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A smart terminal can mean various things in the world of computer science. In the times of early personal computers, people used the term “smart terminal” to describe auxiliary components that would work with a mainframe system. Since then, smart terminals have done many things, including supporting a thin client functionality that works with an external server setup.
These days, what most people mean when they talk about smart terminals is a terminal that has some type of auxiliary functionality. For instance, if a company made a terminal to fit over a programmable logic controller or other control plane hardware piece, and that component helped with communications or configuration or calibration or anything else, it could be considered a smart terminal. Other smart terminals help hardware setups to process payments in retail situations. The phrase “smart terminal” really just means that there is functionality added to an auxiliary hardware piece in some way, shape or form.