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Another use for POS: Point of Sale and the Movies


POS or Point Of Sale is a terminology that many people aren't familiar with unless they're in the industry. Even then, many clerks and people using POS equipment call it by its name; barcode reader, cash register, credit card reader, etc. If you walked up to them and said you'd like to see what point of sale equipment they use, they'd look at you like you might be some computer geek, which of course these days is a compliment. It's like any other industry, if you don't know the lingo, you use something else.

Like any other industry, POS is expanding to industries that weren't even thought of 20 years ago. The use of the internet as a POS is relatively new in the business world but it is taking the whole world by storm. Who would have ever thought you would be making your own movies when you burn to DVD a movie you're downloading from the internet! It wasn't that long ago that copying a movie on your extra VCR was the hot thing. With the advent of online movie rentals and pay per view it won't be long before people won't be needing to buy movie DVD's let alone go to the movie theatre. This isn't about that, but it's something to think about.

This is about the challenge of keeping track when your point of sale is digital and when you download a comedy movie to burn it on a DVD. This is about having an inventory of digital data that goes out and is used but not consumed. How do you inventory such a beast? It's not like buying a pair of pants so when one goes out, there's a hole to fill with another. You can't barcode it, you can't even see it. The digital world is one where the typical POS equipment will have to change with the times to track what digital image or images went out, what new movie release came in and who bought it. How many times will the new-age CPA need to count things, never again in the digital world? Even with the inventory equipment used today with visible products, it can be automatic. One thing goes out, one thing automatically gets ordered, one thing is shipped and one thing is restocked.

How does that work in the digital world? How does that work with one free movie download or one free song? That's right, even if it's free, it still matters. It doesn't need to be replaced like it does when it's one free soda or a free pair of socks. And can you track when someone steals something? If a CD is stolen from the music store, at inventory time, the numbers don't add up. If a digital action movie is stolen, what then? Is it more likely that you can track it in the digital world than the real world? It isn't an inventory problem though, as the movie wasn't stolen and doesn't need to be replaced, it's digital. The questions can go on and on, but we're excited to see the future of point of sale!

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