Will Tablet PCs Kill Traditional POS Devices?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2011 in DOOH

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with a representative from a company who sells POS (point-of-sale) solutions. He was kind of a crusty guy and very fixed in his views on how marvelous point-of-sale systems were. I was a bit flat-out with him and frankly told him that it was my belief that traditional point-of-sale systems were on their way out and that they would eventually be dead in a few years time. It vaguely reminded me of a post I wrote last week outlining the battle between tablet menus and digital menu boards.

I think we are in a time which could be analogous to when the word processor came about. It certainly made a fairly quick demise of its friend the typewriter. And what did the typewriting companies do? They said, “oh, we’re not in the word processing business…we’re in the typewriting business.” It’s too bad they failed to recognize they were in the document creation business. The same could be said of countless business ideas which have sprung forth over the last 200 years or so.

Creation always breeds destruction. The iPad and other tablet devices are a leap forward in the realms of creative destruction. While most of the uses for the iPad are consumer-based, there are certainly another realm of thought that takes the iPad straight into the hands of business owners. In fact, a friend’s father who owns a farm actually tracks various details about his land and irrigation using none other than his Apple iPad.

The same holds true for POS in the restaurant and mercantile sector. Why do you need a lot of intense equipment when “there’s an app for that”? Simply put, billing systems and complete point-of-sale devices will become obsolete as developers are able to effectively implement software into nearly any tablet which will work as merchant tools connecting business-owners directly to their merchants, allowing them to process transactions literally from anywhere.

Combine all this mumbo-jumbo with RFID, QR codes, UPC, and a host of other technologies (some of them now archaic) and there are so many idea and creative directions you could go. All of those POS people are now going to start clamoring and saying well “well, wait a minute how do you predict to get all the current hardware integrated with a tablet?” Don’t worry, I’m sure there’ll be an app for that too.

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