Week of July 4, 2022
Michael Kachmar, Editor

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Our Product Pick

Pye Tech, LLC (Bessemer, AL) has showcased its self-service kiosk with curved 24" touchscreen, coyly named Creme. It stands 65"/165 mm (H) x 18"/48 mm (W) x 18"/48 mm (D). A curved screen with backlight LED produces improved visual quality, with "unique glow"--approaching 3D, rather than the normal "flat" 2D--according to Pye. Also cited: enhanced ease-of-use for the customer. Available in various colors, Creme also may support the branding of the individual business. "Our latest kiosk is the result of considerable research to meet the ever-evolving and ever-changing demands of businesses and consumers," proclaimed Jegil Dugger, Founder and CEO of Pye.

Curved Screen Kiosk by Pye


A Simphony of Payments

A new payment processing offering from one of the major providers of POS: an Oracle Food and Beverage Payment Cloud Service. Utilizing the technology of Adyen (New York, NY and Amsterdam, Netherlands), part of the Oracle Partner Network, it runs with Oracle/Micros Simphony POS. In making its announcement, Oracle cited benefits of fixed fee rates and no long-term contracts or monthly minimum requirements.

"Hidden fees and long-term contracts have long been an issue with payment processors in the food and beverage industry with many providers capitalizing at the expense of independent operators who often already run on thin margins," suggested Simon de Montfort Walker, SVP and GM of Oracle Food and Beverage (Austin, TX). "With the Oracle Payment Cloud Service's transparent fixed 'pay-as-you-go' pricing model, we have eliminated those concerns and provided restaurants a one-stop shop for their entire restaurant technology and payment processing needs."

As part of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Payment Cloud Service furnishes high data security, with Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) and certification to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). All transactional and payment data is directly imported into its analytics dashboard so that restaurants can forecast revenue, profits, and cash flow accurately and in real-time. As expected, it furnishes the full suite of payment options, including debit/credit cards and Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Oracle Debuts Its Food and Beverage Payment Cloud Service

"OLA," Shouts Amadis

Amadis (Montreal, QC, Canada), self-described "payment software editor," has unveiled its new "OLA," an Open Level 2 API (Application Programming Interface). It furnishes standardized communication between the EMV Level 2 "stack" and EMV Level 3 payment applications, independent of device, geography, or O/S. It's currently being evaluated by cryptocurrency financial entity, Nexo (London, UK).

OLA covers all necessary services for so-called point-of-interaction (L2, Kernel, Security, and O/S). According to Amadis, moving away from proprietary protocols to such standardization will be beneficial to all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem. In particular, it addresses the influx of new digital, contactless, and tap-to-pay payment schemes.

"Before Amadis' proposed OLA, there was no standard way for L2 and L3 to interact," remarked Emmanuel Haydont, Co-Founder and CEO of Amadis. "Absence of a standard interface has resulted in a huge potential of variation, and possible customization requirements when building out payment solutions. OLA encourages innovation by eliminating technical dependences, while helping merchants to drive down costs, and bring payment products to market faster."

Emmanuel Haydont, Co-Founder and CEO, Amadis

Worth Your While

Retail Solutions Providers Association
July 24-26
Orlando, FL

Western States Acquirers Association
September 7-8
Huntington Beach, CA

September 12-14
Orlando, FL

September 19-21
Dallas, TX

Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing
October 1-4
Las Vegas

Channel Connect
October 2-5
Nashville, TN

November 15-18
Las Vegas, NV



Star Sticks the Landing

Star Micronics America (Somerset, NJ) has unwrapped its new sticky label kiosk printer, stocked as SK1-311 SK. In dimensions of 5"/127 mm (W) x 5.1"/129 mm (D) x 2.9"/74 mm (H), and weight of 22.2 oz./630 g (without paper roll), the SK1-311 SK has maximum print width of 3"/80 mm. It has maximum print speed of 7.9"/200 mm per second at resolution of 203 dpi, employing, of course, direct thermal technology.

With flexibility, the SK1-311 SK can print using either linerless repositionable label paper or regular receipt printer. In durability, it furnishes thermal head lifetime of minimum 100 km and cutter lifetime of minimum one million cuts. It features partial/full cut capability and connectivity via USB and Serial (RS-232) I/O's. In addition, it supports Star's StarPRINT, with compatibility to ESC/POS.

"Repositionable thermal labels stick to virtually any surface and are easy to remove and reapply," writes Star Micronics America. "They move around the workspace without losing their ability to stay in place. Liner-free labels are an alternative to silicon-lined labels or tape and are more eco-friendly." In addition to foodservice and further establishments packaging goods for customers, repositionable labels fit applications in the travel industry, access control/badges, and warehouse settings.

Star Micronics SK1-311 SK Sticky Label Kiosk Printer

Unitech Unlocks HT330

Unitech America (Cypress, CA) has presented its new rugged handheld computer, assigned as HT330. Weighing 10 oz./295 g (with battery), and measuring 7"/185 mm (L) x 2.7"/70 mm (W) x 0.9"/24 mm (D), the HT330 runs Android 12 with GMS Certification. It's powered by Octa-Core CPU at 2 GHz, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, and Micro SD. As features, it has 4" capacitive touch display (WVGA, 800x480, 450-nits, backlight), barcode scanner (1D/2D), front camera (5 MP), rear camera with auto-focus and flash (13 MP), and 32-key keyboard (numeric).

As notification, the HT330 has audible tone, LEDs, and vibration. As communications, it offers Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band 802.11 Wi-Fi, and 4G WAN. As durability, it extends an IP-67 rating against dust and water, 5 ft./1.5 m drop resistance (with boot, 6 ft./1.8 m), and Gorilla Glass. A rechargeable 5200 mAh Li-Ion battery furnishes over 20 hrs.

In addition, "the HT330 provides Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology with Unitech's USS Software to streamline your tedious typing process and minimize typing mistakes when entering data," writes Unitech America. "Our OCR technology allows users to easily convert numbers of characters to digital formats on cardboards, paperwork, electronic chips, and any other readable surface." Also, in mobile device management, the HT330 supports third-party software by Ivanti/Wavelink, SOTI, and 42Gears, as well as Unitech's MoboLink.

Unitech's HT330 Rugged Handheld Computer

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BlueStar Opens the Crypto

An interesting new partner for distributor BlueStar (Hebron, KY), in the form of integrated payment processor, BlockChyp (Provo, UT). As its name represents, BlockChyp addresses the implementation of next-generation blockchain technology for payments. It adds to BlueStar's package for POS of hardware, software, and associated services for kitting and certification (such as Point-to-Point Encryption, or P2PE).

"Younger consumers are embracing newer payment technologies along with tap-and-go, and this includes cryptocurrency loyalty programs," observed Mark Fraker, Chief Technology Officer at BlueStar. "I am sure that BlockChyp will be an attractive partner for most of our POS software technology companies. Our software partners will be able to build BlueStar 'In-a-Box' solutions with hardware, software, and BlockChyp payments and loyalty programs."

"We are excited to enter into our partnership with BlueStar, as we look forward to delivering our modern and innovative integrated processing solution into a new marketplace," expounded Jon Decker, Founder and CEO of BlockChyp. Established in 2018, BlockChyp recently unveiled new features in its platform, such as management of terminals and customers, all of which are controlled via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It now includes the ability to add terminal branding at the organization level, FSA/HAS and EBT cash back, and batch detail on statements. Also, transaction support for Bitcoin has been added, as well as various bug fixes and security enhancements.

BlueStar Adds BlockChyp for Payments

Unattended Consequences (and ISVs)

An integrated unattended payment solution of services and readers has been fashioned by gateway provider, ISVPay (Alpharetta, GA), and hardware distributor and VAR, Unattended Card Payments (Las Vegas, NV). It eliminates the need for multiple supplier contacts on the part of ISVs, VARs, and OEMs, with billing via ISVPay. As markets, the partners cite parking meters, vending machines, car washes, and laundromats.

"We are delighted about this partnership and the significant momentum that this will bring to the self-service industry. Unattended Card Payments' specialized approach to hardware and product solutioning, coupled with ISVPay's self-service platform will deliver a reliable self-service option to the unattended industry," relayed Sarah Adams, SVP of Partner Development at ISVPay. Our readers will be familiar with Ms. Adams from First American Payment Systems, Paysafe, and POS Portal.

"After hearing about ISVPay's flexible platform, and learning they are aligned with payment solution providers we often recommend, collaborating with ISVPay made a lot of sense. The self-service portal to their platform really greases the wheels for kiosk solution providers to get machines deployed fast, but also gives a whole new way to look at the performance of their kiosk estate," related Rob Chilcoat, North American President at Unattended Card Payments. As terminal vendors, UCP handles Ingenico, Verifone, PAX, ID Tech, AMP, and OTI.

An Integrated Unattended Payment Solution by ISVPay and Unattended Card Payments. (Shown: Ingenico's Self 5000)

Code Corner

Agilysys (Alpharetta, GA) has introduced its set of so-called "Hospitality Solution Studios" to address sub-verticals in hospitality. Encompassing POS, PMS (Property Management Systems), and Inventory and Procurement, each of the 13 Hospitality Solution Studios has been tailored to improve ROI (Return on Investment) in its sub-vertical, with modules of dedicated "Experience Enhancers." As sub-verticals, Hospitality Solution Studios address categories of: Hotel, Resort, Casino, Cruise, Independent Property, Management Company, Campus, Hospital, Lifestyle Community, Senior Living, Theme Park, Stadium, and Corporate Dining.

"Businesses are disappointed when they force-fit generically designed technology into their unique operations," explained Don DeMarinis, SVP of Agilysys. "On the other hand, if they build proprietary solutions, they sacrifice scale, evolutionary pace, and interoperability as surrounding systems advance. Our Hospitality Solution Studios circumvent this challenge by combining our core solutions with the right 'Experience Enhancers'--which address specific and finite tasks such as guest-controlled mobile ordering--for each type of venue. The technology is modular, but integrated, so it is much easier to manage and evolve than tailored solutions cobbled together from different vendors."

Agilysys Debuts Hospitality Solution Studios

Channel Correction

In our most recent edition of the Retail Product Digest, Spring 2022, we failed to update the drop resistance of the 10" Lenovo Tab K10 tablet outfitted with the dedicated xCase from MobileDemand (Cedar Rapids, IA). Its drop resistance should be 10 ft./3 m, not 5 ft./1.5 m, with MIL-STD-810H, and 26 drops. MobileDemand serves as the preferred provider of industrial-grade cases for Lenovo's Android-based Tab K10.

MobileDemand's xCase for Lenovo's Tab K10 Tablet


A Budding Solution

An omnichannel platform for cannabis has been built combining POS by Cova Software (Denver, CO) and e-commerce by Tymber (Truckee, CA). It enables retailers of cannabis to display accurate product information for online menus, share live inventory updates with online shoppers, build and manage customer profiles, and process transactions. It eliminates dependence on iframe menus and third-party marketplaces, according to the two parties. At present, Cova serves 2,000 retailers.

"Cova's goal is to provide cannabis retailers with beneficial tools to ensure their growth and success," expressed Gary Cohen, CEO of Cova Software. "We both understand the importance of retailers being in control of their own customer data and their interactions with their base. Through this Tymber integration, we are aiding dispensaries' ability to grow their business with reliable tools that power dispensary operations and digital growth."

"Both Cova and Tymber understand that retail is the backbone of the cannabis industry," reflected Scott Roehrick, Co-Founder and CEO of Tymber. "This integration furthers our mission to ensure their success. We're proud to partner with Cova, and we're pleased to offer our native e-commerce and mobile app solutions to more customers across North America." As expected, Tymber cites SEO Optimization.

An Omnichannel Platform for Cannabis by Cova Software (POS) and Tymber (E-Commerce)

Across "Bevy Pass"

A loyalty and rewards package for liquor sales and hospitality, dubbed "Bevy Pass," has been launched by Fobi AI, Inc. It builds upon its previous strategic relationship with provider of POS, Barnet Technologies. Significantly, it supports an all-new "one-tap" digital loyalty membership program powered by use of mobile wallets. (Both companies are located in Vancouver, BC, Canada).

In this scheme, retailers will push an onboarding link to customers via e-mail or text through their Barnet POS or other CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Customers accept the terms and conditions by selecting "add to wallet" on their smart phone (iOS or Android). Of course, retailers may promote new sign-ups, and acquire new customers, via their social media, advertising, in-store digital signage, and printed QR Codes. Fobi will generate revenue through on-time set-up and onboarding fee as well as monthly SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).

"A big shift is coming with increased utilization of Apple Pay and Google Pay mobile wallets and we have begun to have exploratory conversations with several key payment processors and merchant hardware providers in efforts to enable and deliver a 'one-tap' loyalty member rewards and payment solution for brick-and-mortar retailers and their customers," reported Rob Anson, CEO of Fobi AI. "I believe our digital wallet pass loyalty and rewards offering is well-timed and very well positioned to support both retailers and shoppers in providing the next evolution in shopper loyalty." FYI: In May, Fobi AI signed an LOI to purchase shopper intelligence data platform, Basket (Arlington, VA).

A New Mobile Wallet Pass Loyalty and Rewards Platform Build for Liquor Retail and Hospitality

Key Advertiser Links

Be sure to visit these vendors for the latest in channel products and offers for resellers.

POS & Peripherals
Electronic Payments
Epson America
National Retail Solutions
Pioneer Solution
Revel Systems
Star Micronics
Tri-Tech Retail

Barcode Printers
Bixolon America
Brother Mobile
Godex Americas
Woosim Systems

Cash Drawers
apg/APG Cash Drawer
Star Micronics

Cash Handling Systems
apg/APG Cash Drawer
CIMA America

Data Collection
Code Corporation
Janam Technologies
Unitech America

Integrated Payment Solutions
Datacap Systems
Electronic Payments
North American Bancard
Payment Logistics
Sound Payments

Receipt Printers
Bixolon America
Brother Mobile
Epson America
Star Micronics
Woosim Systems

Stands, Mounts, Cradles

Touchscreens & Monitors


Wi-Fi: Phone Home (Depot)

The Home Depot (Atlanta, GA) has embarked on plans to upgrade its in-store wireless network and increase its use of mobile devices. In collaboration with Zebra Technologies and Aruba/Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Company (both located in Lincolnshire, IL), Home Depot will provide associates with so-called "hdPhones." It rebrands the Model TC52ax Wi-Fi/Cellular Mobile Computer by Zebra Technologies.

In total, The Home Depot will roll out more than 125,000 new hdPhones. It will install best-in-class 802.11 Wi-Fi 6 from Aruba/HPE. In accompaniment, advanced-range barcode scanning enables associates to locate products and check pricing in hand from more than 40 ft./12.2 m, including overhead storage. Also, associates and their customers may view and demo products via docking with Zebra's Workstation Connect.

"Our customers expect a frictionless experience, in our stores and on their mobile devices," declared Fahim Siddiqui, EVP and CIO of The Home Depot. "The enhanced digital in-store environment allows our customers to quickly get what they need to complete their projects with the help of a more connected associate." In June, The Home Depot started deploying its hdPhones, reaching about 100 stores per week, with plans to equip all of its stores in the U.S. by the end of the year.

Home Depot Upgrades Its In-Store Network With Zebra's TC52ax and Aruba/HP's Wi-Fi 6

Digimarc "Encircles" Canada

An association of stakeholders in consumer packaged goods (CPG), the Circular Plastic Taskforce (Montreal, QC, Canada), will deploy the digital identification technology of Digimarc Corporation (Beaverton, OR). In this first installation of so-called Digimarc Recycle in North America, the CPT intends to improve the sortation of flexible plastic packaging in Canada. Upon successful testing at the Pellenc R&D Center in France, Digimarc Recycle will be rolled out in Quebec and Ontario in 2023.

As many readers know, Digimarc utilizes watermarks embedded within the package artwork. Imperceptible to consumers, when scanned, such watermarks identify characteristics of the package such as the manufacturer, specific product information, and necessary dates. In the case of Digimarc Recycle, they will yield prior use (food versus non-food), additives, or the presence of compounds that are problematic for recycling. As scanning partners, Digimarc has Cognex, Datalogic, Honeywell, NCR, and Zebra Technologies.

"We are thrilled to launch such a forward-looking project and get our Phase II underway," released the Circular Plastics Taskforce Steering Committee. "The results from our Phase I study show that even if flexible plastic packaging represents a significant portion of plastic packaging used in Quebec and Canada, their recovery rates remain low." It added, in recycling jargon, "One of the reasons is that today's sortation equipment cannot distinguish between mono-material recyclable packaging and multi-material structures, therefore lowering bale quality. We believe Digimarc Recycle can help solve this challenge."

A Circular Plastic Taskforce Rolls Out Digimarc Recycle

Channel Factoid

NRF: Economy Slowing,
Recession Unlikely in U.S.

-"I am not betting on an official recession in the near-term, but the most recent research pegs the risk over the next year as about one in three and it will be touch and go in 2023," proffered Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF). As factors:

#1) Job openings and quit rates suggest that the labor market remains tight, payroll growth remains sturdy, despite the slowdown in May, and the unemployment rate has remained at 3.6%, just above the 50-year low seen before Covid-19, marking three consecutive months running.

#2) Retail sales as calculated by NRF--which exclude automobile dealers, gas stations, and restaurants to focus on core retail--were expected to drop in May, but remained unchanged from April and grew 6.7% year over year. Sales were up 7.3% for the first five months of the year compared with 2021. Overall household spending, beyond just retail sales, is expected to rise 9% next year for the new highest total.

#3) As Covid-19 eases, consumers are rebalancing their spending and adjusting shopping habits. Restaurant sales, which serve as proxy for other service sectors like recreation and transportation that are also on the upswing, were up 0.7% monthly in May and 17.5% year over year.

#4) The Federal Reserve is moving aggressively to control inflation by raising interest rates in an attempt to cool demand without stalling the economy. The central bank has increased the benchmark federal funds rate by three-quarters of one percentage point in June, to the range of 1.5 and 1.75%. This was the largest increase since 1994, and the Fed expects the rate to hit 3.4% by the end of 2022 and 3.8% by the end of 2023.

Source: July Monthly Economic Review by the National Retail Federation (Washington, DC)

Consumers Remain Financially Healthy


Chief Blackhawk

Blackhawk Network (Pleasanton, CA), one of the leaders in gift and prepaid cards, has enlisted Jay Jaffin as its Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, he served as Chief Marketing and Digital Officer at Western Union. Earlier, he served as Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon Connect and Senior Manager, Accounts and Strategy, at The Nielson Company.

"The opportunity to build upon Blackhawk's strengths as a leader in branded payments, with an extensive retail and digital network backed by scaled payments technology, was an incredible draw for me to join the team," enthused Jaffin. "I plan to further develop Blackhawk's talented marketing team and empower them with the tools and autonomy to take Blackhawk's leadership in fintech to the next level." Also, Jaffin sits on the board of the Mobile Marketing Association.

"Jay is a talented and driven CMO who brings 20-plus years of creating and growing brands, driving e-commerce and omnichannel experiences, and accelerating digital growth for global businesses," commented Talbott Roche, President and CEO of Blackhawk Network. "He thrives at the intersection of creativity and analytics and will be the perfect addition to our leadership team for this exciting period of growth and digital transformation." Introducing its first gift card, for grocery, in 2001, Blackhawk Network now serves over 1,000 brands.

Jay Jaffin, CMO, Blackhawk Network

NAB Grabs Prize

North American Bancard (Troy, MI) has been honored with an API Award for 2022 Best-of-Breed Application Programming Interface from global payments consultant, The Strawhecker Group (Omaha, NE). In winning this designation, North American Bancard took first place for "Developer Roadmap" due to presenting commercial developers with the fewest roadblocks across three areas: usability, modern integration, and feature functionality. An annual event, Strawhecker's Best-of-Breed API Report is compiled by its Gateway Enterprise Metrics Platform.

"The future of the payment industry demands that integrated partners have the best interfaces and support," noted Jim Parkinson, Chief Experience Officer at North American Bancard. "They want to integrate quickly, access superior functionality, and have development patterns that make their work easy. This award acknowledges that we have built an industry-leading product that addresses the needs of the developer community."

Jim Parkinson, Chief Experience Officer, North American Bancard

Copyright 2022 -- All Rights Reserved
Retail Reseller News -- Mendham, NJ USA
Michael Kachmar -- Publisher & Editor
ISSN 2769-6561