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The Next Generation of POS Hardware
By Tammy Mastroberte, Contributing Editor
From the increase in consumers using smartphones and other portable devices, to the introduction of Google Wallet and similar technologies, point-of-sale (POS) hardware is adapting to the latest trends. Whether it’s consumer-facing displays, allowing a customer to add items or approve an order, the use of tablets and smartphones as a mobile POS, or the new mobile printers and other portable peripherals, today's hardware vendors are readying operators for the future.
"We are starting to see more digital interfaces for consumers so when they walk up to a POS and place an order, there is a graphical customer display that can either upsell or advertise new products and promotions," says Robert Notte, chief technology officer at Emeryville, Calif.-based Jamba Juice.
Taking the technology to the customer is the first step, according to David Matthews, senior vice president and CIO at the National Restaurant Association, who explains that a customer will eventually be able to use his or her own device with a restaurant-specific app or general, multipurpose app to communicate with a restaurant POS.
"Handheld and smaller, mounted swipe devices will allow for customer-initiated payments, and will soon be supplemented by apps that present bills on a customer's smartphone or tablet, and allow the customer to transfer funds without leaving the app," he notes.
There has also been a rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones for use as handheld payment devices "capable of communicating with customer-enabled devices for faster, seamless and paperless transactions," says Matthews.
At Jamba Juice, the company is already testing a mobile POS tablet from NCR, and will be expanding to test other tablets in the future, says Notte. "Mobile in our world can be very effective in line-busting," he explains, noting printer manufacturers are also adding the ability to connect to a mobile POS via Bluetooth technology. "We have been testing with the mobile POS and are seeing positive results in processing the customer waiting in line more quickly."
In it's annual POS hardware report, HT covers the latest innovations from the vendor community.
WHAT'S NEW: POS TERMINALS
Fujitsu America (www.fujitsu.com) has introduced the TeamPoS 7000 point-of-sale, an all-in-one terminal with multiple in-store touch points. The eco-sensitive and adaptable model features a low-energy consumption design and a default use of standby/sleep mode. It can also be configured in a variety of scenarios, including countertop, column and pole, and incorporates Intel's integrated chipsets (CPU, GPU and memory) ICH-8M and Q67, as well as Intel’s second-generation Core processors i5, i3, Pentium and Atom D525, which enables operating systems and application software to run at high speeds. Additionally, it uses water- and dust-proof (IP53) LCD touch screen technology, and has been certified for Windows Embedded POSReady 7.
MICROS (www.micros.com) now offers the MICROS PC Workstation 2015, based on the latest Intel processor platform, and delivers power efficiently with low thermal output and electrical consumption. Designed to operate side by side with the MICROS Workstation 5A, it retains similar styling and compatibility with existing stands, customer displays, magnetic card readers, biometric devices and other peripherals.
Panasonic System Networks Company of America (www.panasonic.com) introduced its new POS workstation, the Stingray Envo, built with a VESA mount so it can have a traditional upright configuration, can be mounted in a low-profile form, or can be wall or pole mounted. Key components include built-in speakers; an open platform; LED backlight technology; a processor and RAM that are upgradeable for more speed and performance; the ability to be customized; double the speed of earlier Stingray models; a smaller size; and an I/O panel on top of the workstation for easier cable management and peripheral troubleshooting. Optional magnetic stripe readers are also available.
Squirrel Systems (www.squirrelsystems.com) will be releasing a new point of sale terminal called "Thinline," featuring a sleek silhouette and small footprint. It includes Intel Pineview D525 Duel Core 1.8G CPU, a 15-inch screen and a resistive LCD touch panel. For the first time, Squirrel is offering customers a choice of colors – matte black or high gloss white, and they will also be able to choose between Windows or Linux operating systems (with the latter scheduled to be released later this year). Options available include a 15-inch rear display, fingerprint reader and bar code reader, and the unit can be used as a desktop, wall-mounted, or as a swivel or pole mount.
Wincor Nixdorf Inc. (www.wincor-nixdorf.com) added new systems to its Beetle POS portfolio including the Beetle/iPrint, the Beetle/X plus and Beetle/Express. The Beetle/iPrint is a combination of a POS system unit and a thermal receipt printer using the latest energy-saving Intel Atom processor. It features a sealed, fanless design and a small footprint, plus its power consumption is less than 13 watts in a typical checkout operation. The Beetle/X plus offers a sealed, dustproof and fanless system design, along with Intel’s latest mobile Atom processor technology, and an external, energy efficient 80PLUS Gold conform power supply to keep power consumption and heat generation at a minimum. Additionally, the Beetle/Express is designed as a space saving, all-in-one POS system based on a 10.4-inch LCD touch screen and Intel Atom processor technology. The system offers a waiter lock, MSR and a 2 line customer display as integrated devices.
WHAT'S NEW: POS CUSTOMER DISPLAYS
MICROS (www.micros.com) announced the new Protégé Customer Display System, providing customers with a graphically rich environment to ensure order accuracy and offer enhanced opportunities for marketing and upselling. The display allows for full transaction detail, including menu item, condiments and special prep instructions, which allow customers to confirm order accuracy and improving the speed of service. It can also be configured as an advertising and marketing tool. Screens displayed while the system is idle or in use can be customized to provide visual content, including slideshows for specials, new items, upcoming events, catering information and more.
ParTech Inc. (www.partech.com) launched the new PAR EverServ Customer Display offering customer-facing digital promotions and suggestive selling. It can be used to communicate a variety of information to customers while their order is being processed, including order confirmations, advertisements and promotions for new products. It also offers up-sell software applications that increase revenues. The 12-inch display is compatible with PAR EverServ QSR, PixelPoint and Heritage POS software, and has models designed for PAR EverServ 6000 or 2000 POS terminals.
WHAT'S NEW: MOBILE POS
Motorola Solutions Inc. (www.motorolasolutions.com) introduced the Wi-Fi enabled ET1 tablet aimed at retail environments and running a hardened version of the Android operating system. The 7-inch color display provides ample space for a variety of possible applications, from tableside or poolside POS, to hostess/wait-list management, or curb-side check-in at hotels. It weighs 1.4 pounds and comes with a hand strap for users to holster the device. It also offers a hot-swappable rechargeable battery pack, with memory back-up battery that retains RAM data for up to 15 minutes when the main battery is removed. Multi-slot battery charging stations are also available. Additionally, the tablet offers both front- and rear-facing cameras, and other options include a barcode scanner, magnetic stripe reader, mobile-payment readers, and mobile printers.
VeriFone Systems Inc. (www.verifone.com) unveiled PAYware Mobile Enterprise for Tablet to be used with the iPad 2 and other tablets for mobile retail apps and secure checkout. It offers a quick checkout anywhere in the restaurant, and brings new interactive resources to the customer at point-of-purchase, including product and price check; loyalty and credit card enrollment; videos and promotions. The solution provides the same card acceptance technology used with the iPod Touch and supports end-to-end security with VeriShield Total Protect card data encryption technology, while an integrated PCI 3.0-compliant PIN pad allows customers to securely enter their PIN wherever the sale takes place. Additionally, it includes a built-in 2D barcode scanner for scanning, inventory tasks and couponing, and accepts traditional cards, EMV smartcards and NFC smartphone transactions.
WHAT'S NEW: PRINTERS
Epson America Inc. (www.pos.epson.com) announced the availability of software development kits (SDKs) for mobile printing applications. The Epson SDKs are designed to shorten the development time required to implement mobile POS applications, enabling support for wireless POS printing from handheld peripherals like Apple's iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, and devices using Google’s Android mobile technology platform. Available immediately for Epson’s most popular thermal and multifunction receipt printers, Epson’s new SDKs provide developers with fast, convenient and cost-effective tools to connect iOS and Android devices to networked POS printers, enabling wireless printing from a wide range of input devices.
Epson also introduced its TM-L90 liner-free compatible label printer for quick service restaurants and other foodservice providers. Designed to print on both NCR Receipt on Label (RoL) media solution and thermal receipt media, the printer provides a flexible, hospitality-strength, liner-free labeling solution that food operators can use to identify customer orders on curbside or carryout bags and boxes, as well as to seal and identify custom orders or sandwich wrap. It also offers speeds up to 90 mm/second for labels and 170 mm/second for receipts; margin reduction options to reduce receipt size; automatic media type and paper width detection; sensor for auto cutting; modified support rollers to minimize paper jams; and supports multiple interfaces, including serial, parallel, Ethernet, USB, and wireless.
Fujitsu Components America Inc. (www.fujitsu.com) expanded its mobile thermal printer offering with a 2-inch receipt unit, compatible with Apple iOS, as well as Android and BlackBerry operating systems. The FTP-628WSL210 thermal printer features both Bluetooth and USB interfaces to support connectivity with a variety of mobile computing devices, and is powered by either a 3.7VDC lithium ion battery or a 120/240 VAC adapter. With 1.6A power consumption, the unit will print six rolls of paper on a single battery charge. Fully programmable, it measures 84.0 (W) x 136.5 (L) x 30 (H) mm and weighs 9.88 ounces, including battery and belt clip. It also has a 1.6-inch per second; 320 dot lines per second print speed and uses thermal paper. The easy-load mechanism enables fast, drop-in paper loading, and the semi-rugged unit has an operating temperature of 0 to +50 degrees C, designed to withstand a 1.5m drop, and is water resistant.
WHAT'S NEW: PAYMENT DEVICES
VeriFone Systems Inc. (www.verifone.com) introduced the first two models in its next-generation MX 900 series of advanced payment and media-enabled solutions for retailers. The MX 915 and MX 925 are compatible with the VeriFone MX 800 series. With a 7-inch WVGA screen, the MX 925 is a multimedia powerhouse for customer-facing applications and the MX 915 delivers the same functionality in a space-saving form factor with a 4.3-inch color display, powerful processor and generous memory. MX 900 Series devices provide the broadest compatibility available with rapidly evolving mobile/NFC wallets, EMV smartcards, alternative payment methods, and can adapt as more payment methods are introduced. Additionally, it meets the new PCI PTS 3.x hardware security requirements and supports VeriFone's VeriShield Total Protect point-to-point encryption technology, providing the highest physical and logical protection of sensitive cardholder and PIN data and PCI DSS scope reduction.
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