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Point of sale (POS) refers to the physical location at which goods or services are purchased and transaction data is captured through electronic cash registers or other electronic devices such as magnetic card readers, optical and bar code scanners or some combination of these.
Early electronic cash registers (ECRs) were the first POS devices with proprietary software and limited functions. In 1973, IBM announced that it had two POS devices: IBM 3650 and 3660 Store Systems, which were store controllers for 128 POS registers. This represented the first commercial use of several technologies: client/server technology, peer-to-peer communications, local area networking, simultaneous backup and remote initialization. The next year, these were installed in Pathmark and Dillard's stores in New Jersey.
Nowadays, POS software can run on many types of computers or devices as long as you have an Internet connection. Although retailers are the predominant users of POS terminals, restaurant businesses and corporate offices and hotel businesses employ many innovative customized POS terminals and peripherals as well. Key requirements for modern POS software include ease of use, fast processing, remote supportability, reliability, low cost and rich functionality.