Week of February 27, 2023
Michael Kachmar, Editor
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Our Product Pick
HERO II POS by HiStone
As the Worldpay Turns
A re-emergence of the merchant solutions brand, Worldpay, to be spun-off its current owner, fintech behemoth FIS (Jacksonville, FL). As readers will recall, FIS snatched up Worldpay (and its previously purchased Vantiv) in June 2019. A separation for FIS and Worldpay, subject to customary conditions--including tax-free ruling from the Internal Revenue Service--is expected in the next 12 months.
Worldpay, one of the largest global merchant acquirers, with $2 trillion in payments volume in 2022, will refocus on integrated payment technology solutions for e-commerce, enterprise, and small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB). In 2022, its revenue was comprised of 30% e-commerce, 43% enterprise, and 27% SMB. As strategic advisor for this spin-off, FIS has re-engaged Charles Drucker, former CEO of Worldpay. If the move is completed as expected, he will serve as CEO.
"A spin-off of Worldpay will unlock shareholder value by improving both companies' performance, enhancing client services, and simplifying operational management," proclaimed Jeffrey A. Goldstein, Chairman of the Board at FIS. "The pace of disruption in payments is rapidly accelerating, requiring increased investment in growth [and so] different capital allocation strategy for our merchant solutions business. This spin-off will create two industry-leading, publicly traded companies with sharper focus and increased agility, each well positioned to capitalize on the significant value creation opportunities ahead in their respective markets."
Charles Drucker, Once and Future CEO of Worldpay
Welcoming FRED at Barcoding, Inc.
An interesting acquisition for VAR, Barcoding, Inc. (Baltimore, MD), in the form of FRED Automation (Philadelphia, PA). A manufacturer of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) for warehouse automation, FRED Automation was spun out of ASI Technologies in April 2021. It offers two models--FRED and the smaller FREDDIE--with capabilities for simple point A-to-B material moves as well as complex maneuvers involving dozens of pick-up and drop-off points. Terms were not disclosed.
"We continue to focus on growth and innovation for our customers," projected Shane Snyder, President of Barcoding, Inc. "With today's labor challenges, AGVs like FRED and AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots), like those from Zebra Technologies, are the right automation solutions to drive productivity and customer satisfaction. With our acquisition of FRED Automation, Barcoding, Inc. is now the top solution provider for industrial automation in the AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection) space."
"We are delighted to be partnering with Barcoding, Inc.," relayed Doug Fastuca, CEO of FRED Automation. "Their approach and strength in the market will allow us to introduce our AGV products to more companies across North America. We are eager to expand both production and services offerings for FRED and FREDDIE to help customers with employee safety and their materials movement automation." On its website, the purchase price is quoted as $35,000 for FRED and $24,000 for FREDDIE, or rental of $1,000/month.
Demonstration of FRED Automation at Headquarters of Barcoding, Inc. in Baltimore, MD
Worth Your While
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Mobile D Multiplies by 9
A rugged xCase for the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 and Pro 9 5G has been fashioned by MobileDemand (Cedar Rapids, IA). As with previous models, this 4th generation of xCase has been certified by Microsoft's Designed for Surface Program. With sealed ports, shock absorbing rubber corner bumpers, and rigid, hard plastic shell, it meets durability ratings of MIL-STD-810H and 5 ft./1.5 m multiple drop resistance.
A patented "Snap Mount Plate" facilitates mounting to work surfaces, including counters, carts, and vehicles. In carrying, there's briefcase-style handle as well as ergonomic, glove-fitting back hand strap. A pre-applied standard or anti-glare screen protector is available. A Model Premium xCase also includes an easel, stylus holder, and tether.
"We are excited to see MobileDemand's dedication to our mutual customers as part of our longstanding partnership," manifested Patrick Mendenall, Director of Microsoft Designed for Surface Program. "Their line of rugged xCases for Surface Pro and Surface Go are a popular choice among Microsoft enterprise customers, so it's great to see the newest generation xCase for the Surface Pro 9." Added Matt Miller, President and CTO of MobileDemand, "It offers essential device protection and provides frontline workers with the productivity features needed to complete critical tasks more efficiently."
MobileDemand Offers Its Rugged xCase for Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Cantaloupe Ripe With Accessibility
An effort on accessibility for the self-service micro-market segment, by Cantaloupe (Malvern, PA), has produced the new kiosk, dubbed "The 46." With 46" touchscreen, naturally, The 46 was developed by Three Square Market (River Falls, WI), which was recently purchased by Cantaloupe. It complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
A button drops the screen to an accessible height for individuals with mobility challenges or wheelchair. A braille overlay, as well as its screen size, empowers use by blind and low-vision individuals. As features, it furnishes camera, speakers, audio jack, card reader, fingerprint scanner, barcode scanner, and bill acceptor. A custom cabinet enhances appearance and facilitates installation, with choice of colors.
In designing The 46, Three Square Market, and Cantaloupe, worked with accessibility expert and advocate Chris Ingram, Founder of Argh Accessibility (Rome, GA). "A lot of companies are interested in incorporating accessibility into their machines, but halt that work when they realize how much time and effort it takes," he noted. Also benefitting from the large screen size: middle-age and older consumers.
Cantaloupe's "The 46" Large-Screen Kiosk (Shown on Right)
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Toast Butters Up QSR
Another slice of Toast (Boston, MA) has appeared with its purchase of Delphi Display Systems (Costa Mesa, CA). A longstanding provider of drive-thru and digital menu boards, addressing, in particular, QSR (Quick-Service Restaurants), Delphi extends the diverse service models of Toast POS. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"As the needs of guests rapidly evolve and the importance of developing incremental revenue streams grows, restaurants increasingly want to diversify into more service models," observed Aman Narang, COO and Co-Founder of Toast. "Integrating Delphi into the Toast platform will enable us to deepen our support for customers who operate a drive-thru service model." In its most recent fiscal statement, Toast reported its number of installations increased approximately 40% year-over-year to approximately 79,000. On its part, Delphi has "tens of thousands" of sites globally.
"Delphi's vision is to transform the drive-thru experience with state-of-the-art innovation," remarked Ken Neeld, President and CEO of Digital Display Systems. "We see Toast as a leading restaurant technology platform and a similarly forward-thinking partner, so we couldn't imagine a better next chapter for Delphi." In December, Delphi debuted its Model Endura 32X Drive-Thru Display with Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Toast Buys Delphi Display Systems
A Case of Mashgin for Shift4
A new hardware partner has been enlisted by payment processor Shift4 (Allentown, PA): the computer-vision-driven self-checkout-developer, Mashgin (Palo Alto, CA). Its kiosks are deployed at more than 2,300 locations in the U.S., including convenience stores, major league sports stadiums, airports, corporate cafeterias, ski resorts, and entertainment venues. Equipped with multiple cameras, the kiosks identify food and goods--reportedly with 99.9% accuracy--and ring them up simultaneously, with no scanning of barcodes.
In ease-of-use, customers simply place their items on the kiosk tray and item costs are instantly calculated for payment. Transactions are up to 400% faster than the typical cashier and are proven to increase customer throughput by 96%, according to Mashgin, resulting in shorter lines, more sales, and pleased customers. Stadiums who use Mashgin have seen documented sales increases ranging from 25%-40%.
"We're thrilled to partner with Mashgin to deliver a better payment solution for users of their innovative technology," shared Anthony Perez, Shift4's SVP of New Verticals. "Together, we can transform the checkout experience at sports and entertainment venues as well as other retail locations." Founded in 2013, and privately held, Mashgin has funding from NEA, Matrix Partners, Susa Ventures, and Y Combinator. As VP of Strategic Partnerships at Mashgin: Jack Hogan.
Shift4 Provides Payment Processing for Mashgin's Computer-Vision Self-Checkout System
Koamtac Adds Support for React Native Framework
-Nuvei (Montreal, QC, Canada) buys fellow fintech company, Paya (Atlanta, GA), for $1.3 billion.
-National Retail Solutions (Newark, NJ) brings its POS for Convenience, Tobacco, and Liquor to Canada.
-OVVI (Stafford, TX), provider of restaurant POS, completes its integration for payment processing with EVO Payments (Melville, NY).
Pensa: Straightening the Shelf
A solution for "automated retail shelf intelligence"--or real-time, continuous, in-aisle tracking of inventory--has been launched by Pensa (Austin, TX). Of import, it addresses the "shelf facings"--or number of units of the product visible from the front of the retail store shelf--coveted by manufacturers of CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods). As technology, it employs flying mini-drones and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Traditionally, such "facing" allocations have been determined based on rough estimates of relative sales volume and velocity derived from data from the POS. Such data, however, is notoriously "noisy," purports Pensa. For instance, it may signify that the product is not selling or signify the product is out-of-stock on the shelf. In its solution, Pensa captures and analyzes a video stream of hundreds of images, taken from numerous angles, of each individual product on the shelf.
"Optimizing the shelf is now possible in a new way leveraging the practical power of computer vision and AI (Artificial Intelligence)," suggested Richard Schwartz, President and CEO of Pensa Systems. "In basing facings analysis on a highly accurate and granular view of what's on the shelf and available for sale, it heralds a new era of brands and retailers working closer together to optimize facings for mutual benefit." As current partners in CPG, Pensa has brands Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Circle K, and Unilever.
Real-Time Shelf Inventory by Pensa Flies Drones
A Package Deal at USPS
A new shipping label, adding two symbologies, has been approved for use by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It addresses problems in reading and sorting soft packs, such as clothing, as well as irregular-shaped parcels. In this approach, 2D Matrix Barcodes--similar to QR Codes--are added to the label as part of the USPS "Intelligent Mail."
If an employee or piece of equipment is not able to scan the primary 1D Intelligent Mail Code, the 2D Intelligent Mail Matrix Code may be scanned instead. In support, the 2D Intelligent Mail Matrix Code has been adopted by delivery partners of USPS, such as Pitney Bowes and Victory Packaging. During the first two months of Fiscal Year 2023 (which began on October 1, 2022), over 3.7 million packages were scanned using the new 2D Intelligent Mail Matrix Code.
"Some packages from mailers--usually clothing, pill bottles, and similar items--can result in distortion of label barcodes while being processed on automated equipment," reported Jim Bodling, Operations Support Specialist at USPS. "Additional two barcodes increase the readability, cut down on re-handling packages, and improve visibility and tracking, resulting in a better customer experience." (Another approach volunteered by some readers: insert padding to fill out the package.)
A New 2D Matrix Code is Added to the Left of the Shipping Address, Another in the Bottom Right Corner of the Label
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Grocery "Catapults" to EDI
An extended relationship has been reached between United Natural Foods, Inc. (Providence, RI), one of the largest grocery wholesalers in North America, serving 30,000 locations, and ISV/VAR, ECRS (Boone, NC). In leveraging UNFI's Professional Services Suite, including its Data Exchange, and ECRS's Catapult Software, including its Gateway, it addresses functionality for digital coupons, third-party delivery, and in particular, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Introduced in 2011, Catapult spans inventory and supply chain, customer loyalty, point-of-sale, self-service, online ordering, and other critical retail operations.
"UNFI provides a great deal of technological services at a scale that can give our mutual retail customers tremendous leverage in the marketplace," commented Pete Catoe, ECRS Founder and CEO. "This agreement allows ECRS to play an active role in ensuring our UNFI customers can take full advantage of these competitive differentiators. ECRS has been working closely with UNFI for over two decades, and we are very appreciative of the organization and its people."
At present, the ECRS Gateway hosts over 2,000 EDI accounts across UNFI's retail customer network. It expects to process over 500,000 electronic transactions in 2023, in the form of purchasing and receiving documents to and from UNFI. Automatically transmitted to UNFI, many of them are also automatically created, via the advanced scheduling and computer-assisted replenishment models of Catapult. Since its start three decades ago, ECRS has established itself as one of the premier suppliers of hardware, software, and services in grocery.
United Natural Foods Leverages ECRS
Blue Yonder Gets Cold Shoulder
A roll-out of supply chain software Blue Yonder (Scottsdale, AZ) for 3PL (Third-Party Logistics Provider), Arcadia Cold (Atlanta, GA). For its cold chain for refrigerated and frozen food, it will deploy the Blue Yonder Warehouse Management System (WMS), Labor Management, and Warehouse Tasking, all part of Blue Yonder Luminate Logistics. A partner of Blue Yonder, Netlogistik (Denver, CO) will lead the project.
In 2022, Arcadia Cold announced its plans to expand its cold storage network in the U.S. A trio of new facilities will be sited in Fort Worth, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Hazelton, PA. Achieved during the summer of 2023, they will bring an additional 120,000 pallet positions for Arcadia Cold, with an ultimate goal of an additional 200,000 in the U.S.
"Arcadia Cold is revolutionizing the 3PL space and looking to meet the U.S. food supply chain needs over the next few years, which is why we are excited to be working with them to help them realize their objective of providing a superior customer experience," expressed Mark Nordick, SVP, Logistics, at Blue Yonder. "Our logistics suite will also allow them to truly control the fulfillment process and dynamically scale based on customer needs to meet the future demands of their rapidly growing cold storage network." As the former JDA Software Group, Blue Yonder is now owned by Panasonic Corporation (Osaka, Japan).
A Deployment of Blue Yonder for Cold Chain 3PL Arcadia Cold
Retail Gets Down
60% - POS Software
Customer Engage Priorities
60% - Frictionless Commerce
Covid-19 New "Norms"
78% - BOPIS/BOPAC
Source: "2022 POS & Customer Engagement Report," by Aptos Retail (Alpharetta, GA)
Retail Remains Resilient
A Message From the Editor
We look forward to continuing our mission, and welcome your suggestions and thoughts on improvements. Wishing you and your family health, happiness, and prosperity in 2023!
Michael Kachmar, Editor
A Succession at BlueStar
A farewell and following succession at distributor BlueStar (Hebron, KY). Effective July 1, Doug Bivins, current COO, will retire (and remain on the BlueStar Board of Directors). At that time, Ryan Girvin, current CFO, will assume the role of COO. Over his tenure, the company notes as highlights, Bivins has helped to lead its global expansion, its move to the new facility, and its automation of critical warehouse functions.
"Doug has had an immeasurable, positive impact on our business," stated Steve Cuntz, President and CEO at BlueStar. "For nearly three decades, he has been instrumental in building BlueStar. Our customers, partners, and employees have all benefitted from his leadership, resulting in a culture that values communication, rewards due diligence, and fosters lasting relationships. We are, as a whole, forever indebted to Doug for his service."
Joining BlueStar in 2001 as Corporate Controller for the Americas, Ryan Girvin was promoted to VP of Finance and, ultimately, to CFO. Previously, he served as an Auditor with J.D. Cloud and Company. In addition to his role as CFO, he serves on BlueStar's Board of Directors.
"Ryan is a dedicated individual who is passionate about the success of our company and the health of the channel," continued Steve Cuntz. "Over the years, he has proven his ability to drive results instrumental in the growth of our company while providing reliable, stable leadership. We are excited for Mr. Girvin's continued leadership as COO and the future of BlueStar."
At BlueStar: Doug Bivins (At Left) Will Retire as COO, With Ryan Girvin (At Right) Moving From CFO to COO
VPs With Valor
A pair of new hires at Valor PayTech (Jericho, NY) strengthens its efforts in integrated payments. As its new SVP of Integrated Payments and Strategy, first, Riaz Ladha brings experience as VP of Industry Relations for the Electronic Transactions Association, VP of Enterprise Business for Network Merchants (NMI), and Market Development and Operations Director for YesPay. As its new VP of Integrated Payments and Strategic Sales, Eric Kirk brings experience as Director of Sales for Network Merchants (NMI), Director of Sales in North America for Creditcall (purchased by NMI), EVP of Aptito, and Co-Founder and VP of Sales and Marketing for RetailCloud.
In addition, Valor PayTech has announced general availability of Valor Connect, its "one-click" API (Application Programming Interface). In an upcoming phase two of this roll-out of Valor Connect, the fintech provider will concentrate on further streamlining and simplifying the process of adding in-store, online, mobile, and unattended payment solutions for ISVs/ISOs. It includes upfront implementation and back-end functions.
"We're growing and investing in world-class omnichannel commerce enablement," declared Eric Bernstein, CEO of Valor PayTech. "Valor Connect requires little-to-no effort for businesses to add Valor payment offerings with the click of a button, which is a huge time and money saver. Both Riaz and Eric have impressive backgrounds and connections that will help us accelerate partnership traction and revenue growth."
Added to Valor PayTech: Riaz Ladha, SVP of Integrated Payments and Strategy (At Left), and Eric Kirk, VP of Integrated Payments and Strategic Sales (At Right)
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