This Week’s Product Pick
Toshiba America (Irvine, CA) presented its WILLPOS M30 retail-hardened PC for POS, kiosk, and back-office applications. Weighing approximately 16 lbs. with dimensions of 12.8 in. (W) x 15.8 in. (D) x 3.9 in. (H), WILLPOS M30 offers Dual Core and "i" Core CPU based on the Intel Sandy Bridge architecture, complemented with up to 16 GB of memory and wide range of Microsoft Windows Embedded OS as well as Linux. Its front-loading design allows for quick and easy replacement of the hard disk drive and power-saving credentials and future-proof upgrade options work to ensure ROI, according to the manufacturer. Enhanced by Intel’s AMT technology and stacked with full remote management, the WILLPOS M30 can have software readily reloaded. A full complement of serial, USB, and peripheral ports are included, as well as CD/DVD drive, RAID 1 support, and PCIe expansion slots. General release of the WILLPOS M30 should reach the U.S. in several weeks, RRN.Com was told by Ed Rivas, Business Development Manager, Retail Solutions Division, for Toshiba America Business Solutions.
WILLPOS M30 by Toshiba in POS Configuration
A RedFin Rises in POS
A RedFin has been spotted in the POS channel. This upstart, based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, recently made waves with its RedFinPOS offering, which encompasses software developed by Amber Systems Technologies (Pleasanton, CA), as well as hardware supplied by an unnamed domestic terminal supplier. This new solution seeks to address the mid-market space currently dominated by Micros and NCR Aloha, RRN.Com was told by Jeffrey Schultz, CEO/President of RedFin Network, Inc.
Schultz describes RedFin in interesting terms, as “transaction solution provider.” In addition to its relationship with Amber Systems Technologies, the company functions as the exclusive North American distributor for Blue Bamboo, the mobile payment terminal manufacturer based in Shanghai, China, as well as the HioPOS workstation from ICG (Coral Gables, FL), the latter on non-exclusive terms. Interestingly, RedFin also supplies its gateway for payments, which integrates with all major processors, yet the firm does not sell merchant services.
“We strictly sell hardware and software solutions through our reseller network of VAR’s and ISO’s,” Schultz explained, adding that “VAR’s take it further and are very serious about what they do.” Immediate plans call for RedFinPOS, which can be sold without hardware and operates on any recent Windows or Linux platform, to add an Android-based tablet version that can be used in conjunction with its countertop solution. For VAR’s, RedFinPOS, HioPOS, Blue Bamboo, and even the RedFin Network Payment Gateway, promise attractive margin opportunities, Schultz emphasized to RRN.Com.
RedFinPOS Terminal, Powered by AST Software
VeriFone Systems (San Jose, CA) has unfurled its SAIL Developer Portal, allowing mobile application developers and technology providers to build their own payment, marketing, or store operations platforms on top of the company’s extensive infrastructure. Several components will be of interest to readers of RRN.Com. A SAIL Instant Commerce Toolkit includes API’s for real-time merchant enrollment, payment processing through the SAIL payment engine, as well as inventory and data sync capabilities. This enables developers to produce their own Apple iOS and Android mobile payment solutions, without having to rebuild secure gateway or mobile device driver assets, according to the company.
By utilizing just the SAIL Merchant Enrollment API, value-added business service providers can furnish customers with immediate access to merchant accounts for card processing. Their users can then obtain the free SAIL Mobile App and accompanying hardware piece to accept card payments and manage their account through the dedicated website. With the SAIL Data Sync API, developers can integrate user profiles, transaction history, and product catalogues with their existing inventory management functions.
“SAIL is far more than a mobile payments app,” suggested Brian Hamilton, VP of SMB Commerce at VeriFone. “VeriFone’s open platform API’s provide independent developers and partners the ability to easily integrate underwriting, payments, and settlement into their mobile products and services, often within a matter of days or weeks.” VeriFone announced several integrations already in progress, with San Francisco-based firms such as Own POS for the front-end, Stitch Labs for inventory management, PushPoint for mobile marketing, and Xero for small business accounting.
API Portal Opened for SMB Payment Scheme
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MMF, From iPad to Xoom
MMF POS (Wheeling, IL) has moved even more strongly into the hardware accessory arena with the introduction of its ATRIO Series of tablet enclosures. This cash drawer supplier has addressed four popular platforms--Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, HP Slate 2, and Motorola Xoom--with each enclosure featuring appropriate openings for power buttons, front and rear cameras, and external connections. Units have been constructed of lightweight aluminum, with seamless design and piano hinge for convenient installation and maintenance access to the tablet.
With its VESA pattern, ATRIO can be mounted on any of MMF’s counter, wall, or floor stands. Additional benefits include four-pin tubular lock, cut-out for the power cord on the back panel of the enclosure to keep the tablet powered at all times, and choice of black or silver coloring. With the launch of ATRIO, MMF POS has discontinued its earlier Rhino enclosure for iPad.
“Our ATRIO enclosures will secure and protect iOS, Android, or Windows-based tablets in any application setting,” commented Abe Salalac, Director of Sales and Marketing for MMF POS. “These products are all manufactured in our Wheeling, Illinois, facilities, which allows us to provide fast response time and offer more competitive pricing than ever before. In addition, these products can generate stream of revenues for all our channel partners, opening up new vertical markets.”
ATRIO Tablet Enclosures From MMF POS
Juno Slims Down
Trimble (Sunnyvale, CA) has unveiled its Juno T41 handheld computer in smartphone form factor for data collection and mobile workforce management. Measuring approximately 6 in. (H) x 3 in. (W) x 1 in. (D) and weighing 13.5 oz., Juno T41 carries either Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 or Android “Gingerbread,” with yellow and gray trimming for its black case, respectively. Technical specifications encompass Texas Instruments CPU at 800 MHz or 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM, up to 16 GB Flash, and Micro SD card slot.
As always, Trimble has stressed ruggedness, with design certified to MIL-STD-810G and IP-65 or IP-68, and Gorilla Glass employed in its 4.3-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen display (with capacitive stylus compatibility). Communication capabilities span Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3.75G cellular with eight-megapixel camera with dual LEDs and geo-tagging. A rechargeable 3300 mAh Lithium-ion battery accommodates full shifts with an optional external battery pack and conversion cables. Accelerometer, electronic compass, and custom port with USB 2.0 are included.
“With the release of the Juno T41, we are providing a rugged handheld that delivers the capabilities and convenience of a smartphone,” stated Jim Sheldon, GM of Trimble’s Mobile Computing Solutions Division. “Its slim, ergonomic design is thinner and lighter than other rugged computing products in its class today. Powerful, connected, compact, and easy to use, the June 41T handheld computer is ideal for any mobile professional or demanding consumer.”
Juno T41 Rugged Handheld Computer by Trimble
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ID Tech Draped in TransArmor
ID Tech (Cypress, CA) will incorporate TransArmor security technology from First Data Corporation (Atlanta) in select members of its SecureMag swipe readers. Engineered with the RSA SafeProxy architecture, TransArmor equips each device with tokenization and encryption to better preserve the value of card data while thwarting fraud, according to the two parties. Expect to see additional ID Tech devices add TransArmor, described by its developer as the most popular security service in the industry, with over 300,000 merchants.
“ID Tech is very pleased to partner with First Data and embed TransArmor technology into our encrypted magnetic-stripe readers,” shared George Jiang, VP of Engineering at ID Tech. “Aligning our products with the leading encryption technology from First Data will bring big benefits to our channels and partners. We now have an end-to-end solution with one of the most respected organizations in the payment industry.”
ID Tech also has presented its Spectrum Air magnetic-stripe reader with IP-65 rating to withstand the demands of outdoor environments. Designed for gas pumps and kiosks as primary markets, Spectrum Air’s tightly sealed chassis prevents water, vapors, and other contaminants from entering the main terminal enclosure and has its switch magnetically actuated and immune to contamination and corrosion. Cards may be read on both insertion and withdrawal and multiple interfaces allow the reader to be configured for drop-in replacement. Busy days at ID Tech, which purchased the ViVOpay NFC reader product line from ViVOtech two weeks ago.
Spectrum Air Dual-Headed Outdoor MSR by ID Tech
One Small Step for Signage
Panasonic (Secaucus, NJ) has stocked its LF5 Series LCD digital signage for entry level installations. Available as the 42-inch TH-42LF5U and 47-inch TH-47LF5U, these displays deliver professional characteristics, features, and performance at highly competitive pricing, according to the vendor, costing $750 and $1,005. Panels can be mounted both vertically and horizontally and are built for continuous operation, thereby suiting transportation hubs, lobby areas, retail centers, and quick-service restaurants. Houses of worship represent another possible market.
Along with full high-definition and wide viewing angle, the LF5 Series features slim, 18.6 mm/0.75 inch bezel, allowing the displays to be used in multi-screen video walls. Brightness is rated at 500 cd/m2 and response at 9 milliseconds for crisp, clear images even in bright locations, according to the company. LF5 Series displays also come equipped with an input search function. When an image is interrupted due to break in the signal or disconnected cable, the display automatically switches to another input and shows the next viable content, thus avoiding blank screens.
Moreover, the LF5 Series employs the the company's "eco-mode," which detects the ambient light level and controls the brightness of the backlight accordingly. This maintains optimum display brightness and helps reduce power consumption. Carrying standard two-year warranty, the LF5 Series of professional LCD displays fall under the Panasonic Concierge Service Program, which offers toll-free hotline and 24-hour priority scheduling of onsite maintenance for end-users.
Panasonic’s LF5 Series of Professional LCD Displays
Compeat Restaurant Management Systems (Austin, TX) has issued Compeat Workforce, its labor management package for hospitality. Features include configurable wage calculation, forecasting for labor requirements, and detailed staff scheduler. A “myWorkforce” portal allows employees and managers to view and request changes to their schedules via desktop or mobile devices. In addition, an upcoming on-boarding module, scheduled for Q1 2013, will address recruiting, application submission, background screening, hiring decisions, and new employee training. Compeat Workforce can be integrated with the restaurant's POS, human resources, and payroll to automate all labor-related processes. It forms an integrated component of the Compeat Advantage and Compeat Enterprise product series that can also be used on stand-alone basis. “I am very satisfied with how easy scheduling is in Workforce,” volunteered Frank Ramos, GM at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in San Antonio, TX. “We’re looking forward to the employee portal. As manager, I’ll be able to see schedule requests and post changes anywhere I have an Internet connection--even on my mobile device.”
Another Star in Android’s Sky
Star Micronics America (Edison, NJ) has launched its Version 3.1 Android Software Development Kit (SDK). This latest release adds major enhancements to the previous Version 2.0, according to the printer manufacturer. In addition, it extends existing benefits such as the ability to monitor status, magnetic-stripe reading, sample code for opening cash drawers and fueling scanners, and detailed operating manuals. Star’s SDK’s for Apple iOS and Android, as well as Windows 7/Vista/XP, Linux, and Mac OS X, may be downloaded from its website.
In terms of advances, Version 3.1 provides auto-discovery for Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth printer configurations on the same network as the Android device. Customers also may enter the printer’s IP address manually if they prefer. Version 3.1 also offers improved support for the Apple AirPort Express, the capacity to add sample receipts, and the “logical reorganization” of all functionality. Finally, it has more simple navigation and layout in order to make integration faster and easier for developers.
“As the use of mobile devices in the point of service industry continues to grow, we are committed to continuous product development,” relayed Christophe Naasz, Marketing Director of Star Micronics. “These new features are state-of-the-art and designed to meet the needs of virtually any business that requires mobile receipt printing.” A personnel note: Regina Mazza, Marketing Communications Manager, has left Star Micronics to pursue her passion for teaching after 10 successful years in our industry.
Star Micronics America Develops Version 3.1 for Android
Xata Exits Turnpike, Becomes XRS
Xata Corporation (Eden Prairie, MN) has changed its name to XRS Corporation and unveiled its new all-mobile platform of the same name for trucking compliance and fleet optimization. XRS, which stands for Xata Road Science, reportedly will run on more than 50 types of mobile devices to automatically transmit vehicle and operator data directly to management dashboard for the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). An XRS Relay in-cab device communicates via Bluetooth with the driver’s existing smartphone or tablet, and installation time was estimated at 10 minutes with virtually no operator training required.
“The days of expensive, hard-wired on-board installations are gone,” declared Jay Coughlan, CEO of XRS Corporation. “Mobile technology is established in our industry and XRS is the next step. We are already working with our legacy Xata customers to help them go mobile with ease and efficiency. We are truly thrilled with how XRS will transform our industry.” The company’s first-generation mobile tool, named Turnpike, with more than 50,000 subscribers, has paved the way for XRS.
“As a long-time Turnpike customer, we relished the opportunity to be one of the first to try XRS,” testified Cliff Dixon, VP of IT at Quality Distribution, Inc., the largest dedicated bulk tank truck network in North America. “We’ve been very happy with the improved performance and business results gained from Turnpike, but XRS provides even more power, ease of use, and flexibility for our drivers and fleet managers. XRS removes the complexity of changing hardware or software whenever regulations are rewritten and gets automatically updated to comply with new regulations so we know we’re covered in terms of compliance. We look forward to rolling XRS out fleet-wide once it is generally available.” Release is scheduled for spring of 2013, with pricing and package levels to be announced.
XRS Designates New Company Name and Fleet Technology
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Wand Spices Up Salsarita’s
Wand Corporation (Eden Prairie, MN) has been chosen by Salsarita’s as the exclusive supplier of digital menu boards for its restaurants. Salsarita’s has deployed Wand’s technology at more than 30 of its 80 locations, with plans to have digital menu boards in nearly all stores within 24 months. Wand’s package of hardware, software, and services, dubbed Total Restaurant Management, provides real-time content and pricing for the Mexican cantina concept. Wand TRM also features advanced day parting, or delivery segmented by time, as well as automated menu scheduling and full corporate compliance across multiple locations, according to its developer.
“We needed a digital partner whose creative vision was equal to our vision for the Salsarita’s brand,” remarked Larry Reinstein, President and COO of Salsarita’s. “The full-motion, high-impact content that Wand’s creative team designed grabbed us the moment we saw it--so we knew it would engage our guests.” Franchise industry veteran Phil Friedman took control of Salsarita’s in 2011, and has long-range projections for 300 locations in the U.S. within the next five or six years.
Significantly, Salsarita’s wanted to move beyond drawing their guests’ attention; they also wanted their new system to generate sales. “Wand’s analytics gives us the ability to show if a featured item is influencing purchase behavior,” Reinstein continued. “By closely monitoring sales of the featured product, we can work with Wand’s creative team and the Wand digital application to adjust the content and its placement on the board until we achieve the desired results.”
Dynamic Digital Menu Boards for Mexican Cantina Concept
There’s Fireworks at Retail Anywhere
Retail Anywhere (Paso Robles, CA) has supplied its POS to specialty retailer Kaboom Fireworks, one of the few large players in the Canadian market for such products. Retail Anywhere POS was rolled out as Kaboom expanded from 8 to 19 retail locations, and just in time for the busy summer season. Kaboom had been seeking an integrated retail, wholesale, and e-commerce management solution for the past few years, according to the two parties, but their largely seasonal business made it difficult to find required functionality at an acceptable price point.
Simultaneous with Retail Anywhere POS, Kaboom chose cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) from NetSuite (San Mateo, CA). “A seamless integration with NetSuite significantly improved our inventory management and demand forecasting capabilities and our ability to maintain close relationships with our customers and evaluate their behaviors,” observed Ryan Butkowsky, GM for Kaboom. Factors such as simplified training for seasonal staff, reduced trouble-shooting at the store level, and tighter payment processing were also cited by Kaboom.
“It is really rewarding to give the retailer the tools they need and to watch them grow,” indicated Branden Jenkins, CEO of Retail Anywhere. “We look forward to watching them light the sparklers and celebrate new store openings for many years to come.” Not coincidentally, Retail Anywhere was honored as the New SuiteApp Partner of the Year by NetSuite at its annual conference in May.
New POS and ERP for Canadian Specialty Retailer, Kaboom
Retailers have demonstrated progress in mobile commerce, social sharing, and marketing promotion consistency over the past year, according to the new “2012 Cross-Channel Readiness Survey” by CrossView. In an analysis of four touchpoints (online, in-store, call center, and mobile) retailers could score up to 280 points, and those surveyed had combined average of 177 points with Best Buy achieving an actual perfect score. Fully 92% of retailers enable social sharing in their web stores, up from 88% in 2011’s survey. Further, 79% of retailers now offer the same marketing promotion across all touchpoints, up from 65%. Lastly, 72% of retailers post ratings and reviews in their web stores, rising 39% year over year. The most pronounced move was in the area of mobile commerce. Last year, only 12% of retailers offered shoppers mobile applications for the smartphone. This jumped to 56% in 2012. “This year’s survey shows a steady beat of progress,” summarized Mark Fodor, CEO at CrossView. “While the needle didn’t move terribly far, it registers in the right direction in a few key areas. What’s clear to us in our work with leading brands is that no touchpoint is viewed as a separate entity by consumers--each is an extension of the same brand. So, consistency is critical, fitting hand in glove with an effective cross-channel strategy.”
Vendor Chair at RSPA Table
Mark Olson, President of APG Cash Drawer (Minneapolis), has been chosen as the Chairman of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (Charlotte, NC). Olson has been active as one of the vendor members of the RSPA and has been seated on RSPA’s Board of Directors since 2009. His official inauguration took place at the recent RetailNow Show in Las Vegas.
“We are living in a very interesting and dynamic time period, with tremendous changes, challenges, as well as opportunities occurring right in front of us,” Olson noted. “During times of rapid change it is important to have cooperation between the various stakeholders. The RSPA is in a unique position to help leverage ideas and information for the retail technology industry that enable continued prosperity and growth, as well as provide opportunities for RSPA members to be more successful in the future. I look forward to being involved in that journey again this year.”
Olson represents the first vendor member to be elected as RSPA Chairman. He will retain this position for one year. Joining him as new officers on the Board of Directors was Lynn Skurla of Skurla’s POS Solutions (Chairman - Incoming) and Brad Holaway of Copperstate Restaurant Technologies (Secretary-Treasurer). In addition, Bob Bauer of BMC POS, Paul Leduc of Globe POS Systems, and Tom Reichart of Mercury were added as new Board Members. A complete roster appears on the RSPA website.
RSPA’s New Chairman, Mark Olson of APG Cash Drawer
More Shopping for Merchant Link
Merchant Link (Silver Spring, MD) has enlisted Ben Jared as its Director of Business Development for Retail. Jared joins Merchant Link with more than 25 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience within the financial, retail, and high tech industries. In the area of payment processing, he previously served as Area Sales Director for ACI Worldwide and ISD Corporation, respectively.
“Ben’s in-depth understanding of all sides of a retailer’s business--from technology to operations--allows him to take a consultative approach that busy CIO’s appreciate as they navigate the complex world of payments today,” stated Laura Kirby-Meck, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Merchant Link. “I’m confident Ben will be a huge asset as we continue expanding our presence in the retail channel.” Jared represents the second recent hire for Merchant Link. Earlier, Patricia Sappington, formerly of Elavon, joined as Director of Channel Development.
“Merchant Link’s solutions have clear benefits for retailers looking for greater flexibility and peace of mind when it comes to payments and compliance,” Jared said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to draw upon my experience to drive growth in this channel.” Founded in 1993, Merchant Link currently handles three billion transactions annually for 150,000 customers. Products include TransactionVault for tokenization and TransactionShield for point-to-point encryption.
Ben Jared, Director of Business Development, Retail, Merchant Link
Cybera Charting Channel
Cybera (Nashville, TN), which provides cloud-based network security for multi-site retailers, has drafted Bob Huffman as its Channel Sales Director. In his new role, Huffman will lead development of the company’s channel strategy while supporting various enterprise-level relationships with existing partners. He will report to Cybera’s VP of Enterprise Sales, Paul Melton.
“Bob brings his wealth of experience to the Cybera organization,” remarked Melton. “His experience with channel development will strengthen our approach to strategic partnership, and help Cybera become even more attractive to those organizations looking to build up their network security roster.”
Huffman brings over 25 years of channel development experience in the computer and network security sectors. He has worked as VP of Business and Partner Development at CoreTrace Corporation, where he oversaw the firm’s client-based white-listing efforts. He also held senior management positions with Mirage Networks, SecureLogix, and Wheelgroup Corporation. Cybera’s security solutions currently are deployed at more than 10,000 businesses throughout the U.S. with leading brands including Shell, Exxon Mobile, Jack in the Box, Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery, and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Bob Huffman, Channel Sales Director, Cybera
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