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Performance Improvements at Point Of Sale - A Guide to Getting the most out of your 4690 System.

It is clear that many of the IBM 4690 POS applications could use an overhaul. But who has the time? And where would one start?

Learn more.

Terminal Concentrator
Terminal Concentrator is used to provide support in newer thin client POS application solutions for fuelpumps and mobile devices. It is also the product that many retailers are using to extend the life oflegacy POS hardware. Terminal Concentrator currently allows up to 80 thin clients to be servicedby a single Windows server. Alternatively, Terminal Concentrator is also available for the IBM4690 controller. Thin client interfaces are available for a wide variety of solutions (Java, COM,Palm OS, and more).

4690 Terminal Concentrator Windows (TC) is a subsystem execution environment running on one of several versions of Windows.  A version is also available which runs on the 4690 controller. TC provides support for execution of existing IBM 4690 POS TERMINAL applications. TC provides a 'thin client' execution model for the 4690 environment. The 'user interface' runs at the POS Terminal and the 'business logic' runs on the server.  TC provides support to run up to 80 instances of existing 4690 terminal applications on the server without changing code or recompiling.

The QVS Terminal Concentrator (TC) allows client access to multiple instances of IBM 4690 terminal sales applications.  In this case, clients are themselves applications that need access to the point-of-sale business logic.

TC consists of two parts:

  • An application server environment that runs the 4690 terminal sales applications.
  • Client-side application program interfaces which allow access to the 4690 sales applications and miscellaneous other functions such as direct access to 4690 controller files.

There are two different types of environments where TC has proven useful:

  • Access to the terminal sales applications from various non-POS terminal clients.  Examples include handheld devices, kiosks, web-shopping servers.
  • Legacy POS terminals that have resource constraints (memory, cpu, lan bandwidth) that keep them from effectively running terminals sales in the terminal.  In this case, the POS terminals become thin clients that provide device access only and the sales applications actually run on a server.

The server side of Terminal Concentrator is available for either Windows-based PCs or for 4690 controllers. 

TC supports from 2 up to 80 terminal sales instances.

Client Types Supported

TC APIs are available for Java and Windows COM.  Additionally, SOAP and XML interfaces have been custom developed as required for customers.  

Devices and clients supported include:

  • Fuel Pumps
  • Mobile POS
  • Shopping Cart Terminals
  • Web-Shopping
  • IBM 4683/84/93/94 running over Store Loop, Ethernet, or Token Ring
  • Non-IBM POS terminals (NCR, Wincor, Fujitsu, HP, and others)
  • other solutions upon request

The Environment

Store Controller

This environment assumes that a 4690 Store controller or 4690 DDS/CSF Store Controller is present.

Terminal Concentrator

TC looks to the Store Controller as multiple POS Terminals. All controller services are available to TC and to TC clients.

The main interface between TC clients and the terminal sales application is at the device layer.  The TC client drives the application by sending in keystrokes and scans.  It monitors what the sales application is doing by looking at events and commands being generated to devices by the sales application.  This device i/o interface has traditionally been a powerful mechanism for various client application providers and retailer developers because it requires no changes to the terminal sales application.

In addition to the device interfaces, there are mechanisms in TC that allow the sales application to be enhanced to send specific events/messages to TC clients.  These interfaces can be used as necessary and can allow for enhanced functionality and easier coordination and maintenance between TC clients and the sales application.

Remote Peripheral Access Method

All device I/O calls executed by the POS application running under TC are intercepted and sent to the Client using a defined QVS messaging protocol referred to as Remote Peripheral Access Method (RPAM).  Besides device i/o, RPAM allows clients access to 4690 controller files and it allows access to event messages generated by the applications specifically for the TC client.

POS Terminal Client

TC remote program loads the terminal, as needed.

TC communicates using the hardware topology native to the Client.

A 4690 thin-client application for POS terminals called TERMRPAM (short for Terminal RPAM) is provided as part of the TC product.  TERMRPAM supports the RPAM protocol to the terminal concentrator on the one side and interfaces to the terminal POS peripherals on the other.  For non-4690OS terminals, TERMRPAM has been used with the DOS QCONNECT product.  QCONNECT allows 4690 applications to run on non-4690 hardware on top of DOS.

The client application is simply an I/O Catcher. Thin Client architects refer to this layer of code as the USER INTERFACE.

RPAM architecture supports the following:

  1. Keyboard
  2. 2X20 display
  3. Cash Drawer
  4. Printer
  5. Scanner
  6. Hard Totals
  7. MSR
  8. Scale
  9. Customer Display
  10. Serial
  11. MICR
  12. Tone
  13. Lights
  14. File I/0
  15. VDISPLAY
  16. I/O Processor

Additional Documentation and Help Files

Terminal Concentrator for Windows NT, 2000, and XP

Terminal Concentrator for 4690

 
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