This Week’s Product Pick
Brother Mobile Solutions (Broomfield, CO) has unwrapped its PT-E300 handheld labeler. As target markets, the company lists telecom, electrical, outside plant, security, and audio-visual industries. PT-E300 produces rugged laminated labels with new font-sizing technology and advanced alphanumeric serializing. A QWERTY keyboard, large LCD display, and intuitive navigation combine for ease-of-use. PT-E300 offers compatibility with both HGe and TZe varieties of P-Touch tapes that offer adhesive and color choices, as well as new HSe Tube heat-shrink media. "It's designed to just be picked up and used, without going through an extensive learning curve," relayed David Crist, SVP of Sales and Marketing for Brother Mobile Solutions, speaking of the PT-E300. "Just press a few keys to select the desired label type and a few parameters and you're ready to print."
Brother PT-E300 Label Printer
Picking Clover at First Data
First Data Corporation (Atlanta) has turned its gaze to complete POS with the launch of Clover Station. First Data, RRN.Com readers may recall, purchased Clover Network, an ISV in Mobile POS, last year. With this week's announcement, made at Money2020 in Las Vegas, another formidable competitor now enters the market through the side door, with cloud-based software, payment processing, and customer support blazing.
Over the past several months, First Data quietly piloted Clover Station with hundreds of small businesses in several cities in the U.S. Following positive feedback, the POS will be made available to customers of Bank of America Merchant Services by the end of 2013. It features 11.6-inch touchscreen, Android OS, and tokenization via TransArmor by First Data. An approach to reflect consumer tastes had been followed with brushed aluminum and white glass accents for the terminal, receipt printer, and cash drawer. As of press time, pricing had not been announced.
"Clover Station was thoughtfully designed to address all aspects of merchant-customer interaction from payment processing and analytics to marketing campaigns and loyalty management," related Leonard Speiser, President and Co-Founder of Clover Network (Mountain View, CA). "Its sleek design and functionality combined with the opportunity for thousands of developers to build on top of it, make Clover the most intuitive and flexible solution available in the POS market today. We're excited to partner with Bank of America Merchant Services in launching Clover Station to small and medium-sized businesses this quarter and with other great distribution partners soon."
First Data Debuts Clover POS
Printronix (Irvine, CA) has revamped its partner program, "Path to Profit," with new levels, benefits, and an emphasis on selling service contracts. As part of this effort, kicked off this month, Printronix has signed Fuji Film (Valhalla, NY) as an independent third-party service provider for its printer products, including both the dot-matrix and thermal lines. In support of this approach, "we're giving a 5% discount, an instant rebate, on the list price of hardware, if there's a service pack attached to it," RRN.Com was told by Marcio Lucas, Senior Channel Marketing Manager at Printronix, who heads up the partner program.
Path to Profit 2.0, or in shorthand, "P2P 2.0," now features four partner levels--Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Authorized. As often the case, standing of individual resellers has been based upon revenue, business model, and engagement with the manufacturer. A full roster of benefits has been included, such as discounts, deal registration, lead generation, and technical, sales, and marketing support. Under this new structure, Printronix has pooled Market Development Funds (MDF) for the Platinum, Gold, and Silver, which will be distributed "based on our interpretation of their activities," according to Lucas, "rather than as some small percentage of sales as in the past."
With existing resellers moved into the new structure, Printronix will now focus on recruitment, particularly in the area of thermal printing. Lucas cited three advantages for such resellers: "First, since our products are not overly distributed, there's definitely good opportunity here. There's not going to be fifty other resellers trying to undercut your price. Secondly, we give great margins to our partners, significantly higher than you'll find in many places. Third, we produce strong, adaptable products that resellers find easy to sell and support." In particular, Printronix will focus on small to midsized resellers, with delivery handled by Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS, ScanSource, and Synnex Corporation.
Marcio Lucas, Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Printronix
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Intermec Exercises Its Versatility
Intermec (Everett, WA), now part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, has showcased its newest rugged mobile computer, the CN51, with choice of Windows or Android O/S. For added flexibility, the CN51 also carries voice-capable Flexible Network Radio, allowing the same device to switch on the fly between CDMA or UMTS wireless networks in North America (as well as 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, and GPS). A four-inch resistive touchscreen with outdoor readability provides more room for application viewing with less scrolling, as well as more space for capturing signatures, notes Intermec.
An upgrade from the CN50, the CN51 features Texas Instruments' OMAP Dual Core CPU at 1.5 GHz, 1 GB RAM, and 16 GB Flash, with Micro-SD Slot. It's equipped with smart battery technology that guarantees full eight-hour shifts for workers. Measuring 6.5 in. (L) x 2.9 in. (W) x 1.3 in. (D), and weighing 12.3 oz., the CN51 withstands multiple five-foot drops to concrete and has been rated to IP-64 against water and dust.Either Intermec's EA30 or EA31 imager (with LED-based aimer) may be ordered for reading one and two-dimensional barcodes with high performance in low light environments and extreme motion tolerance. A five-megapixel camera facilitates Mobile Document Imaging (MDI) and Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) in the field. "With support for both Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 and Android 4.1, the CN51 underscores our commitment to innovation and ability to meet the needs of the global workforce," stated Peter Fehl, VP for Global Marketing at Honeywell Scanning & Mobility (Fort Mill, SC).
Intermec's CN51 With Windows or Android
Of ID and IR at RF Code
RF Code (Austin, TX) has unveiled its small-size active RFID Asset Tag, the IR-Enabled M174, for use in the data center and elsewhere. Measuring 1.6 in. (L) x 1.3 in. (W) x 0.35 in. (D), and weighing 0.4 oz., the M174 features greater Infrared (IR) sensitivity for reading in any direction, improved data transmission for higher accuracy in dense environments, and the choice of flag, loop, or thumb-screw installation tabs for flexibility in mounting as well as recycling. Typical transmission range reaches 30 feet, with operation at 433 MHz.
Deployed in concert with RF Code's A740 Rack Locators and A750 Room Locators, the M174 allows end-users to instantly track, identify, and monitor assets in IT. Every tag broadcasts its unique ID and IR location using RF Code's communications protocol, with automatic synchronization within the system. Powered by coin cell battery with five-year lifetime, and enclosed in rugged polycarbonate casing, the M174 withstands wide humidity and temperature fluctuations, according to the vendor.
"Average activity taking place in data centers can surpass more than 45% of assets moved annually, so real-time tracking has become critical," counseled Richard Jenkins, VP of Global Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at RF Code. "Large enterprise customers such as CME Group, Vodafone, IBM, Dell, and Federal Express have experienced positive financial benefits through deployment of RF Code's intelligent infrastructure solutions and are eager to expand these results with the new M174 Asset Tag." Cleverly, RF Code has established its Passive-to-Active (P2A) Upgrade Program, which offers incentives for companies switching technologies in RFID.
RF Code's M174 Active RFID Asset Tag
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Standing Up With ScanSource
Archelon Enclosures (San Diego), one of the purveyors of stands and holders for consumer tablets, has signed on with ScanSource POS & Barcode (Greenville, SC). Under this agreement, ScanSource will distribute two products, XTR and EXO, for use with tablets in retail, healthcare, and education. In addition to offering its full product line, "we are committed to the channel, so our products offer attractive margin opportunities for resellers and ISVs," asserted Debi Besmer, Managing Partner for Archelon Enclosures.
Both products utilize patented technologies to secure tablets and enhance performance, according to Besmer. Some features include portrait, landscape, side-to-side, and 180-degree flip viewpoints, tamper-proof plugs, cable management, and lock-and-key detachable frames. Archelon's enclosures may be tabletop, countertop, or wall-mounted, and also are available as floor stand kiosk. Archelon, by the way, serves as part of Motivational Systems, Inc., which comes out of the interior design and commercial furnishings industry.
"As consumer-based products gain more traction in business environments, it's important to have a rugged solution that can hold and support these products. Archelon's enclosures do just that," reported Nell Alverson, Director of Merchandising at ScanSource POS & Barcode. "What's more, with Archelon's products and ScanSource's value-added services, support, and expertise with mobility solutions, resellers have more opportunities to grow their business and extend their reach."
EXO Tablet Stand From Archelon
One ISV Weather Proofs
One of the leading ISVs in retail and hospitality, pcAmerica, has moved to protect its end-users and resellers against any unexpected disruptions. Located at One Blue Hill Plaza in Pearl River, New York, the developer recently shifted to new quarters in its building, increasing its space by 50% and putting in place advanced systems. All network servers are housed in its new data center equipped with redundant electric circuits and back-up generators, for example. A high-speed fiber-optic line connects the data center to the new facility, in addition.
As part of pcAmerica's strategic move, two years in the making, they have installed an advanced VoIP phone system. Employees take their phones home with them if severe weather is forecasted or other power-related problems arise. This allows employees to make and receive calls as if they were in the office, extending uninterrupted service for customers.
"In the past several years, the East Coast has been hit with detrimental blizzards and hurricanes that left us without power and hindered our ability to do business for long stretches of time," explained Richard Rotbard, President and Owner of pcAmerica. "Our clients are our top priority and this expansion will ultimately help us serve them at a more significant level." Two popular packages, Cash Register Express and Restaurant Pro Express, are offered by pcAmerica.
Cash Register Express by pcAmerica
Trimble (Sunnyvale, CA) has released its next-generation Work Management solution. This cloud-based software enhances the productivity of mobile workforces through intelligent scheduling tools and state-of-the-art performance analytics, according to the developer. Workforce Management serves as part of Trimble's integrated suite for field service, which includes Fleet Management and Driver Safety. It now comes in two versions: Performance Insight and Performance Optimize. Performance Insight includes Performance Management Analytics with dashboards and reports showing key metrics such as quality of service, efficiency, and utilization of workers. Performance Optimize includes Performance Management Analytics coupled with real-time Scheduling and Optimization. With Performance Management Analytics, managers may look at regions, teams, and even individual workers by job type and performance. In addition, Scheduling and Optimization offers an advanced toolset that automatically identifies and updates the mobile worker's strengths (e.g., territory knowledge and skills) and then allocates the appropriate task to that worker. "In launching this next-generation Work Management, we can help transform the way work gets planned, allocated, managed, reported, and evaluated," suggested Mark Forrest, GM of Trimble's Field Service Management Division. "This can lead to lower operating costs, increased efficiencies, and improved customer service--three key challenges in field service."
A Genius Considers Working Capital
Merchant Warehouse (Boston), one of the primary payment processors in our channel, has partnered with AmeriMerchant (New York) to help find working capital for its small to midsized customers. This new relationship provides access to AmeriMerchant's Merchant Cash Advance as well as its sister company, Main Street Business Loans. According to the firm's website, Merchant Cash Advance, which draws upon future credit card sales, features an approval rate of 90%, funding of up to $200,000, and no application fees or fixed payments. Main Street Business Loans will supply $5,000 to $500,000 for qualified parties. Decisions are almost immediate in either case, according to AmeriMerchant.
"Securing working capital through a traditional bank can be a long, difficult, and tedious process for merchants," observed Andrew Altschuler, VP of Business Development for AmeriMerchant, which sells through an agent network. "We are thrilled to be joining with Merchant Warehouse to offer their customers needed working capital to help fuel the growth of their businesses." Michael Gavin, SVP of Direct and Agent Sales, heads the program for Merchant Warehouse.
Merchant Warehouse also announced two new partners for its Genius Customer Engagement Platform: Revel Systems (San Francisco) with its iPad-based POS, and ReSource, Inc. of the Rockies (Littleton, CO) with its POS and T-Quoter Shop Management. "Our integration with Genius lets us significantly expand our offering," testified Lisa Falzone, CEO of Revel Systems. "We wanted to disrupt the POS industry by giving business owners an easier way to accept payments, while more effectively monitoring their business activities and making more informed business choices. With Genius, we can offer our customers mobile commerce that extends their opportunity to leverage data and new technologies to attract new customers and keep existing customers coming back."
Genius Customer Engagement Platform
Zebra Adds More Stripes to Link-OS
Zebra Technologies Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) has updated its Link-OS environment, which makes the company's printers easier to integrate, manage, and maintain. First, the new browser-based "Profile Manager" allows end-users to centrally control printers throughout their network, whether from PC, tablet, or smartphone. Next, the new "Virtual Device" app allows end-users to switch among command languages and leverage inherent device management capabilities in Link-OS-enabled printers.
Currently supporting the iMZ220, iMZ320, QLn, and ZT200 series of Zebra printers, Link-OS significantly extends functionality, according to the vendor. "Cloud Connect" allows end-users to create new solutions and transfer existing apps to cloud-based platforms. Selected Link-OS printers feature "Print Touch" Near Field Communication tags, which automatically launch web pages and apps on NFC-enabled mobile devices. An "AirWatch Connector" app, created through the Zebra-AirWatch partnership, enables the management of multiple Link-OS devices from one console. Finally, the "Multi-Platform SDK" exposes the core features of the Link-OS apps for use by developers."At Zebra, we are always looking ahead to the changing expectations and growing demands for devices that are mobile, intelligent, and connected to the cloud," indicated Keith LeFebvre, VP of Product Marketing and Management for Zebra Technologies. "Our latest enhancements to the Link-OS environment are the next step in Zebra's continued commitment to investing in new technologies to help our channel partners and customers take advantage of the exciting opportunities that the cloud, the Internet of Things, and mobility are creating for improved visibility into enterprise value chains."
ZT200 Series of Zebra Printers Among Those Benefitting From Link-OS
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Les Bons Temps for Viableware, PayPal
Another push into the hospitality space for PayPal (San Jose, CA), which has announced support for the RAIL pay-at-the-table scheme from Viableware (Kirkland, WA). Integration will enable implementation of PayPal by more than 20 of the nation's most recognizable full-service restaurant brands within the next year, according to the two parties. Dickie Brennan's latest New Orleans restaurant, Tableau, will be the first deployment of the combined payment technologies.
Viableware's RAIL replicates the look and feel of the traditional leather bill presentation folder used at most full-service restaurants. This tablet utilizes wireless base station and hosted services to allow guests to self-swipe credit or debit cards, split the check, calculate the tip, and e-mail receipts. It integrates with restaurant leaders such as Micros, NCR Aloha, and Dinerware and has been certified to the security standards of major payment processors.
A three-story restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter, Tableau seats 325 guests, and joins Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, Palace Cafe, and Bourbon House. "We're delighted to be the first to debut this payment technology for our guests," declared Brennan, Founder of Dickie Brennan & Co. and Board Member of the National Restaurant Association. "By implementing the RAIL devices, we can present our guests the option to use modern payment methods like PayPal--in addition to cash, credit, or debit card transactions--and establish new standards for customer service."
RAIL Digital Billfold by Viableware
Shoe Fits at Tyco
Tyco Retail Solutions (Boca Raton, FL) has deployed its TrueVUE Inventory Display Execution, based upon RFID, for Saks Fifth Avenue. As key benefits of this technology, Tyco lists easier restocking, fewer markdowns, increased sales, and reduced labor costs. While this new app addresses department stores and specialty footwear, in particular, it also benefits the broader retail market, including high-end accessories and consumer electronics, according to the vendor.
Tyco's TrueVUE Inventory was rolled out for the 8th floor shoe department in Sak's flagship store in New York City. Using handheld RFID readers, sales associates take inventory of shoes daily for replenishment purposes. Previously, this process took several hours per day and achieved only 65% compliance. With this new system, counting takes 20 minutes for the entire sales floor with nearly perfect display compliance (100%), according to Saks.
"At Saks Fifth Avenue our mission is to provide an exciting selection of high fashion merchandise, and deliver exceptional service and an extraordinary shopping experience that make people look and feel their best," volunteered Ed Stagman, SVP of Store Operations for Saks Fifth Avenue. "Our women's footwear department in New York City exemplifies this commitment. With Tyco Retail Solutions, we have proven the value of RFID technology for inventory management and merchandising and will continue to leverage this technology."
Saks Deploys RFID-Based Inventory
Adoption of consumer-driven mobile payment technologies will pick up steam, according to new research from Mercury, with almost 65% of small businesses planning to participate within three years. A number of interesting facts emerged from this study. As one would expect, nearly all respondents (99%) accept credit and debit cards. So-called "unified technical integration" with POS, which requires no additional hardware, would be preferred by 71%. Interestingly, half of merchants (47%) feel their POS developer or dealer influenced their decision to the greatest degree when choosing their payment processor. A full 71% of respondents would rely on their technology or payment provider to implement their mobile solution. Showing some hesitation, 46% prefer to adopt technology only after it's been tested and proven to work. Almost two-thirds (64%) evaluated two to three payment processors before deciding on their choice. Interestingly, system financing was deemed the most important factor for respondents in purchasing their POS. Finally, 70% of merchants are already using or are interested in using value-added services. "It is clear from these results that mobile payments will continue to gain popularity," observed Randy Clark, SVP of Marketing for Mercury. "A huge opportunity for us."
Bixolon Says "Hello, Heidi!"
Bixolon America (Torrance, CA) has engaged Heidi Martin as its North American Sales Director. Her selection supports the company's focus to further develop its growing portfolio of national accounts, according to the vendor. Martin brings considerable success to her new employer, having served as Executive Account Manager with Epson America for more than ten years, exceeding sales goals, reportedly, as well as time at Strategic Systems & Technology Corporation, Axiohm, Eltron International/Zebra Technologies, and Telxon.
In her new role, Martin also will spearhead Bixolon's channel efforts, including its Mobile Printer Partner Program. In particular, she will concentrate on forming strategic alliances through her strong, existing relationships with major OEMs, VARs, ISVs, and Distributors. A leader in the global mini-printer market, Bixolon was the specialty printing division of Samsung in the 1990s, and was spun off in 2002."We are really happy to have Heidi on board with us at Bixolon," commented David Roberts, SVP of Bixolon America. "Heidi is an incredible addition to our team, where she brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience both technical and in customer relationships. Heidi will focus her efforts on our fast-growing label and mobile product lines, but will certainly be available to service her customers in all her areas of expertise."
Heidi Martin, North American Sales Director, Bixolon America
A Fast Boat to China for APG
APG Cash Drawer (Minneapolis) has enlisted Gordon Yang as its Senior Sales Manager-China. Based in Beijing, Yang will be responsible for developing and supporting customer activities in China, and will work alongside Jack Zheng, APG's Business Product Manager of China. A graduate of Beijing's University of Business and Economy, Yang's work experience includes ten years of international business efforts in electronics, mobile manufacturing, and wind turbines.
"We are living in a global marketplace," remarked John Meilahn, VP of Global Sales. "There are opportunities to participate and market in other parts of the world. It's important for us to have global support as we continue to expand our footprint. Gordon will enhance our ability to support new and existing customers in China. We are excited to have Gordon on our team."
"In the spring of 2012, we established APG China to serve the Chinese market," recounted Mark Olson, President at APG Cash Drawer. "Addition of Gordon to our team in China is the next logical step. Gordon will work closely with our established OEM partners as they expand into Asia and specifically China. He will assist them in introducing these new technologies to their customers and to help them grow their businesses. Our strategic intent remains to participate in Asia as both a source and a market. Gordon will help us achieve these goals."
APG President Mark Olson, With Gordon Yang (left), Senior Sales Manager-China, and Arthur Guan (right), President of Kami, Strategic Partner in APG China
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