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WSO2Con 2011: Building a Mobile POS Solution with WSO2 Carbon and Apple iPod Touch - Thilanka Kiriporuwa

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  • By WSO2Con 2011
  • 10 Nov, 2011

Enhancing the Retail Experience

ODEL is Sri Lanka's most prominent retail brand and the country’s only department store, Mr. Kiriporuwa noted. The network of 14 stores, which caters to high quality and fashion-conscious consumers, continues to expand. On the weekend, more than 4,000 people walk into its flagship store alone.

Delivering a superior experience to these consumers is a top-priority. "We want not only for the customer to buy something from us, but also to remember the experience, which is very important when they go back," Mr. Kiriporuwa explained.

As part of its commitment to service, ODEL sought a way to offer express checkout for customers only purchasing one or two items, said Mr. Kiriporuwa; “To have to wait behind people who have a much larger amount, this is a deterrent for customers.”

The answer, Mr. Kiriporuwa said, was to enable the sales representative to bring the POS system to the customer. It would require not only delivering the mobile POS device and application but also integration with the back-end retail system.

Implementing the Mobile POS

ODEL employed WSO2’s technology and consulting services to develop the mobile POS solution, so Mr. Kiriporuwa invited Kasun Indrasiri, WSO2 associate technical lead to describe the technical implementation.

Mr. Indrasiri explained that on the client side, iPod Touch devices are encased in Linea-Pro hardware, which adds barcode scanning and credit card magnetic stripe reading, converting the iPods into complete mobile POS systems. Running on the mobile POS systems are a mobile POS application developed by WSO2, an embedded SQLite database, and Apple iOS. The application talks to the barcode scanner and the credit card reader using the APIs provided with the Linea-Pro device accessories, as well as the database.

At the backend is the LS-Retail application, which cannot be updated directly. Therefore, ODEL established an intermediary database that would sit between the mobile POS application and LS-Retail, Mr. Indrasiri said. Together the WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and WSO2 Data Services Server (WSO2 DSS) enable synchronization between the intermediary database and the mobile application database.

Every time a transaction occurs with the mobile POS, the intermediary database is updated, Mr. Indrasiri noted. This is accomplished by using WSO2 DSS to expose data from both databases as data services and by having the WSO2 ESB sit in front of WSO2 DSS to provide the integration layer. The mobile POS application, which runs on iOS, accesses the API exposed by backend using JSON.

The Mobile POS Promise Becomes a Reality

Speed is a priority in the competitive retail industry, and WSO2 met this demand by delivering the initial mobile POS solution in just five weeks. The rapid implementation made ODEL the first Sri Lankan retailer to offer this purchasing experience to the customer, Mr. Kiriporuwa noted. Equally important, he said, the mobile POS solution architecture provides the flexibility for future enhancements.

"We want to give that experience to the customer of uniqueness in terms of how they interact with us,” Mr. Kiriporuwa said. He added that sales on the initial two devices demonstrate, “We have won trust; we have gotten the engagement of the customers, and we are growing in terms of transactions.”

To learn more about how ODEL is using WSO2 middleware to support to build a mobile POS system, view Mr. Kiriporuwa’s full presentation here, and download the full case study at http://wso2.com/casestudies/odel-pos-powered-by-wso2-mobile-services-gateway-solution.

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  • WSO2Con 2011
  • Sri Lanka