The Cash Register You Knew was Coming

Intelligent Cash Registers. Duh. They remember who you are, they know your “interests.” They know you! Intel is going to unveil this prototype “register” at the National Retail Federation show in New York on Sunday, but they’re really pushing the system, not the hardware. (Although, they do mention the fact that the hardware will use 90 percent less power than modern check-outs. Nothing to scoff at.)

Intel teams with Frog Design for this project. Frog is responsible for the hardware: making this 3-touchscreen terminal work with Intel’s newest processors. The touchscreen works in concert with RFID cards and salespeople (to talk you up on more products the screen shows to be juicy.) The idea is to take the internet’s ability to “up-sell” and apply that to everyday impulse buying. Fun, huh?

The best part, (or -only actual good part, for you hippies,) is that these machines fall back asleep when they aren’t active. This accounts for most of the 90-percent less energy spent. And as Wired mentions: “for a retail chain with 5,000 terminals, that’s a serious rebate.”

Designer: Intel Corp and Frog Design

37 Comments

  • Eric says:

    I think it’s great, but there are people who even freaked out at grocery stores tracking purchases with their member cards. If people can get over it, all the more successful this could be! A lot of people right now have also become budget shoppers due to a slowing economy, and impulse buys become less frequent during those times…but it will bounce back, and this should be there to bank on it when it does!

  • saltynay says:

    RFID is easily hackable….. Good concept though maybe with more reliable protection this could be an image of the future.

    • Eric says:

      Please inform the U.S. government. They just started putting RFID tags in every single passport issued!

  • KwangErn says:

    It’d definitely be a success for users who frequent online shops that have retail stores too.

    And yes, I also hope that a better security system is in place. Protection of privacy should be _the_ priority.

  • zippyflounder says:

    the ID is what I expect from frog, servicable but no big deal. This like a ipod or iphone is all about the UI and software. Lets face it, its a touch screen, so any desiger from 2nd term ID student to a old war horse (fish) like me could crank it out for 1/3rd of what frog charges.

  • nizam says:

    its amazing shows da advancement of technology n will help the investigators by reducing their work load of searching the fraudulent acts of criminals n safeguard the customers interest.

  • carl says:

    I don’t get it. So after I’ve been through a store, picked out everything I need, and waited in line at the check out, I can be asked if I’d be interested in crispy pickles, since it was noted that I’m buying meat? Or socks to go with my jeans? Then what? I pay, then go back into the store and repeat, adding another 30 min to my shopping time? And repeat? Repeat? And what do I do with the items I’ve already bought when I go back into the store?

    This concept works on the internet, because you don’t have to stand in line, politely waiting for other people, and I don’t have to hunt through racks and up and down aisles for an item. Seems dumb. What am I missing?

    • Eric says:

      You pay for everything at once, including impulse purchases. It’s called an impulse buy because it was not planned, and usually happens right before a ring up. (gum at the grocery store for example.) This system allows you to browse the entire stores contents, and using an RFID equipped card, save information about previous purchases/interests. I would assume that all items are bagged together after a sale. The only back and forth I would see is from an in-store, non point of sale (POS) unit that one could use to check out items and save to your wish list. Then when all done, you go to the front POS counter to pay. Drop your RFID card down and be suggested last minute things by a salesperson before the $ exchange. I think they could easily test this for “real” on Second Life…

      • carl says:

        So how would my impulse purchases get from where ever they are in the store, to my shopping bag? Would I pay, then wait for a clerk to gather my items, similar to the way Service Merchandise used to do? The logistics seem really clunky.

        The RFID part makes sense- it’s an improvement (at least for the retailer) on the shoppers’ club card- with RFID, the retailer would eliminate the possibility of a customer forgetting to scan the card, and thus preventing the retailer from gathering shopping habits from the customer.

        • Eric says:

          It’s true that Intel Corp might be just focused on the money exchange (the speed, and up-sell amount) rather than the accommodation of the customers efficiency… I sure wouldn’t want to wait for them to ship it to me!

          • carl says:

            Agreed!

            I don’t mean to seem critical- I like the idea of replacing all the mishmash of current register tech, but I don’t think this is the solution. I think it needs more thought.

            Also, I don’t really have privacy concerns with this setip, so as long as a company doesn’t irritate me, or nag me, I don’t mind a helpful suggestion here or there. If they know me better, they can help me more. I get what I want (products), and they get what they need ($). I’m probably in the minority on that one, though.

            I like seeing concepts, though… even if something doesn’t completely “work,” it can still be inspirational, no doubt!

  • carl says:

    Also, as for energy conservation:

    The wording is misleading. This concept does not use 90% less energy than current cash registers. It actually uses more energy than today’s cash registers while it’s being used. But when it’s not being used, it goes to sleep, using only 10% of the energy it uses when it’s running. So there may or may not be any energy savings over today’s registers.

    • Eric says:

      It actually does save energy. Misleading, maybe-let me explain: It’s not using 10% of it’s normal amount of energy when it’s asleep, it’s using 0%. (because it’s asleep, so maybe 1% at most.) When it’s on (being used by a customer) then yes all the energy it needs to run-it will take. Registers today are on ALL day though. That is why over the span of a year for example the amount of time it’s asleep + the time it is on= 90% less energy consumption when compared to a traditional register. That will add up very fast in savings for companies. Of course they cost a pretty penny to buy, but I’m sure they will market it as paying for itself in a given period of time. (Similar to solar panel home installation.) Does this clarify?

      • carl says:

        There is no way you could calculate this product’s energy savings this way. Intel doesn’t know how busy a current register at a retailer is (ie, whether there’s always a queue of customers at the register), and/or whether it is used around the clock (open 24 hrs). In this scenario, though unlikely, Intel’s machine would not sleep, and would definitely use more energy. But, in this manner, by imagining whatever scenario, and taking worst/best/average case, Intel could claim anything: 99% less energy usage, 3x less energy usage, etc. And the claim is meaningless.

        Further, 10% (of max) energy use while sleeping is not unreasonable, as computer peripherals use as much as 40-50% of max power while sleeping (see links below). My laptop uses about 28W, and about 2W when sleeping (~10%). So, if Intel calculates their own energy reduction between on and sleep (90%), they have a repeatable number they can use for marketing. From there, if would be up to the customer to determine how much energy they would save (ie how much of the time their registers were running, and idle).

        for energy use in sleep mode, see:

        http://www.kipbusinessreport.com/index.php?view=article&catid=86:leading-managing&id=168:sleeping-computers&option=com_content&Itemid=192

        http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers.html

        • Eric says:

          Intel Corporation is not one to claim false advertisements. If the numbers were really that far off, they would get sued…
          Regardless, current registers never fall asleep (whether on 24/7 or not) They are one during store hours all day. That will account for something I guarantee you. No proving needed there, current retailers know how much their registers are on. Tell them this is on idle between customers and it will peak eyebrows for sure.
          So fine if they have a rounded figure of savings now, big stores that can afford these have thousands upon thousands of terminals and it will save them HELLZA $$ 😉

  • brutek says:

    With current state of economy, this will not sell unless there is a clear ROI. Not seeing it yet.

  • Adam says:

    Looks like very nice equipment but not practical.

  • Hitechregister says:

    I don’t really have privacy concerns with this setip, so as long as a company doesn’t irritate me, or nag me,

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