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Frugal Tech for Tiny Retail Stores

AI based self-learning software from Palas helps small stores predict tomorrow’s sales, optimising inventory, saving money, without spending a fortune on IT hardware.

For billing, shopkeeper uses a smart phone to scan items – either barcodes if available, or Palas image recognition software; show the QR code with payable amount embedded; customer scans, pays using UPI,  gets bill on their phone.

Palas’s software is learning all the time and is soon able to tell the shopkeeper which items are going to sell tomorrow, and which of these have a higher margin – so place them up front, promote impulse buying. Enables loss-leader pricing, enticing customers to visit.

All this for a nominal monthly subscription, helping them compete against super-markets and online retailers.

Palas Self Ordering Kiosks for QSR

Palas Touchscreen Self-Ordering Kiosks
Serve customers faster in restaurants, bakeries, food courts, canteens, QSR

  • Screen sizes from 10” to 65”, fast Capacitive touchscreen
  • Choice of many receipt printers, card readers, or use your own
  • Accepts digital payments—UPI, PayTm, RuPay, pre-paid card
  • Floor mount, or wall mount, or counter-top
  • Hygienic—easily sanitized with alcohol spray/wipe
  • Works with any ordering software, or use optional app
  • Saves trained staff as fewer cashiers/waiters needed
  • Quick return on investment, pays for itself within months
  • Prices start at Rs 64,000. Available within 5 to 10 working days.


Palas Point of Sale Billing Machines

Made in India by Palas For Retail Stores, Restaurant

Common Features
High Resolution : 1920×1080 (except 10.1” at 1280×800)
Wide viewing angle
Robust fast Capacitive Touchscreen
Touchscreen can be sanitised daily with alcohol spray or wipe
Android operating System
32GB storage, expandable with SD card
Temperature Rating 0 to 50C
Connectivity: 2xUSB, 1xRJ45, WiFi, Bluetooth.
Connect over LAN or USB to any existing printer

Air Quality in OPDs, Restaurants, small offices

In developing countries waiting rooms in Doctor’s OPD clinics can be a major source of airborne transmission of infections. Most are small ill-ventilated set of rooms, equipped with 1 or 2 split air-conditioners. Only parameter measured is temperature, no one has any idea of air-changes needed per hour, or amount of outside air, or use of hepa filters.

Then, in these pandemic times, people are flocking to thousands of testing and vaccination centres, some in make-shift structures, many in basements, with even less control on air quality.

OPDs should be classified same as Emergency Rooms – 12 air changes per hour with 2 fresh air changes (Ashrae standard 170)  How to implement these in clinics? Most commonly available split acs do not have provision for fresh air. How to measure air quality – if poor, windows can be opened, exhaust fans switched on, but first, measurement must be made possible easily, cheaply.

There are probably millions of these clinics across the globe. And now with countries opening up, other public gathering places like restaurants will also need to re-visit their air handling systems

I am sure the smart people at great companies like Honeywell already have, (or can come up with) cost effective solutions to address this issue, but we need to create awareness rapidly.

Reduce pollution with 100% switch to Electric Vehicles

100% switch to Electric Vehicles will not completely eliminate pollution, but it will surely greatly reduce it. A central large power source is far more efficient than thousands of small ones – for example, if all homes, instead of running on centrally supplied electricity, used individual petrol/diesel generators, pollution levels would be horrendous.

More public transport is a good thought but while it is not possible to change all mindsets in a few years and get people to give up personal transport, yet we can change to all EVs in just a few years

In India, the pressing problem is pollution caused by 2-wheelers

As per State pollution norms, 2-wheelers are allowed to emit CO% (3.5%) and HC (3000ppm) which is 10 to 15 times more than that allowed for cars (0.3 and 200). Even if fuel consumption of 2 wheelers is 3 to 4 times less than that that of cars, it still means that, for the same distance covered, a 2-wheelers pollutes at least 3 times more than a car

And with 2-wheeler sales being 7 to 8 times that of cars in India, it means 2-wheelers cause over 20 times more vehicular pollution than cars

Our focus needs to be on converting 2-wheelers to electric –

  • increase subsidy from the current 20-25%,
  • lower price of EVs by auditing manufacturers costs (why are prices so high? how much are raw material costs as % of selling price?),
  • Lease batteries monthly to owners, reducing the up-front capital cost
  • create infrastructure for charging in public parking spaces, dedicated for 2-wheelers which are parked stuck to each other, have less power needs, so 5 to 10 cables can be connected to one charging station
  • make such charging free for next say 5 years

Disclosure: Palas makes EV charging Stations

Should Children use Touchscreens?

Adults spend 1 to 4 hours a day looking at their mobile screens, so it is natural for small children to want to imitate their parents and use a phone or tab. Imitating is natural, and touch screen devices so ubiquitous, that it is only a matter of time before a child starts using them, copying all the adults Is it a good thing ?

Some parents give their children too much screen time, using their phone/tab as an electronic baby sitter –  Either the phone is given to distract the child while parents finish some “important” task, or to bribe the child – if you sit at the table quietly and eat your meal, you can play with the phone

On the other hand, totally banning screen time may only serve to increase desire to use a screen and feel like an “adult”, causing children to use devices surreptitiously, either their parents or others

A few parents permit restricted screen time, where the child is allowed to handle a phone for a short time or to watch TV under supervision. Some TV shows are indeed educational. But if the child uses the touchscreen simply to navigate from one movie/show  to the next, then it is being used just like a remote, and the interactive features of the touchscreen are not utilised

Is there another path ?

A touchscreen can be beneficial if it is used as the interactive device that it is – for example:

There are so many games played years ago that encouraged experiential learning – fit solid shapes into their holes, jigsaws, using an abacus, connect the dots, painting – almost all of these can be done easily on a touchscreen device. And since children get bored easily, simply add a new program. No problem about where to store “older” toys !

  • show a red colour and ask the child to choose the name of the colour from a list
  • visually explain the concept of numbers – drag and drop one marble at a time into the box, then after each drop ask them to choose how many marbles are in the box
  • recognise shapes – drag a ball to a round hole, or a cube to a square hole, fit irregular shapes like jigsaws
  • touch an animal or a musical instrument to hear what it sounds like
  • live videos of a cow being milked, or a fish swimming or a bird flying in slow motion enable us to grasp quickly concepts that are difficult to explain on paper
  • and many more


What is needed is a software app that, while enabled, prevents access to any other program on the phone/tab, and gives access to only interactive educational experiences developed specially for children. Or use a touchscreen tab loaded with no application except interactive educational software.

RIP : Mr Uma Shankar Singh

It is with profound regret we inform the untimely demise of our Mr. Uma Shankar Singh, Senior Customer Support Executive, based in Mumbai.

Uma passed away suddenly, a victim of COVID-19.

A fine person, efficient, dedicated, humble, Uma had an excellent relationship with customers, all of whom respected his knowledge and readiness to help. Uma had been with Palas for several years and will be deeply missed.

With regret
Rajiv Srivastava
Managing Director
Palas Software Pvt. Ltd.


The Increasing acceptance of technology, thanks to the spread of smart phones, has led to Touchscreen self-service kiosks being seen more and more, both in QSR and Casual dining formats. But there is still some hesitation, partly because of initial investment

Touchscreen kiosks for self-ordering seem expensive at first, as there is a capital investment of around Rs 120,000 to 150,000 for one kiosk. But compare it with staff costs

Waiters are typically paid around Rs 20,000 per month – so a kiosk is just 6-7 months salary of one person. And for a restaurant working 2 shifts, return on investment reduces to just 3 months.

As a bonus, it is well established that self-service kiosks help upsell, leading to increased per-ticket sales

Touchscreen self-ordering kiosks
• Save money
• Increase sales
• Are more hygienic than human order takers


A touchscreen any day is safer
When ordering with a human order taker
• To be heard, you have to stand in close proximity, so there is a chance of inhaling each other’s breath.
• Even if the mask quality is good, they are not always worn properly, often slipping down uncovering the nose.
• And masks are often rudimentary, sometimes washed so many times that there is barely any material left!
• At 6 feet “safe” distance, in a noisy place we may have to speak loudly to be heard, which takes our breath much further, making 6’ no longer safe
• Secondary infection potential point is during transfer of menus/cash/ credit cards between order taker and customer

When ordering at a touchscreen,
• no one is directly breathing into your face
• Even if the previous user has contaminated the screen, you are only touching the screen with a fingertip, and fingers can be easily sanitised with alcohol before and after use
• The screen itself, before use, can be easily sanitised, in a second with an alcohol wipe
• Menus and payments are all at the touchscreen kiosk, reducing secondary infection

(In the interest of full disclosure, Palas manufactures touchscreen self-ordering kiosks for restaurants)