Introducing our very own till epos...
The Digital team have been busy designing and building our very own till system. Why is that exciting I hear you say? Because not only has this never been done before, it's not just for us, it's for anyone!
Open source - It's for anyone!
Open source is all about giving software back to the relevant communities, allowing other people to use your software, better it, or investing into people to build tools for the community, rather then giving millions of pounds to faceless corporations.
The idea is you're advancing the technology community around a specific area, providing something back OR allowing something to be a disrupter - in our case our new till systems!
Disrupting big corporate companies who make an insane amount of profit on systems such as tills, not only feels rather good, but by creating our own till epos, (which is powered by a renewable energy source - google cloud*) we are using open source software - throughout the entire system! Tired of the low quality of hardware and software out there for retail, coupled with poor service, we feel the industry is ripe for disruption and serious innovation while embracing the open source mentality.
Ethical data means we only store the bare minimum of your information and we store it securely. We will only use your data for processing and invoicing your purchases. And finally, we're providing technology back for free rather than building something and trying to commercialise it.
It all sounds very complex as I sit listening to Ryan, global head of engineering and technology (and pro interviewee I might add)...and it is, he explains (so it's not just me, insert slightly flushed and slightly relieved emoji). Without going into the android front end and the impressive microservices that build the entire back end - which means it's self healing and can automatically scale itself, it basically means anyone that abides by the license, can take it and install it in their shop, and run it on any public cloud that's out there. All you need is a tablet!
"All these retailers need technology, we need it as well but we can also create it. Create it and then give it back to the relevant communities. We wanted to create our own till system specific to retail but that could also integrate with all our other technology offerings we are developing, which means everything we develop, we are giving back to the technology industry."
*Google cloud have an ethical approach to business. They've agreed to use 100% renewable energy by the end of 2017 and have made a huge commitment to open source technology.
So let's look at the future....
According to Ryan, we're looking beyond a till system being a till system. We're looking at how a digital platform can incorporate both a retail side and a digital side. So transactions and users are all processed on the tills which means you can have email receipts sent to you, you can have an account on the website, you can order in the comfort of your own home but then pop by the shop on your way home from work and look up your order, collect and pay in store, offering more flexibility, anywhere in the world. A single user experience so it doesn't matter if you're in a shop or online or at home. More and more features and functionality will become available over time.
Our open source till epos will be available soon so watch this space...and look out all you big proprietary software houses!