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Monthly Archives: January 2011

  • Using Bluestore Live POS on a Tablet

    We recently evaluated the possibility of running Bluestore Live on a device that could be used in pop-up stores, trade shows or for queue busting. We used a Partner Tech EM-200 which is a semi-rugged tablet coming in at a reasonable cost, well suited to retail environments.

    The EM-200 tablet feels physically robust and is dust/spill proof. It has a 10.1" touch screen so there is enough screen space to work with while being small and light enough to carry around. It can be used completely mobile or while fixed in a purpose-built 'POS Base' docking station which gives additional connectivity options.

    Our tablet was running Windows XP Pro, although it would be much better suited to Windows 7 with its tablet support. The device can also run Windows POSReady (a cut down version of XP designed for POS systems) or Ubuntu Linux which would reduce the cost of the tablet.

    Incidentally we recently tested Bluestore Live with Ubuntu 10.04 with very good results. Ubuntu would be a great option for retailers wanting to save on the cost of Windows licenses; it is very easy to install and use and has a familiar 'desktop' style layout.

    We started by setting up a clean new enterprise on the Bluestore Live back office, filled with sample data for the test. The EM-200 was connected to our local LAN through wi-fi and we checked we were able to successfully browse the internet before starting the install process.

    We started up the tablet and launched internet explorer, entering the URL of our Bluestore Live back office console. After log in, we started the process of installing the terminal software on the tablet. We clicked on the terminal record in the console and were prompted to check if we had Java installed on the tablet.

    Windows XP doesn't come with Java pre-installed so we followed the instructions to install it first.

    The terminal download and install wizard then started automatically. Just a few screens to click through and the POS terminal was installed.

    When first starting up the terminal, Bluestore Live contacts the central server to download the enterprise data (products, prices, user accounts etc). This took a few minutes before the login pop-up was displayed, we then logged into the POS application and started a terminal session.

    To test that the everything was working ok, we created a few sales then checked the Transaction Journal Report on the back office console to ensure they were all updated.

    Despite the modest Atom processor, the POS doesn't feel sluggish on the EM-200. Entering sales using the product selection buttons was quick and responsive and the 1GB of on-board memory definitely helps. The unit has a 160GB hard drive so there is plenty of disk space for storing data.

    The smaller screen area at 1024 x 600 resolution also did not seem to be an issue. We tweaked the screen layout slightly to make best use of the space, giving more room to the transaction buttons on the wider aspect ratio.

    The LED backlit screen is bright and can be seen from any angle, you don't have to have the screen directly facing you; the display has a matt finish which feels responsive to the touch. The battery life was also perfectly usable in store, with the wi-fi on it lasted for around 2 hours before we had to charge it up again.

    We tested it with a USB receipt printer and it worked fine, although a mobile solution would be better for operators on the move. A printer connected by bluetooth and worn across the shoulder would make the user truly mobile.

    All in all we thought that the Bluestore Live POS terminal worked really well on the EM-200 tablet and can see it being used in a variety of situations. Do get in touch if you'd like to discuss using Bluestore Live and the EM-200 in your business.

  • Change to data import templates

    A minor change has been made to the structure of data descriptions simplifying the way that 'Messages' are imported.

    This affects import templates for Products and Product Categories so the new templates should now be used. Please download them from our downloads section at:

    www.bluefishretail.com/file-downloads

    For more information on importing your business data into Bluestore Live from a spreadsheet see the tutorial at:
    support.bluefishretail.com/entries/213290-importing-data-from-a-spreadsheet

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