Sun plugs in remote POS system

Sun Microsystems Inc., in partnership with POS (point-of-sale) vendors Wincor Nixdorf LLC and ADS Retail Inc., Monday announced a remotely managed supply-chain and transaction system for retail stores.

According to Sun officials, the key advantages to the new solution (known as SmartClient) are that it reduces startup costs and frees retailers from the burden of maintaining POS systems.

"With high industry employee turnover, no retailer wants in-store time to be focused on repairing, maintaining, and learning computer systems," said Bob DeLaney, Sun's manager of worldwide retail markets, in a statement. "They want time spent developing stellar customer service." The solution combines Austin, Texas-based Wincor Nixdorf's thin-client terminal, Upper Marlboro, Md.-based ADS Retail's application architecture, and a Sun Cobalt server, which, though located on the customer's premises, is remotely managed. The server feeds inventory and business transaction data to a central management point; tellingly, it has no ports for devices such as monitors or keyboards.

The system can also temporarily store local transactions to allow uptime even if the network connection is interrupted. Jeff Soisson, Wincor Nixdorf's vice-president of retail solutions, said in a statement that the inability to conduct transactions when a server fails is one of the most difficult challenges that retailers face.

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