Ubiregi is a point-of-sale application for the iPad that turns the device into a fully-functional and intuitive cash register.
The app is offered by Tokyo-based developed Ubiregi Inc. on a pay-as-you-go plan of 5000 yen per month and includes no initial expenses or installation costs – all you need is an iPad. Additionally, sales data can be stored on Ubiregi’s servers for convenient management and receipts can be printed using the iOS AirPrint function.
While the app has only been around for a little over a year, Ubiregi promises to provide a lucrative alternative to small businesses that normally rent cash registers at a monthly fee on top of installation and maintenance costs.
Perhaps as a testament to this, Ubiregi has recently made the news in Japan after it helped one business owner lift himself from the brink of ruin after last years’ tsunami.
On March 1, 2010, Kozue Niinuma opened an izakaya (Japanese pub) in the coastal city of Ofunato in Iwate prefecture. Just one year later, the Tohoku earthquake struck and many of the buildings in Ofunato, including the building housing Kozue’s restaurant, were swept away by the tsunami.
“Even after explaining to the lessor that the POS register I was renting had been washed away in the tsunami they still considered the lease to be in effect and I continued to pay,” spoke Kozue, who had decided to rebuild his business after being left with nothing.
It was when Kozue was considering renting a new register–and therefore incurring a duplicate payment–that he heard about Ubireji and decided to use it for his business.
“Many of our customers were affected by the disaster,” reports Keita Kido, founder and CEO of Ubireji Inc. In April 2011, Ubireji began offering a year of free service to help such businesses rebuild faster.
On December 23, Kozue, equipped with a Ubiregi-installed iPad, was able to reopen his business at a temporary prefabricated building in Ofunato.
The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami meant that Kozue wasn’t the only business owner left out in the cold. Especially for those areas hit by the tsunami, debris and wreckage is still being cleaned up and only now are some businesses finally able to reopen in temporary buildings.
Kozue’s story shows the role innovative technology can play in rebuilding the infrastructure lost in the disaster in a way that takes recovery a step further than just ‘putting things back as they were.’