Cash Register Interfacing
Cash Register Interfacing is the ability to extract the data from a cash register that prints on the receipt and overlay this data on a video picture of the check out area. Most front end cameras are positioned to see the cashier, the cash drawer, items purchased and the customer. With all these elements recorded on tape, a store owner can review this scene and with one view verify the check out was legitimate.
How an Interface Stops Theft
The cash register interface as an overt (clerks and customers know the interface is in place an how it works) security system can deter theft by the fear of being caught along with a permanent record. This system as a covert (hidden system) will not prevent the theft but will record the event for later prosecution.
In either case, the register interface system will allow the recording of all transactions for later review for such thefts as sweethearting, substitute scanning, no rings, short changing, short rings, and pilfering.
How Cash Register Interfacing Works
The cash register business is a unique industry in itself. There exists no standards, as a matter of fact, cash register companies go out of their way to make hardware different. This is true from company to company and even true within a company so older accessories are not compatible with the newer models. It is this fundamental fact that makes cash register interfacing such a complicated problem. One interface box can only connect to an extremely limited number of registers. The use of converter boxes are needed to translate from one format to another. Every model register has unique features that enhance the interface or cause major problems when dealing with loss prevention.
Typical Cash Register Interface
All cash register interface systems must contain a Text Inserter to do the text overlay on the video picture. This main box also has communication channels that can plug directly to some cash register without the need for other converters. As stated above the number of direct connections is limited and in most applications the need for a converter box is warranted. These converter boxes are almost always placed in or near the cash register. Data cable is then run from the register location back to the security room to the text inserter. The text inserter and other security equipment are then centrally located.
Cash Register Interface Outputs
- Alarm Outputs The alarm output option gives hard alarm outputs to go to VCRs to flag the tape for later search. This alarm can control a switcher to home a camera in on the cash register when certain type of transactions are detected.
- Printer Outputs Most cash register interfaces have serial printer outputs. This output is usually configured to print a list of the detected exceptions. At the end of the day, the store manager can review the exceptions of the day or night before and decide whether to view the tape or not. Other uses may be to connect to a PC and record all the transaction or go to modem to download the exceptions in the middle of the night to central.
- On-screen Messages or Flags Usually when a cash register interface detects an exception it also highlights or some how marks the video picture. This allows easy review of the exceptions in forward scan mode or alert a manager during operational hours.