Our Product Pick
Zebra Technologies Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) has introduced five mobile computers running Android 10 O/S. Updating the company's smartphone-format TC20/TC25, the new TC21/TC26 has upgraded to 5" capacitive touchscreen, Qualcomm Octa-Core Snapdragon 660 CPU at 1.8 GHz, and removable 3100-mAh Li-Ion battery. An enhancement of the company's smartphone-format TC52/TC57, the new TC52x/TC57x has 5" capacitive touchscreen, Qualcomm Octa-Core Snapdragon 660 CPU at 2.5 GHz, and removable 4150-mAh Li-Ion battery. Available with three keypad options, measuring 8 in. (L) x 3 in. (W) x 1.4 in. (D) and weighing approximately 1 lb./454 g (without handle), the rugged industrial MC3300x, adding to the MC3300, has 4" capacitive touchscreen, Qualcomm Octa-Core Snapdragon 660 CPU at 2.2 GHz, and removable 7000-mAh Li-Ion battery. All offer state-of-the-art data capture and communications, supported by Zebra Mobility DNA.
Epson Writes Act II
Epson America (Long Beach, CA) has debuted its next-generation of mobile-friendly thermal receipt printers, the TM-m30II, OmniLink TM-m30II-NT, and OmniLink TM-m30II-h. In similar dimensions of the earlier Epson TM-m30, measuring approximately 5 in. x 5 in. x 5 in., and weighing 2.9 lbs./1.3 kg, the new TM-m30II Series features print width of 3 in./80 mm, with 9.8 in./250 mm per second speed at 203 dpi. In black or white casing, they may be configured as top or front loading.
In the TM-m30II Series, Epson has anticipated and fulfilled the range of today's connectivity requirements. In the case of the TM-m30II, there's USB+Ethernet, USB+Ethernet+Bluetooth, and USB+Ethernet+Wireless. As "network tethering," the OmniLink TM-m30II-NT has USB+Ethernet with two USB Type-A ports. As "hub," the OmniLink TM-30II-h has USB+Ethernet, USB+Ethernet+Bluetooth, and USB+Ethernet+Wireless with four USB Type-A ports. As additional capacity, the pair of OmniLink Models support the latest cloud apps via Epson's OmniLink Merchant Services and Online Ordering via Epson's "ePOS" Server Direct Print.
"Customer experience is a big driver of our technology decisions," remarked Mauricio Chacon, Group Product Manager, Business Systems Division, Epson America. "That's why our innovative, next-generation, mobile-friendly receipt printers allow retailers and hospitality providers to quickly and painlessly add receipt printing wherever needed. Our printers are designed to enable them to best serve their customers, whether they buy online to pick-up in the store, use curbside pick-up, or home delivery." All three printers carry two-year limited warranty, long lasting printhead and auto-cutter, and paper savings of up to 30%.
Epson's TM-m30II Thermal Receipt Printer
Citizen Climbs the Tree
A new relationship with Transaction Tree (Dunwoody, GA) has brought added value to the thermal printers of Citizen Systems America (Torrance, CA). Approved for use with "LetsChat" by Transaction Tree, employing dedicated drivers, Citizen's printers for POS may now power two-way communications between the merchant and the customer. All models are supported at Citizen Systems: CT-S601, CT-S651, CT-E351, CT-S4000, CT-S4500, and CTS-310II.
"The value discussion with the end-user is easily articulated," expressed Glenn Williams, VP of Sales and Marketing at Citizen Systems America. "Imagine being able to message those who have already purchased products to send focused and relevant marketing-level communications to them, such as coupons, discounts, and general value-based offerings based on their buying patterns." Also, of particular interest currently, LetsChat enables more effective and efficient remote order and payment, contactless transactions, and curbside pick-up. A cloud-based solution, LetsChat connects voice, messaging, and web.
No changes to its printers are required, notes Citizen Systems America, and resellers and merchants work directly with Transaction Tree. As pricing, LetsChat starts at $45 per month per location. "Merchants that today work with third-party tools such as Toast, Instacart, and Uber Eats will be able to save on their commission payments to such platforms by transitioning some or all of their remote orders to our platform," suggested Jose Jimenez, Co-Founder and VP of Operations at Transaction Tree. A recurring revenue stream is projected for resellers.
Citizen Systems America Calls Upon Transaction Tree for Customer Engagement
Worth Your While
[Editor's Note: VARTECH has been cancelled for 2020.]
[Editor's Note: Shoptalk has been cancelled for 2020.]
Impact 2020 Conference
[Editor's Note: NACS has been cancelled for 2020.]
[Editor's Note: Pack Expo has been cancelled for 2020.]
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Janam Takes Temperature
Janam Technologies (Woodbury, NY) has unveiled the newest member in its Guardian family of asset management hardware: the GT2 temperature sensing kiosk. Available in pedestal, countertop, and wall-mounted configurations, the GT2 furnishes infrared thermal-image scanning of an individual's body temperature at speed of less than one second from up to 20 inches away with accuracy within 0.9 Degrees F. It also employs biometric facial recognition at speed of less than one second with 99%+ accuracy.
An instant notification via voice and siren occurs when the individual's body temperature exceeds predefined thresholds. With facial recognition, employees are identified at point of entry, the date and time of entry is logged, and their temperature recorded, with integration to existing human resource systems. An optional mask detection mode is included for settings where masks are mandatory. Easy integration with gates, turnstiles, and door access control systems is achieved for the GT2.
In base unit dimensions of 10 in. (L) x 4.8 in. (W) x 1 in. (D), weighing 33 oz./890 g, the GT2 has Qualcomm Octa-Core Snapdragon 430 CPU at 1.4 GHz, 2-GB/16-GB Memory, and 128-GB SD Card. It furnishes 7" touchscreen display, Android 7 O/S, and Bluetooth, 802.11 Wi-Fi, and 4G LTE WAN. "As businesses and organizations prepare to reopen in a world with COVID-19, mandatory masks and temperature checks are two strategies recommended by the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) to promote safety and reduce the spread," relayed Harry Lerner, CEO at Janam Technologies. "Janam's GT2 kiosk provides the advanced temperature sensing and mask detection technology required for contactless access control at a super affordable price that is thousands of dollars less than other solutions of its kind."
Janam's GT2 Temperature Sensing Kiosk
An Expanding Star
Star Micronics America (Somerset, NJ) has unwrapped its Choice Series of cash drawers. With glossy black and matte white finishes, and optional stainless-steel front design, the Choice Series has two sizes: 14 in. x 16 in. and 16 in. x 16 in. A four-bill/five-coin till is standard for the former, and five-bill/five-coin till is standard for the latter. (Additional options for tills include four-bill/eight-coin and five-bill/eight-coin.)
As design benefits, the Choice Series features a reinforced top, creating added strength to support terminals, tablets, and peripherals for POS, as well as a single hinged key for cash drawer and locking till cover. Accessories for the Choice Series include under-counter mounts, locking till covers, over ten different lock set options, and secure dual-cash cable allowing operation of the Choice Series as Cash Drawer 1 or Cash Drawer 2. A three-year warranty and testing to over one million cycles address durability.
"A combination of simple set-up and operation, reliable and secure steel construction, and compatibility," recommends the Choice Series, according to Michael Hanson, EVP at Star Micronics America. "A Star Bundle," he adds, may be assembled "by adding a Choice Series cash drawer to Star's expanding portfolio of customer solutions." Also offered by Star Micronics America, major provider of thermal printers: "affordable" Value Cash Drawers and "premium" Max Cash Drawers.
Star Debuts Choice Series Cash Drawers
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An "xtra" Helping of Toast
A "preferred partnership" agreement has been entered into by xtraCHEF (Philadelphia, PA) and Toast (Boston, MA), whereby two new back-office restaurant management software products by xtraCHEF--Sync and xtraCASH--will be added to Toast's POS. In response to COVID-19, both products are offered free of charge to customers of Toast, which has previously endorsed the xtraCHEF Premium Platform. "We are strategically aligned in recognizing that restaurant operators need intelligent, data-driven solutions that are easy to use and affordable," declared Andy Schwartz, CEO and Co-Founder of xtraCHEF.
Integration with the first product, Sync, allows restaurant operators to create sales journal entries in the popular QuickBooks Online (QBO) without manual data entry, and provides category-level details within 24 hours. Solomon Wang, Director of Operations at hospitality bookkeeping and consulting firm Genuine Article (Austin, TX), endorses Sync. "Sync, xtraCHEF's free integration between Toast and QBO, has allowed our customers to immediately save $100 per month after switching from a paid service," he stated. "Additionally, correcting and re-posting is easy and within our control, and not tied to a pending support ticket."
In June, the second product, xtraCASH, was released as the free, limited, version of the xtraCHEF Premium Platform. It includes ingredient price monitoring, purchase order tracking, one-stop vendor hub, cloud-based document management, and food cost reporting and analytics. Users of xtraCASH can also earn cash back by opting into manufacturers' rebate programs via one of the major group purchasing organizations in foodservice, the Buyers Edge Platform. All three--Sync, xtraCASH, and xtraCHEF's Premium Platform--can be found in the Toast Partner Marketplace.
Toast Partners With Back-Office ISV xtraCHEF
If the ProGlove Fits, You Must Pick
A new bundle for warehouse picking has been fashioned of wearable scanner, smartphone, and mobile device management software. Entitled, prosaically, the Wearable Picking Bundle, it has Mark Display Wearable Scanner by ProGlove (Chicago, IL), Galaxy XCover Pro by Samsung (San Jose, CA), and Wavelink Velocity by Ivanti (Salt Lake City, UT). As integrator and reseller, there's Procensis (Warminster, PA).
In use, the Samsung XCover Pro, with 6.3" display, is mounted on cart or forklift. An employee's ProGlove Wearable Scanner, with thumb trigger and 1.5" display, continually communicates pick instructions and completions via Bluetooth to the Samsung XCover Pro, which syncs via Ivanti Wavelink Velocity with the Warehouse Management System (WMS). Also, the ProGlove Connect Proximity App notes and warns if employees move within 6 ft. of each other for social distancing.
"The healthcare and economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is driving many warehousing and distribution facilities to rethink their processes as they work to align with state and federal mandates concerning worker health and safety," observed Brandon Black, VP and GM of the Ivanti Supply Chain Unit. "Worker performance and accuracy still remain top priorities as well. We are pleased to be teaming with Procensis, ProGlove, and Samsung to bring a solution to market which will enable these organizations to arm their workers with the best technology for protecting their health and safety, while ensuring optimal productivity."
A New Bundle for Safe Warehouse Picking
Century Business Solutions (Irvine, CA) has joined forces with Captiva to deliver credit card processing within Microsoft Dynamics Business Central. Integration takes place via the proprietary gateway at Century Business Solutions, dubbed EBizCharge, which features data encryption, tokenization, and PCI Compliance. "EBizCharge offers the best price and performance of any integrated credit card processing system for Business Central, and has the power to support small, medium, and large organizations," proclaimed Bob Rook, President of Captiva (Reston, VA). Since June, Century Business Solutions has added to its partners with credit card processing with Tekoa Software, NextLevel Information Systems, Epicor, iBistro, Tigunia, ZBrains, CyberCore, and Blaze IT. It recently won the 2020 People's Choice Stevie Award for Favorite New Payment Solution in the 18th Annual American Business Awards.
EBizCharge by Century Business Solutions
A Message From the Editor
As we enter another year, our mission stays constant: to fill the need for timely, focused, non-biased news in the channel for POS & Auto ID. If anything, that need grows more pressing in the face of changes in technology, go-to-market strategies, and business models. We look forward to continuing that mission and welcome your suggestions and thoughts on improvements.
Michael Kachmar, Editor
A Flock of SMB Labels
Seagull Scientific (Bellevue, WA) has presented its barcode software suite for the SMB, designated as BarTender Starter Edition. Addressing small-batch or high-mix/low-volume labeling needs, BarTender Starter Edition encompasses easy design tools, smart wizards, built-in business logic, and an extensive library of sample label templates (over 400 pre-formatted components based on 105 barcode symbologies and more than one dozen compliance standards). Accommodating up to three printers per workstation, it requires no programming by new users.
Employing dynamic data sourced from common databases such as Excel or CSV, BarTender Starter Edition, in particular, suits participants in the Amazon Transparency Program. It enables +1/-1 incremental serialization for product traceability. In the case of the SMB, notes Seagull Scientific, just-in-time, on-demand labeling and serialization eliminates the need for out-of-date, pre-printed media and storage.
"Starter Edition offers capabilities that no other software on the market does," suggested Harold Boe, Seagull Scientific's President and CEO. "Unlike other products geared to the small business sector, it supports multiple users across multiple computers with the ability to update, modify, and print templates. We think that creates significant value for users who are looking for a solution that can scale and grow as their business does--they can add more advanced features when needed with a simple upgrade to a more powerful edition [such as BarTender Professional, Automation, or Enterprise]."
Seagull Scientific Releases BarTender Starter Edition
Incoming: PayPal/Venmo in Retail
A timely move by payments technology company InComm (Atlanta, GA), which has partnered with PayPal/Venmo (San Jose, CA). Initially planned for the 8,200 stores of CVS Pharmacy, this touchless checkout will employ PayPal's and Venmo's QR Codes. A multi-year agreement, planned for widespread distribution in retail, enables InComm to support PayPal and Venmo QR Codes via its cloud-based offering.
"Companies of all types and sizes are looking for ways to maintain the safety of their customers and employees, especially through touch-free experiences like curbside pick-up and enhanced online shopping," expounded Mark Britto, EVP and Chief Product Officer at PayPal. "QR Codes complement these and provide retailers an additional payment method that furthers this touch-free mission and continues the growth of digital payments for all partners in the ecosystem. The essential nature of pharmacies makes CVS Pharmacy the perfect first partner for PayPal and Venmo QR Codes."
With PayPal QR Codes, customers may pay using stored debit or credit cards, bank accounts, and PayPal Balance or PayPal Credit. With Venmo QR Codes, customers may pay using stored debit or credit cards, bank accounts, and Venmo Balance or Venmo Rewards. Additionally, PayPal does not charge fees to the customer when paying with the PayPal or Venmo QR Codes. "Working with PayPal to deliver PayPal and Venmo QR Codes will help our retail partners serve the millions of consumers who use these innovative payment platforms," enthused Stefan Happ, President at InComm.
InComm Supports PayPal and Venmo QR Codes
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Stands, Mounts, Cradles
NCR Rings Up Bashas'
NCR Corporation (Atlanta, GA) has deployed its flagship Emerald POS for regional grocery chain, Bashas'. With 100 stores in Arizona, Bashas' will employ all facets of NCR Emerald, including software, payments processing, self-checkout, customer loyalty, promotions, and merchandising. A key component of NCR's Next-Generation Retail Store Architecture, NCR Emerald is offered on the cloud-based, subscription pricing model, with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
"When we planned the project in late October, we built in a pause in December, as not to disrupt our holiday business, but no one could anticipate the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought," reported Edward Basha III, CEO of Bashas'. "Yet, we were able to meet this key milestone through the efficient collaboration with NCR. It was a great relief that we could still launch this digital transformation for our stores, employees, and our customers during this challenging time."
"NCR is happy to extend the benefits of NCR Emerald to yet another grocery chain through our work with Bashas'," contributed David Wilkinson, President and GM of NCR Retail. "The out-of-the-box solution along with our service-oriented architecture enables a speed of implementation that is rare in complex retail environments. We are proud of Bashas' continued focus on retail innovation and its trust in NCR's knowledge and capabilities to run the store."
Southwestern Grocery Chain Chooses NCR Emerald
Givex Holds the Cards
Givex (Toronto, ON, Canada) will provide the first consolidated gift card for major food-service provider, Focus Brands. A parent company of more than 6,000 restaurants, based in Atlanta, GA, Focus Brands has Auntie Anne's, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, Moe's Southwest Grill, McAlister's Deli, and Schlotzsky's. Givex was chosen as the single-solution gift card provider for the U.S., in part, because of its strong track record as the long-time program partner of McAlister's Deli.
As benefits of the united gift card, the restauranteur cited company-wide streamlined reporting and fund settlement as well as the capacity to recognize and encourage customers to frequent its multiple brands. During the transition, it supports existing gift card accounts and the history of transactions. "The Givex team added immediate value throughout the migration and onboarding process," indicated Dan Gertsacov, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer at Focus Brands.
"Focus Brands has been a great partner to us," reflected Mo Chaar, Chief Commercial Officer at Givex. "We are very proud to be of service to them in building the program they need for long-term success. More businesses are recognizing that a single, enterprise-wide gift card program can be a powerful strategic tool and we are glad to help them realize the benefits of this branded currency." A Referral Partner and Certified Reseller Partner Program at Givex.
A United Gift Card From Givex Brings Benefits
Channel Factoid$100 Billion in Back to School
-Parents with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average of $789 per family this fall, topping the previous record of $697 in 2019. Such K-12 spending is expected to total $33.9 billion, up from $26.2 billion in 2019 and breaking the record of $30.3 billion set in 2012.
-College students and their families expect to spend an average of $1,059 per family, topping the previous record of $977 in 2019. Such college spending is expected to total $67.7 billion, up from $54.5 billion in 2019 and breaking the record of $55.3 billion set in 2018.
-Total spending for K-12 and college combined is projected to reach $101.6 billion, exceeding the $80.7 billion in 2019 and topping the $100 billion mark for the first time.
-According to the survey, 63% of K-12 families expect to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54% in 2019, and they expect to spend more at an average of $274, up from $203 in 2019.
-With K-12 students continuing to grow regardless of whether they're studying at home or at school, the amount parents plan to spend on clothing is down only slightly at an average of $234, compared with $240 in 2019. Traditional school supplies such as pencils and paper are expected to average $131, up from $117 in 2019.
-Among college shoppers, 60% plan to buy electronics, up from 53% in 2019, and they expect to spend more at an average of $262, up from $235 in 2019. Dorm furnishings average $130, up from $120 in 2019, while clothing remains unchanged at $148. Traditional school supplies such as pencils and paper are expected to average $84, up from $72 in 2019.
-With many school districts and colleges across the U.S. still deciding whether to reopen their classrooms in the fall, consumers surveyed had finished only 17% of their shopping on average by early July.
-Amid the uncertainty, 55% of shoppers surveyed expected K-12 and college students will take at least some of their classes at home this fall, with only 26% expecting most or all classes to be taught in person.
Source: Annual Survey of Back to School Spending by the National Retail Federation (Washington, DC).
NMI Pegs Pexton
Payment gateway provider NMI (Chicago, IL) has named Kyle Pexton as its President. He joined the company in 2014 as CFO. Earlier, he served as CFO at Accelerated Payment Technologies (2008 to 2013), now part of Global Payments, and VP of Finance and Business operations at Authorize.Net (1999 to 2008), now part of Cybersource. He will report to Vijay Sondhi, CEO of NMI (or Network Merchants), which addresses ISOs and ISVs.
"NMI's exceptionally talented employees are executing on our growth strategies and delivering a unique value proposition to our customers and the market," remarked Pexton. "We are successfully helping our customers grow their business, and our global platform now processes over $70 billion in annual volume. We look forward to supplementing our strong organic growth with acquisitions that will add value to our customers and solidify our market-leading position."
"For the last twenty-plus years, Kyle has driven tremendous performance at several highly successful payments companies," cited Peter Christodoulo, Chairman of the NMI Board and Partner at private-equity firm, Francisco Partners. "This promotion is not only well deserved, but is also a testament to Kyle's varied skills and impressive domain expertise. Together with the several other recent senior executive hires and continued strong financial performance, NMI is extremely well positioned to accelerate growth and product innovation."
Kyle Pexton, President, NMI
Dr. Yes at Focal Systems
Focal Systems (San Francisco, CA), which addresses inventory automation for brick-and-mortar retail, has engaged Dr. Donald High as its Technology Strategist. His resume includes roles as Chief Innovation Officer for Ashley Furniture Industries (2019 to 2020), Chief Scientist for Walmart (2008 to 2019), and Data Architect for Tyson Foods (2003 to 2008). He holds over 150 technology patents. As its solution, Focal Systems combines discrete shelf cameras, computer vision model, and cloud-based machine learning platform.
"I've spent the past fifteen years in the retail industry evaluating technology solutions to solve the out-of-stock problem," noted High. "Focal's shelf-camera based approach has clearly established itself as the most cost-effective and accurate way to produce real-time shelf data. With this practical, cutting-edge technology in place, retailers unlock significant opportunities to reduce operational costs and increase sales through higher on-shelf availability."
"Don brings a wealth of experience and an analytical approach that will help us continue to innovate to best serve our retail customers," commented Francois Chaubard, CEO with Focal Systems. "We are thrilled to have him join the team and contribute to our product roadmap and overall company strategy." In January, Zebra Ventures, the investment arm of Zebra Technologies Corporation (Lincolnshire, IL) invested in Focal Systems in support of its Enterprise Asset Intelligence.
Donald High, Technology Strategist, Focal Systems
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