This Week’s Product Pick
AdvanPOS (New Taipei City, Taiwan) has shipped its Fanless Ivy Bridge W-POS, with Intel Celeron i3/i5/i7 and maximum system memory of 8 GB. It features an ultra-slim screen, color customization, and wall/pole/desk mounting. A compact footprint of 14.4 in. (W) x 8.3 in. (D) x 12.9 in. (H), with weight of just over 13 lbs., includes 15-inch TFT LCD with LED backlight and bezel-free resistive or projected capacitive touchscreen. A full suite of I/O ports has been furnished, up to USB 3.0, with slide-out hard disk drive and hidden cable routing. A die-cast aluminum back cover facilitates heat dissipation and waterproofing extends in every direction and with use of attached peripherals, according to the company. As options, AdvanPOS offers secondary displays (LCD or VFD), MSR, biometric fingerprint reader, RFID, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
W-POS by AdvanPOS
CSI: Starring Merchant Warehouse
Merchant Warehouse (Boston) has partnered with CSI Enterprises (Bonita Springs, FL), supplier of the GlobalVCard. With more than two decades of success, CSI delivers corporate services such as virtual credit cards, mobile payment applications, corporate purchasing cards, and business fleet fueling/maintenance cards. Under this new relationship with Merchant Warehouse, GlobalVCard-accepting vendors will enjoy greater acceptance as well as lower credit card processing fees, according to the two parties.
"Providing innovative and affordable payment technology solutions is the foundation Merchant Warehouse was built on," remarked Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse. "While we provide cutting-edge commerce technology for our partners and customers, an integral part of our business is working with strong partners like CSI. A recognized industry leader, CSI shares many of the same values as we do, and we're thrilled to be working with them, and look forward to offering integrated solutions."
Also, CSI vendors will have access to an online portal to quickly and conveniently apply for Merchant Warehouse services. As another benefit, this joint offering will reduce the manual authorizations typically required today by directly depositing funds into the vendor's merchant account. "We are now able to leverage Merchant Warehouse's expertise and strength in the processing space to bring added value to our customers and vendors," asserted David Disque, VP of Operations for CSI. "Going forward, we will be developing exciting new offerings that will further automate vendor payments while reducing vendor costs."
Henry Helgeson, CEO, Merchant Warehouse
In major news, Applebee's will install over 100,000 self-service tableside tablets across more than 1,800 restaurants in the U.S.--all by the end of 2014. These tablets, which allow guests to add to their orders, pay checks, and play games from their seats, will also be considered for introduction at associated IHOP locations. Dine Equity (Glendale, CA), franchisor of Applebee's and IHOP, has taken the point position, and E la Carte (Palo Alto, CA) will supply its Presto tablets, which have been backed by Intel Capital.
"Let's face it, everyone who has ever been to a restaurant has been frustrated by waiting for their check," explained Mike Archer, Applebee's President. "Starting out, our goal was to create a way for guests to control when and how they pay their check. What we learned after nearly two years of testing is we can provide much more. The Presto tablet will deliver our guests a robust slate of offerings for not only transactions, but entertainment, social interaction, and more, moving forward."
"We started developing the Presto tablet concept at MIT," recounted Rajat Suri, Founder/CEO at E la Carte. "Over five years of field research and customer trials conducted by our Silicon Valley engineers and restaurant experts, we've been focused on developing a tool to provide an amazing, modern guest experience." As features, Presto has seven-inch touchscreen, 20-hour battery life, an illuminated credit card reader and table status notification, ruggedized design with flat front surface, and Linux O/S. Bluetooth, cameras, and NFC have been added. Wide-spread self-service in retail may be upon us.
E la Carte's Self-Service Tableside Tablet, "Presto," Endorsed by Applebee's
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An Infinite View of Printing
Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL) has released an upgraded line of mobile thermal printers for Apple and Android O/S. Models include the two-inch DPP-250, three-inch DPP-350, and four-inch DPP-450. For each, the rechargeable, long-life Lithium-Ion battery will yield approximately 20,000 to 30,000 lines per charge, according to the vendor. Carrying MFi Certification, these printers support iOS and Android without need for expensive AirPrint support. Infinite Peripherals was early to this market, as many RRN.Com readers may recall, with its Linea Pro and Infinea sleds for smartphones and tablets.
A magnetic-stripe reader (MSR) and Bluetooth are offered on the DPP-250 and DPP-350, along with Serial and USB, while the DPP-450 has optional Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. All models furnish two resident fonts and two loadable fonts, along with several resident one and two-dimensional barcodes. At 203 dpi resolution, print speed reaches 60 mm/second (2.4 inch/second) for the DPP-250 and DPP-350, and 150 mm/second (5.9 inch/second) for the DPP-450. The DPP-450 also features LCD display, label gap sensor, label peeler, and integrated belt clip.
"Our new DPP printer line delivers value and convenience for multiple mobile printing needs," relayed Andrew Graham, President of Infinite Peripherals, Inc. Devices support the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini. Depending on options, suggested pricing for the DPP-250 ranges from $299 to $349; for the DPP-350, from $429 to $479; and for the DPP-450, $699.
DPP Family of Mobile Thermal Printers by Infinite Peripherals
More Muscle With Dolphin 6110
Honeywell Scanning & Mobility (Fort Mill, SC) has enhanced its popular Dolphin 6100 mobile computer. New features of the Dolphin 6110 include faster processing (TI OMAP 3715 CPU at 800 MHz), updated barcode scanning and decoding capabilities (Adaptus 6.0), increased memory (512 MB RAM x 512 MB Flash), and broader WLAN frequency range (802.11a/b/g/n). As additional characteristics, Dolphin 6110 furnishes Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5.3, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, and Voice-Over-IP and Push-to-Talk functionality.
Measuring 6.9 in. (L) x 2.7 in. (W) x 1.5 in. (D), and weighing approximately 9 ounces, the Dolphin 6110 has 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen display, 28-key alphanumeric keypad with backlight, and full-shift Lithium-Ion battery. With an IP-54 rating against water and dust, this device withstands multiple 4 ft./1.2 m drops onto concrete. Honeywell's Remote MasterMind device management software has been supported, along with backward compatibility with Dolphin 6100's peripherals and accessories.
"Retailers can have thousands of different items and SKUs in their stores, and the right technology is key to helping them track and adequately stock inventory," observed Taylor Smith, GM of Mobility for Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. "For workers, the Dolphin 6110 device is easy to hold and operate, and doesn't require extensive training. For store owners, the Dolphin 6110 offers the industry's best scanning and barcode decoding, and can make employees more productive while keeping closer tabs on inventory."
Dolphin 6110 from Honeywell Scanning & Mobility
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Another Fork in the Road to Self-Service
It doesn't carry the weight of Applebee's, most certainly, yet another trio of familiar--and maybe not so familiar--faces have joined forces to help bring self-service to the restaurant arena: Red-Fork Hospitality Solutions (Phoenix), Dinerware (Seattle), and Motion Computing (Austin, TX). A resulting kiosk solution based on Red-Fork's mobile and online ordering scheme has been implemented for Pasta Fresh in Las Vegas, specifically intended for use during rush hours, and not at tableside. As such, it enables customers to view the restaurant's full menu, place orders for pick-up, delivery, and dine-in, and even pre-order days in advance.
"Red-Fork's kiosk solution gives our Dinerware clients an interactive tool that creates a memorable user experience," commented LeAnne Black, Director of Marketing with Red-Fork Hospitality Solutions, the upstart of this group. "Through a combination of our integrated POS software and a partnership with affordable and durable tablet hardware suppliers, our sophisticated kiosk system allows us to provide a value-added proposition for medium to small restaurateurs, previously only available as a high-end installation." Both Dinerware and Motion Computing have addressed our channel for some time, many RRN.Com readers will recognize.
For this installation, Red-Fork draws upon Dinerware 3.0 POS software as well as Motion Computing's J3600 mobile computer for business environments. With J3600's Intel iCore 3 CPU, this kiosk system runs Windows 8.1. Additional benefits of the J3600 include solid-state design, dual-touch wide-screen display at 12 inches, Hydis AFFS+LED Backlight, Gorilla Glass, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n. It carries MIL-STD-810G rating for durability, and IP-52 rating for water and dust.
Pasta Fresh Owner and Chef, Wes Choy, With Bob Herman, CEO of Red-Fork Hospitality Solutions
In the Kitchen with OmniLink
Speaking of mobile and online ordering, Epson America (Long Beach, CA) will supply its OmniLink TM-T88V-i "smart" receipt printer for use with anyGuest.com (New York). This hardware/software package allows guest food orders to be routed directly from any smartphone or web-enabled device to the kitchen for immediate order processing, with payment through the POS. Since anyGuest.com and Epson's OmniLink are both platform-independent, this new solution can be easily integrated for restaurants, hotel kitchens, resorts, casinos, and even stadiums, according to the two parties.
With some fanfare, earlier this year, Epson America unveiled OmniLink, thereby bringing PC functionality to its popular POS printers. Put simply, OmniLink equips printers with the gateway for delivery of cloud-based services (via Ethernet or Wi-Fi) as well as enough processing power and memory to drive third-party applications and peripherals (with two models, "i" for Intelligent and enhanced "DT" for Device Terminal). In the case of foodservice ordering, it supports web-based printing with no print drivers, plug-ins, PCs, or costly application changes, as well as driving peripherals such as bump bar, kitchen display, or slave kitchen printers.
"Epson's ePOS-Print technology is the star of this show," indicated Gregg Brunnick, Director of Marketing for Epson's Business Systems Division, speaking at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York. "It allows the printer to translate XML directly into ESC/POS printer command language. It's truly a breakthrough in printer technology, and we're looking forward to working with partners like anyGuest.com to take web-based, platform independent applications to a whole new level by inserting a printer that can do more than just print."
Epson America's OmniLink TM-T88V-i Printer
ShopKeep POS (New York) has added several new features to its cloud and tablet-based POS. A customizable register and new design shaves seconds off each transaction, according to the ISV. As part of this enhancement, 3,000 buttons can be customized with nine colors and easily navigated with the simple "jump" bar. In addition, retailers can jump between groups, such as "sandwiches," "drinks," or "best sellers," and quickly locate items by color. As another benefit, ShopKeep POS has partnered with Retail Intel to allow merchants to automatically populate QuickBooks with up-to-date store data, eliminating the need for daily journal entry. Another update focuses on printing, with increased speed and reliability, printing tickets to multiple stations, and commands via Bluetooth. Additional improvements include updated "Z" and "X" reports, complete flexibility to discount transactions by "$" or "%," and full return support for items purchased by "Split Tender." Stated Jason Richelson, Founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS, "This release is all about speed and efficiency. It's about faster transactions, shorter lines, and automating manual tasks to make it easier and more efficient for store owners to run their businesses."
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
ISV Springs From Lilly Pulitzer
A new POS ISV, Springboard Retail, has sprung out of Lilly Pulitzer Signature Stores in Boston. Our story begins in 2002, when co-founders Gordon Russell and Jay Stotz embarked upon development of their proprietary platform, which inevitably shifted to the web and cloud-based methodology before widespread roll out in 2011. Now the pair has 18 stores live on their system, which has been deemed ready for public launch, and reportedly contributed to an increase in year-over-year same stores sales reaching double figures.
Applications for Springboard Retail include POS, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory Control, Purchasing, Receiving, Distributed Order Management, Fulfillment, and Reporting. Springboard Retail has been integrated with Intuit QuickBooks Online for Accounting, with E-Commerce, through Shopify, scheduled for Q1 2014. A SaaS delivery model has been established, with single-store pricing of $149 per month for one POS station and two users and multi-store pricing of $329 per month for two POS stations and four users (as well as additional functionality).
"For years as retailers we struggled to support heavily customized versions of POS/Inventory Control software that simply didn't work for a growing, multi-store, multi-channel retailer," suggested Russell, who serves as CEO. "We were spending way too much time and money supporting these systems--maintaining costly servers in each store and the main office and paying for expensive software licensing, training, maintenance, and upgrades. Today's retailers can reduce costs and eliminate vendor lock-in with Springboard Retail. It provides robust features and functions that help retailers sell more, more profitably, wherever their customers are or however their customers choose to shop with them."
Springboard Retail Sales Dashboard
Wocket in Your Pocket?
A new entry, NXT-ID, Inc. (Shelton, CT), has announced its next-generation electronic wallet, dubbed the "Wocket," and projected for release in Q1 2014. As one would expect, Wocket has been configured to replace credit and loyalty cards with one single re-programmable card that supports the range of payment methods at POS--whether magnetic-stripe reader (MSR), NFC, or QR Code--in this case within the proprietary "secure biometric vault." It shares its name with the children's book by Dr. Seuss, "There's a Wocket in My Pocket."
In making its announcement, NXT-ID claims that most credit card holders have demonstrated reluctance to use their smartphones for transactions. As reasons, it identifies limited battery life, dependency on wireless network coverage, and well-publicized security threats. With the self-contained Wocket, customer information gets erased after every transaction, the company notes, and customer information will not be stored on the MSR.
"Access your Wocket with security on the touchscreen or through voice authentication biometrics and select which card you wish to use," the company writes. "Now use that card to substitute any card in your wallet. You can bring the wallet you know and love into the future with the Wocket." Founders of NXT-ID, Inc., Gino Pereira as CEO and CFO and David Tunnell as VP and CTO, trace back to Technest/Genex, which developed biometric imaging for defense and national security purposes.
Prototype of NXT-ID Electronic Wallet
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"Oui" to Microsoft, Said Jean Coutu
The Jean Coutu Group, also known as Pharmacie Jean Coutu (PJC), one of the leading pharmacy chains in Canada, has settled upon Microsoft Dynamics for Retail. PJC will deploy this software to 400 stores, 3,000 POS systems, and 11,500 devices, with implementation to start in 2014 across Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario. PJC, RRN.Com readers may recall, was once the second largest distributer and retailer of pharmaceuticals and related products in North America, with 2,200 drug stores. Its stores in the U.S. were sold to Rite Aid in 2007.
PJC supports its franchise network with technical and professional services, as well as the supply, warehousing, and delivery of products, as one would expect. A main distribution center is located in Longueuil, Quebec, with secondary distribution center in Hawkesbury, Ontario. As its current retail management system was reaching the end of its life, the company reportedly searched for an integrated solution to cover the whole spectrum of operations, from POS to HQ.
"The fact that Microsoft is providing us with an end-to-end solution makes it so much easier to envision our future technology plans and the future of our retail business," remarked Alain Boudreault, VP and CIO for PJC. "We are also considering deploying Windows tablets as part of our overall mobile POS strategy and are thrilled at the potential Microsoft can bring to PJC." Also cited were the platform's familiarity as well as flexibility.
Canadian Drug Chain Prescribes Microsoft Dynamics for Retail
Janam, the Plumber for LDAR
Janam Technologies (Woodbury, NY) will provide its XM66 rugged mobile computers to LDARtools, Inc. (Dickinson, TX) for use in "Leak Detection and Repair," or LDAR, for the chemical and petrochemical manufacturing industries. A complete solution for this task comprises field analyzer (the "phx21"), full suite of LDAR software, and rugged mobile computer for data logging. All components must be certified for use in hazardous environments, of which LDAR services more than 100.
"LDARtools is dedicated to supporting the LDAR work process with the best equipment, proprietary software, and innovative solutions," proclaimed Mike Anders, Technical Support Manager for LDARtools. "Our customers rely on the choices we make. Janam's XM66 not only met LDARtool's stringent performance and intrinsically safe requirements, it is also the fastest, lightest, and most affordable data logger available. We're all very pleased with the Janam device."
"Janam has earned a solid reputation in petroleum and chemical manufacturing industries," volunteered Doug Lloyd, VP of Global Sales Operations at Janam. "The hazardous location rating gets Janam to the table, but it's the overall feature set that wins the deal. Janam is committed to delivering products with the right features and the right price, and we are proud LDARtools recommends Janam to its customers."
Janam's XM66 With Hazardous Location Rating
Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -10.1% this year, slightly below the previous projection of -9.7%, and by far the most severe yearly contraction on record, according to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Interest in PCs has remained limited, said IDC, leading to little signs of positive growth beyond replacement of existing systems. Total shipments are expected to decline by an additional -3.8% in 2014 before turning slightly positive in the longer term. At these rates, total PC shipments will remain just above 300 million as late as 2017--barely ahead of 2008 volumes. Even in emerging markets--a primary growth engine of the PC industry--shipments are projected to decline in 2014. The commercial market is faring notably better than the consumer market in 2013 with shipments declining by -5% year over year compared to nearly -15% for consumer. This relative stability is due to a mix of more stable PC investment planning, smaller impact from tablets, and to replacements of Windows XP systems before the end of support planned for 2014. However, the long-term outlook for the two markets does not differ significantly--near flat growth in the longer term. "While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device--for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones--PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available," declared Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Trackers at IDC. "Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is the lack of reasons to replace an older system."
A Leg Up for Gillies
Printronix (Irvine, CA) has promoted Ron Gillies to VP-Americas Sales and Marketing, where he will lead both channel and strategic account efforts for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Most recently, Gillies served as Director of Channel Sales for Printronix. He has more than two decades of experience in technology sales and marketing, including four years as Director of the Intuit Solutions Provider Program.
"I'm excited about the new position, where internally I will be more focused on the strategic direction and future of the company and externally will deliver new sales, channel, and service programs to our partners throughout the Americas," emphasized Gillies. With his new role and responsibilities, there will be renewed focus to grow the partner base for the company's thermal printers and barcode validation systems in both North America and Latin America, according to Printronix.
Earlier this fall, in October, Printronix revamped its partner program, "Path to Profit," with new levels, benefits, and an emphasis on selling service contracts. As part of this effort, Printronix has signed Fuji Film North America (Valhalla, NY) as an independent third-party service provider for its printer products, including both the dot-matrix and thermal lines. In support of this approach, "we're giving a 5% discount, an instant rebate, on the price of hardware, if there's a service pack attached to it," RRN.Com was told by Marcio Lucas, Senior Channel Marketing Manager at Printronix, who heads up the partner program. In particular, Printronix will focus on small to midsized retailers, with delivery handled by Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS, ScanSource, and Synnex Corporation.
Ron Gillies, VP-Americas Sales and Marketing, Printronix
Shaping the Cloud for Micros
Micros Systems (Columbia, MD) has enlisted Jay Upchurch as its CIO & SVP of Global Hosting and SaaS. Upchurch brings 15 years of experience in his discipline, most recently serving as Associate VP for Cloud Services with AT&T. He served as VP of E-Commerce at US Internetworking, before AT&T's acquisition of that company, as well as Development Resource Manager for Interpath Communications, Inc., an early ASP.
"We are very pleased that Mr. Upchurch is joining the Micros team," shared Peter Altabef, CEO/President of Micros. "Jay's expertise in managed application services and international operations, including managed hosting and SaaS infrastructure, e-commerce, and enterprise applications, along with his successful track record educating and supporting sales, customer care, and marketing, will ensure Micros' continued innovation and delivery excellence and enhance Micros' ability to grow its hosting and SaaS business."
"Demand for hosting and SaaS services is growing rapidly around the world, and is a targeted opportunity at Micros," noted Upchurch. "I look forward to working with the Micros team to accelerate adoption of the company's cloud and managed hosting solutions as we continue to build trusted relationships with our clients." In addition to Hosting and SaaS, Upchurch will lead Micros' MIS efforts.
Jay Upchurch, CIO & SVP of Global Hosting and SaaS, Micros Systems
Xplore Looks to Expand
Xplore Technologies Corp. (Austin, TX), maker of ultra-rugged tablet computers, has extended its executive team with two additions: Michael Zimmerman as VP of Global Operations and Randy Denny as VP of Sales for North America. "Both Mike's and Randy's decades of experience in the rugged industry make me extremely confident that our business will be in great hands with their knowledge and direction," related Mark Holleran, President and COO for Xplore Technologies. "Having these industry veterans on board will further propel Xplore's business as we continue to penetrate the market."
Prior to Xplore, Zimmerman served as VP of Operations for Getac, another of the specialized vendors of ruggedized notebooks, tablets, and handhelds. As previous employers, his resume lists Gateway Computers, Best Buy, Compaq, and Motorola. Denny also worked at Getac, as Director of U.S. Commercial Markets, as well as for General Dynamics Itronix and Itron. He also spent time at Pearson Packaging and CXOWARE, Inc.
By way of reference, Xplore has reported results for its Fiscal 2014 Q2. For the three months ended September 30, 2013, the company reported revenue of $7,403,000 compared to $7,473,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2012. "We made great progress in broadening and diversifying our customer base," stated Philip Sassower, Chairman and CEO for Xplore. "Even though revenue was slightly down for the quarter, only 23% of revenue was derived from orders from a large U.S. telecommunications provider, compared to approximately 61% from that provider in the prior year. Looking forward, we believe that Xplore is favorably positioned with the recent launch of our new rugged Android tablet, the RangerX, the development of additional new products, and our investment in sales and marketing activities."
New Executives: Michael Zimmerman and Randy Denny
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