Our Product Pick
Detecto, a Division of Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co. (Webb City, MO) has unwrapped three new models in its Enterprise APS Series Scales for retail POS: APS8, APS12, and APS20. They have platform sizes of 6 in. x 10 in. to 10 in. x 10 in., weight capacities of 10 lbs. to 30 lbs., and accuracies as fine as 0.1 oz. An easy-to-read backlight green LCD with 0.7-inch digits provides visibility, and the display tilts for multiple viewing angles, with simple two-button operation (Zero/Power, Units). Detecto's Enterprise Scales employ brushed stainless steel, leveling feet, overload stops, bubble level, and four connectivity ports (1 x USB and 3 x RS-232). Optional Bluetooth and Wi-Fi furnish NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) "legal-for-trade" capability. Additional features include heavy-duty construction, adjustable digital filtering of electronic noise, and support for most major protocols in POS.
Enterprise APS Series From Detecto
A Dose of Vitamin C (for Receipts)
A leading paper provider, Appvion (Appleton, WI), the former Appleton Papers, Inc., has developed a new type of thermal receipt paper which contains Vitamin C instead of chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS). Vitamin C serves as an image developer in this new thermal chemistry, which the company has termed "Alpha Free." As many RRN.Com readers know, serious health concerns have been raised about BPA and BPS.
"Vitamin C is well-known, well-studied, and used daily as a nutritional supplement by millions of Americans," indicated Dave Pauly, Product Manager for Thermal Receipt Paper at Appvion. "Our research identified strong consumer preference for Vitamin C over other options we considered. Vitamin C also produces a natural yellow color on receipt paper, which makes it easy to identify. Given these benefits, we focused our development efforts on a Vitamin C formulation that fulfills customers' preferences for a phenol-free product without compromising product reliability or performance."
Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets has become the first large-scale grocer to offer Alpha Free receipts in all of its stores. "Cashiers have to handle receipts to complete retail transactions," emphasized Nancy Taylor, Human Resources Director for PCC Natural Markets. "Until recently, they had no way to know what kind of receipt papers they were handling. We've received very positive responses from our cashiers as well as customers."
Appvion Debuts Phenol-Free Receipt Paper Processed by Vitamin C
Ruling Microsoft's Realm
Early next year, expect to see "Microsoft Dynamics Retail Essentials with Retail Realm," the successor to Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS). As readers of RRN.Com will recall, Retail Realm (Napa, CA) became the distributor of Microsoft Dynamics RMS and POS 2009 in February 2014. Now the two firms have announced details of this "first major push into the SMB for Microsoft," which encompasses technical development as well as go-to-market strategy. As expected, it embeds add-ons from Retail Realm.
All partners and resellers will be required to be trained and certified in Microsoft Retail Essentials, according to Authumn Wiltshire, Communications Director of Retail Realm in the U.K. To this end, training sessions have been scheduled between December and March in Napa, Atlanta, and Miami in the U.S. Content includes an introduction to features and functions of this solution, with hands-on demonstration, as well as specific instruction on customer migration. A course in "Programming with Retail Essentials" also has been created for developers.
"Microsoft Dynamics Retail Essentials with Retail Realm is an on-premise solution, based on the Dynamics AX platform but with the non-retail specific aspects of AX 'switched off'," explained Wiltshire. "Currently, certified 'AX for Retail' partners and resellers should be aware that they too will need training and accreditation to sell this product." She reminds resellers that Dynamics RMS "is still very much alive and well and will remain supported until 2021," and that Retail Realm Utilities Version 17 for RMS was recently released in September.
Afshin Alikhani, Chairman, Retail Realm
Worth Your While
NRF's Big Show - Annual Conference
Retail Realm Technology Conference
NRA Show 2015
ALL IN THE FAMILY
A Code Keyed Around XHD
Code Corporation (Salt Lake City, UT) has debuted its new family of high-density area imagers for manufacturing processes, designated the XHD Series. Designed with input from several of the world's largest manufacturers, reportedly, Code's XHD imagers have been pre-tested in various production environments. XHD functionality will be offered with the CR1000, CR1400, and CR2600 products.
Featuring built-in macro lens and enhanced optical firmware platform, these high-density area imagers read one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and laser-etched barcodes as small as two mil. Combined with the company's patented glare-reduction technology and aggressive decoding platform, the XHD readers excel in reading low contrast and marks on mirrored surfaces. Additional features include extended battery life and rapid charge times; multiple programming buttons for added workflow efficiency; lightweight, ergonomic, and durable designs; and multiple communications capabilities via USB, RS-232, and Bluetooth.
"Code understands the complex nature of the production process," commented George Powell, CEO/President. "Our latest imagers provide manufacturers with the versatility and control needed to successfully navigate demanding environments. The combination of our manufacturing knowledge and commitment to innovation has allowed us to customize a full line of best-in-class scanning solutions for this market."
Code's Manufacturing Product Line (From Left to Right): CR1400 XHD, CR3600 DPM, CR6000 DPM, CR2600 XHD, and CR1000 XHD
SATO's New Tune
SATO America (Charlotte, NC) will soon offer the Magellan PJM RFID Desktop Reader Series. This next-generation product employs self-tuning technology that automatically adjusts sensitivity to achieve the best performance regardless of the number, size, or type of PJM RFID tags. PJM, as many readers of RRN.Com will recognize, stands for "phase jitter modulation," which accurately identifies large volumes of items tagged with RFID. SATO purchased Magellan Technology of Australia, developer of this technology, in November 2013.
Two new models will be offered: the MDR-4330AT and MDR-3021AT. Magellan MDR-4330AT will read tagged items in any orientation as well as in densely packed containers, and has 17 in. x 11.8 in. (43 cm x 30 cm) of effective three-dimensional reading surface. Magellan MDR-3021AT fulfills tag encoding purposes, and has 11.8 in. x 8.3 in. (30 cm x 21 cm) of effective single-directional reading surface.
"This will simplify and completely change the way that customers interact with RFID readers," declared Kaz Matsuyama, CEO/President of SATO Holdings (Tokyo). "Our intelligent self-tuning technology automatically delivers the best performance regardless of variations in PJM tags and offers our customers the freedom to select tags best suited to their needs. SATO is heavily focused on engineering solutions to improve user experiences, and this technology is a prime example of our commitment to creating new value for our customers through innovation."
SATO's Magellan PJM RFID Desktop Reader Series
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Bixolon Speaks the Lexicon
Bixolon USA (Torrance, CA) has engaged Lexicon Technologies (Atlanta, GA) to provide third-party warranty-repair services for select customers of its thermal printers. Among its many vendor partners, Lexicon Technologies counts most of the big names in Auto ID and POS, with historical capabilities in engineering, quality control, and supply chain. It joins an extensive network of third-party service providers and suppliers of parts for Bixolon USA.
"We are thrilled to announce Lexicon Technologies as one of our Bixolon Authorized Service Providers," commented David Roberts, Bixolon's SVP of North America. In particular, Roberts praised Lexicon's managed service platform, dubbed "Repair Engine." Speaking with RRN.Com, he also shared that Bixolon will be introducing new solution partners at the upcoming National Retail Federation (NRF) Show in New York City in January.
Repair Engine consists of three reports: account statements, open invoices/aged balance, and account transaction export. By providing online access to such information (including links to physical documents), it "will allow customers to process, manage, and track repairs at their own convenience," according to Roberts. In his remarks, Kevin Ahearn, Lexicon's VP of OEM Solutions, stated that the two new partners "share many of the same values such as consistent quality and customer focus."
Bixolon's Portable Thermal Printer
For Payments, the M&M Boys
Merchant Link (Silver Spring, MD) has called upon Mocapay (Denver, CO) to bring mobile payments, as well as value-add such as gift cards and loyalty programs, to its payment processing customers. Access comes through the merchant's branded mobile app. Naturally, Mocapay's system also furnishes opportunities in customer relationship marketing (CRM).
"We're delighted to team up with an industry innovator like Merchant Link," relayed Doug Dwyre, CEO of Mocapay. "This relationship will give Merchant Link an entirely new product set to offer its existing client base while expanding Mocapay's reach in hospitality. Additionally, Mocapay's patented, tokenized mobile transaction processing technology will ensure payment and transaction security, thereby enhancing the existing Merchant Link product security suite."
"Collaboration with Mocapay is just another way Merchant Link continues to seek relationships that offer our clients more information and more data, enhancing their opportunity for great customer retention and revenue generation," suggested Laura Meck, EVP of Merchant Link. Her firm already supplies so-called "Transaction Vault" for tokenization and "Transaction Shield" for point-to-point encryption, helping compliance with PCI. According to its own figures, it serves more than 300,000 restaurant, hotel, and retail locations.
A Joint Offering for Mobility by Merchant Link and Mocapay
Datalogic (Eugene, OR) has received certification from MCL Technologies. Following successful testing, Datalogic's Memor X3, Skorpio X3, and Lynx may now run MCL Version 4 and the MCL Mobility Platform. This allows channel partners to design, build, and deploy software applications via MCL's environment for rapid application development (RAD). In particular, this new partnership allows channel partners to offer remote managed services for networks of devices, noted the two parties. MCL will also provide direct maintenance and support to partners of Datalogic. "We are very pleased to certify Datalogic devices with our MCL solutions," reported Raymond Wolfert, Director of Sales and Marketing at MCL. "We always support the latest version of the range of operating systems and device-specific features, making MCL the great choice for Datalogic channel partners." Based in Belgium, MCL Technologies has U.S. offices in Tampa, Florida.
Datalogic's Skorpio X3
What's the Vibe? (Only Dash Knows)
One of the mobile payment hopefuls, Dash Software (New York City), has unveiled its "Venue Vibes." An interesting feature, this reveals the number of customers currently enjoying the restaurant, bar, or club, with descriptions of "lively," "active," "relaxed," or "quiet." You can decide which finding best fits your purposes.
Via proprietary integration technology, Dash continuously tracks how many tabs are open in the venue's POS, and compares this to the venue's capacity, thereby gauging the overall "mood." Founded in 2011, Dash has marketed itself as the mobile payment app for trendy millennials. It has about 50 customers in New York and another 30 in Chicago. As its name indicates, it allows users to view, pay, and split tabs from their smartphones, whether iOS or Android.
"We founded Dash on the principle that few things feel better than paying your restaurant or bar tab on the go," elaborated Jeff McGregor, CEO. "It turns out knowing how crowded the venue is before you show up feels pretty good, too. That's the concept behind Venue Vibes--another way Dash is helping its users plan better nights out with friends."
Jeff McGregor, CEO, Dash Software
Photo Op at Microscan, Safety-Wise
Addressing an underlying security concern, Microscan (Renton, WA) has introduced novel "Image Lock" technology on its new pair of handheld image readers, the HS-41X and HS-51X. This ensures captured photos are never accessible by users or software, according to the company. As target industries for Image Lock, it identified laboratories, electronics manufacturing environments, aerospace facilities, automotive plants, and government offices.
"In industries like these where sensitive information is processed on a daily basis, many companies have adopted strict security measures for guarding confidential products or processes, trade secrets, and sensitive customer information protected by privacy laws," advised Microscan. "Image Lock secures captured images within the device, and images are automatically deleted once the symbol is decoded. Since the images are deleted, they are not made available to connected barcode set-up or configuration software user interfaces (such as Microscan's 'ESP' Easy Set-Up Program) nor are they directly accessible by users to view or download from the device."
Elsewhere, Microscan has brought its "EtherNet/IP" to its ultra-compact machine-vision smart camera, the Vision MINI Xi. Compared to RS-232 (also supported by Vision MINI Xi), Ethernet brings significant advantages in speed of data transmission, spanning of longer physical distances, and reduced integration time and cost. Overall, the growing use of Ethernet as the common protocol in computers and workplaces allows data to be collected at more points throughout the manufacturing process, improving productivity and cycle time.
Microscan Addresses Image Security
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Star Pilots Disruptive Technology
An insight into the pilot process comes from Star Micronics America (Edison, NJ). In this case, Star was faced with the challenge of uploading receipt information to the cloud without changing any element--software or hardware--of the POS. Such data was desired by mobile commerce start-up, Mowingo (Los Altos, CA). As its solution, Star supplied its AsuraCPRNT, which combines seven-inch touchscreen, thermal receipt printer (the TSP654II, specifically), network controller capacity, and Wi-Fi.
A pilot program lasted four months with installation in quick-service restaurants in the Bay Area. "Once the POS system registers the order, our cloud-enabled printers can capture the information shown on the receipt, allowing the sales data to be reviewed by retailer or their partners." reflected David Salisbury, Director of Global Marketing for Star Micronics. "The possibilities for a store owner to create and track promotional programs are expanded significantly now that they don't have to wait until they can afford new POS." In conversation with RRN.Com, Salisbury called this installation "pretty straightforward," adding "this is what we do every day."
"We knew our customers redeemed buy-one-get-one-free offers at high rates when compared to other offers, but didn't have any easy means of actually comparing our promos against sales," recounted Cosme Fagundo, who owns the restaurants. According to Mowingo (and Star's Asura), such "BOGO" offers outperform price-point and percentage-discount offers by up to 55%, and free-with-purchase coupons by up to 28%. With the pilot successfully concluded, executives at Star Micronics America are now deciding if, how, and when to exploit this combination of technology, according to Salisbury.
AsuraCPRNT From Star Micronics
Just Desserts for Apptricity
Apptricity (Dallas, TX) has deployed its asset-tracking software for the international ice cream division of Nestle. An element of the program to phase out current refrigerants, suspected of contributing to global warming, this effort will ensure each new freezer moves to the proper location. It will also allow company-wide freezer inventory check at least once per year.
Apptricity's system employs cloud-based software delivery and handheld barcode scanners. Each employee or representative automatically updates the inventory information within the company's current SAP, which guides management at Nestle. Additionally, the software will be used by Nestle warehouse personnel to ship and receive the freezers for any location in the world with inventory updates made via the handheld barcode readers. Apptricity dubs its platform "Jetstream."
"Apptricity's asset-tracking solution uses GPS to positively locate each freezer within the SAP system," expounded Timothy Garcia, Founder and CEO of Apptricity. "This will provide Nestle management accurate location and status information for each piece of inventory tracked. Our solution is scalable and can provide the same level of confidence in tracking all Nestle products." Founded in 1999, Apptricity lists three of the world's largest organizations as customers--Walmart, AT&T, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Tracking Nestle's Freezers Worldwide
Smooth Seas for Barcoding
Barcoding, Inc. has rolled out automatic data collection for Canton Port Services in its home town of Baltimore, Maryland. This facility performs services such as receiving, load out, and customs clearing of heavy cargo. In order to update its manual processes, Barcoding, Inc. recommended Dolphin 70e mobile computers from Honeywell Scanning & Mobility and GK420D and LP2824 label printers from Zebra Technologies. Consumables also were provided by Zebra Technologies.
A web-based application based upon the CaptureSoft eXpress Platform was developed for Canton Port Services. This software was tied to the booking system of the partner cargo line company to update inventory in real time as vehicles are scanned. As benefits, Canton Port Services has identified increased accuracy of data, lower receiving time (from 10 minutes to 30 seconds per unit), fewer problems in clearing customs, and strengthened relationship with their partner cargo line company. Previously, spreadsheets needed to be e-mailed between partners.
"Eliminating manual data entry in day-to-day operations is a quick, yet viable way for companies to realize additional areas of cost savings through greater efficiency, accuracy, and connectivity," reiterated Shane Snyder, President at Barcoding, Inc. "While barcode scanning is just one solution for automating data capture, Canton Port Services demonstrated the technology's effectiveness and has experienced some significant results. We will continue working with Canton Port Services to uncover even more ways that mobile data capture technology can assist in its overall business."
Zebra's GK420D Label Printer
Some numbers on the upcoming holiday weekend. According to the National Retail Federation's "Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations Survey," conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, six in ten (61%) of consumers say they will or may shop on either Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday over Thanksgiving, which equates to about 140.1 million unique shoppers. Expectations are similar to last year's preliminary survey results of 140.3 million. Specifically, 67.6 million holiday shoppers (29.5%) say they will shop, down slightly from 69.4 million who planned to do so last year, while 72.5 million (31.6%) say they will wait and see if the deals are worth it before they decide, up 2% over last year's 71 million "maybe" shoppers. Of those who will shop, here's the day-by-day breakdown: 18.3% (25.6 million) on Thursday, 68.2% (95.5 million) on Friday, 42.9% (60 million) on Saturday, and 21.6% (30.3 million) on Sunday. According to the survey, nearly eight in ten (79.6%) of 18-to-24 year olds will or may shop over the weekend, the highest of any age group. "Consumers today want more than just the discounts they've been showered with since the start of the recession; they want exclusive offerings and good reasons to spend their discretionary budgets," counseled Matthew Shay, CEO/President of the National Retail Federation (Washington, DC). "We could witness a sea change this holiday season as consumers' reliance on extremely deep discounts over the biggest shopping weekend of the year shifts to more of a 'wait-and-see' mentality around what retailers will be offering on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday,"
O Canada at Toshiba
Toshiba (Research Triangle Park, NC) has refocused its efforts in Canada, integrating Toshiba TEC Canada with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Canada. "A one-stop shop for all in-store retail needs," as described by Toshiba, this new structure will leverage combined resources in hardware, software, maintenance, and services for POS. Dealers of Toshiba TEC Canada have been welcomed into the Toshiba Together Commerce Alliance Partner Program, according to Toshiba.
Leadership in Canada will be provided by Scott Thomas, serving as GM. In addition, Bill Campbell recently joined Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions as Executive Director, North America Sales. Campbell brings years of retail and IT experience from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Aldata, NCR, and Retalix.
"This strategic organizational move in Canada will enhance our ability to provide premier service to our retail clients and business partner community, and will expand our market share," remarked Thomas. In addition to staff from both Toshiba TEC Canada and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, of course, it includes the former IBM. Both on-site services and depot support will be offered.
Scott Thomas, GM, Canada, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions
You'll Be Hearing From Him, Hospitality People
The National Restaurant Association (Washington, DC) has named Jeffrey Calore as its SVP of Strategic Alliances. In this new role, Calore will be responsible for the direction, development, and management of the trade group's relationships throughout the supplier community, including sponsorships and allied membership. "Jeff is an exciting addition to the NRA team as we focus on coordinating and strengthening engagements with our supplier partners," testified Mary Pat Heftman, EVP of Convention and Strategic Alliances for the National Restaurant Association.
Most recently, Calore served as EVP at Hanley Wood, one of the major business-to-business publishers serving the construction and design industries. Earlier positions also focused on publishing, including the Government Information Group, CMP Media, Reed Exhibitions, and National Trade Publications. "Jeff's strategic sales and marketing background, consultative approach, experience representing multiple products, and proven track record of building and developing effective teams will create mutually beneficial relationships between the NRA and its community," concurred Phil Kafarakis, Chief Innovation and Member Advancement Officer for the National Restaurant Association.
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