At the recent RBTE show (Retail Business Technology Expo) in London I saw the Socket Mobile Cordless Hand Scanner (CHS) Bluetooth barcode scanners for the first time. I couldn’t help but think, when I first held the device, that it looked and felt like Apple® had designed it. It came as no surprise to learn that Socket Mobile’s scanners have been approved by Apple to work with the entire range of iOS devices via the MFi program (Made For iOS devices).
In a nutshell, Socket Mobile has designed an ultra-small Bluetooth barcode scanner to sit alongside portable point of sale devices. The thinking is that technology will start to fundamentally change the way that businesses interact with their customers so in the retail environment the idea that you can only pay for items at a row of tills will become outmoded and we’ll likely see shop assistants scattered across the shop floor able to answer questions and process transactions across the shop floor in a mobile capacity. During busy periods while it’s obviously not possible for a business to magic up 5 more till points, you can quickly deploy additional staff with portable devices to queue bust and improve customer service. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that in high end retail environments today the need for the traditional PC based computer system has been replaced as you can now service your clients from anywhere within the store.
Unlike some of the other products on the market that look vaguely industrial, the Socket Mobile scanner is svelte and sits nicely in the palm of your hand. Socket Mobile supply the item with both a badge reel and a lanyard and the small size and low weight of the item makes it unobtrusive to walk around with and ready to use. Socket Mobile claim when fully charged the item is capable of performing up to 10,000 scans between charges.
We tested the CHS 7Ci 1-D Bluetooth scanner and were able to use the barcode scanner with a number of devices; iPad®, iMac®, iPhone® and they are also compatible with Android and Windows®. In all cases, linking the scanner to the device was simplicity itself and once linked it was easily able to work as a data input device.
While the item is premium priced, this seems entirely justifiable for an elegant piece of retail technology equipment that helps equip mobile point of sale equipment with fast and accurate data entry. Saving the time it takes a customer service representative to go through menu screens searching for products or having to manually type in product codes.
The Socket Mobile CHS range includes both 1-D and 2-D scanning options which come in a variety of bright colours – perfect for customer facing applications where an industrial grey scanner just won’t do. Socket Mobile have recently further extended the choice of colours by introducing a vivid green coloured scanner.
Bottom line, if you want a small, pretty bluetooth scanner robust enough for the shop floor, you’ll love the Socket Mobile barcode scanner.