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Wireless POS (Point of Sale) For Linux

Research has shown that the number of POS (point of sale) terminals running Linux in North America has increased 80% since 2002. For hospitality providers, there's good reason to go with Linux.

As an operating system, Linux is more cost effective, flexible, and allows for greater freedom of choice in software than more mainstream operating systems. Savings can also be found in regards to licensing, installation, administrative and support costs.

Linux offers all this without sacrificing functionality. The challenge however, has been finding a flexible point of sale system that can actually run on Linux.

The growth of Linux in the hospitality sector demonstrates that hospitality leaders are no different than any anyone else in the fact that they want technology to help them reduce costs and increase revenues.

But how else can technology help them achieve this goal? It can help by adding a wireless point of sale device to the mix. Linux & wireless mobile computing can run hand in hand, working together and maximizing profits. Marrying wireless mobile computing with Linux helps in many ways, including, but not limited to:

- Wireless hand-held units mean decreased time is spent for Servers during the order taking process; therefore increasing table turns

- Increased productivity of serving staff, which translates into decreased labor costs

- Decreased food costs due to more accurate order taking and less waste

- Increased up-selling opportunities via serving staff having more time with customers

With traditional, stationary POS systems, time is wasted as serving staff stand in line waiting their turn at the terminal. With wireless mobile computing, each order is transmitted instantly at the table via a wireless hand-held device, allowing serving staff to go directly to the next table.

Volanté POS Systems of Toronto, Canada, offers a Java based, wireless point of sale solution for Linux. In fact, Volanté has come along and revolutionized the wireless POS industry in a creative and innovative way. By using PC notebooks (not much bigger then a hand held) the entire POS software is loaded on the unit and it runs as a terminal with peer to peer, data synching etc.

PDA's do not work in this manner- they require writing to the unit (in other words, new code, separate product) plus they're not robust enough for Food and beverage. Volanté has evolved its software into the peer to peer architecture, and now POS software can be loaded onto a small wireless notebook with amazing results. And because Volanté is written entirely in Java, it runs seamlessly on Linux.

The benefits of wireless POS technology isn't limited to just table service restaurants either. Excellent results can also be seen in other venues, such as stadiums, trade shows, casinos, arenas, race tracks and outdoor sales areas (such as roof top patios, for instance) where conventional POS terminals aren't practical nor feasible.

Wireless mobile computing from Volanté offers other important and innovative features. For instance, the menus on the hand-held are the exact same menus on the traditional register. The databases are in sync with one another. You don't have to program your hand-held; it's an extension of the host computer.

This approach is less expensive because it doesn't require separate servers for hand-helds and traditional registers, translating in even more savings for hospitality operators. Wired or wireless, Linux or Windows, networked or independent terminals, Volanté is up for the challenge.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.