Our Product Pick
Posiflex USA (Hayward, CA) has unveiled its new touch "infotainment" terminal, designated the HC1021. It features 21.5" projected-capacitive touchscreen with resolution of 1920 x 1080. It runs an Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core CPU at 1.6 GHz, 16-GB RAM, and Windows 7, POSReady 7, Embedded 8.1 Industry, and 10 IoT. As connectivity, there's Serial, USB, Ethernet, and VGA. A Mini-PCIe slot is included, with peripherals for MSR, Wi-Fi, and RFID. "Well-suited to meet durability and aesthetic requirements, the HC1021 Series offers real versatility for a variety of interactive solutions, including self-service kiosks, kitchen display systems, and healthcare computing solutions," cited Posiflex USA.
Posiflex HC1021 Touch Terminal
A Self-Driving Carr
Robert O. Carr--who founded and built Heartland Payment Systems--has re-emerged into the payments world with his start-up, entitled "Beyond." It reportedly will offer the full line-up of payment processing, point-of-sale, lending, payroll, and integrated human resource services for the SMB. Based in Princeton, NJ, it intends to provide its salesforce with "portfolio ownership, a full slate of benefits, uncapped earning potential, and stock compensation." As readers will recall, Carr sold Heartland Payment Systems to Global Payments (Atlanta, GA) in early 2016 for $4.3 billion. He left in early 2017.
"Beyond is entering a highly competitive marketplace," conceded Carr. "What sets us apart is our belief that our core principles of fairness, transparency, and skin in the game will attract top-quality employees and draw a loyal and engaged customer base. We know from experience that there is a huge demand for customer-focused service in the business solutions sector, and we intend to go far beyond the quality that is in the marketplace today."
A quote from the company's website: "Our commitment to transparent, customer-first service is spelled out in the 'Beyond Promises': 10 principles setting out the company's commitment to fair treatment, plain language (instead of unintelligible fine print), and full disclosure, with no hidden fees and no unexpected surcharges or arbitrary pricing changes." As another goal, Beyond has included the non-profit Give Something Back as founding partner. Created by Carr in 2003, Give Something Back extends scholarships and mentoring to low-income students. So far, it has prepaid over 1,000 such scholarships--reflecting an upfront investment of $35 million.
Robert O. Carr, CEO of Payments Start-Up, "Beyond"
Taking a "Quick Dip"
Retail ISV Index (San Francisco, CA) has reduced the time it takes to process payments, via EMV, to one second. Its solution employs specifications for Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover (e.g., Quick Chip and M/Chip Fast). "Index has set a new bar for secure and seamless chip-card transactions which mirror the convenience of swiping a magnetic-stripe card that consumers have long enjoyed," testified Stephanie Ericksen, VP of Risk and Authentication Products at Visa. Several grocers serve as early adopters, including Fairway Market, New Seasons Market, and New Leaf Community Markets.
As its kernel, Index has certification to EMV Level 2. It promotes several benefits of its new technology. First, customers pay fast enough in one fluid motion--the "quick dip"--that their hand never leaves the card. Also, it enables customers to pay anytime, including "before total," preferred by half of customers, according to Index. Further, it claims to eliminate unnecessary steps and utilizes only 25% of the screen of the PIN Pad.
Looking ahead, Index expects even faster transaction times. "A significant opportunity to update terminal transmission parameters--bus speed--for next-generation EMV," in the words of Jonathan Wall, Co-Founder and CTO of Index. "We're now working with networks and issuers to bring cards to market that will enable customers to dip in a few hundred milliseconds." A core payment solution, utilizing semi-integrated architecture and hosted gateway, Index supports software for POS such as Toshiba ACE, LOC Store Management Suite, Dumac RORC, and Microsoft Dynamics AX.
One Second EMV Transaction Time From Index
Worth Your While
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Seiko Picks Up the Check
Seiko Instruments USA, Thermal Printer Division (Torrance, CA), has debuted its newest mobile thermal printer, the 2" MP-B20. A companion to the company's 4" MP-A40, introduced in July of 2016, the MP-B20 features maximum print speed of 3 in./80 mm per second at 203 dpi. It measures 3.1 in. (W) x 4.3 in. (D) x 1.7 in. (H), weighs 6.3 oz. with battery and without paper roll (at 40 mm), and withstands multiple drops from 5 ft./1.5 m.
As O/S, the MP-B20 offers compatibility with Windows 7/8/10. A pair of Software Development Kits (SDKs) address iOS and Android. Additional characteristics include communications of USB and Bluetooth, conformity to ESC-POS, cutting by tear bar, and cradle for charging. Seiko describes its design as "contemporary yet functional."
"As today's consumers and end-users are looking for a more digitally oriented lifestyle that fits a diverse set of needs, it was only fitting to develop an additional option as the follow-up to the MP-A40 mobile printer," observed Yoshi Murakami, GM of Seiko Instruments USA, Thermal Printer Division. "Similar to the MP-A40, the MP-B20 was developed to capture a diverse mix of vertical markets looking to add ease-of-use at a more compact level, specifically in mobile-driven environments like pay-at-the-table and line-busting applications."
Seiko's New 2" MP-B20 Mobile Thermal Printer
Godex Deals the ZX400i
Godex Americas (Camarillo, CA) has presented its new industrial thermal barcode printer, the 4" ZX400i Series. It consists of two models: ZX420i and ZX430i. Both use 32-bit RISC CPU, 32-MB RAM, and 128-MB Flash. As print speed, the ZX420i offers 6 in./152 mm per second at 203 dpi, while for more precise needs, the ZX430i offers 4 in./102 mm per second at 300 dpi. Easy ribbon/media loading, auto calibration button, adjustable label sensor, and upgraded 2.4" color LCD are user friendly.
As physical dimensions, the ZX400i weighs 23.8 lbs. (without consumables) and measures 10.2 in. (W) x 15.9 in. (D) x 10.8 in. (H). A full complement of interfaces includes USB 2.0, Serial RS-232, Ethernet, and USB Host, with optional Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. As expected, major O/S are supported--Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux.
In order to facilitate maintenance, there's tool-less removal design of printhead and platen. Accessories include label cutter, paper peeler, external label rewinder, label dispenser, and Centronic Parallel Port. At no cost, Godex adds its GoLabel Software, which features "what you see is what you get" operation and database integration capabilities. "Innovating on extensive customer feedback, Godex's most cost-effective and space-saving industrial printers, the ZX400i Series, integrates industrial utility with high performance and exquisite design," declared Godex. As list prices, it quotes $795 for the ZX420i and $895 for the ZX430i.
Godex' s New 4" Industrial Label Printer
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EMV Simplicity in One Day? $150
A path to EMV, "in a day for under $150," has been introduced by Creditcall (New York, NY), ID Tech (Cypress, CA), and First Data (Atlanta, GA). It supports the channel with Creditcall's ChipDNA Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows/Linux, along with ID Tech's new chip-card reader for EMV, termed Augusta. Only hardware, and not transaction processing fees, are included in this cost. It represents the first relationship between Creditcall and ID Tech. Expect additional processors for Creditcall and ID Tech in the coming weeks.
"ID Tech's partnership with Creditcall provides merchants with the seamless path to EMV they have been waiting for," enthused Bill Rorick, VP of Business Development at ID Tech. "This solution provides merchants with an easy and extremely cost-effective way to begin to accept EMV transactions without changing their basic payment process. With the Augusta, the switch from magnetic transactions to chip card transactions is almost as simple as just swapping out the reader."
Shipped in May of 2016, Augusta furnishes three-track, bidirectional reading of MSR and puts the EMV slot at the top for greater visibility. Available in modes of USB-HID and USB-KB, Augusta measures 1.8 in. (H) x 5 in. (L) x 1.4 in. (W), with audible and visual feedback indicators signaling good/bad card reads. Augusta is certified at EMV Level 1 and Level 2, with Quick Chip, encryption of TDES/AES, and key management via DUKPT. A longstanding supplier of card readers and peripherals for the channel, ID Tech leverages distributors such as BlueStar, Ingram Micro, M-S Cash Drawer, POS Portal, and ScanSource POS and Barcode.
Augusta MSR/EMV Reader by ID Tech
A Basketful of Analytics
Software 4 Retail Solutions (Aurora, NE) has fashioned its S4Vision Software for the Scan Advantage Program at the western wholesaler, Unified Grocers (Commerce, CA). A state-of-the-art business intelligence platform, it accumulates and analyzes real-time transaction data from the POS, for display on desktop, tablet, or smartphone of the store owner or manager. With drill down capability, it reveals chain and store sales, including period-over-period trends in customer count and basket size (both number of items and average retail). Daily projections help managers anticipate product demand and customer visits.
As further capabilities, S4Vision measures key performance indicators such as open department sales, no sales, refunds, and voids, so managers can track store labor and prevent loss. Alerts are issued for abnormal activity and performance. Additionally, customer traffic can be measured against cashier labor to validate employee schedules. All result in "increased performance and sales growth," according to Rick Goertzen GM of Software 4 Retail Solutions.
"We're very pleased to add S4Vision to our suite of mobile offerings to help our independent retailer customers better compete and grow in their marketplace," relayed Brian Legate, Manager of Retail Analytics at Unified Grocers. "S4Vision is well-suited for helping our retailers take full advantage of United Grocers' Scan Advantage Program." In April, it was disclosed that Unified Grocers was sold to another wholesaler, Supervalu (Eden Prairie, MN) for $375 million. A combined entity will have sales of $16 billion, with 24 distribution centers supplying 3,000 stores in 48 states in the U.S.
S4Vision for Grocery by Software 4 Retail Solutions
Clear Sky Software (Charlotte, NC) has released its Inventory Version 3.0, adding capabilities beyond food and beverage. First, Clear Sky Housekeeping allows companies to track linens, supplies, and in-room amenities. Secondly, Clear Sky Retail provides control over gift shop operations. Lastly, Clear Sky Tableware helps hospitality sites track china, glassware, and flatware. All of these new applications support more efficient ordering, easier transfer of inventory to outlets, and counting of items by existing or system-generated barcodes, according to the ISV. Reports are issued by date, location, vendor, item, and invoices, and can be exported to multiple file types. "For the hospitality industry, this establishes a single solution for controlling beverage, food, housekeeping, retail, and tableware inventories," expressed Jay Williams, Director of Marketing and Sales for Clear Sky Software. "All of these systems can be bundled together in any combination and implemented as an on-premise or hosted solution. A bonus for our existing and new clients: all five inventory applications use the same user interface which supports faster ramp-up times and easier cross-training."
Bixolon Offers Driver's Education
Bixolon America (Torrance, CA) has extended capabilities for its thermal printers with an Auto-Format 4" x 6" Label Driver and Linux Software Development Kit (SDK). Offered at no cost, the "Z46" Windows Driver, which supports the company's 4" thermal line, automatically resizes and formats an A-4 sized 8.5" x 11" print file to an A-6 sized 4" x 6" file. It enables printing on a wide range of media including thermal receipt paper rolls, tickets, and labels. In making its announcement, Bixolon noted that many 4" x 6" labels today are still printed via laser or inkjet.
Also offered at no cost, the Linux SDK supports the family of mobile thermal printers by Bixolon. It holds Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Sample Code to speed development for Linux Kernel 2.6.32 (and higher). "With its inherent lower cost, stability, and security, organizations are beginning to look at Linux as an ideal alternative for their enterprise systems," advised John Kim, Director of Marketing for Bixolon.
"We are committed to software and tools that add value to our products in the field," stated Kim. "Our products have a long life, so whenever we can deliver new functionality that increases the ROI for our existing users, we're going to invest in development." As distributors in the U.S., Bixolon has BlueStar, Ingram Micro, Metropolitan Sales, and M-S Cash Drawer. In 2016, for the third year in a row, Bixolon was named global mobile receipt printer market leader by research company Chunichisha in Japan, with share of 32%.
Bixolon's SLP-TX420 4" Thermal Desktop Printer
SDG: Start Your Blue ID-Engines
SDG Systems (Pittsburgh, PA) has developed middleware for Android and Android Things--cleverly called "Blue ID-Engine." A replacement for the firm's previous products, EPX-Barcode and EPX-RFID, Blue ID-Engine furnishes simultaneous control of diverse barcode scanning and UHF RFID devices, as well as other end-points. A Java Software Development Kit (SDK) integrates easily with Android Studio, according to the ISV.
"We built the ID-Engine software for Android for a couple of significant reasons," explained Todd Blumer, CEO of SDG Systems. "First, the Android support from RFID module and barcode scanner manufacturers is often non-existent or difficult for developers to integrate with their software. Additionally, we are seeing a noteworthy increase in the number of Android-based embedded solutions that require RFID, including gate proximity and control systems, inventory management, environmental sensing, and industrial equipment usage."
One such IoT solution is being implemented by two prominent players in Auto ID: RFID Ready (Columbia, MD) and The Swiftsure Group (Seattle, WA). Working together, they are building an "intelligent" cloud-based inventory management solution for the pharmaceutical industry. "The Blue ID-Engine software allowed us to quickly address the needs of our customer," corroborated Tim Buckley, VP of Sales for RFID Ready. "We were able to provide them with a demonstration and sample source code in just a few days."
SDG Systems Launches New Auto ID Middleware
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NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Verifone Reduces Carbon
Verifone (San Jose, CA) has unwrapped its new mobile POS, Carbon 8. It follows release of the Carbon 10 in April of 2016, and has smaller 8" merchant-facing tablet (1280 x 800), instead of 10". As with the Carbon 10, it has 5" customer-facing tablet (854 x 480). Also, it adds shoulder strap for easy carrying and optional, detachable 2" thermal receipt printer with paper roll diameter of 30 mm.
Characteristics of Carbon 8 mirror Carbon 10. In the merchant tablet, there's Intel Atom x5 Quad-Core CPU at 1.8 GHz, 1-GB/16-GB RAM, and Android Lollipop 5.1. (In the terminal, Linux-based V/OS.) As additional features: capacitive touchscreen, one- and two-dimensional scanning via two-megapixel camera, and eight-hour, 5000-mAh battery. As communications: USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. As expected, the range of payment types are accommodated: MSR, EMV, and NFC. And finally, as security: Payment Card Industry (PCI) PTS Version 4.
As segments requiring such added portability, Glen Robson, EVP and Global Head of Solutions at Verifone, identified hotel checkout, pay-at-the-table, and curbside assistance. Merchants have access to the Verifone App Marketplace. "Carbon 8 is a good example of the way POS is evolving, providing merchants with a multi-functioning and integrated system that can be customized for vertical applications and is adaptable to changing consumer expectations," contributed Thad Peterson, Senior Analyst for the Aite Group (Boston, MA).
Verifone's Carbon 8 Mobile POS Terminal
Alien Emissaries Are Dispatched
Alien Technology (San Jose, CA) seeks to simplify deployment of RFID with its new bundle, consisting of its enterprise reader for EPC Gen 2, the ALR-F800-X, and its new software, dubbed "Emissary." A number of benefits are cited, including familiar device and location naming for multiple read points, simple visualization and definition of reader and non-reader hardware, and built-in common activities (e.g., read tags, turn on lights). In addition, via Windows, workflows are distributed across multiple readers, tag standards are automatically interpreted, and tag data reports are consolidated and transferred to the server.
"It's important to emphasize that this tool is complementary to our value-added partners and is designed to allow them to focus on their differentiation and less on the basics," elaborated Neil Mitchell, Senior Director of Marketing with Alien Technology. "We believe that this tool is critical since the RFID industry has seen large implementations fail due to lack of system elegance and efficiency, requiring project managers to continuously keep these disparate hardware and software elements in sync. The task, then, is to eliminate layers of complexity and cost, minimizing junctions of potential failure and greatly increasing system efficiency and utility."
Emissary comes embedded inside the ALR-F800-X at no additional cost and ready to use "out-of-the-box," without the complexities associated with downloading special licenses. Each ALR-F800-X supports four additional readers (for five readers in total), and no additional Edge Server is required (the ALR-F800-X performs this function). "The ALR-F800-X with Emissary will be the first in a range of Alien products supporting the reduction of RFID infrastructure costs and complexities," shared Pat Ervin, President of Alien Technology. A leader in passive UHF RFID, including chips, tags, labels, and readers, Alien Technology landed in 1994.
A New Bundle Simplifies the RFID Infrastructure
Sons and daughters will spend more than ever on Mother's Day, according to the National Retail Federation's Annual Survey. Estimates have an average of $186.39 for the holiday, up from last year's $172.22. With 85% of consumers surveyed celebrating the holiday, total spending is expected to reach $23.6 billion. That's the highest number in the survey's 14-year history, topping last year's previous record of $21.4 billion. According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $5 billion on jewelry (purchased by 36% of shoppers), $4.2 billion on special outings such as dinner or brunch (56%), $2.6 billion on flowers (69%), $2.5 billion on gift cards (45%), $2.1 billion on clothing (37%), $2 billion on consumer electronics (15%), and $1.9 billion on personal services such as spa days (24%). When buying, 35% of consumers will head to department stores and 31% will shop at specialty stores, while 24% will support local small business. Meanwhile, 30% will shop online, up from 27% last year. Among smartphone owners, 34% will research gift ideas on their devices, while 19% will use them to make the purchase. "With spring in full bloom, many Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers," flourished Matthew Shay, President and CEO of NRF. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Ain't No Funk in RSPA
An executive search has started at the Retail Solutions Providers Association (Charlotte, NC), following the departure of President and CEO Kelly Funk. With experience as Senior Associate Director, Financial Industry, for the Alzheimer's Association, Funk joined the RSPA as President and CEO in April of 2014. Fixing specifically on retail IT, and POS, and VARs, RSPA runs the annual summer RetailNow Show (this year on August 6 to 9 in Las Vegas, NV).
"I will be stepping away from RSPA to spend time focusing on my family," commented Funk. "As such, I will recommend and support the executive committee as they begin the selection process for the new RSPA President. I'm grateful for my time with the Association, and have great respect and appreciation for the entire membership of RSPA."
"As the President and CEO of RSPA, Kelly led the charge to drive the RSPA forward in the point-of-sale technology ecosystem," remarked Tom Reichart, Chairman of the Board of Directors for RSPA (and VP of Business Development for Vantiv Integrated Payments). "During her tenure, the RSPA expanded their value-add footprint on many fronts, including membership services, industry education venues, legal assistance, scholarship campaigns, and affinity programs. We thank her for her years of service, and wish her well in her future endeavors."
Kelly Funk, President and CEO, Leaves the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA)
Saddling Up at POS Partners
A pair of moves for POS Partners. First, the VAR has enlisted Tony Campisi as its new Business Development Manager. Most recently, he was Territory Manager for NCR/Aloha (2015 to 2017). Additional employers have included Midwest POS Solutions (2014 to 2015), POS Solutions (2011 to 2013), CRS Group (2005 to 2011), and Micros Systems (2002 to 2005). Campisi will be based in the headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.
Secondly, POS Partners has opened its new office in Orlando, FL. It will be led by Tim Lockhart, who has been hired as Managing Partner. He brings relevant experience as National Sales Manager for TSYS (2014 to 2016), preceded by roles at Elavon (2013 to 2014) and Sterling Payment Technologies (2012 to 2013). "POS Partners has all of the technology that customers are looking for and that their legacy POS systems cannot provide: pay-at-the-table, EMV, custom web and mobile apps, multi-site cloud reporting, portable server terminals, and guaranteed ROI," proclaimed Lockhart
Earlier, in February, POS Partners established its office in San Francisco, CA. As Managing Partner, it engaged Jack Stevens, former Independent Sales/District Manager for Hospitality Solutions International (1996 to 2005). As markets, POS Partners focuses on restaurants, entertainment, and senior living. It holds certification for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Qualified Integrator and Reseller (QIR) for Level 4.
New Hires: Tony Campisi, Business Development Manager, and Tim Lockhart, Managing Partner for Orlando Office
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