back to article Want tunes with that? India-made POS terminal includes a speaker

Indian payments outfit Paytm has launched a point-of-sale unit that incorporates, of all things, a speaker. Paytm boasts over 450 million users of its app, which offers a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payments over India's Unified Payments Interface, and credit card services. The biz also offers payment services to over ten …

  1. doublelayer Silver badge

    Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

    I know the writer probably didn't write the headline, but both their opening paragraph and the headline produced from it are written as if this is completely crazy as a feature, while the rest of their article provides a completely logical reason for its inclusion and it's not the only one. It would also work for those who can't see the terminal due to a disability and, given the language support, could help for those traveling to a location in which a language they don't speak is spoken. Of course, in the latter case, they could probably look at a screen and see the price, but not necessarily instructions or other text. I'm not surprised that many PoS systems have left it out, but seeing it put in this one isn't very surprising to me.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

      > It would also work for those who can't see the terminal due to a disability

      Generally speaking when you're buying something from someone there'll be a merchant there happy to help you figure out which buttons to push to give him money.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

        Yes, everywhere you go there are people who would like to help you if you just give them your banking PIN.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

        Yes, they would be happy to do so, and most of them would be honest. However, it would also be quite possible for them to take a lot more money than you planned to give them, something that the system won't do on their behalf. Someone who wanted to make sure that they were paying the amount they expected to pay might be more comfortable using the computer themselves.

        Take as a parallel voting where paper ballots are used. There are some locations that have machines such that someone who can either not read or write on the ballot due to a disability can have a machine do that with effectively a big scanner and I imagine an automated pencil but it's probably a lot more like a printer. I imagine that voters may feel more certain that that machine has marked their ballot as they instructed rather than if they got some other person and asked them to please mark my vote for candidate A even if you (the assistant) hate candidate A, even though the majority of people willing to help out would not do anything that dishonest.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Why the confused headline and opening paragraph

      It would also work for those who can't see the terminal

      And for that reason, not an entirely unknown feature in any other (but generally more expensive) POS terminal found anywhere in the world.

      For a start, the device provided by my bank: The Commbank SmartTerminal: Also a headphone jack, so that when you type out your PIN, the whole world doesn't hear.

      And then there are PC's and iPads --both widely used as POS terminals with POS software providing "accessibility" services for the blind/print handicapped.

      The unusual feature about this one, that I haven't seen before, is the provision for background music. iPads and PC's will do that, but who uses that capability? To me, it suggests street traders (portability and music as a form of increased visibility), and "increased visibility" immediately leads to the observation that with the music turned on, the device will be harder to lose, harder to steal, and easier to find.

      People who don't use POS terminals are sometimes surprised at the features they provide.

      I think this device from India is pretty cool because it's so damn cheap. At that price, the basic functionality is impressive. Including a speaker adds to the size of the device without adding much to the cost, but in manufacturing, every cent counts.

  2. JudeK


    This is just a test.

    1. drand

      Re: Testing

      ..and this is an 'icle'. What's your point?

      [credit to a commentard on an OnCall (?) thread a couple of weeks ago, you know who you are]

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    A speaker and BluTooth in a PoS kit

    I am waiting with baited breath to hear how the miscreants are going to abuse that kit.

    Because I'm pretty sure it's going to happen.

    Why BluTooth ? Don't shop merchants already have a sound system if that's what they want ? It's not difficult to put a CD player in a corner, and these days, you can probably find something that takes a USB key and has all the usual audio controls and speakers. Yeah, maybe it costs a bit more than 9 bucks, but it's already there. Adding BluTooth under the pretext of allowing music is really reaching for an excuse, as far as I'm concerned.

    But hey, if they're happy with it . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: A speaker and BluTooth in a PoS kit

      Think "street kiosk" rather than "small shop".

      One less thing to lug about, and it's enhancing something that's already battery powered.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: A speaker and BluTooth in a PoS kit

      Many POS kit already uses Bluetooth to connect to a smart phone or ipad to authenticate, so yeah.

    3. Cynical Pie

      Re: A speaker and BluTooth in a PoS kit

      Tell me you didn't read the article properly without telling me you didn't read the article properly

  4. Unicornpiss

    Nothing new..

    The credit/debit card/tap-to-pay terminals at my work are basically a generic Android phone with a printer bolted on, and a little interface widget that has jacks for linking to the main POS terminal, power and Ethernet. Not only does it have a speaker, but it still has the camera flash (on the bottom), and being Android, you can turn it on and use it as a flashlight. Presumably the camera is still there too, but buried inside part of the plastic shroud that's part of the printer. And these terminals are at least 5 years old.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice adaptation

    In the west, we have beeps all the time, whenever a payment is made, which becomes annoying after a while. So monotonous. The store checkout assistants would need RSI therapy.

    At least, the Indians, who are big on Bollywood Music, have managed to make the POS more palatable and amusing (to judge the music tastes of the shopkeeper, at least, followed by a chat and smile at the simple innovation ).

    Whats not to like?

    In Britain, they may as well announce the weather or the latest gossip about Royalty, or Football.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Nice adaptation

      I'd rather a beep than someone forcing their taste in music on me

    2. PRR Bronze badge

      Re: Nice adaptation

      > In Britain, they may as well announce the weather...

      Can't that just be printed on the case?

  6. Ideasource Bronze badge

    Noise pollution.

    I miss silent terminals and quiet stores where are the shoppers mind space is not assaulted constantly.

    visually challenged person could simply plug in headphones or be attended by onstaff sign language interpreter.

    And employees standard quietly by until approached and given direct indication that their services are needed.

    Alas, these days it seems that you must "run the gauntlet of jarring distraction and auditory harassment" to be deemed worthy of making a simple purchase.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Noise pollution.

      The beeps are there to help you understand things like whether you have successfully scanned something or you need to move it around some more and can also indicate if you've accidentally scanned it twice. That means you don't have to go through the whole receipt at the end to make sure you didn't scan things wrong. By the way, if your next point was going to be having someone else scan the products, the beeps work for them as well. Given all the other noise involved in a shop, the beeps don't bother me that much. There are thumping and crinkling as people move items, plenty of talking, probably background music, clanking of carts, so it's not going to be quiet anyway.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's been around for years

    Not sure what the article is about. This POS box has been around for years and serves to inform both, the shopkeeper and the customer that a transaction is complete. Imagine a food outlet with 20 customers lining up to pay and you get the utility of such a device.

  8. sketharaman

    Soundboxes like this have been supplied by PayTM, BharatPe, Walmart PhonePe and other PSPs in India for over a year. I'm told that they have been supplied by AliPay and other PSPs to stores in China for many years.

    I've been to dozens of stores that have a soundbox. While playing music is not a bad idea, I haven't seen a single store doing so.

    The key functionality of the soundbox is to announce completion of a payment. Before soundbox came along, the store attendant had to stop what he was doing and look up his mobile phone to track the SMS or PUSH notif announcing payment completion. With the soundbox, he is able to multitask. Also, the SMS and PUSH go only to the phone used to sign up with the PSP. Quite often, that phone is with the storeowner, who may not be in the store all the time. As a result, the store attendant would need to look up the notification on the payor's phone. Crooks have been known to show a fabricated screenshot on their phone and scoot with the goods without paying. It was too late by the time the store realized that it had been swindled. Whereas the soundbox is a standalone device that's always present in the store.

    Soundbox solves a very tangible pain area for stores, especially small stores where there are only one or two employees, there's no checkout line and the store attendant attends to the next customer by the time the previous customer makes the payment. Literacy or accessibility have primarily nothing to do with soundbox although they could be useful secondary use cases for it.

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