This Week’s Product Pick
CipherLab (Plano, TX) unwrapped its 1664H two-dimensional scanner for healthcare. Alongside its antimicrobial and disinfectant-ready housing, the 1664H furnishes an extremely portable form factor, Bluetooth communications, and 4 MB of memory. With depth of field ranging from 1.4 to 15 inches, resolution of 3 mil, and speed of 100 scans/second, 1664H supports multiple symbologies for worldwide usage. Low power consumption provides up to 40 working hours on one charge of its Lithium-Ion battery. Finally, the device comes with free Windows-based ScanMaster software. “We understand the growing need for two-dimensional barcodes in pharmaceutical and healthcare applications,” remarked Sherman Chuang, President of CipherLab. “Our 1664H antimicrobial pocket-sized scanner will surely satisfy such demands and increase staff productivity.”
1664H Scanner by CipherLab
Who Shines the Apple for POS?
An interesting question concerning the rise of iPad-based POS concerns sales of accompanying peripherals, which could be considerable. A novel source of such hardware recently appeared with the news that POS Supply Solutions (Danvers, MA), an energetic producer of consumables such as paper and ribbons, will now distribute cash drawers from APG Cash Drawer (Minneapolis) and receipt printers from Star Micronics (Edison, NJ) in support of the Square Register. To complete this package, POS Supply Solutions also offers “Waffle Technology” card reader cleaning products, which have long complemented its product line.
Two cash drawers will be stocked, the APG Vasario Series and the APG Series 100, so merchants have flexibility in features and footprint. In the case of printing, Star’s TSP143LAN and TSP654L deliver 22 receipts per minute and 30 receipts per minute at 203 dpi, respectively, with logo storage capability. Star’s devices also support iPod Touch and iPhone, in addition to iPad, and thermal paper can be sourced from POS Supply Solutions in packages of 10 rolls and 50 rolls, as well as BPA-free.
“We are confident that our new cash drawers and receipt printers will fulfill a need among small business customers utilizing Square Register payment processing,” stated Stephen Enfield, President of POS Supply Solutions. “Our ability to also offer thermal paper and cleaning cards makes us a one-stop shop.” Earlier, in May, POS Supply added its new product line of coin and currency counters.
Square Register POS Configuration With Peripherals
PayPal on the Prowl
If PayPal doesn’t succeed in penetrating traditional retail, it won’t be for lack of trying. Over the past week, the company announced major advances on all three fronts of its recent campaign--hardware providers, solution developers, and the customers themselves. By adding VeriFone Systems and Equinox Payments to its earlier agreement with Ingenico, for instance, PayPal now has the top three worldwide makers of payment terminals in its fold, with corresponding penetration into their wide installed base of merchants.
“VeriFone’s extensive customer base and strong technology make it a natural ally for PayPal as we continue to deliver on our strategy to bring intelligent electronic payments and value-added offers to brick-and-mortar stores,” commented Don Kingsborough, VP of Retail and Pre-Paid Services for PayPal (San Francisco). To be teamed with VeriFone’s MX Solutions family (and the L5300 and L5200 from Equinox Payments and Telium 2 from Ingenico), PayPal will use an access card and PIN or mobile phone number and PIN to process payments to the user’s account. Unlike Google Wallet and Isis, it should be noted, near-field communication (NFC) is not required.
To date, Home Depot has marked PayPal's marquee placement in retail, but that changed last week with the announcement of 15 new merchants accepting the payment scheme. These include Abercrombie & Fitch, Advance Auto Parts, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Guitar Center, Jamba Juice, JCPenney, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Nine West, Office Depot, Rooms to Go, Tiger Direct, and Toys “R” Us. Of special interest to RRN.Com readers, PayPal has also begun its seduction of the POS software community, signaling its intentions to move into the mid-market. Four emerging developers will tie PayPal into their applications: Erply (New York), Leapset (Redwood City, CA), ShopKeep (New York), and Vend Ltd. (San Francisco).
VeriFone Terminal Carries PayPal Branding
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Acrylic Armor for Tablets
Following successful development for Foot Locker, Armor Active (Sandy, UT) has put its Strata enclosure for the iPad into general release. Named for its layered acrylic construction, and designed to solve vandalism suffered by aluminum enclosures, Strata upgrades iPads for use as self-service POS terminals or information kiosks. As benefits, the manufacturer has listed an abrasion-proof transparent front surface, tamper-proof screws, selectable access points, and venting on the back plate for heat dissipation.
Moving beyond the Foot Locker formulation, Armor Active has expanded Strata with three new models: Spectrum, Swipe+Square, and Swipe+iDynamo. Spectrum allows customers to choose from colors and textures to customize their enclosure. As its name suggests, Swipe+Square secures the Square credit card reader from loosening or theft, with fixed position and slide plate support. This responds to many customer complaints regarding loss of connectivity with the Square reader due to pivoting in the headphone jack, according to Armor Active. Similarly, Swipe+iDynamo exemplifies the first acrylic iPad POS enclosure designed specifically for the MagTek iDynamo magnetic-stripe reader (MSR).
In order to display the iPad, Armor Active also markets its acrylic table mount in low-profile, wedge shape, in homage to the Apple retail stores. Since the iPad’s home button is exposed with this particular enclosure, Armor Active offers software that will disable the home button without needing to “jail break” the device. Testifying to the success of Strata, Foot Locker plans to deploy four or five iPad kiosks in each of its 3,000 stores in the U.S.
Spectrum iPad Enclosure by Armor Active
Inside Intel: Impinj’s New RFID Chip
Impinj, Inc. (Seattle) has unveiled its Monza X-2K Dura and Monza X-8K Dura RFID tags, engineered to deliver advantages in shipping and marketing for manufacturers of consumer electronics. These novel packaged chip offerings, which are compatible with traditional printed circuit board manufacturing, feature expanded memory and flexible configuration as well as digital wireline communication with other on-board components such as microprocessors and sensors. A microprocessor accesses the Monza X chip’s memory under powered operation, with an RFID reader effective at all times. This allows end-users, manufacturers, and service providers to control the functionality of an electronic device via wireless RFID.
“At Intel we believe that embedding UHF RFID into electronics has the potential to dramatically impact not only Intel-based products, but all electronic devices,” declared Shahrokh Shahidzadeh, Senior Principal Engineer in Intel’s Software and Solutions Group (Hillsboro, OR), responsible for Intel’s RFID efforts. “We commissioned Impinj to develop the Monza X-2K and X-8K Dura products to help fulfill the vision we developed with our customers for embedding RFID tags.” Monza X-2K, with 2 KB of memory, can be ordered immediately, and Monza X-8K, with 8 KB of memory, will be coming out in August.
Impinj demonstrated three interesting applications for the new chip at the recent RFID Journal Live Conference in Orlando. In the first, Monza X supported electronic price tags that can be updated wirelessly using existing RFID infrastructure or handheld readers in retail stores. For the second, Monza was used for theft protection by locking Intel’s Windows 8 tablet for transit, to be encoded as usable at the time of POS. Impinj also showed how retailers can load gift cards, special offers, and language settings onto the tablet at the POS through the Monza chip while the unpowered product remains in its packaging. As reported in RRN.Com, Intermec has added such "No Touch Configuration" via RFID in its new PM43 and PM43c thermal label printers. EM Microelectronic supplies those UHF chips.
Miniature Monza Dura RFID Tag by Impinj
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New Scenery at Retail Realm
DIGIOP (Indianapolis, IN) has entered into partnership with Retail Realm (Sonoma, CA), an established distributor of Microsoft Retail Management System POS to resellers. Under this agreement, DIGIOP’s video and data management software (VDMS) will become the first to provide Retail Realm’s Microsoft RMS customers with the ability to link video from the POS and people counting devices, according to the two parties. In addition to detecting fraudulent transactions and providing relevant video for verification, such integration may be used to provide retailers with unexpected benefits in merchandising, store layout, and customer service.
“We’re very pleased for the opportunity to demonstrate the power of video and data integration to the broader range of Microsoft RMS customers, so they can gain greater business intelligence to help optimize their workflow,” shared Rich Mellott, DIGIOP’s President. “DIGIOP Elements was specifically designed for applications such as retail, to provide business owners, managers, and loss prevention teams with one interface for critical data, and to provide real-time notifications and forensic analysis tools to prevent shrink, improve operational efficiencies, and increase overall profitability.” DIGIOP and Retail Realm said they will refocus their efforts internationally as part of this new pact.
Somewhat quietly, Retail Realm has established its foothold in the retail Microsoft community, starting with its support for QuickSell by Sales Management Systems, before Microsoft’s acquisition of that core program. Serving resellers in North and South America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Retail Realm bills itself as “true value-added distributor” with training and certification, pre-sales and after-sales support, and lead generation. It also creates add-ons and utilities around Microsoft RMS in order to address gift and loyalty, mobility, ticketing, customer pricing, and item management.
Video Software by DIGIOP Watches the Floor
89 Degrees Separates Ikea
Furniture merchant Ikea has leveraged kiosks and tablets to attract over 1.6 million members to its customer relationship management (CRM) program in the past several months. Managed by 89 Degrees (Burlington, MA), and dubbed Ikea Family, this program delivers special offers and benefits to customers, including branded merchandise and details of promotional events. “Not only are there now millions of members, but they are highly engaged and spend more when they visit Ikea,” reported Diane Zoll, Manager of Ikea Family U.S.
In the store, the merchandising journey begins at the so-called Family Shop, which features everyday items from “backpacks to bathrobes,” in the words of Ikea’s marketing department. In order to enroll, consumers use self-service terminals from Kiosk Information Systems (Louisville, CO), which issue membership cards. By scanning their cards on subsequent visits, consumers may track their chances on monthly $100 Family Sweepstakes and receive Ikea Family discounts exclusive to the program.
During grand openings and other high-volume periods, Ikea co-workers utilize the store’s tablet PC application to enroll participants. Ongoing communications are strictly digital, according to Ikea and 89 Degrees, including members-only website, ongoing e-mails, and mobile alerts. Response rates are extremely high, reputedly, more than doubling traditional retail digital communications. “We’ve been amazed at the response to Ikea Family,” indicated Laura Saati, VP at 86 Degrees, “and gratified that the digital experience we’ve designed is able to support operations while dramatically increasing customer engagement.”
Kiosk Anchors CRM Program for Furniture Retailer
RES Software (Philadelphia) has released RES Workspace Manager 2012, part of its Dynamic Desktop Studio for enterprise computing. Most notably, RES Workspace Manager 2012 now delivers relay server capability, which provides greater support for complex and disparate environments, reduces the volume of network traffic, and offers functionality not found in other desktop management systems, according to the developer. Administrators of IT can select from and combine three modules of RES Workspace Manager 2012--Composition & Personalization, Advanced Administration, and Security & Performance, with the relay server component offered across them. In general, the relay server acts as the middleman between the agent and the backend data store and may be daisy-chained together for cloud-based projects. RES Workspace Manager 2012 also allows IT administrators to intercept and manage applications more easily, along with additional benefits in context-awareness, desired user state management, and delivery technology independence. “Today we are seeing RES Workspace Manager implementations of tens of thousands of concurrent users,” related Bob Janssen, CTO of RES Software. “And we can easily foresee the time when our enterprise accounts and managed service provider customers, especially those with multi-tenant deployments, will need even greater scalability--up to hundreds of thousands of users. With the enhanced RES Workspace Manager 2012, we’ve put that capacity into place.”
It’s POS Summer! Everybody in the Pool!
Groupon, the daily deal maker, has made one of the big splashes in our industry by snapping up Breadcrumb POS (New York), which bases its restaurant management system on Apple’s iPad, the cloud, and peripherals from traditional channel vendors. Breadcrumb’s application gets downloaded at no cost, with services beginning at $99 per month. Only launched in 2011, Breadcrumb POS was purchased for $10 to $15 million, according to industry reports, and will function as “Groupon Pospitality.”
“The team behind Breadcrumb shares our passion to build affordable and intuitive products that make it easier for local merchants to manage their business,” wrote Mihir Shah, VP of Mobile, on Groupon’s blog. “We’re thrilled to welcome founder Seth Harris and his team to the Groupon family. Seth boasts more than 12 years of hospitality management experience, making him uniquely empathetic to the tight budgets and unique needs of business owners in the food and beverage industry, who often struggle to find technology products that will work perfectly for them.”
“Breadcrumb will continue to serve new and existing clients and we look forward to offering their product to our existing merchant partners,” continued Shah. “Also, for Groupon merchant partners that use Breadcrumb’s point-of-sale system, we’ll be able to significantly improve the process of redeeming Groupon.” Breadcrumb POS represents the twelfth technology developer that Chicago-based Groupon has acquired within the past year, and the first directly involved in POS. The company is also rumored to be testing its own mobile POS platform to compete with Square and VeriFone’s SAIL. Makes sense since mobile devices now log 30% of transactions for Groupon, which this editor always buys and rarely redeems.
Mihir Shah, VP of Mobile, Groupon
Systech’s Bridge Over Troubled Networks
Systech Corporation (San Diego) has addressed the problem of disparate data bridging requirements for commercial and retail networks with its new SysLINK M2M Gateway, with the acronym designating “machine-to-machine.” A full-function router addressing common protocols, VPN, and firewall requirements, SysLINK M2M Gateway provides secure communications for POS (with PCI PA-DSS compliance) as one of its benefits. Additionally, normal Internet traffic can be routed on physically independent Ethernet ports and multiple SSIDs provide password-protected wireless access points.
“In the world of M2M, there are many interfaces and standards in use today, and the number is expected to grow in the future,” Systech quoted Sam Lucero, M2M & Embedded Practice Leader at ABI Research. “It is often impractical to implement a gateway that is limited to a single purpose, or that talks only to a subset of the protocols. The SysLINK gateway is well able to communicate and bridge a wide variety of protocols and standards, while providing local intelligence to analyze, filter, and take action. This kind of flexible M2M solution is what will contribute to growing the M2M market from today’s 111 million connections to over 453 million connections in 2017.”
SysLINK also incorporates interface slots that may be optionally populated to extend the features and functions of the gateway. “Just like a desktop computer, customers can order and configure the SysLINK gateway with exactly the hardware and software needed for any application,” pointed out Robert Lutz, Director of Business Development and Product Management at Systech Corporation. “Option cards can even be added or replaced in the field.” Such upgrades include Wi-Fi, 2G/3G/4G LTE cellular, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, modem, and digital, serial, and analog dial-up ports. Finally, Linux OS has been embedded at the factory for maximum flexibility.
SysLINK Gateway Breaks Single Function Mold
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Smoke Signals from Retalix
Retalix (Plano, TX) has deployed its Demand-Driven Replenishment scheme for Family Express convenience stores in Indiana. Under this system, the merchant has reduced its tobacco order size by 21%, while increasing its average monthly inventory turnover rate per store by 2.5 turns, according to the two parties. The software application also has helped decrease the merchant’s average inventory period for tobacco products on hand by 2.4 days.
Moreover, Demand-Driven Replenishment has given Family Express an option to automatically re-order higher percentages of all items in its stores, reducing time spent on inventory management, and thus improving customer service. As part of this changeover in methodologies, out-of-stock rates have been significantly reduced across the board. Under its new logistics model, described as "unique," Family Express consolidates 25 traditional direct-store-delivery (DSD) weekly shipments into one daily drop-off.
“Demand-Driven Replenishment is truly changing the game of inventory management,” suggested Todd Michaud, President of Retalix USA. “By combining our proprietary science with 30 years of retail experience, our demand forecasting and inventory replenishment system has been built to help retailers like Family Express efficiently and effectively reduce out-of-stocks, decrease losses from spoiled or damaged goods, and improve their overall inventory position and profitability.”
Demand-Driven Replenishment Satisfies Family Express
A Mongolian Horde of Back Office
WhenToManage (Ann Arbor, MI) will roll out its cloud-based back-office system for HuHot Mongolian Grill franchisees, following successful testing over the past four months at 15 sites. This package includes web-based scheduling, inventory management, and operations reporting, all integrated to the POS. Founded in 1999 in Montana, somewhat surprisingly, HuHot Mongolian Grill has grown to 44 outlets in 15 states and has been named one of the restaurant chains to watch by several industry sources. It joins customers such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Lone Star Steakhouse for WhenToManage.
“WhenToManage met all of our criteria for reporting and cost control solutions at the enterprise and store level,” observed Jeff Martin, VP of Operations with HuHot. “They were able to take the most effective reports created from our core franchise partners and share these as dashboard components and best practices. We can now offer any franchise owner this reporting and operational toolkit to track top line, bottom line, and everything in-between. Additionally, we are now positioned to have real-time data that can assist us in identifying important and ever-changing trends in the field.”
“With HuHot, we were able to take what we learned at the store level and then connect the reporting and operational requirements at the corporate level to create the system that reports instantly on store successes and challenges,” relayed Walker Thompson, VP of Sales and Marketing at WhenToManage. “With this model, and through the use of our labor and inventory apps, stores will experience lower operating costs and justify greater investments into their marketing, people, and growth plans. Or, frankly, owners can just sit back and enjoy the increased profits.”
POS Dashboard Supplements WhenToManage System
Worldwide mobile payment transactions will surpass $171.5 billion in 2012, up 62% from 2011 values of $105.9 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. Likewise, the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million in 2012, jumping from 160.5 million in 2011. Looking ahead, Sandy Shen, Research Director, predicted “global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42% annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting market worth of $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016.” Web/WAP comprises the preferred access technology in North America and Western Europe where mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on user devices. Gartner expects Web/WAP access to account for about 88% of total transactions in North America and about 80% in Western Europe by 2016. Near-field communication (NFC) transactions will remain relatively low through 2015, although growth will start to pick up thereafter. “NFC payment involves changes in user behavior and requires collaboration among stakeholders that includes banks, mobile carriers, card networks, and merchants,” stated Shen. “It takes time for both to happen, so we don’t expect NFC payments to come into the mass market before 2015. In the meantime, ticketing, rather than retail payment, will drive NFC transactions.” Overall, merchandise purchases will propel mobile transactions in North America and Western Europe, both online and store-based. In particular, Gartner sees many merchants introducing their own mobile payment services, in emulation of Starbucks.
Cicero Lauded by Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro has moved Carla Cicero into the position of VP, Sales and Vendor Management, for its Data Capture/POS Division (Carlsbad, CA). Previously, Cicero served as VP for Strategic VARs for Ingram Micro, having joined the distributor in 1994. In 2011, CRN Magazine named her as one of the “100 People You Don’t Know But Should” and cited her $1 billion in business from leading system integrators.
Based in Buffalo, New York, Cicero will report to Justin Scopaz, GM and VP of Ingram Micro’s DC/POS and Physical Security Business Units. Prior to Ingram Micro, she was National Accounts Executive with Cameron Computers, where she was responsible for major customers such as Eastman Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, University of Rochester, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. As RRN.Com readers may know, Mark Rachiele, who for three years held the title of Director, Vendor Management and Marketing, has left Ingram Micro.
Ingram Micro DC/POS also celebrated the success of its 2012 Solutions Partner Invitational, which drew more than 400 representatives from resellers and vendors to San Diego in May. “One of the top priorities at this year’s Spring Solutions Partner Invitational is to show our partners how to seize the infinite possibilities at hand by collaborating with one another and forging tighter working relationships with Ingram Micro and our vendors,” said Scopaz. “Over the last two years, Ingram Micro has aligned and specialized its business to better serve the needs of our partners, and we remain committed to making it easier for our partners to engage with our sales, marketing, and technical support teams, as well as leverage the growing portfolio of enablement resources, converging technology solutions, and cloud-based services we have to offer.”
Carla Cicero, VP, Sales and Vendor Management, Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS Division
DLI Calls Upon Sales Director
DLI (LaPorte, IN) has enlisted Joe Alexander as its Director of Sales. He comes to DLI, which stands for Data Ltd. Inc., with 25 years of sales experience in mobile computing in both the channel and direct arenas. Former employers include LXE, now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, as well as Symbol Technologies, now part of Motorola Solutions.
“Joe’s knowledge in the mobile computing market will drive growth in our technology solutions for focused vertical markets,” remarked Bryan Wesolek, DLI’s President. “He brings his long track record of building and expanding sales through clear and open communication. This is an addition that will benefit DLI, but more importantly, our clients. We are delighted to welcome Joe to DLI at this time of opportunity and expansion.”
A primary goal set forth by DLI is an enlargement of its channel program for VARs, ISVs, MSPs, and OEMs. “Tablets are profoundly transforming how the enterprise conducts business,” noted Alexander. “There is a tremendous opportunity for our DLI Business Solution Partners to dramatically impact the markets they serve over the next decade. I look forward to being part of this transformative event and being associated with the talented individuals at DLI.”
Joe Alexander, Director of Sales, DLI
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