Written By Bryan Phillips

Working Hard, With Hardware

February 01, 2011 | technology / development

Taking a broad look, I am going to review the different types of hardware that are utilized everyday in tandem with our Utopia Self-Scan software.

The Utopia software mentioned in previous posts is our fully functional self-checkout solution for grocery and convenience stores. With that being said, let's take a look at the different types of hardware you can expect to see on a self-checkout lane.

* Printer – primarily used for printing a customer's receipt, often times it is used for printing on checks and reading check data for a transaction

* Scanner – the main function is scanning of a product's barcode; other jobs include weighing produce, and sometimes deactivating security tags

* EFT – or “Electronic Funds Transfer” more commonly known as a credit card machine. The main use is reading data from credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, EBT cards, mainly all forms of “plastic payments”

* Bill Acceptor –accepts paper bank notes. These can be programmed to take coupons as well, but main job is to take in and identify bills

* Bill Dispenser –dispenses bills to the customer

* Coin Acceptor – accepts the metal coin form of payment from the customer and determines the correct denomination value

* Coin Dispenser – dispenses coin change to the customer

* Weight Scale – the idea behind this device is checking products weights, usually you can find these in the bagging area. Their job is to make sure an item is placed into the bagging area after it has been scanned

* Biometric – this is a less common found device. We utilize biometrics for attendants, allowing them to seamlessly enter our Attendant Screen with the simple use of their fingerprint

* PLC – this is the Programmable Logic Controller. The job of this piece of hardware is controlling power supplies, LED (light emitting diode), and coupon sensors

* Camera – this allows monitoring of the lane and the customer checking out

* Coupon Printer – based on the items scanned in the order, this device will print out coupons for the customer to take advantage of next time they check out

These are the main devices you would find on any self-checkout lane. Next time I'll go into more details of the different types of devices in each category that our Utopia Self-Scan software employs.

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