Our Product Pick
Kyocera Corporation (Kyoto, Japan) has developed the "world's smallest" flat-type thermal printhead for barcode printers, its KMS Series. In conventional models, the driver IC is mounted on the ceramic substrate; with this new design, it's mounted on the circuit substrate. In addition, by changing the attachment method of the substrate and driver IC to wire bonding, this new product features its smaller depth of 0.39 in./9.9 mm, reduced by approximately 40% from 0.64 in./16.3 mm. Also, Kyocera has optimized the wiring layout to reduce resistance loss and improve the thermal efficiency of the heating element, thus reducing power consumption by up to 20%. In making its announcement, Kyocera pointed to the increased popularity of portable barcode printers, where device weight and battery lifetime are critical. It begins production of the KMS Series in July 2016.
KMS Series Thermal Printheads
Get Real With Bitcoin
An upstart, 34 Bytes (Los Angeles, CA), hopes to bring bitcoin to the front counter. Now entering beta test, its new stand-alone payment terminal accommodates transactions from any bitcoin wallet application. Rather than relying on the merchant's smartphone or tablet, it works by scanning the QR Code which is printed on the receipt generated by the terminal. Under this scheme, the digital currency is transferred to an online bitcoin processor or cold wallet, depending on the merchant's preference. Significantly, no private payment keys are accessed.
As features, the bitcoin terminal has keypad for menu navigation and user data entry, monochrome LCD, and Wi-Fi. In support of its beta test, 34 Bytes has kicked off its prosaically entitled "Free Bitcoin POS Terminal Contest." At no cost, winning merchants will receive the terminal and support. (At present, use of the bitcoin terminal requires an existing merchant account with bitcoin payment processor, Coinbase.)
"We will provide the terminal for free and we won't charge processing fees for six weeks from the time of sign-up. All we are looking for in return is feedback on how the system works, ease of use, customer experience, etc.," indicated Jason Hong, Head of Business Development at 34 Bytes. In the words of Stephen Karlsgodt, Founder and CEO, "Once we have some good initial feedback, we will be making a bigger push into the marketplace." As future targets, not surprisingly, he lists third parties in software and hardware for POS, so get ready.
34 Bytes Debuts Bitcoin Payment Terminal
POS-X Drawn to BlueStar
POS-X (Bellingham, WA) has added another distribution partner for the Americas: BlueStar (Hebron, KY). With this move, it extends previous relationships with M-S Cash Drawer (Pasadena, CA) and ScanSource (Greenville, SC). "The demand for our point-of-sale hardware continues to gain momentum in the channel," divulged Mark Dunlop, VP of Sales for POS-X. "Our new alliance with BlueStar provides much needed options for our dealers and represents another key element of our growth strategy for the Americas."
In other news, POS-X has promoted John Larkin, former VP of Operations, to the position of President. In addition, the former President of POS-X, Karl Schoessler, has been promoted to CEO, and the former CEO, Dan Moseley, has been promoted to Executive Chairman. Prior to coming to POS-X, Larkin worked for many years at high-tech companies such as Physio-Control, Intermec (now part of Honeywell), Amkor, Compaq, and Texas Instruments.
"Over the last two and a half years, John has lead our operations team to an incredible level of efficiency and accuracy," relayed Schoessler. "We are excited at the prospect of having John bring his leadership and skill-set to the remaining divisions of POS-X." In March, POS-X shipped its tablet-form, "non-bulky," ION TP5 All-in-One POS. It holds pedestal design, black and silver coloring, 14" widescreen LCD display, projected-capacitive touch technology, and Intel Quad-Core CPU.
John Larkin, President, POS-X
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NRF's Big Show
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Honeywell: Lord of the Rings
In keeping with the growing interest in wearables, Honeywell has unboxed its new 8670 Wireless Ring Scanner with Bluetooth. Consisting of two pieces, imager on the finger and communication module on the wrist, the 8670 handles one- and two-dimensional symbologies (via the company's Xenon and Granit Engines) with "high-speed decoding, motion tolerance, and the ability to decode poor quality or damaged barcodes." It includes Bluetooth Version 2.1, Class 2, an IP-54 rating, and 3.7-V, 750-mAh Li-Ion battery.
Since the scanner is separated from the communication module, the 8670 feels comfortable for workers, according to Honeywell. It has soft and elastic finger and wrist straps which resist moisture and accommodate cleaning or replacement. It also enables multi-sensory feedback through vibrator, beeper, LEDs, and aimer to ensure high worker productivity. As dimensions, the communication module measures 3.1 in. (L) x 2.75 in. (W) x 1.1 in. (D). Overall, with ring scanner, the system weighs 4.8 oz.
"By pairing this new Bluetooth ring scanner with devices such as Honeywell's Dolphin 70e mobile computer or Thor VM2 vehicle-mount computer, customers can enhance productivity by enabling their workers to use both hands for the range of tasks, from picking and stocking to package handling and truck loading," commented Stan Zywicki, Director of Scanning at Honeywell Sensing and Productivity Solutions (Fort Mill, SC). "An added benefit for businesses is that this solution works with any Bluetooth-capable host device, meaning customers are not locked into any limited set of computers." In addition to supply chain, suitable markets include retail.
Honeywell's 8670 Wireless Ring Scanner
Koamtac Sees the Light (CCD)
Koamtac, Inc. has unwrapped CCD models of its KDC20 Bluetooth barcode scanner (KDC20L-D) and KDC350 wireless barcode scanner (KDC350L-D-R2). Measuring 2.4 in. (L) x 1.5 in. (W) x 0.6 in. (D), weighing 1.25 oz., the KDC20 has Bluetooth Version 2.1, Class 2, rechargeable Li-Poly battery, and swing-out USB port. It delivers 100 scans per second. Measuring 3.7 in. (L) x 1.7 in. (W) x 0.9 in. (D), weighing 3 oz., the KDC350 has Bluetooth Version 2.1, Class 2, rechargeable Li-Ion battery, 1-inch OLED display, 19 alphanumeric keys, and 4-MB User-Accessible ROM. As options for the KDC350, there's GPS, NFC, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
"Koamtac has supported 1D laser technology over the past 14 years, but the technology of CCD scan engines has matured and is finally able to provide a laser-grade quality for the KDC scanners. CCD technology enables users to scan 1D barcodes from screens, which can be utilized in mobile coupon and payment services," observed Hanjin Lee, President and CEO of Koamtac, Inc. (Princeton, NJ). "The KDC20 and KDC350 CCD models can easily satisfy applications across a variety of industries that require aggressive scanning at an affordable budget."
All Koamtac KDC models support iOS, Android, and Mac OS X, with Windows XP/7/8/10. A free "KTSync" and Software Development Kit (SDK) are included. KTSync offers keyboard wedge, application generation, database look-up, and inventory management features. A lesser known player in scanning, Koamtac also supplies readers for payments and RFID. It distributes through Ingram Micro (Santa Ana, CA) and Synnex (Greenville, SC).
KDC350 Barcode Scanner From Koamtac
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An Invisible Zebra
Zebra Technologies Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) has adopted the digital watermarking technology from Digimarc Corporation (Beaverton, OR). Initially, it will be used with Zebra's MP6000 Multi-Plane Bioptic Imager. As seen at shows by many readers of RRN.Com, Digimarc produces an imperceptible pattern that gets repeatedly encoded into the images and graphics on consumer packaged goods. This novel approach makes an entire package scannable--not just the UPC or QR Codes.
Debuted in 2013 by Motorola, before its acquisition, Zebra's MP6000 features several key design elements, such as horizontal scan window, lowered 5" tower, and six USB Ports. Outfitted with fresh scan engine, lens, and algorithms, MP6000 has full six-sided coverage of traditional barcodes. An optional, embedded side scanner, left or right, allows consumers to scan their mobile coupons from their smartphones.
"Together with Digimarc, we're offering a solution to quickly scan items without having to find and position the traditional barcode towards the reader, resulting in cost savings for retailers and better experiences for store associates and their customers," emphasized Bob Sanders, GM and SVP of Data Capture Solutions at Zebra Technologies. "Consumers will benefit from shorter wait times at the cash register and find that self-checkout is simple, quick, and easy." In his remarks, Sean Calhoon, SVP of Product Management at Digimarc, which also has relationships with Datalogic and Toshiba, stressed the global footprint of Zebra Technologies.
Zebra's MP6000 Scanner/Scale Now Reads Digimarc Watermarking Technology
A Beacon at Barcoding, Inc.
Leading VAR Barcoding, Inc. (Baltimore, MD) has embraced beacon technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT), with the launch of its new Active Asset Tracker (AAT) Solution. In combination with Barcoding's Mobile AAT App (compatible with iOS and Android), the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons allows users to continuously track information about an asset's presence, temperature, and movement. Once placed on tracked assets, the beacons communicate data every two seconds to smartphones over 150 feet away, whether inside or on the outside of equipment, vehicles or containers. Users can easily change an asset's "state," such as "en route" to "onsite," indicated by the beacon's LED.
Data transmitted from the beacon includes asset ID, signal strength, battery life, location, state of LED, and maximum, minimum, and current temperatures. A dashboard of reporting and e-mail alerts of threshold exceptions are included. In association with assets, the beacons have serialized barcode labels. A button battery powers the beacons for five years.
"Asset tracking is an important function of any business, and enterprises are looking for ways to do so with maximum efficiency, accuracy, and connectivity," reflected Tom O'Boyle, Director of RFID for Barcoding, Inc. "Through Bluetooth Low Energy, our Active Asset Tracker system provides an extremely flexible, cost-effective solution that identifies and locates hundreds of assets, simultaneously. As a result, users always know the exact condition of their inventory and can make informed business decisions based on this information."
An Active Asset Tracker Solution for VAR
Moneris Solutions Corporation (Toronto, Canada), one of the payment processors addressing our channel, has opened its new Moneris Developer Portal. A complement to the Moneris Gateway, this Developer Portal offers an interactive knowledge base for collaboration, product and industry information, timely blogs, and testing environment, according to Moneris. In addition, existing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been improved to support the range of payments from across North America--including Apple Pay--and the new Software Development Kit (SDK) furnishes greater flexibility. As part of this update, APIs and the SDK are now available on GitHub. "As more businesses move online and into mobile applications, payment integration has to be made easier for developers," elaborated Rob Cameron, Chief Product Officer at Moneris. "Our goal with the Moneris Developer Portal is to provide effective tools and resources to make their work easier."
In Living Color, Ultracode
After 10 years of development, the formal standard for Ultracode has been released by the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility, or AIM (Pittsburgh, PA). A two-dimensional, error-correcting color barcode, Ultracode supports the ubiquitous use of electronic displays, digital cameras, and in particular, smartphones. It creates an image that encodes the same data in less than half the area of the popular QR Code, according to AIM.
Comprised of multi-row, variable-length color tiles, which are read top-down, left-to-right, Ultracode may be created by standard printing of CMYK or RGB. Creator Clive Hohberger worked with AIM's Symbology Committee. A well-known consultant in healthcare, Hohberger was VP of Technology Development for Zebra Technologies Corporation from 1994 to 2008, and Chairman of AIM from 2008 to 2011. Ultracode is available through the web-based AIM Marketplace.
"This project has taken the use of color to a new level of utilization and acceptance within the international AIDC marketplace," suggested Hohberger. "The Ultracode standard brings benefits on a global basis, from packagers of consumer goods looking for more attractive barcodes to organizations wanting to embed small, attractive barcodes in images. Ultracode provides enhanced abilities to a potential reader base of over two billion devices worldwide--smartphone users who can better access information wherever needed."
New Ultracode Symbology by AIM
Clarify Your GTIN
GS1 US (Lawrenceville, NJ), the barcode standards holder, has attempted to simplify product identification through its new Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) Management Standard. A part of the larger industry effort, it replaces GTIN Allocation Rules. As readers of RRN.Com know, GTINs are the series of numbers assigned under the UPC barcode, whereby brands identify trade items. At the heart of the new standard are 10 unique product identification rules, condensed from 46.
According to GS1, senior-level business, e-commerce, and IT decision makers have voiced their support. "The new standard makes it easier to make clear decisions and communicate these decisions across the organizations--saving the company time and money," reported Lori Bigler, Director of Industry Initiatives and Standards at The J.M. Smucker Company. "Using the new rules, we completed the evaluation of all 125 products in minutes instead of days."
"Collaboration around the GTIN Management Standard is the first step in a series of efforts that will help make unique product identification standards better suited to faster and more agile brick-and-mortar and e-commerce business environments," expounded Carrie Wilkie, VP of Standards Management at GS1 US. "With the unprecedented support and enthusiasm from executives at major brands and retailers, GS1 US is committed to facilitating these important steps to enable future innovation and move at the speed the industry needs to succeed." According to GS1, processes and systems based on the former rules need not be changed. For the new GTIN, visit the website of GS1 US.
GS1 US Simplifies Global Trade Item Number Management
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Touchscreens & Monitors
Shift4 Sees Eager Beaver (for EMV)
A trio of partners--Shift4 (Las Vegas, NV), Springer-Miller Systems (Stowe, VT), and Ingenico (Alpharetta, GA)--have joined forces to bring EMV and NFC to Colorado's Beaver Run Resort. A new platform incorporates Shift4's Dollars-On-The-Net payment gateway, Springer-Miller's SMS Host hospitality management system, and Ingenico's iPP 320 PIN Pad and iSC Touch 250. It spans lodging (SMS Host), food and beverage (SMS Touch POS), and spa and activities (SpaSoft).
As security schemes, Shift4 offers its True Tokenization and True P2PE (Point-to-Point Encryption). Additionally, Ingenico's iPP 320 and iSC Touch 250 meet the latest software and hardware security requirements, are Payment Card Industry (PCI) PTS 3.x certified, and comply with SRED and Open Protocols. Hoteliers get personalized guest services, streamlined bookings, and enhanced data analysis via SMS Host, according to the three parties, while customers may check out on the multi-media-enabled iSC Touch 250.
"This EMV install went off without a hitch, and because of Shift4's point-to-point encryption and tokenization, we were able to reduce PCI scope by two-thirds," recounted Curt Hulbert, CTO at Beaver Run Resort. "This removes a lot of our IT department's overhead, and I can't express how much that relieved our PCI burden." An independent, self-funded player in processing, Shift4 has certified links to more than 350 players in POS, property management systems (PMS), and e-commerce.
Colorado's Beaver Run Resort Gets EMV From Shift4, Springer-Miller Systems, and Ingenico
A Fashion Statement by KWI
KWI (Greenvale, NY) has been chosen by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (New York, NY) as its official solution for retail. As part of the Cloud 9 platform, members have access to mobile point-of-sale, merchandising, clienteling, customer relationship management, and loss prevention. Also, KWI joins the CFDA's Strategic Partnerships Group. At present, CFDA has more than 500 leading designers of apparel, jewelry, and accessories; it sponsors the CFDA Fashion Awards, owns the Fashion Center, and stages New York Fashion Week: Men's.
"We're delighted to have been chosen as the CFDA's retail technology platform and be given the opportunity to orate with their members," volunteered Sam Kliger, Founder and CEO of KWI. "The right retail solution coupled with exceptional service are essential when managing a profitable business, especially in today's ever-changing retail environment." As building blocks, KWI lists Cognos/IBM, Epicor, Fujitsu, Oracle/Micros, and Verifone.
"Through its innovative retail solution technology, KWI has been able to facilitate the growth of many prestigious brands," testified Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. "As a strategic partner, we can further help our community of designers achieve success with their retail ventures." To that end, it has launched Retail Lab, which helps budding designers move into retail, with introduction to KWI's Cloud 9.
Council of Fashion Designers of America Selects Cloud 9 From KWI. (Here's Beyonce at CFDA Awards)
More than 40% of sports fans worldwide abandoned concession lines in the past 12 months--without making a purchase--because of excessive waiting, according to "The Fan Experience: Changing the Game with Food and Beverage," sponsored by Oracle. Counter to current trends of spending exorbitantly on video boards and pre-game entertainment to fill seats, the research indicates employing technology to enhance food and beverage may yield a greater return on investment. As an example, 68% of U.S. fans and 60% of international fans said they would "probably" or "definitely" use in-seat ordering if available at their stadium. American fans, on average, said they would spend an additional $20 for food and beverage if wait times were cut in half--representing a 43% increase in typical expenditure (per party, per game). Also, 27% of U.S. fans and 14% of international fans stated they are members of a loyalty rewards program offered by a team or stadium. "Aside from safety and overall venue environment, fans across the world place food and beverage above all else when ranking the elements that are most important to their fan experience," observed Jay Upchurch, VP of Oracle Hospitality.
POSBANK Bulks Up
POSBANK USA (Gardena, CA) has enlisted Brad Van Parys as its Director of National Sales. A longtime veteran of the industry, Van Parys most recently served as National Channel Manager for Brink Software at ParTech. Earlier in his career, he served as Director of National Sales at ParTech (from 2002 to 2010) and as VP of Selbysoft (1987-2002), He also has hands-on experience in the restaurant industry.
"I'm very pleased to have Brad join us at POSBANK," Greg Feeback, VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas, told RRN.Com. "He brings exceptional management and sales skills with experience in the channel, direct sales, hardware manufacturing, and software development. He has an honest and pragmatic approach, and is customer-centric and genuinely interested in everyone's success and growth."
"I'm excited to be part of the POSBANK family," remarked Van Parys. "Everything they do--from hardware manufacturing to customer service--speaks to the quality and passion they have for this industry. In my 30 years of POS experience, I have never come across such dynamic and talented people. It's an honor to be able to help build this company and brand into the powerhouse I know they will become."
Brad Van Parys, Director of National Sales, POSBANK USA
"I'd Like to Thank Auto ID"
Honeywell (Morris Plains, NJ) has elevated Darius Adamczyk, President and COO, to the role of CEO, succeeding Dave Cote, starting on March 31, 2017. Cote, who has been Chairman and CEO of Honeywell since 2002, will continue as Executive Chairman until the Annual Shareowners Meeting in April 2018. As many readers may recall, Adamczyk first became President of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility in 2008 when the former Metrologic, where he was CEO, was acquired by Honeywell. In 2015, Honeywell tallied approximately $40 billion in revenue.
"Darius is absolutely the right person to lead our company into a new era where we will need to keep evolving to become even more global, more of a software company, and more nimble. He has the growth mindset, global acumen, and software expertise to be highly successful," enthused Cote. "Darius has succeeded in every business leadership role he has ever held, whether it was doubling the size of our Scanning & Mobility business over four years, driving a dramatic turnaround of our Honeywell Process Solutions business over two years, or expanding margins in Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. Scanning & Mobility and Honeywell Process Solutions are software-based businesses with advanced offerings that blend physical and digital capabilities, and they serve as benchmarks for where the rest of Honeywell is heading."
"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to take on a bigger role at Honeywell," shared Adamczyk. "We are the first large Western company to reach CMMI Level 5 capability among all our software engineers. This is a very high standard that uniquely qualifies us to compete effectively in the Internet of Things, where software capability has to be combined with product and domain knowledge. Our HOS Gold-supported culture and processes are fostering speed and entrepreneurialism among our global business enterprises." (FYI: HOS Gold stands for "Honeywell Operating System." Think Lean Six Sigma, not O/S.)
Darius Adamczyk, Future CEO, Honeywell
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