This Week’s Product Pick
Denso ADC (Long Beach, CA) has stocked its AT27Q-SB barcode scanner with Bluetooth 2.1 (SPP and HID). Weighing about four ounces, the AT27Q-SB handles one and two-dimensional codes with enhanced resolution and wide-angle scanning. A high-speed shutter eliminates the effect of camera shake and anti-reflection technology allows reading from mobile phones. In terms of ruggedness, it features shock-absorbing construction and connector-cable locking mechanism, with anti-microbial housing and IP-42 rating for water and dust. "It lets our customers communicate wirelessly with both mobile devices and PCs, freeing them from being tethered to fixed locations," stated Fran Labun, VP, Sales Group, Denso Products and Services Americas.
Denso's AT27Q-SB With Bluetooth
Wow, Zebra Buys Motorola
Zebra Technologies (Lincolnshire, IL) surprised everyone this week by buying the scanning and mobile computing business from Motorola Solutions (Schaumburg, IL), thereby fusing two of the most powerful brand names in Auto ID. Impact on our channel will take many months to manifest, of course, but some primary facts can be reported. Zebra will pay $3.45 billion in this transaction, funded through cash on hand and much new debt, and expected to be completed by the end of this year. The combined entity, with approximately 7,100 employees, including 4,500 from Motorola Solutions, will retain the name Zebra Technologies. In the near-time, expect little change, with no disruption to day-to-day business as the integration process proceeds, according to the two parties.
In making the announcement, Anders Gustafsson, Zebra's CEO, noted that "the companies' shared commitment to innovation will help customers harness powerful technology trends like the Internet of Things (IoT), location and motion sensing, and mobile enterprise cloud computing." In 2013, RRN.Com readers will recall, Zebra moved into IoT with its Zatar Platform, and now the stage seems set with an encompassing product line card touching every stage of data collection and reproduction, backed by 4,500 patents and $3.5 billion in annual sales ($1 billion for Zebra, $2.5 billion for Motorola's Enterprise Business). For its part, Motorola Solutions, which also retained its Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), will now focus exclusively on its government and public safety customers.
Both Zebra and Motorola have deep partner ecosystems, of course, with synergies and redundancies that will sort themselves out in time. This process should be facilitated by the familiarity between the two companies. In terms of the market at large, Zebra-Motorola certainly represents an enormous step in ongoing consolidation, with all that implies. With Honeywell-Intermec on one side, and Zebra-Motorola on the other, some industry observers envision the "Coke vs. Pepsi" scenario. As the prime vehicle to market, RRN.Com's readership will have the final word.
What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been
Harbortouch (Allentown, PA) has launched Version 3.0 of Lighthouse, its cloud-based POS management and reporting portal for merchants. Lighthouse Version 3.0 adds many new features to the service as well as improved usability, scalability, and reliability, according to its developer. Currently applicable for hospitality systems by Harbortouch, Lighthouse will soon be extended to retail and quick-service/delivery systems as well, as the company continues its push into POS.
With Version 3.0, merchants may add, edit, or remove details such as menu items, screen categories, choice sets, and employee information remotely from any web-based computer, tablet, or smartphone. Online reporting has been expanded to include sales reports, labor reports, processing data, and monthly credit/debit card statements. Further, such reports may be updated in real-time and delivered via an e-mail subscription. Merchants also may manage their reservations, request gift cards and processing supplies, and track their order for the POS system and accessories such as printers and scales--all online.
"Traditionally, many POS systems required a dedicated back-office PC to run reports or make updates to the menu," recounted Jared Isaacman, CEO of Harbortouch. "With the technology available today, it only made sense to eliminate this antiquated requirement and deliver a cloud-based solution in the form of Lighthouse. Over time, we have continued to make improvements to Lighthouse and Version 3.0 delivers the biggest update yet."
Harbortouch Updates Its Cloud-Based POS Portal
Worth Your While
ALL IN THE FAMILY
At the Junction, Bixolon's SLP-TX420
Bixolon America (Torrance, CA) has unwrapped its new four-inch desktop thermal label printer, designated SLP-TX420. In compact size of 7.9 in. (W) x 9.9 in. (L) x 6.8 in. (H), weighing 5.2 lbs., the SLP-TX420 features print speed as high as 7 inch/second (178 mm/second) at 203 dpi with ribbon length of 243 ft. Other key specifications include fast processing (64 MB SDRAM/128 MB Flash ROM), triple interface (USB, Serial, Parallel), optional Ethernet and WLAN, Windows, Linux, and Mac Drivers, Android SDK, and Energy Star Certification.
With easy paper loading and servicing, the SLP-TX420 has user-friendly functions such as Smart Media Detection, which distinguishes the type of label and length of paper (gap, black mark, continuous forms, etc.) and Intelligent Leap-Over. Additional features include auto-recognition of major programming languages such as ZPL and EPL. It also ships with the company's complimentary label design program, "Label Artist," which can retrieve and print out databases prepared in file formats of Excel, Text, or Access.
"People have been thinking that desktop printers are less reliable compared to high-priced industrial printers," remarked J.S. Oh, CEO of Bixolon (South Korea). "However, users of Bixolon's desktop label printer are highly satisfied by its compact size, work effectiveness, durability, and user convenience. The premium-level SLP-TX420 will be one of the most competitive products at the intersection point of the compact and mid-range barcode label printer markets."
Bixolon's SLP-TX420 Desktop Label Printer
Of 3G, EMV, and the VX 690
VeriFone Systems (San Jose, CA) has showcased its first handheld payment terminal with capacity for EMV, Bluetooth, 3G, and Wi-Fi--the VX 690. With its mix of communication technologies, the VX 690 achieves greater convenience and speed, leading to fewer dropped transactions in virtually every type of merchant environment, according to the vendor. Shown at the recent Electronic Transactions Association Show in Las Vegas, the VX 690 is expected to roll out in late 2014.
As additional benefits, the VX 690 includes 3.5-inch capacitive touch display, Micro-USB connector, support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), both EMV and NFC, and peripheral expansion for biometric readers and barcode scanners. Dual SIM functionality enables the terminal to quickly connect to different networks, while built-in GPS allows merchants to track the location of every transaction, providing visibility into operations and inventory across multiple stores. With end-to-end encryption, the VX 690 meets requirements of PCI PTS 3.0.
"Virtually all consumers use portable technologies providing enormous capabilities in their day-to-day lives," summarized Bill Nelson, EVP of Global Product Management for VeriFone. "Using these technologies has become second nature, not only because of their practicality, but because they present advanced functionality in a brilliant, yet simple package. The VX 690's purpose-driven design merges advanced, secure M-POS capabilities with the type of sleek and simplistic form factor that is familiar to consumers and can help merchants improve the customer experience."
VX 690 Payment Terminal by VeriFone
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Code Speaks the Lexicon
Code Corporation (Salt Lake City) has called upon Lexicon Technologies (Conyers, GA) to provide outsourced maintenance for its barcode readers, portable data terminals, and related software tools. As many RRN.Com readers know, Lexicon supports the majority of the major vendors in Auto ID, and many in POS. It offers engineering staff, supply chain expertise, and ISO 9001:2008 quality control, with an advanced web-based service maintenance platform, entitled RapidEngine.
"Lexicon's dedication to quality, ability to process high-volume repairs, and superior customer service make them a great fit for Code," confirmed Jana Buck, Code's Director of Global Operations. "Their maintenance expertise and capabilities in the U.S. will enhance our offerings and benefit Code's customers." Busy times at Code, which has already introduced two new products this year--the feature-rich, image-based CR3600 barcode scanner, and the CR4405 scanning sled for the Apple iPhone 5s.
"Our service center is designed and organized for maximum efficiency, which allows us to consistently deliver cost savings and speedy turnaround," declared Kevin Ahearn, Lexicon's VP of OEM Solutions. "Code's product leadership and commitment to improved client service aligns directly with our priorities. We are looking forward to developing a long-lasting relationship with Code."
Outsourced Maintenance Services Via Lexicon Technologies
More Micros for Merchant Link
Merchant Link (Silver Spring, MD) has offered its TransactionShield Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) for the Micros RES, Micros Opera, and Micros Simphony 2. An integrated solution, this package encrypts sensitive card data via the workstation or external card readers. With TransactionShield, decryption occurs when data reaches the hosted payment gateway at Merchant Link, well past the POS. "Our continued partnership with Merchant Link allows us to provide both tokenization and point-to-point encryption," indicated Jenny Kurdle, EVP of Micros U.S. and Canada, referring to Merchant Link's companion product, TransactionVault.
"In our continued effort to provide Micros clients with leading credit card data security, we are pleased to provide them the ability to make sound business choices when it comes to securing sensitive information," commented Laura Meck, EVP of Merchant Link. "Our partnership with Micros continues to evolve as the payment industry, card brand associations, and merchants demand more and more security. We are happy to say our solution has been endorsed in opinion papers from two separate Payment Application Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs)."
Earlier, Merchant Link joined forces with Precidia Technologies (Ottawa, Canada) to market an integrated security solution of encryption and tokenization for POS, called TransactionLink-Precidia Edition. "Combining Precidia's in-store capabilities in driving customer-facing terminals with our suite of cloud-based security services, we are able to remove the complexity and liability of electronic payment acceptance from our merchant and VAR partners," suggested Geoff Krieg, VP of Product for Merchant Link. "This product recently assisted a large U.S. vintner, who required an out-of-scope solution to address the Windows XP end of support issue."
Micros 3700 POS
Wavelink (Salt Lake City) has released the latest version of its enterprise mobility software, Avalanche 6.0. Deployed in an on-premise configuration or through the cloud, Avalanche 6.0 manages all types of devices and furnishes access to data and applications required for both front and back room work. As part of the Wavelink Mobile Enterprise Productivity Suite, it naturally supports all of the developer's solutions, including Wavelink Terminal Emulation, Velocity, and Speakeasy. A number of features have been incorporated into Avalanche 6.0, such as redesigned console, simplified creation of deployment packages, as well as Package Builder 6.0 for rugged mobile computers (which allows users to employ templates for future reference and revisions). "The device landscape of the mobile workforce has become increasingly fragmented, with consumer devices working alongside mission-critical, ruggedized devices," counseled Stephen Brown, Director of Product Management at Wavelink. "Although the devices have become more varied, all task workers still need access to the same sets of information, whether they work in the warehouse, retail floor, or in the field."
Wavelink at Modex 2014
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Another Genius at GTS
Some news closer to the ground on Motorola Solutions. In this case, Global Technology Systems (Framingham, MA) has expanded its GTS Genius Batteries with the Model HMC3X00-Li-G for Motorola's MC3000/MC3100. Like all Genius Batteries, the MC3X00 features an LED indicator to track power. As the battery is used and its health declines, the LED indicator turns yellow, advising the end-user to order its replacement. When the LED turns red, the end-user knows the battery is no longer reliable and should be switched. Standard and high-capacity versions are offered, HMC3X00-Li(S)-G and HMC3X00-Li(H)-G, along with GTS MC3X00 chargers and charging holsters.
"Mobile workers are tired of batteries that can't keep up with their devices," observed Michael Grosberg, President/COO of Global Technology Systems, which distributes through BlueStar and ScanSource POS and Barcode. "GTS Genius Batteries, such as the HMC3X00-Li-G, provide users with the insight they need to avoid mid-shift failure and costly repair depot visits. We're proud to provide our customers with a superior product for increased productivity."
As first reported in RRN.Com, Global Technology Systems recently ended its long-term relationship with Honeywell, thus dropping that company's reference in its name. "Our company has used the 'Honeywell Batteries' brand for more than ten years. With our new technical and service innovations we have now established a superior position of industry leadership, and it was time for us to focus on our own unique identity," explained Grosberg. In addition to Genius Batteries, he cited the Test & Replace battery field services, mobile power management systems, and the Power by the Hour Program.
Replacement Battery for Motorola's MC3000/MC3100, With Power Status Indicator
NRF: An ISAC of Our Own
The National Retail Federation (Washington, DC) has taken the first steps in the creation of an industry-dedicated resource center on cyber security threats, as identified by retailers, government, banks, and law enforcement agencies. Developed in consultation with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, this platform will launch in June. Along the lines of FS-ISAC, which was established back in 1999, it will be called the Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
"We believe a heightened and well-coordinated information sharing platform such as a Retail ISAC is a vital component for helping retailers in their fight against cyber attacks," relayed Matthew Shay, NRF President/CEO. "Establishing a new program takes time, but time is not our friend when it comes to stopping these sophisticated and unpredictable criminals. The willingness of the FS-ISAC to work with retailers provides our industry with a new and important tool as we explore all of the options available for merchants to protect their customers and their businesses."
Also, NRF has retained the services of Kim Peretti, partner in the law offices of Alston and Bird, LLC (New York), and former Senior Litigator for Computer Crime and Intellectual Property at the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Peretti serves in the firm's White Collar Crime Group and co-chairs the Security Incident Management and Response Team. Much of NRF's effort in this area has been driven by its IT Security Council, the sub-committees of the NRF CIO Council, with 120 participating retailers and supporting stakeholders.
A Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center Addresses Cyber Security
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Flying on Apparel's Zephyr
Checkpoint Systems (Thorofare, NJ) has unveiled its new Zephyr EPC Global Gen 2 RFID label, designed for universality across soft goods product categories and the accompanying frequency range of 860 MHz to 960 MHz. It integrates the UCODE 7 Chip from NXP Semiconductors, and furnishes optimal read/write sensitivity for accurate counting and quicker encoding, with 128 Bits EPC Memory and 32 Bit Serialized Tag Identifier (TID). It measures 54 mm x 34 mm (2.1 in. x 1.3 in.) on thermal transfer face stock in formats of 3,000 labels/roll.
Enhancing both inventory and loss prevention, Zephyr 2 has been made compatible with RFID EAS Overhead, Evolve E10 Pedestal, and Merchandise Visibility Solutions by Checkpoint Systems. It has received certification from the University of Arkansas' ARC Center for Categories A (denim), B (polybagged apparel), C (boxed items), and D (hanging apparel) for use in North America, as well as Categories I and K (apparel) for Europe. Data capability for tags includes RFID, barcode, and human readable text.
"Major apparel retailers have expressed a strong interest in the capabilities that the Zephyr 2 offers, particularly those with broad apparel product lines with large-scale deployment needs," reported Umesh Cooduvalli, Senior Director, RFID Consumables at Checkpoint Systems. "We're excited that this product is already being used in RFID pilots and we look forward to scaling up supply for future deployments." Checkpoint Systems also announced its partnership with Mojix Inc. (Los Angeles), which supplies its RFID-based Real-Time Location System (RTLS), dubbed OmniSenseRF.
Universal Item-Level RFID Tag by Checkpoint Systems
A Bagful of NCR
NCR Corporation (Duluth, GA) revealed that Buffalo Wild Wings has selected NCR Aloha Online Ordering for its 1,000 company-owned and franchised locations to help drive its take-out business. Adding such functionality to its existing NCR POS will enable Buffalo Wild Wings to manage both on and off-premise transactions seamlessly within one system, according to the two parties. In her remarks, Karen Bird, VP of Technology for Buffalo Wild Wings, reported greater efficiency and increased sales from the deployment.
Aloha Online Ordering enables customers to avoid long wait times on the phone, according to NCR. Their payment information is securely stored for future orders and they may review their request, thereby increasing accuracy. All web orders are instantly distributed to the appropriate store and then routed directly to the kitchen.
"Providing an exceptional guest experience continues to be the number one priority for foodservice operators," proclaimed Kim Eaton, President of NCR Hospitality. "Our goal is to support Buffalo Wild Wings' vision of improving the guest experience by helping them make every day easier for their customers with more speed and accuracy, while providing flexibility in their ordering experience." According to recent research from the National Restaurant Association, 24% of 18-to-34-year-olds--one of Buffalo Wild Wings' primary demographic targets--consider the restaurant's technology when weighing their visit.
Buffalo Wild Wings Adds Aloha Online Ordering
Seven out of ten small manufacturers and wholesalers think that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is too costly and they don't see how it would benefit their businesses, according to the new survey sponsored by Exact. These are the top two reasons only 19% of those surveyed plan to evaluate ERP or ERP-like technologies in the next twelve months. The number of businesses seriously considering ERP is surprisingly low considering that the top three "operational challenges" for those surveyed were improving manufacturing processes (60%), improving sales efficiency (50%), and improving employee productivity (48%), all benefits that are enabled by many widely available business software packages. A majority of those surveyed (75%) say that "growing revenues" is their greatest financial challenge, with "improving profit margins" (68%) and "improving cash flow" (58%) coming in second and third. "It's an interesting paradox that these businesses want to boost revenue, profit margin, and cash flow, but these are all things business technology makes easier," mused Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions for Exact. "Some feel that they can do some of these things with their accounting applications alone, but that's a stretch. What they need is help understanding how easy it can now be to adopt new, inexpensive business technologies, especially in the cloud."
ERP in the SMB?
McAteer Steers M-Suite
AnywhereCommerce (Montreal) has enlisted Debra McAteer as its VP of Sales for U.S. Resellers and ISOs. For thirteen years, McAteer served as VP of Sales for Major Accounts at Equinox Payments (formerly Hypercom). Before that, she worked in additional sales capacities at Linkpoint and First Data. AnywhereCommerce supplies its "M-Suite" of gateway, acceptance devices, and software applications for mobile payments; it sells to many of the top twenty merchant acquirers and owns the de facto audio-jack patents.
"Debra is a highly talented and knowledgeable individual who brings years of experience to AnywhereCommerce," commented Mitchell Cobrin, Founder/CEO. "We anticipate that Debra's expertise in business development, marketing, and strategic selling, combined with the proven quality and reliability of our solutions, will enable our company to significantly expand our market presence in the United States."
"I'm delighted to join AnywhereCommerce, which continues to establish itself as an innovative provider of advanced mobile commerce solutions in a very sophisticated market," shared McAteer. "The company's broad solutions portfolio and innate ability to satisfy customers make this a very appealing opportunity. I'm looking forward to working closely with Mitch and the team to demonstrate the value and support that AnywhereCommerce offers its channel partners."
Debra McAteer, VP of Sales for U.S. Resellers and ISOs, AnywhereCommerce
Stepping Out at TabbedOut
TabbedOut (Austin, TX), one of the front-runners in mobile payments for the restaurant industry, has lengthened its executive bench with two new hires: George Zirkel as Chief Revenue Officer, and Ari Horowitz as EVP of Strategic Partnerships and Corporate Development. This supports the company's concurrent move into new markets such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Zirkel brings two decades of experience in payments with merchant acquirers, card issuers, and distribution partners. In his latest position, he served as VP of Innovation, Mobile, and Advanced Solutions for First Data Corporation. For his part, Horowitz brings his track record as CEO of BlackBook Media and CEO of Vibe Media, as well as other successful IPOs. His expertise includes building consumer brands, structuring strategic partnerships, and technology acquisitions.
"With thousands of bars and restaurants now using the TabbedOut platform and the recent launch of our Periscope CRM application, we are aggressively pursuing our market expansion," emphasized Alex Broeker, CEO of TabbedOut. "We intend to continue to augment our executive team to capitalize on this momentum." Tied to the POS, TabbedOut allows customers to order, pay bills, split checks, and redeem offers via their smartphones, as one would expect.
George Zirkel, Chief Revenue Officer, TabbedOut
Band of Brothers
Brother International Corporation (Bridgewater, NJ) has elevated Tadashi Ishiguro to Director and Chairman of BIC-USA, where he will focus on strategic and long-term initiatives. In addition, Kazufumi "Kaz" Ikeda has been named Director and President of BIC-USA. Ishiguro was hired by Brother Industries, Ltd. (Japan) in 1984, and was transferred to BIC-USA in 1987. He was named President of BIC-USA in January 2005.
Prior to his new role, Ikeda served as Director and EVP of BIC-USA, responsible for administrative functions since 2013. He was first employed by Brother Industries, Ltd. (Japan) in 1985. In the following years, he held various positions with the Brother Group, including GM of Corporate Planning for Brother Industries, Ltd. (Japan) and Deputy Managing Director of Brother International Germany. He has been with BIC-USA since 2013.
"Tadashi has led BIC-USA to achieve record-breaking results and has made Brother Americas, in North and South America, stronger and more competitive--all while traversing the economic downturns of the last decade," reflected Toshikazu "Terry" Koike, Representative Director and President of Brother Industries, Ltd. (Japan). "Kaz brings his new perspective through various experience including international assignments and corporate planning, and we are counting on him to lead BIC-USA to achieve the next phase of our Global Vision 21."
Kazufumi "Kaz" Ikeda, President, USA, Brother International Corporation
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