards dedicated to clean rooms, defining practices and procedures required to manage the risk of contamination. The ISO rating of a clean room can determine a great deal about how trustworthy and accurate the work being done inside is. But a clean room contains much more than just a secured enclosure. Specialized equipment, including computers, must also be secured to ensure they don’t diminish the quality of contaminate control and affect it’s rating.

Specialized mini PCs like the Tangent Rugged O were especially designed with these requirements in mind. The Rugged O mini PC’s innovative design allows for a fanless operation which means there are no moving parts or ventilation slots to circulate or collect dust contaminants. This  passive cooling technology allows heat from the CPU to transfer directly to the mini PC’s stainless steel housing, and ensures a reliable and noiseless function. The mini PC’s diminutive size and mounting bracket give it the flexibility to be affixed to most any surface. All the ports on the case are threaded and sealed to keep the internals protected and the outside environment clean. The mini PC’s stainless steel case in minimal in appearance for a good reason. The fewer grooves and edges on a PC, the fewer places for dirt and dust to collect. That’s not the end of the case’s features either. The Rugged O mini PC is IP65 certified and IP67 compliant. This IP rating ensures total protection from dust and provides waterproof reliability of up to a thirty-minute submersion. This means it’s also capable of withstanding industrial-grade cleaning solutions and thorough cleaning which is a common occurrence within clean rooms.

So how does an industrial mini PC of this caliber help bolster the ISO rating of a clean room? The ISO 14644 standard specifies air cleanliness in terms of the concentration of airborne particles in the clean rooms. The use and maintenance of a Tangent mini PC that has no fan, is sealed, is waterproof and can withstand corrosion is solid evidence of a concerted effort to conform to the ISO standards since it greatly reduces the potential presence of airborne particles. The standard for clean rooms has 16 different detailed parts to it, so it is of the utmost importance that the equipment deployed to a clean zone can meet the requirements to achieve a good rating and demonstrate the room’s efficacy.

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Working Smart while Looking Smart

Working Smart while Looking Smart

The popularity of tablet PCs and smartphones in the last decade or so have ushered in a thrilling era of sleek styling, simplicity, cleanliness, and cordless computing. Wireless internet and wireless charging has especially transformed consumer expectation of computers’ appearance, and it was certainly a welcomed change. I’m not sure if most people remember what a mess of cords and bulky components that formerly took up an entire work desk. The rat’s nest of cabling and dust bunnies underneath the desk was an even worse nightmare, and don’t even get me started on the storage room for all the cables and equipment.

Tablets and smartphones are great for small tasks and internet browsing, but they are woefully underpowered and incapable for business use as work PCs. All-in-one computers were introduced as far back as the 70s in attempt to address the messy desk problems, but those first all-in-one PCs were quite large and cost a good amount more than a standard computer setup so they didn’t quite catch on for some time. That is until Apple released its landmark iMac in 1998 and really put all-in-ones (and themselves) on the map. But as cute, innovative and in-demand as they were, the iMacs were still not of a caliber that most businesses could utilize as reliable and powerful computers.

Despite the shortcomings of earlier all-in-one computers, the idea of a space-saving and uncluttered business grade computer system persisted. The introduction of LCD and touchscreen monitors along with solid state drives, the decline of compact disc drives, and many other advances all set the stage for the brilliant re-emergence of the all-in-one PC. Tangent has taken even lengthier steps to making their all-in-one business PCs offer the top of the line in terms of form and functionality, especially in clinical or high traffic use.

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The Tangent L24 24” widescreen all-in-one business PC is a hallmark of that intersection between clean design and technological prowess. The technical specifications on this, Tangent’s newest all-in-one business PC, has an impressive list of features: Intel 6th Gen Core i Series, a 2.5″ HDD/SSD hard drive for storage up to 2TB, up to 32GB of memory, wireless and bluetooth capability, a numerous amount of input/output ports including four USB 3.0 ports, and an IP65 rated, antimicrobial enclosure. Truly, the only cable that you could potentially see on the entire system is the AC power cable. The versatile stand allows one to use the PC in  either a portrait or landscape view, as well as tilting, raising and lowering the screen. This PC offers an attractive, presentable and fully featured business computer at a meager 13.1 pounds with the touchscreen option.

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If you’re looking for something even more minimal looking than that, the Tangent V20 20” slim all-in-one business PC provides a robust computing experience at a shocking 6.8 lbs with a super slim profile and a stand built right into the back of the system which gives the appearance of a monitor standing on its own. Performance is not sacrificed on any of the Tangent line of all-in-one PCs. A tidy, hygienic, professional-looking system is highly sought after in today’s markets and the Tangent all-in-ones have much to offer in that space.

 

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A Thin PC That’s No Dummy

A Thin PC That’s No Dummy

 

As far as thin form factor PCs are concerned, the business tech field was dominated for a long time by terminal/thin client computers (also lovingly referred to as dumb terminals) that are used to connect to a Citrix or similar type of application farm, or to a virtual desktop. Though they are small and effective for cost-conscious enterprises, dumb terminals don’t offer much in the way of computing power or functionality, and what affects the farm server, affects every user connected to it. When a Citrix server goes down, the work day comes to a screeching halt for all. This is, of course, a nightmare scenario for any business carrying out critical functions. And these systems are not industrial grade computers either. When one fails, they are as good as trash. Full functioning PCs did exist as small form factors, but space was a problem due to the size of hard drives, so performance and features were lacking.

 

As time marched on and technology advanced, computers have been able to shrink drastically and improve in performance. So much now that a fully functional PC can be even smaller than the thin form factors of a decade ago. For example, Tangent’s Rugged L1 small form factor industrial computer comes with up to 2TB of storage and 8GB of memory, but is a featherweight system at an astounding 2.9lbs. Space is always at a premium on tiny computers, but Tangent managed to offer a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports,serial ports, one Mini PCIe expansion slot, WiFi, and up to two Gbit LANs onto the miniscule Rugged L1 industrial computer. It also helps that the industrial computer is durable and built to last for years, so there won’t be a need to be switching out the PC often.

 

Where can we find such small and autonomous industrial computers at work? Anywhere where workspace is a consideration or the computer needs to be out of sight. The Rugged L1 industrial computer was built to be able to be mounted most anywhere, including the back of a monitor. This is a useful application for small work areas or in lobbies/waiting rooms where the public is able to use the computer. A sleek, uncluttered terminal makes for a very professional appearance and enhances clients’ perception of the establishment, be it a hotel lobby or medical office. Speaking of medical areas, counter and desk space is often in short supply there, so a clean, compact small form factor industrial computer fits the bill perfectly. And being fanless especially ensures a clean working environment.

 

From my experience, dumb terminals and other small form factor computers of the past had to have a specific monitor with a mounting bracket for the system, or the computer came with a flimsy stand. The L1 industrial computer has VESA mounting capability that offers installation flexibility. The VESA compliant mounting plates come in sizes such as 100mm x 100mm or 75mm x 75mm, meaning that this industrial computer can be mounted on mobile carts, video displays, monitor backs, up against a wall–  the options are boundless. The industrial computers offered by Tangent can be highly customized to suit the specific needs and environment of their clients.