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Evolution of PoS: From Displays to QR Scanners, IR Readers, and Image Sensors 

With insight from Adam Larkin, Display & Touch Screen Specialist at Future Electronics, and Sevin Samadi, sensors specialists at Future Connectivity Solutions 

Diving into the nuts and bolts of PoS systems themselves, we explored the biggest changes and innovations in the sector. One of the most prominent and apparent evolutions was presented in display technology. With displays being the main interaction point between customers and PoS, this part of the machinery can be what makes or breaks a customer’s automated experience.  

However, a big part of what is enhancing interactions with customers happens in the background and could easily go unnoticed by the unaware consumer. Still, they couldn’t help but benefit from the experience.  

Let’s dive into the topics enlightened by our panelists: 

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Advancements in Display Technology: 

Displays all around us have made huge strides in recent years. Even the lower end phones, tablets, or laptops have better screens than what we had available just 5 years ago. This has permeated to PoS of course, allowing user interfaces to become more and more important and versatile upon interactions with consumers. 

As Adam Larkin, our Display Specialist highlighted, the proliferation of display innovation has not only improved quality and interactivity, but it has also explored uncharted territories like new form factors, sizes, non-traditional aspect ratios, and the possibility to adapt to new needs like bar types and ultra-wide screens. These innovations have been notable everywhere from the wearables sector to automotive designs. Focusing on the latter, for example, we can see how the move towards touchscreen controls caused the need to accommodate for available space in a vehicle’s dashboard. This, in turn, opened space for innovation and brought in the large widescreen displays that are now readily available for other industrial applications (like PoS).  

Some emerging trends underscored during our discussion included technologies like micro displays, flexible displays and even transparent screens. These strides have opened exciting opportunities for suppliers to offer freeform displays for bespoke applications, where innovative shapes and sizes are tailored to excel for specific needs.  

Touchscreen technology has also seen significant advancements in this past decade. Can you remember those awful old push-hard touchscreens? Well, they’re soon to be forgotten. With Projected Capacitive (PCAP) technology becoming the standard, users can get a smartphone like technology on almost any application.  

In-cell and on-cell touch displays also notably streamline designs, reducing thickness and enhancing overall usability. Each comes with their own set of pros and cons, and the better choice may vary depending on the application. Which brings us to our next topic… 

Design Considerations for Displays on Specific PoS Systems: 

When we inquired about design considerations for PoS systems, Adam guided us through what ended up being a very loaded question. As we should’ve expected, it’s a case by case scenario, so as it often happens, the answer is “it depends”. The main thing to keep in mind is tailoring designs to suit the environment and use for which they are meant to operate on and how they will be interacted with. Which unravels many questions to make sure you answer before coming up with the next game-changing design. Here are some examples:  

  • Considering where a PoS will be located is paramount. Is the system located outdoors? Then robustness is vital. Consider impact resisting materials, water rejecting and harsh condition withstanding parts. How will you address and mitigate false touches? If the system is indoors, what are the priorities? What are the lighting conditions? How and when will the user interact with the machine? etc.  
  • On the topic of how users will interact with the machine, you must consider many scenarios. For example, what happens if we’re designing for an environment where our users might have gloves on while interacting with the PoS? How will glove touch functionality be accommodated?  

It’s important to ask questions and imagine every possible scenario. By identifying requirements early in the design, developers can ensure firmware compatibility and optimize user experiences accordingly. 

Enhancing Efficiency and Accuracy: 

On the other hand, Sevin Samad, our Image Sensors Specialist, guided us on what happens behind the scenes (or behind the screens if you will) that is currently revolutionizing automated interactions between users and automated PoS. QR scanners, IR readers and image sensors have taken huge leaps and are driving efficiency in PoS in the past few years.  

By leveraging their benefits, designers can streamline data capture and minimize erros in inventory management and transaction processing. Thanks to their quick, easy and accurate scanning, operations at checkout counter and beyond become seamless. IR readers, for example, are ideal to enable contactless interactions and enhance visibility in low light conditions, blurring the lines of automated PoS limitations.  

Unleashing Innovation with Image Sensors: 

Sevin drew a picture of the retail store of the future by highlighting some examples we can see today. Imagine a store where traditional tags are not necessary. Thanks to image sensors, automated PoS could have a large database of images per item, effortlessly recognizing products, determining prices and even analyzing consumer preferences.  

This is not only a way to optimize inventory management, but the data could fuel insight into consumer behavior and product trends. In addition, image sensors offer potential that goes beyond these cases, opening options for quality management, floor mapping, and security surveillance… all aiming towards automation. 

A Future Full of Insights and Personalization: 

But let us dive deeper. Beyond efficiency, what’s in it for the shopper of the future? Image sensors have opened a world of possibilities for tailored experiences. For example, imagine identifying your customers as they come in or stand in the PoS and being able to personalize their experience, offer them promotions akin to their taste, general demographics, or even become able to identiy your recurrent customers and what they might want to see. Could this be a path towards the immersive shopping experience of tomorrow, paved by automated PoS?  

On the other hand, the amount of insight that can be harnessed by bringing PoS and image sensors together is staggering. Retailers could be able to better analyze customer movement patterns and strategically position products and promotion displays to maximize engagement.  

Furthermore, image sensors can also provide benefits towards security, becoming able to monitor and detect suspicious activity in real time.  

These, however, are just a few of the ideas that came to mind when discussing the possibilities of PoS. The rest, as you know already, is up to you. How can your creativity come into play to expand the horizons of the industry and bring the next game-changing design.  

Before we move on to our third article in the series, Scalability and Efficiency: System on Modules (SoM) for automated PoS, do you have any automation projects you’d like to take to the next level?     

Send us an email and contact our experts at Future Electronics to get personalized engineering support for all your applications.   

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