Innovative Motherboard Driving a Retail Revolution

By Emerson Network Power

A retailer’s number one priority is to make a sale and process the transaction quickly. Customers will not wait for terminals to boot, so checkouts must be fully operational from the moment the store opens. Many point-of-sale (POS) terminals are left on 24/7 to avoid delayed start up, wasting a lot of energy and even standard power saving features are often disabled. Down time during maintenance is another issue. If a checkout fails, it will typically be replaced as a whole unit, creating upheaval in the customer-facing area.

Bar code scanners, printers, weighing scales and card payment systems from different manufacturers (and all with their own cables) add to the complexity of a typical modern POS system. A layout may also include three or four power supplies with cables, all of which is difficult to keep tidy and may be a safety hazard.

Is it possible to enable POS terminals to be ready as soon as a store opens while consuming less power when the store is closed and enabling an improved customer experience? Yes, by using a motherboard such as the Emerson Network Power MATXMC2- 410-B, which accepts the popular and energy-efficient 45nm Intel® Core™2 Duo processor, there is an immediate power saving gain compared to older, less efficient processors. Perhaps as much as 70% power reduction while providing increased performance that enables additional functionality.

Innovations such as Intel® vPro™ technology with Intel® Active Management Technology (AMT) offer improved power management and security options. For example, once the store has closed a remote administrator can turn the POS terminals completely off and then turn them back on so they are ready for opening time. AMT is an out-of-band technology and is immune from operating system and application crashes. The result is reduced carbon emissions and lower total cost of ownership for retailers.

Energy efficiency can also be improved by using a single ACDC power module for a complete retail solution. This is enabled by 12V and 24V PoweredUSB ports on the MATXM-C2-410-B. Sometimes known as Retail USB, USB PlusPower or USB +Power, these have a standard USB data connection plus a latching power connector with the single cable connection containing two additional wires for the extra power. These PoweredUSB ports are designed to provide data and power connections to a variety of POS peripherals that have traditionally required their own AC-DC converters. As well as reducing power supply losses, there is a significant benefit to safety, reliability and aesthetics.

Most POS terminals are based on a standard form factor motherboard and MATXM-C2-410-B, being MicroATX compatible, is no exception. However, unlike traditional motherboards which are fixed by standoff posts to a base plate and then have multitudes of internal cable connections, this board has a connector running down one face that plugs into a midplane. Because the connections for peripherals like SATA disks and LCD are routed to the midplane which remains fixed, the motherboard itself can be unplugged and quickly replaced with little risk of incorrect cable re-assembly.

Emerson’s MicroATX motherboard is designed to support simultaneous high-definition dual displays to meet the needs of the video age. In intelligent kiosks, one of the displays can be used with a touch interface to configure options while the second display shows the finished product. Consumers are open to these hybrid e-commerce techniques and appreciate the self-service philosophy as well as the scope for in-store assistance. The retailer is able to provide the real-time benefits of Internet shopping while retaining the personal nature of being in-store.

Energy efficiency initiatives in the retail sector have created a market for a totally different type of board-level computing product to provide POS and intelligent kiosk facilities. By incorporating innovative features that enable significant energy savings while providing retailers with a better performance and feature proposition, boards such as the Emerson MATXM-C2-410-B are a sound investment. Backed by Emerson’s reputation for providing industry-leading product longevity, quality and reliability, maybe there really is a revolution to come in the retail sector.

More information on Emerson Network Power’s innovative motherboard products can be found at



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