Since 2000, NetPOS has delivered cloud-based POS to restaurants, although the term “cloud” was not in use that far back. Here’s how it works:
- Each POS terminal functions like a locked-down single-purpose web browser.
- All POS transactions are logged directly to the cloud, providing a centralized view of data from any store.
- A proprietary Internet Caching Router (ICR) can step in and perform most functions in the event of an Internet outage.
Some people say that POS systems are all the same, but it’s far from true. They may all look pretty similar, but the way they are built causes enormous differences in functionality, reliability, and cost.
With a traditional POS system, all the work is going on in one or more computers inside the restaurant. This puts the restaurant manager in a position where he often has to focus on the computers instead of the customers. With all this technology running at every site, aggregating and managing data across restaurants within a chain can be quite difficult.
In recent years, several vendors have claimed to offer cloud-based POS, but they’ve really just put an Internet-connected back end behind their legacy software. This approach adds some Internet functionality, of course, but it does nothing about the cost and complexity of having so much technology at each site.
In the restaurant, our POS system looks a lot like any other, bristling with features. But the similarity ends there. Because we built it as an Internet-based POS from the ground up, and have been refining it continuously since 2000, we can fully take advantage of the power of the cloud. Data is safely stored in the cloud within seconds of each transaction. The actual in-store software is minimal — not much more than the user interface — so there are fewer things to go wrong. Moreover, NetPOS remotely monitors, maintains, and upgrades the software that still needs to run at each site. You’ll never even to upgrade an operating system.
There is one piece of technology, however, that goes in each restaurant. Our Intelligent Caching Router (link to details) is a “black box,” requiring no interaction with the customers. However, it contains the magic that keeps things running if a restaurant loses its Internet connection.
The Intelligent Caching Router is a small box that is installed on the restaurant’s network. It’s primary function is to step in and facilitate transactions if the Internet goes down.
In order to be able to handle open orders, all transactions are routed through the ICR to the cloud, with the ICR keeping a copy of any information it might need in an outage. When the ICR detects an Internet outage, it steps in and handles all transactions until connectivity returns, saving all the data until connectivity is restored, at which point the cloud is quickly brought up to date.
The ICR also performs other functions, most notably including managing upgrades to the other computers in the restaurant. When a restaurant is updated with a new version of the NetPOS software, or even of the operating system, the ICR makes sure it gets installed properly.