POINT OF SALE GLOSSARY

ADAPTER CARDS
Cards that can be installed in expansion slots located on the Central Processing Unit of a computer. These cards enhance the flexibility of the computer to accept devices such as monitors, memory adapters and parallel and serial peripherals.

ALPHANUMERIC
Character set containing letters, numbers and punctuation marks.

ASCII
(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) A seven-bit-plus parity code established by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) to achieve compatibility between data devices.

ASYNCHRONOUS TRANSMISSION
The method whereby data is sent and received one byte at a time.


B

BANDWIDTH
The amount of data that can be carried over a line or through a connection measured in bits/sec.

BARCODE
Information encoded into a pattern of varying-width parallel bars and spaces. The most common symbologies used in the retail environment are UPC-A for merchandise marking and Code 128 for shipping containers. Other symbologies include Plessey Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5 and EAN/JAN

BARCODE DENSITY
The number of data characters which can be represented in a linear unit of measure. Bar code density is often expressed in characters per inch.

BARCODE PRINTER
A printer used to produce barcodes on labels, tags and other paper materials. Printers range from dot matrix to thermal printing technology.

BARCODE SCANNER
Scans and reads bar codes: can be classified as wands, hand-helds, projection/vertical or in-counter scanners.

BARCODE VERIFIER
Measures and ensures traditional print quality.

BAUD RATE
The number of transmission elements per second in a communication line.

BUFFER
A temporary-storage device used to compensate for a difference in data rate and data flow between two devices (typically a computer and a printer) also called a spooler.

BYTE
A binary element string functioning as a unit. Eight-bit bytes are most common. Also called a character.


C

CAT
Credit authorization terminal.

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT
Operating individual product categories as separate strategic business units.

CPI
Characters per inch.

CPS
Characters per second.

CCD
Charged coupled device. A type of scanner that operates by flashing an LED and creating a reflected image onto photosensitive, then digitizing that image.

CHECK DIGIT
A Character whose represented value is used as a mathematical check to ensure accuracy. Commonly used in SKU numbers and bar codes.

CODE 128
Variable length alphanumeric bar code symbology with 128 characters

CODE 39
Variable length, bi-directional, self-checking alphanumeric bar code. Three of the elements are wide and six are narrow.

COMMUNICATION PROTOCOL
The rules governing the exchange of information between devices on a data link.

CUSTOMER POLE DISPLAY
A Peripheral device designed to show customers information about their transaction and are also used to display marketing information and other messages.


D

DATA COLLECTION TERMINAL FIXED/PORTABLE
A Stationary or hand-held battery powered terminal with application software used to collect and process data from bar code readers, key entry, mag striped, radio or voice transmissions. Can be batch or online device.

DECODER
Electronic package that receives signals from a scanner, performs the algorithm to interpret the signals into meaningful data and interfaces to other devices.

DEPTH OF FIELD
The distance between the maximum and minimum plane in which a code reader is capable of reading symbol.

DIRECT THERMAL
Direct thermal is a printing technology method in which the printer utilizes a paper that reacts chemically to heat. The label rolls are coated with a thermo-sensitive layer that darkens when exposed to intense heat. Direct thermal printers require no ink or ribbon and are typically used when a bar code label needs to endure for a year or less.

DUAL TRACK
A type of credit card reader that is capable.

E

EDI
Electronic data interchange. An inter-company application to application communication of data in standard format, permitting the recipient to perform functions of a standard business transaction.

EFT
Electronic Funds Transfer. Associated with electronic payments to suppliers, employee's etc.

EBT
Electronic Benefits Transfer. Electronically transmitted money for food stamps, welfare, social security benefits etc.

ECR
Efficient Consumer Response. Similar to Quick Response, but tailored to the grocery industry, ECT also involves promotion and forward buying improvements not traditionally associated with QR.

EPROM
Read-only, non-volatile, semi-conductor memory that is erasable via ultra-violet light and re-programmable

EXPASION BOARD/EXPANSION SLOT
The optional device board that is usually added inside the system cabinet in an available expansion slot.


F

FIRMWARE
A computer program or software stored permanently in PROM or ROM.

G

H

HAND-HELD COLLECTOR
Hand-held battery powered terminal with application software used to collect and process data from bar code readers, key entry, mag striped, radio or voice transmissions. Can be batch or online device.


I

IC/SMART CARDS
Credit card sized packages containing one or more microchips. These may be IC memory and/or microprocessors.

IN-COUNTER SCANNER
Mounted into a counter top, the scanner can read barcodes in high-speed environments (i.e. grocery stores)

J

K


L

LAN
Local area network

LASER SCANNER
Reads barcodes and have a "depth of field" which enables them to read barcodes from short distances away (6"to a few feet). LIGHT PEN Hand held scanner and bar code reader.

M

MASTER REGISTER
Central register or file server in a multiple registers environment.

MEGABYTE
Unit of measure that consists of 1,014 kilobytes.

MICR READER
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR). MICR readers are used to read the encoded information within the ink on a check.

MULTIPLEXER
Device, which supports multiple polling data collection using scheduling, schemes. MTBF Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) The average time between failures of a systems device.


N

NETWORK
A communications system connecting two or more computers and their peripheral devices.

NETWORK CARD
An expansion card that is installed in an available slot in a computer for computer communication purposes.

O

OEM
Original Equipment Manufacturer

P

PARALLEL TRANSMISSION
Transmission mode that sends a number of bits simultaneously over separate lines.

PC-POS
Intelligent point of sale terminal that uses industry standard connectivity and operating system.

POLLING
A means of controlling devices on a multi-point line. Usually utilized to send/receive information via modem from remote computers to a central computer.

PORTABLE DATA COLLECTOR
A hand-held computer that can be used as stand alone portable unit for point-of-sale, inventory, receiving and other applications.

POS
Point of Sale

PRINTER DIRECT THERMAL
A unit that uses elective heating of pins to produce images. The pins heat the label, which contain the temperature sensitive material and produces the image. There is no ribbon involved.

PRINTER, THERMAL TRANSFER
A unit that uses elective heating of pins to produce images. The pins strike a thin film or paper based ribbon with a waxing coating. The heat melts the coating, causing pigment to flow on to paper.


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Q

R

RAM
(Random Access Memory) - Temporary storage that holds the program and data that the CPU is processing

READ RATE
The ratio of successful decodes with scanners on first attempt to the total attempts to obtain a successful read.

RF - RADIO FREQUENCY
On-line data communications using portable or on-board radio-frequency computer terminals.


S

SCANNER/WAND
Hand-held scanning device used in contact with a bar code.

SERIAL TRANSMISSION
Transmission mode that sends data one bit at a time. In most cases, in personal computers, serial data is passed through an RS232 serial interface port.

SIGNATURE CAPTURE
Electronically captures an individual's signature for customer identification and transaction verification applications.

SLAVE REGISTER
A Cash register that is driven by a "master" register in a multiple register environment.

SMART CARD
A smart card contains a "chip" with memory and is typically used to hold customer account information and a "balance" of money similar to a checking account. The card is inserted into a device that can read and write to a card and is able to update the information appropriately.

SOLENOIDS
Are used in "dumb" cash drawers and incorporate a cable-connected trigger, which releases the drawer.

SKU
Stock keeping unit. A number assigned to a specific item of merchandise.

SYMBOLOGY
Bar Code language.

SCANNER, FIXED BEAM
Stationary bar code scanner that requires the bar code to be moved through the beam of light.

SCANNER, MOVING BEAM
Bar code scanner that moves its beam of light to read a symbol.

SIL
Standard Interchange Language. A standard for data definition, maintenance and queries developed by independent grocery firms.


T

THERMAL TRANSFER
A printing technology method in which printers use regular paper and a heat sensitive ribbon. The ribbon deposits a coating of dark material on the paper when exposed to intense heat. Thermal transfer printers produce a more durable label that won't fade as quickly as direct thermal labels and are often used when a label needs to endure longer than a year.

TILL
Paper money and currency tray that holds the money in the cash drawer.

TOUCHPAD
Fully programmable input device that is compatible with PC's and ASCII terminals.

TRACK 1
Track one is a "track" of information on a credit card that has a 79 character alphanumeric field for information. Normally a credit card number, expiration date and customer name are contained on track 1.

TRACK 2
Track two is a "track" of information on a credit card that has a 40-character field for information.

TRACK 3
Track three is a "track" of information on a credit card that has a 107-character field for alphanumeric information.


U

UPC
Universal product code.

UPS
Uninterruptible power supply.

V

VERIFICATION
The process of verifying if a printed bar code is within specifications.

W

WEDGE
Terminal interface for scanning devices, mag stripe readers etc. to a computer, PC or POS terminal.


X

Y

Y-CABLE
A cable that normally allows two peripheral devices to communicate off of one port on a computer.

Z

Z-OUT
End of day procedure. Compiles all totals and updates all areas of system.