Our Product Pick
MagTek, Inc. (Seal Beach, CA) has shipped its new payments case for iOS, tagged "Dynasty." Offered in two models--for iPad Air, at 11.3 in. (W) x 6.9 in. (H) x 0.7 in. (D), or iPad Mini, at 11.8 in. (W) x 5.5 in. (H) x 1 in. (D)--Dynasty furnishes MSR, EMV, NFC, and PIN Pad (PCI PTS 4x PED). With "rugged ergonomic design," it may be utilized in mobile POS or mounted via VESA. As expected, APIs and SDKs are provided. As security, there's encryption, advanced key management (DUKPT), tokenization, and card authentication--supplied under the company's MagneSafe Security Architecture. "Flexibility and security are top of mind in today's payments industry," expounded John Arato, GM and VP of Retail Solutions at MagTek, Inc., adding, "Our Dynasty fulfills both."
Dynasty Payments Case by MagTek
IHL: What Apocalypse?
Wait a minute: retailers are opening 4,000 more stores in 2017 than they are closing, and plan to open over 5,500 more in 2018, according to new research by the IHL Group (Franklin, TN). Intriguingly entitled "Debunking the Retail Apocalypse," it reviewed over 1,800 retail chains with more than 50 U.S. stores in 10 vertical segments. Rebutting conventional wisdom, it found that for every chain with a net closing of stores, 2.7 companies showed a net increase in store locations for 2017. In total, chains are opening 14,239 stores, while closing 10,123.
"The negative narrative that has been out there about the death of retail is patently false," observed Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group. "The so-called 'retail apocalypse' makes for a good headline, but it's simply not true. Over 4,000 more stores are opening than closing among big chains, and when smaller retailers are included, the net gain is well over 10,000 new stores. As well, through the first seven months of the year, retail sales are up $121.6 billion, an amount roughly equivalent to the total annual retail sales of The Netherlands."
According to IHL, the three fastest-growing core retail segments are mass merchandisers such as dollar stores (+1,905), convenience stores (+1,700), and grocery stores (+674). In hospitality, it cites table-service and fast-food restaurants (+2,754). Unsurprisingly, specialty apparel retailers are seeing the largest number of closings, with net loss of 3,137 stores. When it comes to chains shuttering stores, noted IHL, only 16 chains account for 48.5% of the total. Five of these chains (Radio Shack, Payless Shoes, Rue21, Ascena Retail, and Sears Holdings) represent 28.1% of total store closings.
"Without question, retail is undergoing some fundamental changes. The days of 'build it and they will come' are over," continued Buzek. "However, retailers that are focusing on the customer experience, investing in better training of associates, and integrating IT systems across channels will continue to succeed." For more, contact IHL.
Greg Buzek, President, IHL Group
NEXT Up for Brother Mobile
A new channel effort for Brother Mobile Solutions (Westminster, CO), named The NEXT Partner Program, seeks to draw in VARs. Grounded in "functional items," rather than sales of product, as commonly the case, it encompasses Gold and Silver Tiers. "We're excited to be the first in the mobile hardware space to offer this type of robust and inclusive partnership program, and believe it will help tap into the tremendous need and opportunity that exists for turnkey solutions," exclaimed Ravi Panjwani, VP of Marketing and Product Management for Brother Mobile Solutions.
As such "functional items," VARs may bring in new deals, promote Brother's products on their website, provide access to their sales force, and take advantage of product training. "Under this new program, smart and nimble start-ups can achieve equal footing with larger, more established VARs," elaborated Matt Moriarty, Digital and Channel Marketing Manager at Brother Mobile Solutions. "It's structured to reward loyalty, as well as growth potential and willingness to work closely together."
"We want to see new players, and new verticals, get equal love," espoused Panjwani. As pivotal benefits for VARs, he identified qualified leads, deal registration, free demo units, marketing support, and access to product roadmaps from executives at Brother Mobile Solutions. As befitting its title, The NEXT Partner Program will continue to evolve. A longer look at pure ISVs, for example, should be concluded by the end of 2017. Also, as part of this launch, Brother Mobile Solutions has opened its new dedicated Partner Portal.
Ravi Panjwani, VP of Marketing and Product Management, and Matt Moriarty, Digital and Channel Marketing Manager, at Brother Mobile Solutions
Worth Your While
RFID in Retail and Apparel
Profit Booster Dealer Conference
NRF's Big Show
ALL IN THE FAMILY
(More) Multi-Tasking With Posiflex
Posiflex USA (Hayward, CA) has unwrapped its new tablet with 10" screen, dubbed the MT4310. A companion to the 8" MT4308, rolled out in June, the MT4310 brings easier multi-tasking and greater readability--"more space to work with"--RRN.Com was told by Posiflex USA. As another benefit, the MT4310 adds integrated EMV Level 2. A full range of markets are cited by Posiflex USA: retail, hospitality, warehousing/logistics, and healthcare.
In dimensions of 10.3 in (W) x 6.9 in. (H) x 0.7 in. (D), weighing 1.6 lbs., the MT4310 features Intel Cherry Trail Quad-Core CPU at 2 GHz, 2-GB RAM, and 32/64-GB eMMC. It furnishes projected-capacitive touchscreen (1280x800) with Gorilla Glass, runs Windows 10 IoT, and holds five-megapixel rear camera. As wireless, there's Bluetooth Version 4 and 802.11a/c Wi-Fi. Also, it has passed rigorous third-party HALT/HASS (Highly Accelerated Life/Stress Test).
Addressing the "fixed terminal/mobile gap," the MT4310 offers an optional pistol grip with two-dimensional barcode scanning capability and eight-hour 5000-mAh battery pack. In the case of mobile POS, the MT4310 slips into an optional docking station with 3" thermal receipt printer (speed of 8 in./200 mm per second) and full suite of I/O (USB 2.0 x 3, Gigabit LAN x 1, Serial x 2). A card reader, with MSR, is attached on the tablet. "A flexible and unique hybrid solution for the channel," projected Posiflex USA of the MT4310.
Posiflex MT4310 Multifunctional Tablet
B-EX6 Picks Up the TABs
Toshiba America Business Solutions (Irvine, CA) has stocked its heavy-duty thermal label printer, designated B-EX6 (for large-format 6"). Offered with near-edge or flat-edge printhead, and direct-thermal or thermal-transfer technology, the B-EX6 has speed of 12 in./300 mm per second at 203 or 305 dpi. A large capacity ribbon, up to 800 m, along with the company's "Ribbon Save," lessens media replacement. It has 32-MB RAM, 64-MB Flash, and Energy Star.
With metal frame and bi-fold door, as well as front-access USB, the B-EX6 measures 13 in. (W) x 18.1 in. (H) x 12.2 in. (D), and weighs 44 lbs. A dual-motor system improves media handling while ensuring the printing of scannable labels, according to Toshiba. In addition, printheads of the B-EX6 are backed by an "industry best" three-million linear inch warranty. It has emulations of TPCL (Toshiba), ZPL II (Zebra), and DPL (Datamax), with readiness for UHF Gen2 RFID.
"Our B-EX6 Series combines the latest in barcode printer technology with advanced design," suggested Bill Melo, CMO at Toshiba America Business Solutions. "Our new large-format products round out our thermal barcode printer line, offering customers solutions for all of their labeling needs." As target markets, the company lists manufacturing, supply chain, and warehousing/logistics. It sets an MSRP of $2,995.
Toshiba's B-EX6 Thermal Label Printer
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Epson Hides the Seams
Epson America (Long Beach, CA) has welcomed Ordermark, online ordering ISV, into its ecosystem for its "intelligent" printer technology, OmniLink. Led by Alex Canter, CEO (and Owner of Canter's Deli in Los Angeles, CA), Ordermark has certified the Epson OmniLink TM-T88V-i for its "ePOS Print and Server Direct Print" technologies. Measuring 5.7 in. (W) x 5.8 in. (H) x 7.7 in. (D), weighing 3.5 lbs., the 3" thermal OmniLink T88V-i has print speed of 12 in./300 mm per second, USB x 4, VGA x 1, and, as part of the family of OmniLink, embedded retail-hardened PC.
"We're selling to restaurants around the world and they tell us that they need the speed, reliability, and affordability of our joint solution," relayed Canter. "We needed a collaborative partner that would help us exceed the expectations of our customers. There is no initial cost for restaurants to set up our system. It's plug-and-play and restaurants can start to accept more online orders within 24 hours [e.g., DoorDash, Berea's, GrubHub, etc.]. The Epson printer arrives at the restaurant pre-configured to instantly work."
"We really value our partnership with Ordermark," remarked Tom Kettell, Director of Commercial Channel Sales at Epson America. "As restaurant operators and innovators, they understand the need for seamless online ordering. Our partnership sets restaurants up with a powerful and easy-to-use online ordering solution that works right out of the box, accelerates order processing, and helps drive sales."
Epson's OmniLink TM-T88V-i Receipt Printer
A leading foodservice supplier, the Performance Food Group Company (Richmond, VA), has agreed to refer its restaurant customers to NCR Silver from the NCR Corporation (Duluth, GA). Introduced to three dozen distribution centers, under the supplier's brand of Performance Foodservice, both hardware and software for NCR Silver will be marketed under the subscription model. In addition, the customer support team of NCR Silver will provide live, 24/7 U.S.-based support.
Solutions available through this new strategic relationship include NCR Silver and NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition, for both iOS and Android. Also, PFG will soon expand its relationship with NCR by integrating its order management system with NCR Silver. It will enable restaurant operators to take orders, manage inventory and employee schedules, as well as order from PFG's list of food and food-related products--all from one platform--according to the two parties.
"The PFG team provides restaurant operators with dedicated service and high-quality products, and we're confident NCR Silver will complement these efforts," enthused Colin Armbruster, Director of Global Channel at NCR Silver. "Working with PFG supports our strategy to put intuitive and comprehensive technology in the hands of independent restaurateurs who need all-in-one technology solutions so they can focus on their customers." In all, PFG--under Performance Foodservice, Vistar, and PFG Customized--stocks 150,000 food and food-related products for over 150,000 customer locations in the U.S.
A Strategic Relationship Between the Performance Food Group Company and NCR Silver
Scandit (San Francisco, CA) has released its new scanning app, designated "Keyboard Wedge," for iOS, Android, and Windows. It adds camera-based reading of symbologies by smartphones or tablets without the need for writing new code or employing an SDK. A customizable scanning experience accommodates multiple barcodes simultaneously, or choice of individual barcodes. In the case of Android, data may promulgate multiple fields. Also, Scandit's Keyboard Wedge may be remotely configured for major deployments via mobile device management (MDM) solutions. "Keyboard Wedge is the next big step in making our data capture technology easier to use for large organizations with existing enterprise implementations," declared Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit. "Now there are no longer any technical barriers that prevent users from deploying our scanning technology in major vendor enterprise apps such as ERP, WMS, and POS."
Scandit Releases Keyboard Wedge
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Raising the Roof at Touch Dynamic
A new, bigger home for purveyor of POS, Touch Dynamic. At 36,000-sq.-ft., its new global headquarters at 121 Corporate Boulevard in South Plainfield, New Jersey, doubles the size of its former site in nearby Irvington, New Jersey. Upgrades include multiple conference rooms, larger parking lot for visitors and staff, state-of-the-art communication system, and an electric static discharge (ESD) compliant floor.
"This has been an excellent move for the company," indicated Craig Paritz, President of Touch Dynamic. "With more production space for product integration, more office space for staff, and its great location, we will be able to continue to grow and serve the channel as effectively as possible." Founded in 2001, Touch Dynamic is an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer of all-in-ones, small form factor PCs, monitors, and tablets.
Also, Touch Dynamic has announced the relocation of its distribution facility in Florida, first established in 2013. Its new address at 5525 North Nob Hill Road in Sunrise, Florida, enlarges warehouse space. "This new location is perfect for Touch Dynamic-Florida to position itself for future growth," confirmed Paritz. "As our inventory levels increase, we will continue to improve our service capabilities and seek out industry talent." His company also has facilities in Houston, Texas, and Wilsonville, Oregon.
New Global Headquarters of Touch Dynamic
An Order of Toast (Spread With HotSchedules)
A new strategic relationship between HotSchedules (Austin, TX) and Toast (Boston, MA) has drawn together labor management and POS. According to the two parties, it will provide restaurants with better understanding of how to optimize employee schedules based on historical sales data and traffic trends--this, rather than "instinct." Integration of HotSchedules takes place through the Toast Application Programming Interface (API) Partner Program. Established in 2013, Toast was named to the 2017 Forbes Cloud 100 and raised an additional funding of $100 million in July (Series C).
On its part, HotSchedules supports approximately two million users in 130,000 locations worldwide. "Our mission is to empower restaurant managers and their teams to master their operations and prepare and perform in the face of the unpredictable," related Sean Fitzpatrick, COO and Head of Product Development for HotSchedules. "Integrating Toast with HotSchedules takes all of the time, pain, and guess-work out of scheduling." Both Toast (e.g., Postec, Roswell, GA) and HotSchedules (e.g., Agilysys, Alpharetta, GA) recruit VARs.
"Toast gives incredibly detailed analytics right down to the very bottom line," testified Lisa Shad, Regional Manager at Datz Restaurant Group (Tampa, FL). "Not just that, it's incredibly user-friendly--and the fact that it we were able to have it correspond with our HotSchedules is major. I don't think it gets much easier than this." Also, HotSchedules has announced launch of its "Red Book Keep App," the first-ever mobile, cloud-based companion to the industry's popular Manager's Red Book (with one million copies published and shipped yearly).
Shift Scheduling From HotSchedules
[Editor's Note: Also, Toast announced its new ties to order and delivery provider Olo (New York, NY), via the Toast API Partner Program. "With Olo and Toast, users can simplify restaurant operations and open new digital revenue streams with orders inputted seamlessly into the POS," proposed Aman Narang, Co-Founder and President of Toast.]
Key Advertiser Links
API & Marketplace
Of System 6, Self-Checkout, and the Channel
An interesting conflux of channel, self-checkout technology, and independent grocery, with STCR, Inc. (Endwell, NY) deploying the System 6 by Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions (Research Triangle Park, NC) for neighborhood cooperative, Key Food Montague (Brooklyn, NY). In all, four stations were placed in Key Food Montague, with full operational status in one week. According to Ivan Arguello and Enrico Palazio, Owners of Key Food Montague, "STCR and Toshiba were instrumental in guiding us through the entire process--from selecting cashless systems that ensure speedy transactions, all the way to site selection." A leader in grocery/supermarket, STCR, Inc.
"An increasing number of today's consumers are looking for self-checkout, so it's becoming an expectation for stores," reported Brian Tuberman, President of STCR, Inc. [citing millennials, in particular]. "We placed four lanes in the condensed front-end at Key Food Montague, providing express lanes with the labor costs of one attendant and minimizing operating costs by reducing reconciliation to weekly versus daily." Installed in the center of the store for greatest foot traffic, the self-checkout front-end now accounts for 20% of the customer count.
Running on Toshiba's 4690 O/S, Self Checkout System 6 offers individual scanning, payment, and bagging modules. It leverages the Checkout Environment for Consumer Service, or "CHEC" Software, by Toshiba, for POS and Cash Management. In addition, Self Checkout System 6 now has Enterprise Back-Office System Server, or "eBoss." Interesting to see self-checkout by VARs.
STCR, Inc. Deploys Self Checkout System 6 by Toshiba GCS
Zebra: Come Fly With TC70
Following initial trials in 2016, Zebra Technologies Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) has rolled out its TC70 mobile computer for Bradford Airport Logistics. Based in Houston, TX, with reach in the U.S. and U.K. (including Heathrow), Bradford Airport Logistics handles receiving and distribution of consumable goods such as retail products, clothing, food, non-aircraft parts, and maintenance materials. After evaluating consumer tablets, such as iPad Touch, it chose Zebra's TC70 for inventory management based on "ruggedness and ease of integration."
Having gained "increased efficiency and productivity," Tunde Akeredolu, CTO at Bradford Airport Logistics, noted, "We're not planning our operations based off system limitations now. Zebra's TC70 lets us plan our operations on other factors like meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Our whole organization embraced the TC70 right away." As one example of return-on-investment, Bradford Airport Logistics saves roughly four hours per day and up to 20 hours per week at its Cleveland, OH, facility with signature capture by deliverymen.
With Android 5.1 Lollipop, Zebra's TC70 measures 6.3 in. (L) x 3.3 in. (W) x 1.1. in. (D) and weighs 13.3 oz. It furnishes 4.7" display (1280x720), capacitive touch, dual-core CPU at 1.7 GHz, 1-GB RAM, 8-GB Flash, and 4620-mAh Li-Ion battery. It carries an IP-67 rating for water and dust, 6-ft./1.8-m drop resistance, and Gorilla Glass. With one- and two-dimensional barcode reading (Zebra SE4750), eight-megapixel camera, Bluetooth Version 4, and 802.11 Wi-Fi, it ties to the Airport Material Intelligence System from Bradford Airport Logistics. (FYI: It is also offered in TC70x with Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise.)
Bradford Airport Logistics Rolls Out Zebra's TC70
Another Spin for NEC
NEC Corporation of America (Irving, TX) will deploy its G5200 POS terminals for the 1,000 Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores in the U.S. In all, more than 2,400 of the G5200 will be shipped. With solid-state design, 15" resistive touchscreen, and choice of Intel CPUs, the G5200 runs Windows Embedded POSReady 7 and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. (Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, readers will recall, spun off from Sears Holdings in 2012.)
"NEC's G5200 POS gives us the capacity to grow for years to come," expressed Casey Kelly, Director of Program Management at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores. "We are making significant progress toward eliminating our reliance on our former parent company's IT systems as we establish our new, improved, and independent technology footprint. We are very pleased with the technical and aesthetic upgrades the new machines bring to our Hometown, Home Appliance Showroom, Appliance & Hardware, and Outlets."
"We are excited to be a strategic business partner to Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores during their IT transformation," contributed Shin Takahashi, President and CEO at NEC Corporation of America. "Our company focus is to deliver security, safety, and operational efficiency to our customers by leveraging our broad technology portfolio we call 'The Smart Enterprise.'" (FYI: At shops in its head office building in Tokyo, NEC has started trials of facial recognition technology for POS.)
Sears Deploys the NEC G5200 POS
IT in the U.S. added an estimated 10,300 new jobs in August, led by 8,000 new positions in the software services category, according to the "CompTIA IT Employment Tracker." Overall, the software services category has expanded by more than 106,000 new jobs in 2017. In addition, the computer and electronic products manufacturing category added to positive growth in August, with 3,900. August was the strongest month for manufacturing so far in 2017, and the third consecutive month of job growth in this sector. Other information services, including search portals, added 1,700 positions in August. On the down side, telecommunications shed 2,700 jobs in August. Total employment across the IT sector is estimated at 4,445,300, and the unemployment rate for the IT sector stood at 2.4% in August. "The labor market for IT positions remains extremely tight with an unemployment rate nearly half that of the national rate in the U.S.," reflected Tim Herbert, SVP of Research and Market Intelligence at CompTIA (Downers Grove, IL).
A Pivot to Partners
Pivotal Payments (Scottsdale, AZ) has engaged payments veteran Allan Lacoste as its VP for North American Sales. He most recently served as ISO Director at Total Merchant Services (2016 to 2017). Previous roles have included CEO of Powerhouse Payments LLC (2009 to 2014) and Agent for Global Payments (2005 to 2009). A FlexPoint Division at Pivotal Payments addresses VARs, ISVs, and OEMs in POS.
"I'm deeply honored to be joining such a dynamic and progressive organization," shared Lacoste. "As I begin this new chapter, I look forward to reaching out to sales partners and key stakeholders, introducing new payment technologies, our enhanced reseller program, and effective strategies that will help them grow and thrive with Pivotal." He added, "Big things are coming."
"We are thrilled to have someone of Allan's background and caliber joining Pivotal," stated Philip Fayer, President and CEO of Pivotal Payments. "With the industry becoming increasingly competitive, Allan's proven track record of tactical sales, marketing, and strategic partnerships will provide us with new growth opportunities and further enhance our position." He will be based in the company's new 26,000-sq.-ft. headquarters in SkySong 2, part of the Arizona State University's Scottsdale Innovation Center.
Allan Lacoste, VP, North American Sales, Pivotal Payments
Major ISV Aptos (Atlanta, GA) has hired retail and technology veteran Steve Aulds as its Senior VP of Product Development. Prior to Aptos, Aulds served as VP of Product Management and Engineering at Oracle's Communications Business Unit (2013 to 2015). Earlier, he was Senior VP of Engineering at Acme Packet (2012 to 2013), Senior VP at Sterling Commerce (2005 to 2011), and Senior VP of Engineering at Yantra (1999 to 2004). He brings extensive experience with SaaS.
"I'm delighted to join Aptos and lead the development of its world-class solutions," volunteered Aulds. "By working collaboratively with our customers and partners, there are no limitations to the innovations we can bring to market, as we empower retailers to respond to customers with speed, relevancy, and precision." Over 500 retail brands, and 130,000 stores, currently employ "Singular Commerce" from Aptos.
"Steve understands retailers' challenges and solves them in new ways with a sense of urgency," commented Noel Goggin, CEO of Aptos. "He will be an undeniable asset to our customers as they reinvent their organizations for customer-centricity and success." His hiring coincides with the acquisition of merchandise lifecycle management software provider, TXT Retail (Milan, Italy). Awaiting the customary closing process, Aptos will pay approximately $100 million for TXT Retail.
Steve Aulds, SVP, Product Development, Aptos
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